Bengal cats are recognizable by special "wild" markings such as large spots, rosettes, and a light or white belly. This is a relatively new exotic breed originated from crossing the Asian Leopard Cat to the domestic cat. This was an attempt to create a pet that would have an "exotic" wild look along with a domestic cat temperament. Thus, the origin of the breed has nothing to do with the famous Bengal tiger, as many people tend to think.
Photo by © Sigga Vala
Bengal - Breed profile:
Origin: United States
Bengals are lively, active, extremely intelligent and smart. Unlike other cats, they adore water!
Physical characteristicsIt is believed that Bengals are large, but in fact they are not larger than a typical domestic feline. They are medium sized. Females weigh from 7 to 10 pounds while weight of a male Bengal ranges from 9 to 12 pounds. Bengals are large-boned and well-muscled. Males are extremely muscular. These cats usually have long, lean bodies striking in length. When they are trying to reach something or stretch, they look much like a mini-cheetah. Males often keep putting on muscle mass up to two year old age.
Bengals have large eyes, widely set round ears, wide nose with a slight arch, and widely set whisker pads. The latter resembles the Asian Leopard Cat, from which Bengals were breeded. Purebred Bengals, however, have narrower triangular faces and triangular ears that set slightly higher.
Bengals' eyes are usually golden green, gooseberry green or hazel colored. They may also be blue - it is most typical for so called "snow" Bengals. These cats' nose is brick red; it may have a black rim. The ears are rimmed in black or dark brown with a light spot (which is called "ocelli") on the back of the ear. Feet pads are basically black although alternative coloring is acceptable for some Bengal coat colors. A very good Bengal has all feet pads matching in color. Bengals usually have a thick tail contrasting in lightness and darkness near the end. Its end has a very dark rounded tip.
TemperamentBengals are considered doglike rather than catlike because they may perform many dog tricks and have a good training ability. They are lively, active, extremely intelligent and smart. They love to play and have a keen sense of smell. A well socialized Bengal loves people.
Bengals like heights and can often be found peering down at you from high spots in the house. However, after a hard playful day, they are very much content to find a warm lap to cuddle in. Do not neglect the hunting nature of this breed and provide your Bengal with a well-padded arm for the pet to grasp, bite and kick, or small toys to track and hunt, or boxes, papers or blankets under which it can conceal itself. Owners should not be surprised that walking feet and toes under blankets will often be paid attention to as "prey" for hunting.
Bengals come in all colours but always with markings such as circles, arrow-heads, marble-like spots, rosettes. Photo by © Gribb0
Coat and groomingThe coat of these cats comes in many color variations but, as it has already been said, it is always marked with spots. Most markings look like circle, arrow-headed, or marble spots. Some scarab-like markings near the shoulders are also possible. The most expensive specimens are bi-colored with very contrast rosette-like markings that will remind you of the jaguar. The snout of a typical Bengal has a number of distinct horizontal stripes generally known as "spectacles" or "mascara". These stripes usually extend from alongside the eye to the back of the neck.
The luxurious coat of Bengals is unusually soft. The spine has a little bit longer fur. A healthy animal has a silky-like pelt. This can be even improved by a quality diet and regular brushing. Shedding is present for this breed but it is much less than for a usual short-haired cat. This makes Bengals great for persons with feline dander allergies for whom owning a cat is a fancy.
Photo by © Sigga Vala
HealthThere is the opinion that Bengal cats may be prone to food poisoning. So you must be very careful with feeding, avoiding any chance that your cat's food contains bacteria or fungus. The latter may cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness along with fever and stomach upset. If poisoning is too strong and no emergency help is given, a Bengal may even die. However, many breeders believe that Bengals are not anyhow different than any other domesticated cat when it comes to care and feeding.
Other interesting factsMany Bengals, unlike other cats, adore water! They can be easily found playing in a pool or bathroom. They can even join the owner for a nice shower.
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