Bengal Breed at A Glance
Known for their exotic looks yet attentive and loving nature, the Bengal is one of the most recognized breeds of cat. Bengals are very social and people-oriented and thrive in the company of other people. Find out more about this breed and if a Bengal is right for you and your family.
- Temperament: Active, Playful, Intelligent
- Size: Bengals reach their full size by the age of 2
Males: Approximately 9-15 pounds
Females: Approximately 6-12 pounds
Kittens: weigh about 1 pound per month, therefore a 4-month-old kitten is typically 4 pounds.
- Colors: Brown Tabby, Silver Tabby, Seal Lynx Point, Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, Spotted, Marble, Charcoal Spotted or Charcoal Marble pattern.
- Life Expectancy: 12 to 20 years depending on many factors including environment and nutrition.
About the Bengal
Loved by those who appreciate their inquisitive and loving nature, Bengal cats are a medium to large cat renowned for its richly colored, highly contrasted coat of vivid spots or distinctive marbling. Originally developed from crosses between the domestic cats and the Asian Leopard Cat, the Bengal is the only domestic cat that can have rosettes like the markings on Leopards, Jaguars and Ocelots. Today's domestic Bengal cat comes only from breeding Bengals to other Bengals and requires no specialized care.
Bengals are generally confident, curious and devoted companions. They get along well with other pets when properly introduced and enjoy being part of a family. Each Bengal is an individual and those interested should find out as much as they can about this wonderful breed before adding one to their family.
While extremely active, Bengal cats are also very affectionate and can be a "lap cat" whenever they choose. However, in general, their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing and investigating. They tend to save their cuddle time for when they want to sleep.
Constantly on the move, Bengals love climbing to high places. They can be trained to do many simple tricks with either food treats or clicker training, such as walking on a harness and leash and playing fetch with their families.
It is important that they aren’t left home alone for long periods of time. They do best with another cat or a small dog to keep them company.
TICA Regions, Clubs & Rescues
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Find a Kitten: TICA Breeders
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Shorthaired Bengals don’t require much grooming as their short hair results in little shedding. Most cats shed a winter coat in the spring, so brushing with something like a Zoom Groom brush is good. Providing a chew toy helps with keeping the teeth clean as do chicken sticks, strips or chunks of meat. Monthly nail trimming is recommended.
Longhair Bengals require daily grooming with a comb or brush.
Similar to any cat, Bengals require proper protein and nutrients. A high-quality diet is recommended. As with any cat, after altering (spaying/neutering), they have a greater tendency to become overweight. Owners should be aware of both the quality and quantity of foods being fed. Most breeders would recommend avoiding “free feeding” of adult cats. Bengals also do well on a raw diet. Freeze dried raw diets are available at most pet stores.
As with all cats, it is important to give your cat fresh, clean water daily. Fresh, clean water is best, so cats don’t hesitate to drink. If you worry about your cat drinking enough water each day, here's a tip from some cat behaviorists: place the water bowl at least three feet away from any food. Cats’ noses are sensitive, and an overwhelming smell of food may cause them to drink less. Filtered drinking fountains can also be used in place of a water bowl.
TICA breeders should test for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (the most common heart disease in all domestic cats), provide genetic testing for Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and PK-deficiency (Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency). Note: Bengals are commonly misdiagnosed with Intestinal Bowel Disease. An appropriate high protein diet and proper testing for parasites can clear any real issues.
In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a spotted five to twelve pound shy, wild cat species from Asia. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a favored, fireside tabby and the striking look associated with Leopards, Ocelots and Jaguars. The modern Bengal breed traces to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980's. The breed's name is a reference to the scientific name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Prionailurus bengalensis. The hybrid crosses are registered as Foundation (F1, F2 & F3) Bengals that are not eligible for show and only the females are used for breeding.
Accepted as a TICA new breed in TICA in 1986, Bengals gained championship status in 1991. They are now one of the most frequently registered and exhibited breeds in TICA. An enthusiastic group of breeders around the world have successfully fulfilled the goal of creating a docile, civilized house cat that wears the richly patterned coat of the jungle cats and has some of the arresting features that have inspired and aroused humanity for centuries.
Did You Know?
Bengals are the only domestic cat with rosettes that resemble the markings on leopards, jaguars and ocelots.
Bengals are most noted for their luxurious short, soft coat which may appear in either the spotted or marble pattern. Some Bengal's coats feature something called glitter, which imparts an iridescent sheen to each hair.
From the Breed Standard
The goal of the Bengal breeding program is to create a domestic cat which has physical features distinctive to the small forest-dwelling wildcats, and with the loving, dependable temperament of the domestic cat. Keeping this goal in mind, judges shall give special merit to those characteristics in the appearance of the Bengal which are distinct from those found in other domestic cat breeds. A Bengal cat is an athletic animal, alert to its surroundings; a friendly, curious, confident cat with strength, agility, balance and grace. It is a medium to large cat which exhibits a very muscular and solid build. Its wide nose with prominent whisker pads and large oval, almost round eyes in a slightly small head enhance the wild appearance and expressive nocturnal look. Its very slight, to nearly straight, concave profile and relatively short ears with wide base and rounded tips add to the Bengal’s distinctive and unique appearance. The short, dense coat has a uniquely soft and silky feel. The coat may be glittered or not glittered, with neither type to be given preference. A thick, low-set, medium-length tail adds balance to the cat.
Click here to read the full TICA Breed Standard.