Exotic cats have become a very popular trend in today's society, and one of the more popular breeds is the Bengal cat.
These felines allow owners to have the best of both worlds – domesticated and exotically beautiful. They do carry some Bengal traits which is why their coat patterns differ from tabby cats.
This breed of feline is a combination of the Asian leopard cat and domesticated cats. The idea behind this unique breed was to achieve a combination of wild and tame. The hair coat is the initial giveaway to spotting a Bengal.
The exotic markings and silky coat are obviously different than that of a typical domestic cat. Some Bengals contain spots known as rosettes which are darker outlined circular marks that give off the appearance of a jaguar. Typically, Bengals without rosettes appear to look more like a leopard.
The most common colors for this breed are snow marble, silver rosettes, blue rosettes, and brown rosettes. The snow colored cats can be referred to as a seal point color and usually have some type of Siamese in their genetics.
The more rare Bengals are known as melanistic and are very dark in coat color. This means their spots can only be seen in certain lighting. These cats are similar to a panther. In all other colors except the melanistic, it is desired to have a white stomach.
Male Bengals usually weigh about 10-15 pounds and females 8-12 pounds. A unique fact about this breed is that they have a thumbprint-sized patch of shorter hairs on their ears and this can also be seen in most tabby cats. Bengals will also have a pattern that appears to be in an "M" shape on their forehead. The back of the Bengal should look arched as typically their back legs are longer than the front.
Behavior wise, this breed will require a lot of attention and needs constant entertainment as they do share some instinctual behaviors similar to that of wild cats. Bengals are usually very vocal and will make it clear if there is something out of place or if the litterbox needs to be cleaned. Sometimes they will bond more so with one person in the household and can be very affectionate. Many owners leash train their Bengals with harnesses so they can go for walks. In addition to their many quirks, Bengals are very curious about water and enjoy drinking from the faucet.
It is always very important to consider a registered, reputable breeder when adopting a Bengal cat. Their lifespan is the same of a domestic cat – 14-16 years. Because they are a pedigree breed, the Bengal cat is more prone to heart disease and chronic anemias. It is recommended that they be seen for regular health checks and routine vaccine protocols as is in all animals.
Being a breed that has wild instincts, it is highly recommended to keep your Bengal inside. As with most cats, their life expectancy will be greater if they stay indoors.
Overall, this breed is a huge reward as far as beauty and personality, but also a big commitment as far as time invested and financial demands.