Bengal cat Bengal is a hybrid of domestic and wild Bengal cats. To date, the Bengal cat breed is recognized by almost all teleological associations, and Bengal catteries are distributed throughout the world.
Breed name: Bengal cat
Country of origin: USA
Adult cat weight: 5-6 kg
Height (height at the withers): 33-37 cm
How many live: 12-15 years old
Popular nicknames: Eva, May, Emil, Norton
History of the breed
The history of the Bengal breed is full of interesting facts. It rarely happens that the breed’s creator was one person, but in the case of Bengal cats, this is the case.
American Jane Mill studied genetics at the University of California and has always loved cats. In 1961, during a trip to Thailand, she saw wild oriental leopard-colored cats. These were Bengal cats (the name coincides with the name of the future cat breed), which lived in India, South and East Asia, including the Russian Primorye. From Thailand, Jane brought a wild Bengal cat named Malaysia to the United States. Her plans did not include breeding and domestication of these animals: she just wanted to save at least one life because in Thailand then, leopard cats were actively exterminated because of their valuable fur. However, at Jane’s house, there was a domestic cat of the European Shorthair breed of black color. Soon, Malaysia had a kitten, who was named Kin-Kin. Unfortunately, the line of Malaysia was soon interrupted: Kin-Kin had offspring only once.
Jane Mill continued her breeding work in the 1980s. At that time, in the United States, Loma Linda University was researching the feline leukemia virus, and scientists crossed domestic cats with wild Bengal (Asian leopard) cats. Dr. Willard Centerwall gave several first-generation kittens to Jane Mill. With them, the selection work began to develop a new breed – the Bengal cat.
Jane’s path was not smooth: she did not want to use well-known pedigreed cats for breeding work because she considered their lines weakened and prone to genetic diseases. In India, she picked up a golden-colored kitten with a shiny coat on the street, who took an active part in obtaining a new breed. The selection also involved Egyptian Mau, Indian branches, and wild Bengal cats. The new species has become an interspecific hybrid.
Recognition did not immediately come to Jane. In the 1980s, campaigns were launched against registering such hybrids, but Mrs. Mill continued her work. Her pets regularly appeared at cat shows in the United States and won more and more fans. The Bengal cat standard was officially registered in the states in 1991.
Brief description of breed of legal cat
Bengal cats have a strong, muscular, slightly stretched body and long limbs, and the hind legs are longer than the front ones. The head of these cats resembles a wedge in shape; the profile line is straight or with a slight hump, the cheekbones are high and pronounced, and the ears continue the shape of the head, broad at the base and round at the ends. The eyes are closer to round in shape, very expressive and beautiful. Eye color representatives of this breed – from yellow to green in all shades. Some colors allow blue eyes.
Bengal cats are medium to large-sized animals with high, muscular legs. The weight of an adult cat is 3.5-4.5 kilograms, and a cat – is 5-7 kilograms. Male Bengal cats are fully formed by two years, and females stop growing at about nine months of age.
The main feature of Bengal cats is their wild color. Leopard spotted pattern (brown tabby) or various marble colors with an irregular pattern distinguish the breed and make it related to wild relatives. No two Bengal cats are the same – the location and design of spots or marbles are unique.
The short coat of Bengal cats has a unique luster inherited from wild ancestors. This shine is especially appreciated in the breed and is called “glitter.”
Interestingly, Bengal kittens are born with a bright pattern on their fur, and at the age of 3-4 weeks, they begin to fade – this process is also inherited from wild ancestors. It is believed that at one month, wildcat kittens start to crawl out of the nest and can become easy prey for other predators, and such a blurry, dull color becomes a natural disguise for them until they learn to avoid danger. This process of the appearance of whitish villi, shading the primary spotted or marbled color, is called “fuzzing” and can last up to 4-6 months. The final color is established by the age of 8-10 months.
Spotted leopard color is the calling card of Bengal cats. It is more common than marble. The color “snow leopard” (spotted, in gray and silver tones) is also gorgeous. Kittens of this color are born white, and spots appear on them after a few weeks.
