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Domestic Bengal Cats: an Exotic Cat Breed
Domestic Bengal Cats - a Dog-like Pet
Thinking about getting a new pet for the family, but can't decide between a cat or a dog? Perhaps you should adopt a Bengal! These beautiful felines are unique, and in some ways easier to care for than other domestic cats. Purebred animals have the following traits:
- A love of water - some even will swim!
- Playfulness - they enjoy chasing balls, and running on wheels
- They can be trained to walk on leashes
- They can be trained to sit and do tricks
- Highly loyal
- Amazing jumping/balancing abilities
The Bengal breed is fully domesticated, although it was originally bred from a cross between an Asian Leopard Cat (a small, wild cat that lives in forests) and a "regular" domestic cat breed such as Abyssinian, American Shorthair, or Burmese. Now, only its markings are wild-looking. To be accepted for registration by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), The International Cat Association (TICA) or the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), a Bengal Cat must be at least four generations (F-4) away from its Asian Leopard Cat ancestor. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) considers Bengals to be "wild," however, and will not accept them for showing or registration.
Similarly, in the United Kingdom, it is currently unlawful to own one a Bengal under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976. The government is considering adopting regulations to lift the ban, however.
The Bengal breed was first "created" in 1963, but formal breeding programs did not start until the 1980s. It was formally recognized by TICA in 1984 as a registered breed.
These Cats Can be Trained Like Dogs!
Learn More About Domestic Bengal Cats
Variations of the Domestic Bengal Cat Breed
There are many beautiful types of Bengal Cats, which differ primarily based on their coat markings and color. In general, the cats are medium-sized and muscular, weighing anywhere from 10-18 pounds when full-grown.
Bengals eat the same diet as other breeds, unless there are special health issues. Of course, they should be vaccinated as any other breed. Unless you plan to breed or show your feline, it should be spayed or neutered, as well.
Different Coat Varieties of Domestic Bengal Cats
- Spotted The most desirable spots are two-toned (dark around the outside and lighter on the inside). These are found along the body of the animal, with striping usually on the legs and face
- Marbled As the name implies, stripes/marking on the coat are swirled around in a beautiful marbled pattern
- Glittered Glittering is not so much a mark, but a characteristic of the coat. In some cats, it looks as though gold dust has been scattered over the top. Obviously, these specimens are highly valued!
- Brown (aka Gold)
- Seal Sepia
- Seal Mink
- Silver - Very rare; just recognized in 1994
- Blue (may occur, but not formally recognized by associations yet)
- Black (same as above)
- Cinnamon (same as above)
- Red (same as above)
Combining markings and colors, you can find the following Bengal variations eligible for competitions, among others: Brown Spotted Tabby, Brown Marbled Tabby, Seal Sepia Spotted Tabby, Seal Sepia Marbled Tabby, Seal Mink Spotted Tabby, Seal Mink Marbled Tabby, Seal Spotted Lynx Point and Seal Marbled Lynx Point.
Most versions of the breed are short-haired. However, you can now find a few long-haired Bengal Cats, as well. As with the colors that are not formally recognized, they simply make wonderful pets. Just do not plan on showing or breeding your Bengal.
Have you Ever Seen a Cat do This?
Cat Breed Reading
Where Can you Find a Domestic Bengal Cat to Adopt as a Pet?
It is surprisingly easy to find a domestic Bengal cat. We adopted one from a breeder in our relatively small Central Oregon city about 18 months ago.
However, as with any pet, you need to do thorough research about the breeder and their operations and make sure that you are ready to bring an animal into your home. While its true that cats are relatively easy pets, you should be certain that you have the time, patience and finances to adequately care for your new family member. And find out now if anyone has allergies! Not after you bring a new kitten home!
A pure-bred Bengal Cat can be very expensive, particularly if you are seeking papers to show and/or breed the cat yourself. Prices can range from $700-2000, or more!
In our case, the local breeder had several kittens that were a bit older (6 months old), whose markings did not "come out" for show. They were already fixed, and we got our "Romeo" for a bargain price of less than $100. You may also get lucky through a rescue organization, or even at your local Humane Society. Keep your eyes open for a Bengal!
Adopting a Bengal Cat
If you decide to adopt one of these special breeds of cats, you should be pleasantly surprised. Even "non-cat lovers" have become converts to the Bengal breed. They are highly personable, relatively easy to train (who would say that about a cat), and have many great characteristics of a dog, but significantly less dependent!
Before you go to see a litter of Bengal kittens, or visit a cat you're considering bringing into your home, a word of warning. It will be hard to resist! The Bengal Cat is a unique, one-of-a-kind breed that will find quickly find a place in your heart (or in your shower in the morning!)
Its hard to find a more human-like feline companion! So, watch out dogs... before long the Bengals may become Man's Best Friend. Or at least give you a serious run for your money!
p.s. Domestic Bengal cats generally get along great with dogs, too. It might be the common misperception of the breed that they are actually dog-like!