How to Care for a Bengal Cat
The Domestic Bengal Cat Is a Unique Breed
Do you own, or are you thinking about getting a domestic Bengal cat?
This breed of house pet is both beautiful and unique. Caring for a Bengal cat is different in several respects than for ordinary domestic shorthair cats.
We have owned a Bengal, but its inherently wild nature, combined with our busy lives resulted in a cat that was bored and longed to be outside. Once Romeo got more freedom, it was hard to convince him to come back into the house. We would see him every few weeks, roaming around outside, but our pet just didn't want to be a cuddly member of the family.
The right owner/family can be a perfect fit for this breed.
First, they are quite smart and entertaining. Second, they are remarkably healthy and require little, if any grooming. Finally, they are actually more dog-like in nature than other domestic breeds. Bengals will walk on a leash, love to be trained, and they love to take baths and play fetch!
The beauty of the domestic Bengal cat is simply undeniable. Keep reading to learn more about this breed and how to care for a Bengal cat.
Make Sure You Get a Bengal Cat From a Reputable Breeder
Bengal cats have such unique characteristics, both with regard to appearance and behavior, that you will want to ensure you get a Bengal from a reputable breeder.
When the coat of a Bengal cat does not come out at show quality, some Bengal kittens may be available at a much-reduced price. If you are not going to show your cat, you can still enjoy the benefits of a Bengal's personality, provided that the breeding stock is of high quality. As you can see in the photo to the right, our Romeo's coat is not as rich and beautiful as the photo above. Yet, he has all the characteristics of a Bengal cat's personality and health.
Be sure to research ahead of time to purchase only from a reputable Bengal cat breeder. This person or organization will provide a written health guarantee, can demonstrate optimum cattery conditions, and should belong to professional associations. You can generally tell by the condition of the grounds and the breeder's personality, whether they love cats and wish to ensure the highest quality kittens are available.
Better yet, check to see if there are Bengal cat rescue organizations in the area. Volunteers are usually quite knowledgeable about the breed. Take added pleasure in knowing that you adopted a rescue cat.
About the Bengal Cat Breed
In a related article, I set forth the following information about the Bengal Cat Breed, which has been recognized as a registered breed since 1984:
The Bengal breed is fully domesticated, although it was originally bred from a cross between an Asian Leopard Cat (a small, wild cat that lives in forests) and a "regular" domestic cat breed such as Abyssinian, American Shorthair, or Burmese. Now, only its markings are wild-looking. To be accepted for registration by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), The International Cat Association (TICA) or the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), a Bengal Cat must be at least four generations (F-4) away from its Asian Leopard Cat ancestor. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) considers Bengals to be "wild," however, and will not accept them for showing or registration.
Despite their name, Bengal cats are not related to Bengal Tigers. They are not unusually large, wild or dangerous. Heritage is one aspect of Bengal cats. Not only do they generally have beautiful, velvet-soft coats, but they are more active, affectionate, and engaged than other domesticated cats.
If you want the ease of cat ownership with the companionship of a dog, consider this breed.
What Makes Bengal Cats Different?
Compared with ordinary domestic cats, Bengal cats differ in the following ways, which means that you must approach caring for this breed in a unique manner:
- Physiology: Bengal cats are "made" differently than their other domestic cat cousins. The shape of their face and their ears have an exotic appearance. They are generally stronger and more athletic than other cat breeds, too.
- Love of water: A cat that loves to play in water or even swim? Unbelievable, right? Yet, Bengal cats are renowned for their love of the water. They may even jump into the bathtub or shower with you!
- Level of activity: These cats are high energy! Plus they are extremely bright and engaging. Forget what you might think about lazy cats, lounging around all day. If you are thinking about getting a Bengal cat, be sure to plan to engage them, so they do not get bored and potentially destructive!
- 4Loyalty: This is my favorite trait of the Bengal cat. They are very affectionate, friendly, and loyal. Not your typical effective pet. A Bengal will greet you and interact with you much like a dog.
- Trainability: Bengals are very trainable because they are smart, agile, and loyal. Just watch the first video above. Can you believe a cat that can be trained to roll over, walk on hind legs and heel next to its owner?
- Appearance: One look at a Bengal, and you know you are seeing an exotic cat breed. Their amazingly soft coat is adorned with "wild markings" such as rosettes, sots and stripes.
Information on the Bengal Cat Breed
Caring for a Bengal Cat
You are probably familiar with the different needs of various breeds of dogs. For example, Labs need to run, Terriers are excitable and like to bark and dig, Beagles tend to howl and may be neurotic.
Now, apply that thinking to various breeds of cats. Granted, there is not quite as pronounced a difference among domestic cat breeds. Yet, with a cat as unique as a Bengal, you will want to consider the following tips when integrating them into your home:
- Bengals need plenty of exercise, but it's not necessarily safe to let them roam free outdoors. Fortunately, they walk well on a leash and harness. As you would with a dog, walk your Bengal cat for 10–20 minutes morning and night.
- Consider the high activity level and intelligence of a Bengal cat, and purchase interactive toys, such as a laser light. You will need to play with your cat, even after walking it, for at least 1/2 hour morning and night.
- Engage the cat with water. Bengals love to get into sinks, showers, and tubs.
- Train your Bengal cat either by yourself or with professional instruction. This will also help meet their activity and intelligence needs
- A Bengal cat does not need special food, grooming, or veterinary care. In fact, experts say that they are generally healthier than other domestic cats and are not susceptible to feline leukemia
Would you Own a Bengal Cat?
© 2012 Stephanie Marshall