▷ The world of Pets: Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, amphibians

Bengal cat

Share with your friends !!
Despite his wild looks, the Bengal cat it's a domestic cat, affectionate and very attached to humans




The Bengal cat is a recent breed of cat that, despite its name, has nothing to do with the Bengal tiger. In 1963, Jean Sugden Mill, an American breeder, managed to cross a Leopard cat (or Felis Prionailurus Bengalensis, a Southeast Asian feline with the appearance of a leopard but the dimensions of a cat) with a domestic cat, who gave birth to two kittens, one of which was a female named Kin Kin. Against all odds, this female was not sterile and was able to interbreed with her father, giving birth to a litter of kittens, some of which were black, while others had a spotted brown fur.

It was this first crossing, in 1963, the one that marked the true beginning of Bengal cat, by developing a breeding program to create a new breed in its own right. In fact, if there were already in the past crossing experiments between a domestic cat and Leopard cat, following the example of those already documented in 1889 in the book Our Cats and Everything About Them of Harrison Weir, an English artist with a passion for cats, they did not intend to create a new breed of domestic cat.

For personal reasons, Jean Sugden Mill could not continue with this experiment, and nowadays none Bengal descend from this line. When he wanted to resume this project a decade later, the Endangered Species Ordinance had made it illegal to import the Leopard cat, so I could no longer acquire this animal to resume these crosses. But, in 1971, the Dr. Willard Centerwall, director of the genetics laboratory at Loma Linda University (California), had started a hybridization program between the domestic cat and the Leopard cat for scientific purposes, with the aim of testing the resistance of these hybrids to the virus of the feline leukosis, a disease that does not affect Asian leopards.

Bengal cat
Here’s our crazy little kitten at 5 months – Sean McGrath from Saint John, NB, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the end of the year 70, Jean Sugden Mill acquired 8 first generation hybrids Dr. Centerwall and a Mau imported directly from India called Millwood Tory de Delhi. A long and difficult selection process began, during which other well-established breeds were used, as the Burmese cat, the Siamese cat, the American shorthair cat, the Abyssinian cat and the Egyptian Mau, to convert to Bengal cat in what is today: a domestic cat with the wild appearance of Felis Bengalensis, from which he inherited his name.

But, There is another theory that attributes the name of “Bengal” to William Engler, zoo keeper and active member of the Long Island Ocelot Club. Interested in these hybrids since the early years 70, it is said that he was the first to speak of Bengal, and the term comes from his own name: Bill Engler.

Jean Sugden Mill presented his Bengalis in various feline exhibitions in 1985, and the success was immediate. In 1986, the TICA (International Cat Association) officially recognized this new breed. The GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) British followed him in 1997, then the FiFe (International Feline Federation) did the same in 1999, while the CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) American waited until 2018 to do the same.

The Bengal cat had a quick success, especially in France. The first specimen was imported in 1989, and the breed was recognized that same year by the Association Nationale des Cercles Félins de France (ANCFF). Many breeders were quickly interested, to the point that today the breeding of Bengals is flourishing in France (and internationally recognized), with more than 1000 active creators, that is to say, that have registered at least one litter in the last two years.

Since 2016, in the framework of meteoric growth, the Bengal cat it has even placed itself on the podium of the most popular cat breeds in France, with more than 3.000 kittens registered every year in the LOOF (Livre Officiel des Origines Félines), versus just over a hundred at the beginning of the years 2000.

This great popularity of Bengal it is rather a French specificity. In the United Kingdom, for example, where it suffered a legal restriction until 2007, it is rather between the 15th and the 20th position in the ranking of the most popular breeds, with an average of 300 specimens registered annually with the GCCF, that is to say, some 10 times less than in France.

In United States, the Bengali entered the Top 20 of America's most popular cat breeds when the CFA finally recognized it in 2018, despite its late recognition and the fact that it is prohibited in some places, like New York City or the State of Hawaii.

Physical characteristics

The Bengal cat it is a domestic cat that has retained the general appearance of a wild leopard. It is a fairly large cat with a long, muscular body, hind legs slightly larger than forelegs and a thick tail with a rounded tip, all of which gives it a classy look. As such, belongs to the long and powerful morphological type.

Bengal cat
Bengal cat – Flickrgailhampshire

The head is wide, with small rounded ears and large round or oval eyes that express curiosity and intelligence.

