Bengal Cats

Bengals, Bengali Cats

Family: Felidae Bangal Cat, Bengals, Bengali CatsFelis lybicaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough
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Two Stunning F3 BOY GIRL Bengal only available special pet homes. My mom is a big wonderful girls imported from Germany and dad at the lowest place Woodstock... (more)  cresadam

The exotic Bengals retains the striking wild appearance of their Asian Leopard Cat ancestors!

The Bengal Cats are hybrids, created by crossing domestic cats and wild Asian Leopard Cats. This mix has an alluring and desirable "wild-look" reflected in its coat pattern and body form, drawn from its Asian Leopard Cat parentage. Their exotic coats are short with fine fur that requires only a weekly grooming. The fur is thick and extremely soft, decorated with spots, two-tone spots, and rosettes. Some even have spots on their light colored underbelly.

Although these are domestic cats, in their overall appearance the Bengals retain much of the wild physical characteristics of the Asian Leopard. They are a large sized domestic breed reaching between 7 and 20 pounds. They have a long, well-muscled and powerful body with legs and a tail of medium length. The tail tapers, ending in a rounded black tip. Their large roundish head is complimented with large oval-shaped eyes, a large wide nose, and large rounded ears.

The Bengal Cat personality is drawn from its domestic cat parentage. Despite its wild ancestry, the Bengal is an affectionate, sociable breed. This is provided that they are separated by at least 3 generations from the original crossing between a domestic and Asian Leopard Cat. Closer generations, 1st through 3rd generations, are considered "filial" and are used for breeding and specialized pet environments and are not considered domestic pet cats. The 4th generation and later Bengals are social, extroverted cats that love human companionship and like being part of whatever's going on. An energetic cat breed, they are are quite kittenish and enjoy playing games like fetch or hide and seek. They will often attach strongly to one person, demanding constant attention from that person.

The Bengal gets along with people, as well as dogs and other cats. This breed is lively, very playful, and enjoys interaction, making it a great cat for children. It is a great addition to families who have time to give it the attention it craves. Bengals enjoy playing in the water and are known for joining their owners in the bathtub or pool. It can be taught to fetch and walk on a leash. They are quiet, but have some wild characteristics. Bengals have a distinct voice from most other domestic cats. They like conversation and can be coaxed to speak with their keepers. They are also excellent hunters.

For information about keeping a pet cat, see:
Cat Care: How to Take Care of a Cat

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Felis
  • Species: lybica

Background Bengals are hybrid cat breeds. The Bengal Cats of today originated from the United States, though their wild ancestry comes from Asia. Common names include Bengal and Bengali. This breed's name was derived from the Asian Leopard Cat's scientific name, Felis bengalensis. It has no affiliation with the commonly known Bengal Tiger. Currently it is a rare breed that can be found in America and Europe.

The creation of the Bengal breed began in 1963, when Jean Sugden, an American geneticist of Yuma, Arizona, crossed her female Asian Leopard Cat with a black short-haired domestic male in hopes of combining the wild physical characteristics of the Leopard Cat with the friendly disposition of the domestic cat. Though matings between domestic and wild cats usually produce only infertile offspring, the females from this cross were fertile. A female of this litter, named Kinkin, was bred with her father, and produced a litter of both plain and spotted kittens.

This breeding project could have been the beginning of the Bengal breed, but it was abandoned after the second mating, when Mrs. Sugden was widowed. However, later in1973, another geneticist, Dr. Willard Centerwall of California, began a new breeding project with Leopard Cats and short-haired domestic cats in order to determine the Leaped Cat's resistance to feline leukemia. He gave eight females to Jean Sugden, now Jean Mill, after her remarriage, and she used them to start a new breeding program.

In 1983 the International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the first Bengal for registry. His name was "Millwood Finally Found". The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) currently does not recognize the Bengal. Many different domestic breeds have been used in breeding programs for the Bengal, involving both natural breed cats and other hybrids, including the Siamese, Burmese, Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Abyssinian, Bombay, American Shorthair, and British Shorthair.

Description The Bengal is a large breed, weighing between 7 and 20 pounds. It has a long, well-muscled and powerful body. The legs and tail are medium in length and the tail tapers to a rounded black tip. The head is large and rounded with a large, broad nose and large rounded ears. The eyes are large, oval-shaped, and wide set. The Bengal's life span is approximately 15 years.

The Bengal's fur is short and fine. The coat is thick and extremely soft. The coat is generally covered in solid spots, even on the belly, but some specimens have dark rosettes, or two-toned spots, instead. Bengals can also have a "marbled" coat, which means the pattern flows horizontally in a swirl. The color forms include Leopard (spotted tabby), Marble, Snow Leopard (ivory background with contrasting spots), Snow Marble, Sorrel (Golden), and Mink.

