The Bengal Cat, compared to other species is a newer breed. It is a hybrid, a cross of a domestic cat with an Asian Leopard Cat. It was probably in the late 1800s when the process of hybridization between the Leopard Cat and a domestic cat was first mentioned. There were denials or doubts raised as well regarding the success of the process and the survival of the new hybrid. Much later, towards the middle of the 1900s, the success of the hybridization was confirmed and the questions were answered. The first purchase was made in 1963 of a female Bengal Cat from a pet store and she was mated with a black cat and produced two kittens: a male and a female. The female later mated and gave birth to two kittens.
Physical appearance: Bengal Cats have a wild look due to the spots or stripes all over their body with a lighter or white belly. They are of medium to large size and are strong and well built. The front legs are a bit short compared to the hind legs. They have large and oval feet. The head is noticeably longer than being wide and they have small ears and whisker pads which could be noticed easily. They have dark rimmed eyes and a thick tail with the tip being black. The coat is wonderfully soft and thick. They have brown patches all over their body either as spots or marbles. The most common are the ones which are spotted darkly.
Temperament: The Bengal Cat can be tamed only if the cat to be kept as a pet is at least the third generation or fourth generation of the original hybrid of the leopard cat. These cats are playful, love being outdoors and climbing is their favorite sport. They are quick, intelligent and can adjust to the surroundings in which they are kept as well as with other pets and people. They love water which they perhaps inherit from Asian Leopard Cat ancestry.
Grooming: It is quite easy to groom a Bengal Cat. The process of grooming should begin right from the time your pet is still a kitten. Since this cat is playful and intelligent, it is best to train it through playing. This helps in forming a bond between the owner and the cat. You can also take it outside for long drives and to picnic or any other day out plan with the entire family. Just remember that this cat cannot stand loneliness and loves to be with everyone. In case you have to be out for longer hours keep another cat as a companion for the Bengal Cat.
Ideal living conditions: The Bengal Cat can adjust and stay in almost any kind of surrounding. Just make sure when it is a kitten, there are no big animals nearby. The kittens are likely to grab attention of other animals with its playful nature and being out of the house mostly. It is better to keep it indoors till it has grown. The cat likes to remain clean. Though it is adventurous and is likely to be out in your garden chasing butterflies and other insects but it will also expect you to take good care of it and clean it and rub all the dirt off it. Make sure there are no small pieces of plastic or wood on the floor. You can keep it in a cage but the cage should be a bit large. You can also keep another cat with it as a playmate and constant companion.
Life expectancy: The life span of a Bengal Cat is from 12-20 years though there are exceptions like ones surviving till the age of 10 or 15-16. 18-20 is the maximum life span of the domestic wild cat.
Health issues: There are certain health problems which one has to be aware and take care of. They have certain hereditary diseases such as cardiomyopathy and cataract. Cataract can result from any serious eye injury or your pet may inherit it. There are chances of the inward rolling of the eyeball too and for both the only option is surgery. Just like humans animals can also have a surgery for cataract.
Cardiomyopathy is a congestion due to a cardiac muscle resulting in heart failure. It can also cause paralysis of the cat’s legs which can go to an acute stage. A veterinary cardiologist is the only option for treatment. It is better to take your cat to the veterinary every month.