The fur is short, dense and silky to the touch. Emblematic of the breed, the fur is reminiscent of its wild ancestor, the Leopard cat, with random rosettes or horizontal scrolls. In both cases, these marks are bicolor and well marked.

Different standards accept many colors, the most common being brown-black, including all gold variations, bronze, copper and mahogany. But, there are also many specimens with an ivory or creamy white color, as well as some rarer ones with a beautiful silver gray.

Size and weight

  • Size: Of 30 – 35 cm.
  • Male weight: 4,5 – 7 kg
  • female weight: 3,5 – 5,5 kg

  • Varieties "Bengal cat"

    There are two varieties of Bengal: the stained and marbled.

    In the first, rosettes must be large, clear, bicoloured, different and randomly arranged throughout the body.

    The latter has elongated horizontal marks in the form of scrolls that are reminiscent of the veins of marble., bicolor and different.

    There are also specimens with long or semi-long hair, sometimes called Bengal Kashmir. For the moment, only the TICA has recognized this cat as an experimental breed.

    Character and skills

    Bengal cat
    Bengal cat

    Despite his wild looks, the Bengal cat it's a domestic cat, affectionate and very attached to humans, whose company constantly seeks. In fact, he is never far from where his master is, To make sure you don't miss anything that happens!!

    He is also very sociable with other cats and dogs, provided they are also used to cats. But, they may still have some wild reactions, especially towards small domestic rodents, those who can be mistaken for prey and chase.

    It is a very active and curious cat, who spends his time playing, chasing, fucking, exploring… before coming to rest near his master. He especially likes cat trees, that allow you to jump from one platform to another and settle in a high place to observe your environment from the highest. This energy expenditure is not unique to puppies: the Bengali is hyperactive and playful even as an adult, and is not the ideal companion for an older person who wants a quiet animal. Having said that, can be perfectly adapted to life in a flat, as long as you receive the necessary care… and that your family is not offended by the possible mischief you may cause.

    Lively, explorers and playful, they can also be occasionally destructive. This is especially true in the case of females., which tend to be more excessive than males, both in their games and in their displays of affection. To minimize this risk, it is advisable to ensure that the Bengali get all the care you need: if you are left alone too often without occupation throughout the day, it is likely that he will find a way to remind his master of his existence, and this will not necessarily be in a pleasant way for this one…

    The Bengal cat it is also a very intelligent breed, able to adapt and learn quickly. So, if a light turns on by itself at night or if a door that had been left closed is found to be open, there is no reason to believe that it is the work of a ghost: your partner has simply learned to press the switch or turn the handle. This makes him a good candidate for teaching your cat tricks and training.. In fact, it is not uncommon to see a Bengali who has learned to use the toilet or to take things to the owner. But, do not lose sight that it is still a cat, with his independent and stubborn character: although this may give results, training (for example with clicker, which is very suitable) requires a lot of patience.

    It also, it is a breed of cat that loves water. This characteristic has been inherited from its ancestor the Leopard cat, who is an excellent fisherman. Some individuals do not hesitate to follow their master even under the shower!! It is logical that aquarium enthusiasts know that the inhabitants of an open aquarium are likely to end up in the clutches of this experienced hunter.…

    Last, the Bengali It, in general, a pretty talkative cat, with a wide range of sounds, ranging from chirping to a low, hoarse noise reminiscent of certain big cats.

    Care "Bengal cat"

    Bengal cat
    Or is it a tiger? – ReflectedSerendipity from United Kingdom, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    The BengalIt is an easy-care breed of cats, since it is only necessary to brush the cat's fur to remove dead hair and distribute the oil from the skin once a month. It also, it is seldom necessary to bathe your cat.

    As in the case of all cats, regular check-ups of teeth, the ears and eyes will help avoid the risk of infection.

    Last, its claws may be clipped from time to time, when necessary.

    Indoor or outdoor cat?

    The athletic Bengalis need a lot of exercise to feel comfortable. It is best to offer them a large house with a garden where they can roam.. If you decide to keep them inside, it should also provide them with enough space and opportunities to play and climb.

    These freedom-loving animals don't feel comfortable in small city flats. A sturdy cat tree or climbing track should fit the floor.

