With its distinctive spotted fur and large size, the Bengal looks like a wildcat on the hunt, but while one of its ancestors is the small, wild Asian leopard cat, it is a domestic cat through and through.
Bengals get their name from the scientific name of the Asian leopard cat, Felis bengalensis. They were created through crosses between an Asian leopard cat - which was available in pet stores through the 1950s and into the 1960s - and domestic shorthair cats. Jean Mill, a California breeder, was the first to make such a cross, but not because she wanted to create a new breed. She had bought a leopard cat and let her run a black cat company so she would not be alone. Not thinking that the two species would mate, to her surprise, kittens appeared and Mill held a spotted female. Her mating with her father gave birth to a litter of spotted and firm kittens.
About the same time, Dr. Willard Centerwall Asian leopard cats with domestic cats at Loyola University. The leopard cats were resistant to the feline leukemia virus, so the researchers wanted to see if the trait could be transferred to hybrid offspring.
Various breeders were interested in the development of cats as a breed. Mill was one of them. Changes in her life had made her give up cat breeding, but she was ready to start over. She had some from Dr. Centerwall procured hybrids and looked for suitable males to breed. One was an orange domestic card hair cat she had found in India everywhere, and the other was a brown-spotted cat she had bought from an animal shelter. Bengals are now considered the same as domestic cats, and all purchased Bengals should be at least four generations from all ancestors from wild bloodlines.
The first cat association to recognize Bengal was the International Cat Association, which gave the breed experimental status in 1983, followed by full recognition in 1991. Bengal is also supported by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Canadian Cat Association and the United Feline recognized organization.
Bengal cats are so popular that a British woman paid over $ 50,000 for her Bengal cat in 1990 and called her "Rolls Royce" for cat friends.
This is a medium to large cat. Bengals weigh eight to 15 pounds or more.
Bengal is very active and very intelligent. He's fun to live with, but he can be challenging at times. On the whole, Bengal is a confident, talkative and friendly cat who is always alert. Nothing escapes his attention. He enjoys playing games, including downloading, and is a master at learning tricks. His agile paws are almost as good as hands, and it's good that he does not have opposing thumbs or that he would probably rule the world. Bored Bengal cats can also adopt some unconventional (and somewhat destructive) habits, including: turning lights on and off, fishing seals from drains, and excitedly picking up CDs from your DVD player.
Bengal loves to play in the water and is not about to jump back in the tub or bathe in the shower with you. Aquariums and pond fish can be threatened by their smart paws. He also likes to climb and often sits on the highest point of the house. A large scratching post or two is a must for this cat, as are puzzle toys that challenge their intelligence.
On the rare occasion that he does not swing on chandeliers or swim in your pool, the loving Bengal will be happy to sit on your lap. It goes without saying that he will share your bed. And yes, he steals the covers.
Both pedigree and mixed breed cats have different frequencies of health problems that can be genetic. Bengals are generally healthy, but the following diseases have been observed in the breed:
- Distal neuropathy, a disorder of the nervous system that causes weakness. In Bengal, it can occur as early as 1 year of age. Fortunately, many cats recover on their own, although some may relapse.
- Flat-chested feline syndrome, a deformity that can range from mild to severe. Kittens that survive adulthood usually show no signs when they reach maturity.
- Hip dysplasia, which in severe cases can lead to lameness
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is inherited in some races.
- Patellar dislocation, an inherited dislocation of the patella that can range from mild to severe. Severe cases can be relieved by surgery.
- Progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye disease.
The short, thick coat of Bengal is easy to groom by combing it every week to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. A bath is rarely necessary.
Brush their teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Cut their nails every two weeks. Wipe the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so that you do not risk spreading an infection. Check their ears every week. If they look dirty, wipe them with a cotton ball or a soft, damp cloth dampened with a 50-50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the inside of the ear.
Keep the litter box completely clean. Bathroom hygiene is very important for cats, and a dirty drawer can cause them to move to other places around the house instead.
It is a good idea to keep a Bengal cat as an indoor single cat to protect it from diseases transmitted by other cats, attacks from dogs or coyotes and other dangers that cats face when walking outdoors, for example. B. to be hit by a car. Keeping him indoors also protects local birds and wildlife from this avid hunter. If possible, build a large outdoor enclosure for your Bengal where he can jump and climb safely. Bengalis who go outdoors also risk being stolen by someone who wants such a beautiful cat without paying for it.
Fur color and grooming
Bengal could never be called sore. He is an athlete: agile and graceful with a strong, muscular body, as befits a cat that seems to belong in the jungle. Its broad head is a modified wedge shape, longer than it is wide, with rounded contours. Above it are medium to small ears that are relatively short and lie on the side of the head. Large oval eyes are almost round. A long, muscular neck connects the head to the body. The body is supported by medium-length legs, slightly longer than the front, with large, round paws. A thick, medium-length tail tapers at the end and is tipped black. When a Bengal turns around, you can see that another feature is a spotted stomach.
The wild appearance of bengals is enhanced by a short, thick coat that is luxuriously soft and silky to the touch. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns, including Brown Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, Black Silver Tabby and Seal Silver Lynx Point. The coat may be random or mottled in horizontal patterns, or it may be marbled with horizontal stripes randomly arranged on a lighter background. Some Bengals have what is described as "glittering" fur. The coat shimmers in the light as if it were covered with gold dust.
Children and other pets
Active and social Bengal is the perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He plays pick-up like any other retriever, learns tricks easily and loves the children's attention who treats him politely and respectfully. He is smart enough to avoid toddlers, but loves school children because they can handle his energy and curiosity. Nothing scares him, especially dogs, and he will be happy to be friends with them if they do not cause him any problems. Always introduce pets, including other cats, slowly and in a controlled environment.
Like many active cats, Bengal has a high prey and should not be entrusted with smaller prey such as hamsters, smaller rabbits and guinea pigs.
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