Bengal cat
Cat Breeds

Bengal cat

Other names: Bengal , Bengal cat , leopard

The Bengal cat is a unique example of successful crossbreeding of wild and domestic breeds. These are active, playful and sociable pets.

Characteristics of Bengal cat

Country of originUSA
Wool typeShorthair
Height25-32 cm
Weight4–7 kg
Age12–15 years old
Bengal cat Characteristics

Basic moments

  • Bengal cats are representatives of an elite breed.
  • They are distinguished by their external attractiveness, grace and recognizable color.
  • These are loyal and responsive pets that easily adapt to the rules of life in a permanent family and do not show unmotivated aggression.
  • Ideal for experienced owners who are ready to give the cat a lot of attention and be a friend in active games and walks.
  • They stand out among others with a sharp mind, training potential and developed communication skills.
  • Clean, appreciate the comfort and friendly atmosphere.
  • Animals of this breed are highly valued by experts at international exhibitions. So, in the top 25 of the overall rating of the “best cats” according to The International Cat’s Assotiation in 2016, there are two Bengals, and four a year earlier.

The Bengal cat is quite rare and therefore a particularly valuable specimen. The beauty, strength and grace of large predators are truly mesmerizing, but, of course, few people would think of keeping a tiger or a panther in an apartment for reasons of humanity and elementary safety. But a small domestic “leopard” is a very real alternative. The best features of the ancestors were combined in the Bengal breed: not only an attractive appearance, but also intelligence, curiosity, activity, friendliness.

History of the Bengal cat breed

bengal cat
bengal cat

As you know, new breeds of domestic cats appear mainly as a result of careful selection, designed to obtain animals with the desirable traits of parents of different artificially created species or to fix the result of a natural mutation. The appearance of the Bengal cat, in fact, was the result of the persistent work of one enthusiast, who acted in spite of adverse life circumstances and the prejudices of colleagues. The name of this purposeful woman is Jane Mill. Even while studying at the University of California at Davis, a genetics student was interested in the possibility of creating a new breed by crossing the royal Siamese and Persian individuals .. But the supervisor considered such a research topic “frivolous”, advising to focus on breeding something more practical that could interest rural or livestock farms. The idea was abandoned, but not forgotten.

In 1961, during a working trip to Thailand, Jane saw wild leopard cats for the first time and was completely fascinated by these big-eyed creatures. There, the shocked American learned that the existence of the species was threatened by the hunt for their unusual fur. To save at least one handsome spotted cat, she bought and brought Malaysia home, where a mongrel black cat already lived. The mistress had no plans to obtain a common offspring, and the birth of Kin-Kin was a real surprise. The “hybrid” cat, in turn, had two kittens, but it was not possible to continue the line: the girl did not inherit the characteristic color of Far Eastern cats and had a bad temper, and the boy died by a tragic accident. Kin-Kin herself, without bearing any other offspring, died of pneumonia.

bengal kitten
bengal kitten

On this, the felinologist’s experiments could have stopped, however, by a happy coincidence, at the Loma Linda University Medical Center for research on feline leukemia, litter was obtained from domestic cats and ALC males (Asian Leopard Cat), resistant to this disease. Dr. Willard Centerwall, who was in charge of the project, was happy to place several first-generation kittens in Jane’s care. A new problem was the choice of partners for further breeding – Mrs. Mill was sure that the British , Abyssinian or other popular species have genetically weakened lines, and therefore are not suitable for breeding a new breed. The solution came after a trip to New Delhi, where she accidentally saw a spotted golden-red kitten. The bronze color and the special radiance of Tori’s coat were passed on to descendants. Later, several more cats were brought from India to the USA for Jane, today recognized as the “Indian line” Mau .

Many local breeders of traditional Egyptian Mau and Ocicat took the initiative with hostility and launched a campaign against the registration of hybrids. It is not known whether they were afraid of the uncontrolled manifestation of “wild blood” or simply tried to prevent the appearance of spotted competitors. As a result, Bengal cats were not recognized by The Cat Fanciers’ Association for a long time, although TICA registered the first individual of the new breed back in 1983. Since 1985, Jane Mill’s pets have been actively participating in national shows, captivating judges and spectators with a shiny coat with a contrasting pattern, athletic build and natural grace.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, the Bengal creator continued her selective work and received several more productive lines, including with the participation of new male leopard cats. Today, breeders say that the main goals of improving the breed are cleaning from “genetic garbage”, which manifests itself in kittens with a single color, long hair, and unwanted ticking.

Video: Bengal cat

Bengal Cat – Characteristics and Character

Appearance of the breed

Bengal cats are medium to large in size, but inferior to the largest domestic breeds like Maine Coon or Savannah . The weight of an adult animal can range from 4 to 9 kg, height at the withers – 26-32 cm, length from nose to tail tip – 65-100 cm. At the same time, males are much larger than females and reach maximum sizes by 2 years. Cats practically stop growing after 9 months.