    The "Bengal cat" have great jumping ability and no lift is out of reach. Definitely, you should take this into account before bringing a Bengal cat to your house. Especially when they get bored, big cats tend to wreck the floor. In general, it is advisable to maintain a Bengal like a free animal and provide you with enough to do indoors. With outdoor cats, can you be prepared for these cats, otherwise so loving, go for a walk for two days in a row.

    How much activity does he need? "Bengal cat"?

    Due to their offspring from wild cats, the Bengal cats belong to the very active cat breeds. They are persistent climbers and need a lot of exercise. The best place for them to vent is the scratching post., during hunting games or, ideally, in the open air.

    Regular hunting games with a rod, hunting mice or balls along with your human are also a great activity. Mental stimulation with smart toys or learning little tricks is essential so that cats do not get bored.

    If you are often away from home, cats need company. They get along better with other cats. It is one of the few breeds of cats that loves water so it will easily be entertained by a leaky faucet.

    Health and nutrition

    The Bengali has a fairly robust health, having inherited from Leopard cat remarkable longevity for a domestic cat.

    But, have a predisposition to certain diseases:

  • The Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (MCH), a disease that makes it difficult for the heart to circulate blood;
  • The Chronic anemia, a genetic disease that can be detected by any decent Bengal breeder by a simple test;
  • The Progressive Retinal Atrophy (ARP), another genetic disease that can also be detected by a simple test, allowing carriers to be excluded from breeding;
  • The cataract, an opaque film on the cornea of ​​the eye that can cause blindness in the most severe cases.
  • It also, being quite large and very active, are prone to Hip Dysplasia.

    Last, it is important to know that, unlike his ancestor the Leopard cat, the Bengal not immune to feline leukosis.

    Life expectancy

    12 to 16 years


    The Bengal fits perfectly in commercial cat food, both croquettes and canned wet food. But, it is important to make sure your Bengal cat eat a quality food that contains all the essential nutrients necessary for their development.

    There should always be enough food and fresh water. But, no risk of obesity in cats; on the one hand, because they are quite active, and on the other, because they are able to regulate their own weight.

    For sale "Bengal cat"

    Bengal cat
    Bengal cat

    If you want to have a Bengal cat, you should know that this breed is one of the most expensive. For a healthy kitten you will pay between 1000 and 2000 EUR in a serious breeder. The price mainly depends on the type of leopard coat.

    The Bengal cats with pedigree and physical characteristics that make them suitable for breeding are priced between 2000 and 3000 EUR.

    Breeders also differentiate between the three categories of companion animals, breeding and exhibition. as creator, usually only kittens showing small deviations from breeding targets are obtained. In the purchase contract you have to agree not to use the cat for breeding.

    Criticism of breeding “Bengalis”

    Critics of breeding "Bengal cat" they believe that it is irresponsible to cross a wild animal with a domestic cat just to obtain a certain coat pattern. According to animal rights advocates, the first mating is even a torture brood, since complications often arise at birth. Many of these wild cat hybrids continue to display the character traits of a wild animal.. So, before acquiring a cat of this type, you must be very sure that, even though you have inherited the activity from your ancestors, will be able to lead a life appropriate to his species.

    Characteristics "Bengal cat"

    Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a cat of the breed "Bengal cat" you know certain factors. You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, their care and if you have small children, their level of tolerance towards them.


    Rated 5.0 out of 5
    5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Activity level

    Rated 5.0 out of 5
    5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Friendliness to other pets

    Rated 2.0 out of 5
    2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Friendliness to children

    Rated 2.0 out of 5
    2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Grooming requirements

    Rated 1.0 out of 5
    1.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)


    Rated 2.0 out of 5
    2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Need for attention

    Rated 4.0 out of 5
    4.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Affection towards its owners

    Rated 4.0 out of 5
    4.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)


    Rated 1.0 out of 5
    1.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)


    Rated 5.0 out of 5
    5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)


    Rated 2.0 out of 5
    2.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)


    Rated 3.0 out of 5
    3.0 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Videos "Bengal cat"

    These Beautiful Bengal Cats Are Incredibly Intelligent | Cats 101
    These Beautiful Bengal Cats Are Incredibly Intelligent | Cats 101
    Benji the Bengal Cat: from Kitten to Adulthood
    Benji the Bengal Cat: from Kitten to Adulthood

    2 thoughts on "Bengal cat”

    1. I appreciate that you give a link to my Flickr photo of a Bengal cat, but it’s cc license requires my name to be credited to my photo. Gail Hampshire


    Leave a Comment