Bengal Cat: Breed Information & Characteristics

Keeping the Bengal cat requires a lot of space. Sufficient play and climbing opportunities must be provided, so the purchase of a large scratching post is necessary. In addition, the Bengal cat needs outdoor space or a secured balcony to let off steam. The social animal should live together with conspecifics and not stay alone for long. An intensive occupation favors that the intelligent velvet paw does not feel under-challenged. Some animals also enjoy the opportunity to live out their love for the water.

The Bengal cat is a so-called hybrid cat. The breed was created by crossing domestic cats and the wildcat of the same name and is also known under the name Leopardette. Their appearance still reveals the existing relationship to their wild ancestors.

In 1934 the cross between the domestic cat and the wild Bengal cat (also known as the leopard cat) was first mentioned in a Belgian science magazine. Since wildcats often have a natural immunity to the disease FeLV (feline leukemia virus), investigations began in the 1970s as to whether this immunity could be specifically bred.

The research produced many hybrid cats, but not with the specific goal of breeding their own breed.

As early as 1963, the geneticist Jean Sudgen bred a female Asian leopard cat to a house tomcat. The aim was to combine the body structure and the fur pattern of a wild cat with the character of a house cat.

It was not until 1972 that she continued this breed with several hybrids. The popular domestic cat breed emerged from these matings. Nowadays the Bengal cat is genetically bred. Only Bengal cats are mated with one another, but no longer, as was the case with the emergence of the breed, other breeds (for example Abyssinian or American Shorthair). Although many associations do not recognize the Bengal cat, the American cat association TICA defined the first breed population in 1986.

Breed-specific traits

Bengal cats are energetic cats and stay lively and playful into old age. They like to climb and jump. The wildcat relative has preserved part of her wild heritage and the love of water that goes with it. She is an excellent hunter and a spirited, intrepid animal. This fearlessness can lead to problems in the open air, as the Bengal cat can be prone to territorial behavior. Like the Balinese, for example, she is known for her communicativity and loudly communicates with her people with her extraordinary voice.

Attitude and care

The playful Bengal need a lot of activity, otherwise, they can develop behavioral disorders. Since the Bengal cat also has a high urge to move, a lot of space and various climbing opportunities are indispensable. A large scratching post is ideal for this. In addition, sufficient variety must be provided, a secure balcony or garden is, therefore, an advantage when keeping this breed. Mental occupation is an additional burden for the velvet potters. Intelligence toys are ideally suited for this, such as a homemade fiddle board or clicker and trick training.

The Bengal cat is a social animal and usually gets along well with other cat breeds. However, the conspecifics should not be too dominant, because the self-confident velvet paw knows exactly what it wants. Due to their short fur, the Bengal cat is not one of the high-maintenance cat breeds, but should still be brushed occasionally.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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