The main distinguishing feature of the exterior of the Bengal cat is undoubtedly its “wild” color, it was this feature that from the very beginning determined the direction of breeding work. Over time, a breed standard was developed and approved, which covers the main features.

Bengal cat Wool

The coat of a Bengal cat is shorter than average (in kittens, an average length is acceptable), thick, adjacent to the body. A characteristic difference from other breeds is the extraordinary silkiness and a special “internal” shine, called glitter. The latter is inherited from wild ancestors and is highly valued.


Bengal cat muzzle
Bengal cat muzzle

The main requirement for the color of a Bengal cat is the most clear contrast between the spotted or marbled pattern and the background. The pattern can range from black to cinnamon, and the background should be somewhere between golden orange and ivory. Reputable breeders (for example, Jean Dakot) insist that preference should not be given to “red” Bengals, in which rosettes and stripes almost merge with the base as they grow older, but to cats with a fawn background and a dark pattern.

Due to the “wild” genes, Bengal kittens have a unique color feature for domestic cats: being born bright, with a pronounced pattern, they suddenly fade by 3-4 weeks. This is explained by the fact that at this age the offspring of the Far Eastern cat begins to leave the safe haven and, without such a “tarnishing”, will become easy prey for predators. Such fuzzing (from the English fuzzy – blurry, indefinite) lasts about two months, that is, just by the time the kitten is acquired, it becomes attractive again. However, the final color of the cat is established much later, at 8-10 months.

The spotted pattern is more common than the marble pattern. From the usual for other breeds of “mackerel” color, they are distinguished by the location along (and not across) the body or diagonally. The shape of the spots can vary widely, the main thing is their clear outlines, while simple single ones are considered undesirable. Marble pattern – contrasting stripes whirling in a horizontal direction. A significant disadvantage of any color are white spots – “medallions” on any part of the body. The belly is preferably light in color, and the absence of spots on it is a sufficient condition for disqualifying a Bengal cat from an exhibition.

To date, the officially accepted options are brown tabby, silver tabby, seal sepia tabby, seal mink tabby, seal link point and approved only in 2013, and therefore a rare blue tabby.

Bengal cat
Adult bengal cat with kitten


bengal on the box
bengal on the box

The structure of the skull of a Bengal cat belongs to the so-called “wild” type. It has the form of a modified wedge, rather elongated than wide, the contours are soft, rounded. The line of the back of the head is a continuation of the line of the neck. In relation to the body, it has a small, but, in general, proportional size.

As for the profile, there are discrepancies in the American and European standard. The first assumes a strictly straight line, forming a single arc from the level of the eyebrows, while the second allows for the possibility of a slight bend at the transition of the forehead to the nose.

Jaws are powerful. The cheekbones are high and well defined. The chin is rounded, located on the same line with the tip of the nose. Adults may have pronounced cheeks. The nose is large and wide. Mustache pads are convex.

Bengal cat Ears

They continue the line of the wedge, are characterized by a small size in relation to the head, a wide base and rounded tips (most other breeds have pointed tips).


The eyes of the Bengal cat are large and expressive. The shape is oval, but close to round. Set quite wide and have a deep landing. The color is bright and saturated, most often ranging from light green to gold. Cats of color point, mink – shades of blue and blue from aqua to sapphire. Glows very brightly in the dark.

Bengal with blue eyes
Bengal with blue eyes


Mmm... shrimp
Mmm… shrimp

Corresponds to the proportions of the head and body. Long, strong, muscular.

Bengal cat torso

It has developed muscles, powerful, elongated (but not of the oriental type characteristic of the Orientals). The skeleton is solid and strong. A flattened or underdeveloped chest is a disqualifying fault.


Of medium length, strong, the muscles are developed in proportion to the general constitution of the body, the bones are wide. The back is slightly longer than the front. The pads are large, round in shape, the knuckles of the fingers protrude slightly.


The tail of a Bengal cat is of medium length, thick, tapering towards the end and has a rounded tip. Ringed with dark stripes or (rarely) covered with small spots.

Photo of Bengal cats

The nature of the Bengal cat

Many potential owners are frightened by the possibility of uncontrollable character traits that Bengals can get from wild leopard cats. I must say that such fears are groundless if the pet does not belong to the first three generations of the hybrid. Cats F4-F7, grown in conditions of constant contact with humans, are invariably characterized by a balanced and friendly disposition. With aviary content in the nursery and a lack of attention from the breeder, the kittens run wild, but this disadvantage is easy to identify when you first meet the kids.

Hey, keep your distance!

