Meet the Cat Breed: The Bengal



The Bengal Cat is the most widely accepted domestic/wildcat breed of cat. It was developed in the United States by crossing small Asian Leopard Cats with domestic cats with the goal of creating a wild-looking cat with a pet temperament. This cat may enjoy playing in water and is known for being quite the problem solver. Not a delicate, placid creature, but is very active and entertaining. 

Physical Characteristics:

The Bengal is characterized by a beautiful coat that resembles a wildcat and a substantial body style. They are medium to large in size. The coat color base can come in a wide variety of colors including rust, golden, brown, orange, sand, buff and ivory. The secondary markings can be spots, rosettes, and marbled stripes of varying colors, and sometimes multiple colors within the marks. Some of the hairs may be iridescent, causing the fur to look glittery in certain lighting situations. Bengals with white or ivory backgrounds are often called Snow Bengals. Snow Bengals may have blue eyes.

Snow Bengal by Mike_fleming 

History of the Breed:

The earliest cross between an Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic shorthair was documented in 1889. The most notable Bengal breeding program began in 1963 by Jean S. Mill. Her desire was to create a domestic companion with a wild look. Further contributors to the breed were Greg and Elizabeth Kent, who developed their own line of Bengals using ALCs and Egyptian Maus. This was a very successful line and many modern Bengals will find it in their pedigree. Most cat registries recognize the Bengal except for the Cat Fanciers Association, which does not admit any hybrid lines.


The Bengal is an inquisitive, active, highly intelligent cat designed to inspire awe both in looks and behavior. This is not a cat for the first-time cat owner as they require lots of interaction and cat-proofing for safety and success. These cats delight in climbing up high, opening cabinets and stealing items. If you do not have a sense of humor and prefer to have everything orderly, this may not be the cat for you. Bengal cats generally made available to the public with their sweet yet active domestic personalities are at least four generations removed from their wild Asian Leopard Cat ancestor.

  • Best suited for: Families that enjoy active and wicked-smart cat antics.
  • Preferred living conditions: This cat does best with lots of vertical space. Cat puzzles and cat trees will be utilized extensively.

Keep your sense of humor!

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care short coat is maintained with a weekly brushing. Good oral hygiene is also recommended.
  • Exercise needs: Enjoys jumping, and high spaces.
  • Life expectancy: 12-16 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to polycystic kidney disease, though new tests have isolated this from the genetic pool. May be prone to dental problems.

Breed Club Links: The International Bengal Breeder's Association Perfect Pairings: Cat's Trapeze Cat Hammock

Have any stories about a Bengal? Please share!

Ready to adopt a Bengal? Visit to see available cats.

Photo courtesy of Roberto Shabs.


This entry was posted by Mary.
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