Care and Feeding The Bengal requires no special diet.

Housing Your Cat This is a very active breed that needs a yard and plenty of room to run, play, and hunt. Kittens can be destructive, so preparations should be made to protect furniture and other items in the house. A variety of toys and a scratching post are also helpful in decreasing their destructive behaviors.

Maintenance Bengals need a weekly brushing and combing.

Social Behaviors This breed is very social. It enjoys being around people, dogs, and other cats. This breed should not be left alone for long periods of time because it is likely to find furniture, curtains, or other items to shred in its boredom. If it is going to be left alone frequently, having another cat can help keep it occupied. However, the Bengal can also become jealous if it thinks another pet is getting more attention than it.

Activities As mentioned previously, this is a very active breed that enjoys running, hunting, and playing with humans, cats, and other animals. These cats enjoy interactive play such as fetch or hide and seek, and they can learn to walk on a leash. They also love water. They will readily join their human companions in the family pool.

Breeding/Reproduction Most males are infertile, though the occasional male is able to reproduce. Females are fertile. The 1st through 3rd generations of Bengals are considered "filial", and are used for breeding and specialized pet environments. The 4th and later generations are considered domestic and can be shown and registered.

Common Health Problems The Bengal is a hardy breed. No special health problems have been documented.

Availability This is a rare breed, but breeders are available on the internet and locally. Prices range from $300 for an adult pet quality cat to $650-$800 for a pet quality kitten to $1200-$2000 for a show quality kitten.


Author: Ruth Bratcher
Lastest Animal Stories on Bengal Cat

cresadam - 2014-08-31
Two Stunning F3 BOY GIRL Bengal only available special pet homes. My mom is a big wonderful girls imported from Germany and dad at the lowest place Woodstock Manchado impressive boy imported from the USA. One silver and one black spot brown black spot. These kittens are already very out going and show beautiful contrasting coats with large individual sites. Both kittens are excellent examples of the breed, they will be fully vaccinated Tica registered and micro-chipped.

Lynn - 2011-12-08
Help! I have a mixed breed Bengal cat, 2 yrs old. She is a good cat and very beautiful. Her Dad was a neighbor tom but her Mom is a pure breed Bengal. Here in Vermont, she starts getting bored not wanting to go out. I also have a very gentle domestic 4 year old cat. When the bengal is bored, she constantly attacks my domestic cat to play but she hurts. I try to play with her but she doesn't sheath her claws and scratches and bites - the cat and me! She isn't mean, just very rough. Any ideas on how to keep her occupied and/or how to teach her to play gentle? I have all kinds of toys, long feathered chasers, squeaky mice, balls, scratching posts, etc, but she will jump beyond the toy to my hands and arms. I even got a 'glove' with long fingers and bells to play with and she leaps above the glove to my arm and hand and bites and scratches me. Both my domestic cat and myself would appreciate any ideas on how to keep her tame and occupied during the snowy winter months as well as improving her gentleness with play. Thanks!

