Active: The Bengal cat is highly active. They love to play, are constantly moving around and love to be busy.
Size: The Bengal cat is a beautiful, medium to large size, athletic cat. This medium to large breed is powerful and muscular while retaining the grace and beauty of their jungle cat ancestors. They range in weight from 6-15 pounds and males are usually larger than females.
Characteristics: They are an athletic breed that, much like an actual leopard, looks like it belongs in the jungle. Bengals, while quite beautiful, are not dainty in the least. They have short ears and large, striking green eyes. It will look like you have a jungle cat walking around your living room. But, even if you love to decorate in leopard print, there is far more to the Bengal cat than their unique spotted appearance. Their nature may not lend them to being the most snuggly of cats but, they do make great pets. Even if the Bengal is not a "lap cat", it is still very friendly and very entertaining! Their playful nature, combined with their athletic ability as well as their intelligence, makes for a cat that can be easily taught creative and astonishing tricks. The Bengal cat, with its unique "leopard" appearance, is not only a great family companion but is quite independent as well.
Temperament: While you may see their extraordinary coat and think that is what makes the Bengal unique, their personality is fascinating in its own right. Playful and highly intelligent, the Bengal makes for a wonderful and very loyal companion. The Bengal is actually quite the chatterbox. They are not afraid to let you know they are hungry or looking for you. They are wonderful pets and are great with children as well. They love to play and be silly, especially splashing around in water and sometimes you may just be surprised when they pop up in the shower with you. While fully domestic cats, some of their personality traits are very "wild." Bengals love to climb very high and even play fetch. They love games of all sorts and are astonishingly adept at learning new tricks. They will enjoy any challenge or trick you throw at them and you may very well be astounded at just what they can do. These domestic cats are sure to be a walk on the wild side for any owner.
Care: Weekly brushing and nail trimming will keep the Bengal looking beautiful. Occasionally check and clean your Bengal cat's ears as well.
Coat: Bengal cats look like little leopards and have beautiful and unique coats. Their coat is short and luxurious and they are sure to stand out in a crowd as their look is unique to the Bengal breed. Their spotted or marbled coat boasts many different background shades accented by highly contrasting and interesting horizontal patterns. Some Bengals have dark, beautiful rosettes on their coat. Some Bengals even have a "glitter" coat which means their coat appears to sparkle due to a unique sheen. Their coats can take on a range of looks including brown tabby, seal mink tabby, black silver tabby, and seal silver lynx point. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic cat then the Bengal cat is a great candidate. They produce less of the Fel D1 protein which is the true cause for your allergic reaction. There is no cat that is 100% allergy free so increasing the frequency of grooming and bathing your furry friend will also help.
Origin: The Bengal cat breed has a history that dates back to 1963. The Bengal breed is developed through the crossing of an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic breed. The crossing of the two breeds brings about an exotic, "wild cat" look to a domesticated house cat. Though the crossing of a wild breed with a domestic breed can be traced back many years prior to the 1960s, the Bengal breed's official origins began in 1963. Breeder Jean Mill, of Covina, California had an Asian Leopard Cat as a pet, and decided to provide a companion for it.
The companion was a domestic cat and, the two surprisingly produced a litter in 1965. Typically, breeding a domestic and wild cat produces offspring that are infertile, but this litter produced fertile female offspring. One of the female offspring, Kin-Kin was later mated with her father, and produced two offspring. Jean Mill had to abandon the breeding of wild and domestic cats when she was suddenly widowed in 1965. And thus, the beginning of the Bengal breed had to be sidelined as Ms. Mill was no longer able to take on the project. But, in 1973, a geneticist named Dr. Willard Centerwell began to breed wild and domestic cats because he was interested in studying feline leukemia. Research was showing that Asian Leopard Cats were resistant to feline leukemia.
After the study was completed, Dr. Centerwell gave some of his kittens to Jean Mill in 1980, after remarrying, and Jean Mill began to breed Bengal cats again. Mill had the females needed for breeding from Dr. Centerwell and began a search for suitable males. One male, an orange short haired domestic cat, traveled all the way from India to be bred. The other male bred with the females Mill had was a spotted brown tabby that Mill had found in a local shelter. It took many generations of breeding to get the Bengal cat that we know today. Generations into breeding now produces sweet tempered, more predictable breeds that are more suitable for living with people. While Jean Mill and Dr. Centerwell were fascinated with the idea of breeding wild and domestic cats, that has not been the case with many in the cat fancy community.
The Cat Fanciers Association or CFA does not recognize the breed as they are not supporters of breeding wild and domestic cats. The Bengal is considered to be a "wild cat by the CFA and therefore does not accept it for registration. This means that they will also not accept them for shows either. While the CFA may not support the Bengal breed, other associations do. The Bengal breed is now accepted for registration by TICA (The International Cat Association), ACFA (American Cat Fanciers Association), the Canadian Cat Association, and GCCF (The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy).