The Legendary Bengal Cats
The Legendary Bengal Cat
The Beautiful Bengal Cat
Bengal Cats are interesting, to say the least, and even though they are a domestic cat they look like they belong in the jungle roaming around the forest hunting for their next meal.
Now Bengal cats are curious creatures with coats that are absolutely beautiful and they are full of energy and are famous for attaching themselves to their owners.
Did You Know?
Bengal cat paws are webbed so they can swim in the water and they're an expensive breed, prepare to dish out some bucks for this cat!
Early History of the Bengal Cat
The earliest mention of an Asian Leopard Cat × domestic cross was in 1889 when Harrison Weir wrote of them in Our Cats and All About Them and it wasn't until 1924 the next recorded mention of an Asian Leopard Cat x domestic cat cross was written in the Belgian scientific journal and a Japanese cat publication printed an article about one that was kept as a pet.
Indian Leopard Cat (P. b. bengalensis)
The Modern Bengal Breed
Jean Mill was a cat breeder who worked to protect the Asian leopard cat. Jean is also the founder of the modern Bengal cat breed: She successfully crossed the wild Asian leopard cat with a domestic cat and then backcrossed those offspring through five generations to create the domestic Bengal. It is noted that Jean Mill was also involved in producing two other cat breeds: the Himalayan and the standardized version of the Egyptian Mau.
There were three other breeders involved in developing the Bengal breed, Pat Warren, William Engle, and Dr. Willard Centerwall. Although Jean Mill is considered the originator of the breed because she created a domestic Bengal past the F4 generation.
The Bengal Cat Gets Recorded in the Cat Registries
- In 1983, the breed was officially accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA). Bengals gained championship status in 1991
- In 1997 The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) accepted Bengal cats
- In 1999 Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) accepted Bengal cats into their registry
- The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) was one of the last organizations to accept the Bengal cat into their registry. "The CFA board accepted the Bengal as Miscellaneous at the February 7, 2016 board meeting. In order for a Bengal cat to be registered with the CFA, it must be F6 or later (6 generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat or non-Bengal domestic cat ancestors - Wikipedia
Jean Mill posing with a Bengal Cat
Did You Know
That in order to be considered a domestic Bengal cat by the major cat registries, a Bengal must be at least four generations (F4) or more from the Asian leopard cat
1982 Spotted Domestic Cats from India
"The curator of the New Delhi Zoo also gave Mill the sister of the cat in the rhinoceros cage which Mill named Tasha of New Delhi. These two Indian domestic cats Toby and Tasha contributed greatly to the Bengal breed." Jean Mills Wikipedia
Bengal Cat Breeding Resumed
"Mill combined her spotted domestic cats with the Centerwall cats and with that Mill was able to restart her Bengal breeding program: where others breeders had failed to get the Bengal breed established because of the sterility of the F1, F2, F3, and F4 early generation Bengals, Jean Mill succeeded. Mill successfully backcrossed Bengals until she achieved the F5 Bengal with a domestic cat temperament. The modern Bengal breed traces to cats bred by Jean Mill in the early 1980s. Others also began breeding Bengals – and in 1986 The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Bengal cat as a new breed: Bengals gained championship status in 1991. Where other early Bengal breeders like William Engle only succeeded in creating a sterile hybrid, Jean Mill succeeded in creating a Domestic Bengal cat." - Jean Mill Wikipedia
Amur Leopard Cat (P. b. euptilura)
Bengal Cats – The Back Story
In my last post “The History of Cats- Did They Domesticate Themselves? we learned about Hybrids and that the Bengal cats are a cross-breed “man-made” hybrid.
A breed created from hybrids of domestic cats’ and the Asian Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) and their ancestors is the small Asian Leopard Cat which is a small wild cat.
Let’s take a trip 5,000 years ago to be exactly where archaeological evidence shows that the leopard cat was the first to be domesticated in Neolithic China in Shaanxi and Henan Provinces.
The Asian Leopard cat is a native of Asia and lives in the east and southeast of the continent from Indonesia to the Peninsula of Korea and east Russia to Pakistan into eastern Afghanistan.
This species is derived from Felis Silvestris Lybica from the Middle East – during the time of the Egyptian Granaries 12,00 years ago!
In New York City and the state of Hawaii, Bengal cats are prohibited by law (as are all other hybrids of domestic and wild cat species).
There are no limits of ownership in:
- Seattle, Washington
- Denver, Colorado
Bengals of the F1-F4 generations are regulated in:
- New York state
- and banned outright in Australia.
In the United States, except where noted above, Bengal cats with a generation of F5 and beyond are considered domestic and are generally legal.
Purchasing Bengal Cats – How To Pick The Right One?
Although I would rather adopt than buy here is what to look out for when you purchase a Bengal feline. One thing to remember when purchasing a Bengal cat is that you have to make sure they are at least F4 to F5 generations removed from any ancestors with wild blood!