Bengals are very social. They easily find a common language with all households, as for other pets, they coexist peacefully with cats of other breeds, and often even make friends with dogs. However, we must not forget that Bengal cats have extremely developed hunting instincts, so leaving them alone with potential prey is fraught with tragedy. Protection is required not only for birds and rodents, but also for aquarium fish, because, like their Asian ancestors, domestic leopards do not suffer from hydrophobia. Moreover, they get real pleasure from water procedures and can unceremoniously dive into a filling bath or sneak into a working shower.

Representatives of the Bengal breed (especially ladies) do not particularly favor the invasion of their personal space. No, you will not encounter aggression in response to an attempt to “squeeze”, but too close contact makes them feel uncomfortable. It is better to wait until the Bengal has the appropriate mood and he will come to you for affection. But pets meet verbal communication with great enthusiasm and enthusiastically “keep up the conversation.” These cats have a lot of specific sounds and intonations in their arsenal, in a few weeks you will be able to understand what most of these “phrases” mean.

But the main character trait, perhaps, should be considered incredible energy and playfulness, which persists throughout life. It should be noted that with a lack of physical activity, a bored Bengal cat can harm your furniture and interior, so you should immediately provide it with a significant number of various toys and devote enough time to mobile entertainment every day.

Education and training of Bengal cat

A well-known fact is the high intelligence of Bengal cats. Natural intelligence, cunning and adaptability ensured their ancestors survival in the wild, and houses are a powerful foundation for learning interesting tricks. They are able to follow simple commands, bring thrown objects (often using not teeth, but dexterous front paws). Observation and ingenuity of Bengals lead to the fact that without effort on the part of the owners, they learn to use switches, open the latches on the doors, flush the water in the toilet and even unscrew the taps.

Bengal cats learn to use the toilet quickly and without problems, but like to dig deep holes, so it is recommended to ensure that the litter level is always high enough.

Care and maintenance

Who is there?
Who is there?

A pleasant surprise for the owners will be the undemanding Bengal cats to care for. Features of wool exclude strong tangling, it is enough to use a special mitt-combed or a rubber brush once every two or three days. Once or twice a month, it is recommended to trim the nails by 2-3 mm. Of course, cats with amputated claws are not allowed to participate in exhibitions.

It is advisable to brush your teeth with a special paste from time to time. Ears must be carefully handled when contamination appears. Washing a cat that loves water is not difficult. The main thing is to do it not too often (but, of course, after each walk) and using products approved by veterinarians.

Recommendations for feeding bengals do not differ from accepted standards. The best option is premium industrial feed, which maintains the perfect balance of nutrients, vitamins and trace elements. They should not be combined with other foods. A natural diet, if you are a supporter of it, should be 80-85% meat (chicken, veal, rabbit, lamb) and offal. Please note that dishes from the host’s table can provoke serious problems with the gastrointestinal tract.

Bengal cats prefer fresh running water, so it is better to immediately purchase a special “fountain”.

Bengal cat health and disease

The relative youth of the breed and the presence of strong “wild” blood allow us to state the good health of Bengal cats that grew up in normal conditions. The stomach is considered the only weak point, but a balanced diet easily solves this problem.

How to choose a kitten

Bengal cat on owner's lap
Bengal cat on owner’s lap

Let us remind you once again: the Bengal cat is an elite, which means an expensive breed. You should not look for ads for the sale of kittens on random sites, or, moreover, buy an animal in the “bird market”. Only reliable catteries or breeders with an excellent reputation can guarantee that your pet will be a real Bengal with a reliable pedigree!

When purchasing a kitten, pay attention to

  • registration documents, pedigree and the generation indicated in it (the optimal indicator is F4-F7);
  • age – a responsible breeder does not offer buyers kittens under 10-12 weeks old;
  • weight – at a specified age, a normally developing baby weighs about a kilogram;
  • playfulness – a healthy animal should in no case be lethargic;
  • contact – small Bengals must be accustomed to hands, otherwise you risk getting a wild pet;
  • clean and clear eyes, no runny nose and signs of diarrhea;
  • vaccination documents;
  • the condition of the coat and the absence of visible color defects (important if the Bengal cat is planned to participate in exhibitions).

Photo of Bengal kittens

How much is a bengal cat

The price of purebred Bengal kittens in Russian catteries starts from 15,000 rubles and can reach 150,000 rubles. The specific figure depends on the pedigree and color. Rare and therefore the most expensive are, perhaps, blue tabby kittens.

In addition, each animal is assigned a specific class based on expert assessment:

  • pet class – the so-called “pets for the soul”, due to strong deviations from the standard, they are not allowed for breeding and for exhibitions, the cost is from 15 to 30 thousand rubles;
  • breed class – animals with minor deviations from the standard, cost – from 500 to 700$ without the possibility of breeding and 1000-1200$ if you want to get such a right;
  • show class is an elite among the elite, such cats are recognized as promising for exhibitions, therefore their cost starts from 50 thousand rubles without the possibility of breeding and from 1500$ with it.

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