The Bengal marble cat and the Bengal silver cat are easily recognizable due to their athletic body, long legs, and the structure of the skull characteristic of the Bengal breed.
The nature of the Bengal cat and hunting instincts
The nature of cats of this breed has its characteristics. The wild ancestors of Bengal cats are much closer in the family tree than other breeds of domestic cats, so the temperament of the Bengal cat can be explosive and bright, just like their appearance.
These born hunters can easily cope with giant rodents and handle difficult prey. Therefore, if small pets live at home – birds, hamsters, fish- they need additional protection. But with dogs, a Bengal cat can even make friends. Representatives of the Bengal breed also usually get along well with other cats: they are not prone to fights and are very smart and playful.
Bengal cat kittens are easily and quickly socialized; they are ready to play day and night with toys, their fellows, and a person equally. They are curious and mobile: if a Bengal kitten is left alone at home for a long time, it can misbehave. He will quickly drop vases and figurines on the floor; he can gnaw on shoes like a puppy and take a fancy to furniture as a scratching post. Therefore, it is better than purchasing a kitten to coincide with the owner’s vacation. After spending a little time with the kitten, you will be able to understand what toys and simulators can distract him from destructive activities.
Bengal kittens are very suitable educational toys for cats. Various labyrinths, after passing which you can find a piece of food, electric laser pointers, and even electronic games for cats on the tablet will be mastered with pleasure by the little fidget. Bengal cats also like houses, shelves, and scratching posts of various types.
Bengal cats are very “talkative”; they willingly communicate with their owner. They can be persistent in requests to feed or play with them.
During puberty, temperamental Bengal cats and cats can arrange actual concerts. Therefore, if the owner is not going to breed, it is better to sterilize them at the age of six months. Unsterilized Bengal cats can have debilitating frequent estrus, eat poorly and lose weight during this period, marking territory like cats. The same applies to non-neutered cats. Puberty cats may claim their rights to “command” the family pride or begin to hunt the owner’s legs and arms actively. This alpha behavior of male Bengal cats is corrected after castration.
Education and training
Bengal kittens are accustomed to the toilet easily and quickly, as they are spotless and quick-witted. It is worth showing them the tray several times, after which, as a rule, they do not fail. If you take a kitten older than four months, the mother cat will teach him to relieve himself in the tray. It remains only to choose a similar type of tray and filler.
Bengal cats can be trained. The training process will be wildly successful if you find those tricks your pet likes. For example, many Bengal kittens like to run after a ball or a soft rustling toy, grab it with their teeth and bring such prey to the owner. This behavior can be reinforced with a treat, and then “fetch” will become one of the learned commands.
Cats enjoy rubbing against their owner’s legs. By rearranging the portions and reinforcing the correct steps of the cat with a treat, it will be possible to teach the pet to “snake.”
Proper pet care
Caring for a Bengal cat does not require significant time and effort. This breed’s short coat of representatives does not need combing and frequent washing.
Healthy ears and eyes also do not require special care. It is recommended to visit the veterinarian once a year for routine vaccinations. As part of the examination, the specialist will look into the cat’s ears and ask if they need to be washed.
Healthy ears can be washed periodically with ear care lotion. It does not contain hormones and antibiotics and is used only for hygienic purposes. The surfactants in this lotion lift earwax and other secretions from the deep horizontal ear canal into the vertical part, which can be easily removed with a cotton pad.
The eyes of a healthy cat are clear and clean, with no discharge traces. Abundant discharge from the eyes of a Bengal cat may be due to obstruction of the nasolacrimal canal, conjunctivitis, or a symptom of an infection. In this case, the cat should be shown to the doctor. The pet’s nails can be trimmed with special scissors purchased at a pet store as they grow – about once every 2-3 weeks.
Bengal cats are generally in good health. However, their average life expectancy is 12-15 years, which is not the limit for representatives of domestic cat breeds.
The key to the health of a Bengal cat is a properly balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals necessary for a pet since it does not hunt and does not get its food.