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-12-08
    I would de claw the cat and us the cat spayed or neutered.
  • Jared - 2012-01-14
    I had a wild bobcat tabby mix when I was younger who acted the same way. While having the Bengal de-clawed may stop her from scratching the fire out of you, it won't stop her from biting. The best thing I found for my wild mixed fuzzball was a medium sized stuffed animal. He would knock that thing around the house for hours. After he was done rough housing he would curl up on my lap to nap and purr for the rest of the evening.
  • Cassandra Johnson - 2012-01-25
    I have an f2 Bengal female that is a year old and unaltered with a full set of little daggers (ie claws). In any event, she was a bit aggressive and elusive when I first brought her home, however she has established herself as the dominant cat in the household (I have 2 domestics and the 1 bengal). I had to wrap her in a blanket and use the pedipaws pet nail filer on her nails every couple weeks when I first got her due to her need to sharpen them to the finest of points. The blanket was to keep me from getting torn to shreds as it took a bit for her to get used to the nail filer. I have cut too far with nail clippers before, so I have been filing kitty claws since. My girl bit me a couple times when I first got her as well, however I bit her back and she hasn't bitten me in the last five months (I've had her for 7 months now). I have done this in the past with random stray cats that I've rescued and socialized for others. You don't bite them hard, and you want to make sure its on the ear so you are out of biting range and don't get a mouthful of fur. Just apply some pressure as a warning; no bruising or drawing blood. They understand biting with a little pressure as a warning. I use water in spray bottles to establish off limit zones (kitchen table and counters). It seems to work well enough... although I am sure my cats are on the counter when they know I am not looking. As for the play issue, I have two male neutered cats (a 1.5 yr old and a 2.5 yr old). Both are declawed in the front as well. I got my bengal to help save my older cat from the newer one as he is a spaz. My girl is energetic, but she has the boys to run around, a lazer pointer to chase, tons of kitty toys, and there are nightly drag races up and down my hallway. Cats are pretty intelligent, and will figure out the source of movement so I have found the glove toys ineffective with my domestic boys and have it dangling from elastic that I sewed onto it. I can toss it and pull it so you get the chase with the distance to flee the claws. If you can't deal with the biting, you may need to find a trainer or alter her to see if that solves your problem. I also don't lock my cats up at night. I know the people I got my Bengal from caged her up at night in a 5 X 8 bathroom at night or a travel kennel. She wasn't socialized too well, so I expected bad behavior from her when I got her. She gets grumpy with the boys sometimes, but she is not hurting them and pulls her claws. I use pounce kitty treats to reinforce good behavior as well as lavishing attention on all the kitties while I am studying. I don't know if this has come of help soon enough, hopefully you find it helpful. This also works for ferrel cats to be socialized.
  • Helene - 2012-02-02
    I have a similar problem with my female bengal. I also have an old Maine Coon who is the most mellow cat I've ever owned, and when Miss Mauli gets bored she will 'entice' him to play by beating the daylights out of him. No blood drawn but it is sad to hear him scream like a girl. Try a laser pointer with your Bengal, they love movement and should chase it non-stop. Also you might put a couple inches of water in your bathtub or a basin and float a ping pong ball or a couple ice cubes in it. Bengals tend to be fascinated with water and things that float. My cat used to throw her toys in the toilet before I trained that behavior out of her. Also they get bored with the same toys after a week or so, so put the old toys away occasionaly and then bring them out one at time to restimulate interest. The more you entertain and challenge your Bengal intellectually the happier they and you will be in the long run. Good luck!
  • Sharon - 2012-04-19
    What is with the guy suggesting getting a cat declawed? That is the worse thing you could do. Please research the internet for yourself. Other than that, your bengal requires MUCH attention from YOU, the owner. They love their people. You can play with them with toys such as Da Bird, a cat tree for them to climb on, etc. It sounds like your bengal isn't stimulated enough and will resort to this kind of playing. Bengals are smart. Try putting your bengal in a seperate room with his own litter box, toys and food when he goes after your other kitty. Leave him in the room for a couple of hours each time he does this. This will also give your other kitty time to destress from the attack and spend one on one time with you.
  • Sharon - 2014-03-17
    Actually, I changed my mind. Declawing a cat is probably the best thing if it's an indoor cat. I don't actually even own a cat. I have 4 dogs and I thought it would be fun to troll all the cat owners. Here I espouse the evils of declawing and on other sites I lament breeding animals on purpose while so many animals die in shelters.
  • Dan - 2014-04-11
    I have two Bengals and one calico. It was a rough time. The cats settled score.
Taylor - 2012-04-04
Hi I have a cat. It is just like he likes to scratch things a lot. I want to declaw him but then what if he can't climb on to sofas or stuff like that?