Sadly, this doesn’t make for a great cat and they are wilder than tamed and do NOT make great house pets so please keep this in mind if you have small children. Ask all the questions that you have and get the cats’ history of their parents and also their great grandparents and so forth because you don’t want a wild cat in your home.
Bengals Have Heart Issues Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
What is Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?
Relatively it’s when the left ventricle wall in the heart grows thicker as the cat ages and this heart disease can show its ugly head at any time during the lifetime of the cat.
Symptoms and Types
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Weak pulse
- Difficulty breathing
- Short, rough, snapping breathing sounds (crackles)
- Abnormal heart sounds (i.e., muffled, galloping rhythm, murmurs)
- Inability to tolerate exercise or exertion
- Sudden hind-limb paralysis with cold limbs due to clots in the terminal aorta
- Bluish discoloration of footpads and nail beds (indicates a lack of oxygen flow to the legs)
- Sudden heart failure
- This heart condition can be treated with the proper medication, prolonging your furry child’s life.
This feline can be affected by several genetic diseases, one of which is Bengal progressive retinal atrophy, also known as Bengal PRA or PRA-b. Be sure to get your cat tested yearly. And watch for any signs of illness.
Did You Know?
This kitty likes to “talk” a lot and since they are on the talkative side and you don’t have the patience for a cat that meows a lot then get one that isn’t known to talk as much.
- Full of energy yet graceful.
- They are a very “talkative” friendly cat
- They love water and wouldn’t hesitate to get into the bathtub or shower with you.
Find out how much the kitty likes to “talk” because they are on the talkative side and if you don’t have the patience for a cat that meows all the time then get one that isn’t known to talk as much.
On the other hand, if you want your cat to be “talkative” with you then find out if they are talkers and then also, make a list and ask as many questions as you want!
Bengal Cats – Talkers or Walkers?
Bengal kittens are friendly but they do tend to get very large if cared for in the right way and may grow anywhere from 8 lbs. to 15lbs. Some Bengal cat parents have reported their cat weighing in at around 20 pounds and that they hold a lot of strength and lean muscles and are very strong animals!
In the first 4 weeks, you should be the only one to interact with the feline due to the fact that they tend to bond with the one who interacts with them more. After 4 weeks you can introduce the cat to your kids or other pets and other people. While the kitten is young, if left alone with one of your other pets it will bond with that particular pet and you will be a secondary need of companionship!
So spend as much time as you can with your new Bengal kitten so that they bond with you or whoever is their parent.
Let's Take A Walk
How to Entertain Your New Companion
Toys: What kind of toys are the best for this breed?
- This cat needs a wide selection of toys and scratching posts with different textures otherwise they will claw your carpet and/or furniture
- Cat tree with lots of landing pads to jump on, climb on and with vertical spaces with different levels
- Offer interactive play toys and make sure you take off any buttons, eyes, strings, ribbons, twine anything that they could swallow!
- Walk them on a daily basis with a harness and leash
- Get a cat wheel which provides all the exercise they need
- Lots of exercises are the key to these felines
- They are highly intelligent and can grow bored easily
- They need lots of brain stimuli to keep them out of trouble in a big cat way
What Do I Feed My Bengal?
Raw Meat Feeding
What kind of diet do I need to feed my Bengal cat? As soon as the kitten is getting weaned off the mama, start feeding them ground raw meat. Once you start them on this raw feeding diet you won't have to worry about feeding them canned food. And then you can introduce them start to nutritious, high-quality dry food and since this cat is more active with lots of energy they tend to need more food than your average domestic cat.
Bengal Cats Crave Raw Meat.
Offer them fresh meat for a change and then high-quality dry food, leaving the dry food accessible all day. Yes, they do and be extra careful when feeding them raw meat make sure you throw away what’s left in the bowl after 20-minutes. And store the ground raw meat in a large storage bag and keep it in your freezer.
What Kind of Raw Meats?
- Beef: Ground Round, Beef Hearts Ground Sirloin, hamburger with high-fat content
- Chicken: Bengals love their chicken cooked or raw
- Plenty of water: Give them fresh water every day.
Did You Know?
The average lifespan of a Bengal cat is anywhere from 16 to 20 years!
What About People Food?
Cats can have “people” food, however, one must be careful because the last thing you want to do is make your cat sicker than a dog?
Now, that would be super traumatic for a cat to feel like a dog haha
Here is a list to use as a guideline:
- Sweet potatoes
- And asparagus
- Swiss chard
Happy Healthy Lovebug – Cool – Stylish – Groovy – Cat
Bengals Come in Several Colors
The average lifespan of a Bengal cat is anywhere from 16 to 20 years! Awesome right, and if you take care of all your cat's needs and wants and you feed them right your feline will be around for a very long time!
Bengal coats come in several colors:
- Brown/black is the main color
- Black and silver, seal brown
- Silver, charcoal, and blue
- Vibrant green eyes
They’re just so beautiful and I would love to have one but I live in a small apartment for a growing kitty and their wild nature needs. I would have a hard time keeping up with this energetic cat! So, I will just admire them from afar and love them for their beauty!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2020 Donna Rayne