A diet of homemade products is difficult for a cat to balance. This is due to the peculiarities of the physiology of the digestion of predators, in particular felines. A whole list of substances is indispensable for cats – they cannot be synthesized in the body from other substances—for example, taurine.
This amino acid is found in the organs of animals, and from there, it enters the cat’s body. The cat needs it for the normal functioning of the heart and kidneys. Muscles do not contain taurine, so if you feed cat meat, she will develop a taurine deficiency and taurine-dependent cardiomyopathy (heart disease). But this disease recedes as soon as the cat is fed a complete diet.
Also, a natural predator in nature eats the whole prey, getting all the necessary nutrients from it. The cat cannot digest carbohydrates, but in the intestines of the game, grains and grass are in a semi-digested form. The cat will absorb such carbohydrates and fiber.
Many Bengal cat breeders supplement their pets with meat. This will not seriously harm a young and healthy cat. But an overdose of protein and phosphorus can be fatal for a cat with predispositions to various diseases. Such additives are hazardous for older cats with impaired kidney function.
Industrial feeds consider all the peculiarities of the digestion of domestic predators. If the pet eats the daily amount of food indicated on the package, he gets everything he needs for growth, development, and long healthy life. In addition to the feed, only fresh drinking water is needed.
For example, a good choice would be PRO PLAN ® Sterilized OPTISENSES dry food for sterilized cats with salmon.
Salmon protein is statistically less likely to cause food allergies in cats. The OPTISENSES complex helps maintain the cognitive properties of Bengal cats through arginine, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Such a complex is useful for representatives of this breed with a mobile temperament and high intelligence.
Dry food can be combined with wet food, such as PRO PLAN ® NUTRISAVOUR ® STERILISED for neutered and neutered cats with chicken in sauce. In a combination of dry and wet food, it is essential to adhere to the proportion of 70 to 30, respectively.
Health features of Bengal cats
In Bengal cats, chronic kidney disease in older age is as common as in other breeds. Unfortunately, this is a common problem in domestic cats. Other possible health problems include congenital myocardial hypertrophy in some Bengals.
To identify this disease and prescribe maintenance therapy in time, at the age of 6-12 months, an ECHO (ultrasound) of the heart should be performed. When buying a kitten, it is recommended to ask if its parents have been examined, as the disease can be inherited.
A big problem for Bengal cats is chronic diarrhea. It can be caused by infection with protozoa, helminths, and some bacteria, or it can result from intolerance to dietary components. First, cats with chronic diarrhea are prescribed a treatment course of drugs for worms and protozoa. No need to be afraid of modern preparations for worms: they are harmless, unlike parasites. Like other cats, Bengals need to be vaccinated annually against significant diseases. For cats that go to exhibitions, breed, or walk on the street, vaccination against viral leukemia is recommended.
How to choose a kitten
If you decide to get a Bengal kitten, it is not recommended to save money. Cheap kittens are often unhealthy. It is better to choose a cattery, familiarize themselves with the documents, and see photos of animals from this cattery, kittens from previous litters. If the exhibition career of a kitten is not essential, then a pet-class animal will be sold for less money. But it will be a real Bengal kitten; its appearance and character will be predictable.
It is not recommended to buy tiny kittens. Taking kittens from a mother cat at 3-4 months old is better. By this age, the animals undergo two necessary vaccinations.
Also, when buying, you should ask the breeder what kind of diet he began to accustom kittens to and what type of food he prefers for feeding adult animals.
How to name a pet
Another crucial moment is the choice of the name of the pet. Even if the kitten already has a long and beautiful term in the pedigree, you can create a home nickname on your own.
Simple nicknames, like Murzik or Musi, are not very suitable for a small leopard. Bengal cat names are often exotic, with an Indian or Asian tinge. Bagheera, Leon, and Leo are nicknamed, hinting at the wild past of Bengal cats. Raj, Rama, Miya, Aisha, and Thea refer to the eastern origin of these animals. Grace, Grace, and Maya are names that sing of the grace of Bengal cats. Speck, Naughty, Jump – funny nicknames about a kitten’s appearance and character traits.