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-04-05
    If you have your cat declawed, he will be perfectly fine cuz he can jump on the sofa, bed etc. He just won't be able to destroy things. If the cat is an outdoor cat - then you might wish to reconsider. If he stays oin the home, on the porch etc - no problem. However, if he is out and about walking the neighborhood, he won't be able to climb trees.
  • Sharon - 2012-04-19
    I DO NOT recommend you declawing your pet cat for several reasons. Scratching is a cat characteristic and if they are unable to do this, they could compensate with fierce biting and you can't vry well pull ther teeth. Declawing a cat could cause elimination issues because their feet can no longer tolerate the feel of the cat litter on their sensitive feet. Declawing a cat could cause behavioral problems since it is an extremely painful procedure, one compared to torture. The first joint of the cat's toes are cut off, not just the claws. It would be as if someone had cut your fingers off at the first joint thus the connection in behavioral issues and declawing. You would never be able to let your cat outside because it would have no way of protecting itself against other animals. As long as your have scratching toys for your cat such as a cat tree and treat them with cat nip on these toys, you should have no problem with the cats claws. The other issue is with declawing, the cat runs a high risk of hemmoraging, (heavy bleeding) at the site of the declaw. Myself personally, I would never put a family member in that kind of pain.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-04-20
    They do have a laser procedure now and the cat won't actually know the claws are missing!
  • zookeeper - 2012-05-26
    I have 3 cats all declawed, all climb trees with ease, catch mice, chipmunks and even rabbits. They still think they are scratching the furniture, but no damage is done. I live in a rural area. All my declawed cats have lived a long life 16 - 20+ years.
  • Rebecca M - 2012-06-12
    Declawing is a very controversial subject and one some are obsessively vocal about. I had a talk with my Vet and he declaws all of his cats. He says the procedure has come a long way and its no where as painful as it once was. Also how is declawing any different than spay or nuetering? Or in other words, why is it ok to spay and nueter (the cat is put to sleep, cut open, has vital body parts removed, stitched back up and given pain meds) but not okay to declaw a cat that shreds thousands of dollars in furniture and leaves you bloody every time you play with them. I think people who are so adamantly against deckawing will always have a 'soapbox' ready on many subjects. I, personally, me, myself feel it is okay to declaw uour own cat if it will always remain an indoor cat. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just dont force yours down my throat.
  • A bengal owner - 2013-11-13
    A cat doesn't need its uterus or testicles to live a happy normal life. However scratching is a natural and important part of a cats life... they use scratching to mark their territory and to climb. Declawing is the same as clipping a bird's wings so it can never fly again. If you declaw a cat you are handicapping it.... like removing a human's fingers. It is sad to see some people (in the US mostly?) still think this procedure is excusable for pathetic reasons. Preventing inappropriate scratching is a matter of training and providing scratchers for kitty. Declawing (Onychectomy) is mutilation and the rest of the world have made it illegal for good reason. No matter how advanced and ''progressed'' this procedure may have become the after effects on a cat's well being, happiness, confidence and behaviour cannot be discounted.
  • Vetta Kay - 2013-11-20
    Taylor Please do not have your cats declawed, it is dangerous. There is a new product that we use on all 6 of our cats called Kitty Caps nails for cats and you get them through Petsmart  either online or in their business. They have different sizes and different colors to choose from. We use pink and purples for our females and blues and reds for the boys. They're so cute... and healthy... they're easy to apply. And they last for weeks. They can't tear your furniture up because the caps are made of soft plastics. Go check them out..    Taylor..if you declaw your cat it will cause different types of damage to his feet. To declaw him they don't remove the nails they cut the toes off.. it will be like you having your fingers cut off at the first knuckle past the finger nails.. and it is extremely painful. It will destroy their paws.. and if they were to ever get out for any reason.. they would never be able to fend for them selves. That is their only protection againt other critters. Anyway please check into the cat caps .. you will be pleased.
  • morons - 2014-03-17
    Soapboxers out in full force here. You guys are full of it... Just like the 'only adopt' soapboxers. All of my cats have been declawed. None of them experience a single problem. I had ONE cat that was not declawed and he shred almost everything. One single cat out of 6 over the years, and he destroys my favorite couch. Everything that he could work his claws on, he did. If you want an indoor cat, and don't want your stuff ripped to shreds, you can disregard the soapboxers, they only want to beat a drum.. And they would love for you to beat it too.
Anonymous - 2012-09-15
I will be receiving my first next year so do you guys have any suggestions on how to keep my Bengal happy.

  • Clarice Brough - 2012-09-17
    How exciting! To keep it happy I would follow the social behaviors of the breed outlined above. They like people, dogs, and other pets. But they need lots of social interaction with you, and can become jealous of other pets. So give it  love and devotion, and don't ignore it in favor of another pet.
k j slattebo - 2012-11-18
I saw ad in paper about someone selling Bengals at $100. I called and went out to his place where he had a barn full of cats in cages. He had lots of cats and kittens they all appeared to be Bengals. He showed me 2 female kittens and the older female kitten for $100. They all seemed skittish and not friendly. He said they would get friendly as they were handled more often. Then I saw a white kitten and asked to hold it. He was a pale white male with beautiful blue eyes and pale spots on his back. When I held him he started purring and never stopped and stayed in my arms and never tried to leave. I knew he belonged to me. I bought him and called him Ram Z. When I was at the store getting food and litter I called the breeder to ask him what food he was feeding but he never answered my call or messages which made me wonder who he really was. He is from Michicot, WI. Does anyone know about him and his cats? I love my cat but wonder who he is and if he is honest?

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-11-19
    Something sounds real strange there.  The kittens should be friendly and i don't know if you saw Bengals.  You might think about calling Animal Control, checking to see if he is licensed.  You can ask them about the conditions as real suspicious sounding.
Mike - 2012-08-21
I love these cats and had them before I moved to Florida. I would like to get along fine but would they pose a threat to my peacocks, cranes, sugar gliders, and toucan? Any help is apppreciated.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-22
    Yep, the Bengal is going to do what comes naturally and eat the gliders, chase the peacocks etc.  Some cats - no problem but the bengal just may want to play.  You are risking a problem as the cat is going to do what nature taught him and they haven't been really domesticated totally yet.  Besides you wold be scarig the others regardless of what the bengal might do.  Can you have cats around these critters - sure but depends on the cat (breed0 and disposition.  I have seen cats curl up with birds, deer even a monkey baby - but that just isn't all cats.

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