Owning a Bengal cat is like having your own baby leopard. But this leopard won’t ever get bigger than an average size housecat – they do look and behave a bit differently from most housecats though.
Bengal Cat Coat Patterns
Bengal cats are known for their gorgeous patterns of spots and/or marbling. These large spots are found on the top and sides of their bodies. They’re often rosetted – a dark or black border with a lighter shade inside. This appears very much like a leopard or jaguar. The rest of their body usually has tabby stripe patterns.
The Bengal Cat Breed
The Bengal cat is known as a hybrid breed – a combination of two different cat breeds. The first breed that is always there is an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) – a small wild cat found all over Asia. This wild cat is crossed with a domestic breed of cat such as an Abyssinian, Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, American shorthair, or a domestic shorthair. The resulting offspring gives you a first generation Bengal Cat.
This first generation cat is not ideal as a pet – it is very shy and still carries too many undesirable characteristics of its wild parent. It’s not until you get 4 generations removed from the actual Asian Leopard cat do you have a Bengal that makes a good pet.
This 4th generation Bengal has the beauty of the Asian Leopard with none of the undesirable traits – they’ve been bred out. You’re left with an unusually beautiful, highly intelligent, and social domestic house cat. Many owners consider them to be the closest cat you can come to a dog. Some can be trained to walk on a leash, fetch, sit, stay, and roll over.
Bengal Cat Care
Bengal cats don’t usually grow more than the average sized house cat, which is 10 – 15 pounds (although there are exceptions, as with all domestic cats). And they can be cared for and treated like any other domestic cat – litter box, commercial food, etc.
Most Bengals crave much more attention and affection than many other breeds – like I mentioned they’re a bit dog-like in some ways. They have a distinctive voice – and use it often.
Why are they called Bengal Cats? They don’t get their name from the Bengal tiger – it’s derived from the taxonomic name of the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) – Prionailurus bengalensis.