Learn more about the beautiful, high-energy Bengal cat.
The Bengal cat will captivate you with their incredible appearance, high energy and playful personality. Though this breed may look wild, Bengal cats can make perfect house cat companions as long as you understand their background and can give them the attention they need.
Physical Traits and Appearance of Bengal Cats
A hybrid cat breed, Bengal cats are a cross between feral Asian leopard cats and domestic house cats.
Bengal cats can have several different coat patterns and colors, including:
- Leopard spots and stripes
- Rosettes, marbling and swirling
- Typically, brown or black background colors
Bengal cats are the only domestic cat that features the rosettes commonly seen on jaguars and leopards, making them one of the most unique house cat breeds.
Bengal cats have large, wide eyes and an athletic and muscular build, with back legs longer than the front legs and a hind end higher than the shoulders. It comes as no surprise that the Bengal cat can jump more than three times their height!
Bengal Cat Personality and Temperament Traits
Bengal cats have temperament and personality traits blended from both their domestic house cat and Asian leopard cat ancestors. Bengal cats can be affectionate and loyal pets, but they can also be territorial and may not enjoy sharing their space with another cat in the home.
They also require a fair amount of attention and exercise. Cat trees, interactive toys and playmates, whether in the form of another house cat or a human, will help keep them stimulated. Whether they’re running, jumping or playing, Bengal cats want to move — and their owners should be prepared to be active companions. Highly intelligent, Bengal cats can learn to play fetch and take walks on a leash. You may even catch them hiding small items as a way of playing, so be mindful of your keys!
Bengal cats are also known for their love of water and might enjoy swimming in a kiddie pool or hopping in the bathtub. Additionally, Bengal cats tend to channel their natural instincts to hunt smaller animals, including fish. Owners should keep Bengal cats away from fish tanks and smaller pets like hamsters or gerbils.
Health and Care of Bengal Cats
Bengal cats are generally healthy, but, like any other breed, can suffer from diseases. Even when healthy, they must receive regular immunizations and preventive health treatments.
Some conditions common to Bengal cats include:
- A heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- A predisposition to hip dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), an eye disorder that can lead to blindness1
Bengal cats are incredibly strong and athletic for their size, typically weighing 8 to 15 pounds and growing as long as 10 to 18 inches. Because they’re so active, Bengal cats burn off calories at a quicker rate than other house cats, so they need a steady diet rich in protein. Consult with a veterinarian to figure out the appropriate diet for your pet Bengal cat.
What Is a Bengal Cat’s Life Span?
Healthy Bengal cats have a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.
Grooming Bengal Cats
Bengal cats are very low maintenance and often self-groom. Their coats have a one-of-kind plush feel, but do not shed much. They do need a brush at least once a week to remove dead hair and prevent hairballs.
2 As highly active and playful as Bengal cats can be, it’s also recommended that you trim their nails as needed.2
Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic?
While no cat is truly hypoallergenic, Bengal cats are considered a great breed for pet allergy sufferers due to their low amount of shedding and low-maintenance grooming needs.
Is a Bengal Cat Right for You?
Because of their origin as a hybrid cat, some Bengals can be difficult for new or inexperienced cat owners to manage, especially if they display behavioral traits from their feral lineage. Remember that they may also not tolerate having another cat in the household.
As long as you can keep a watchful eye — especially around the pool, bathtub or fish tank — you’ll discover that Bengal cats are playful, highly intelligent cats with nonstop energy.
Thinking of getting a Bengal kitten? Read our kitten development guide to know what to expect.