Bengal Cat Characteristics: What to Consider Before Buying
The Bengal cat is still considered a relatively new breed of domestic cat. Many have heard of the breed and are curious regarding its characteristics and breeding, especially because Bengal cats are not cheap cats to buy.
Indeed, you can pay thousands of pounds for a Bengal—and before you part with your money, you are best advised to know what it is you are paying for.
Basic Facts About Bengal Cats
Despite its name, the Bengal cat is not a tiger. Nor is it a leopard—mini or otherwise. It's a domestic cat, simple. Granted, it is a very exotic-looking one, but it is not a miniature wild cat. It will not behave like a tiger, and if you're only looking to buy one because you fancy owning a mini-wild cat, please think again.
Every year, people buy Bengals then abandon them or turn them in at animal shelters. And usually because they buy one for all the wrong reasons. And now that I've got that little nugget of advice out of the way, here are a few facts, a general overview, for the unititiated:
- You feed them the same thing you'd feed any other domestic cat: cat food.
- They're supremely intelligent.
- They're also very active and demanding.
- They're usually vocal and noisy.
- They are predatory and territorial.
- They're incredibly loving.
- They're loyal and trainable.
And now that we've covered a few basics—on to the most frequently asked question: how much?!
There is a lot of Bengal cat information available on the Internet. A lot of it is honest, just as much is spurious rubbish that serves only to do a couple of things:
- Increase sales of the breed by questionable breeders.
- Cloud the waters as to the breed profile and characteristics.
I dislike finding information that promotes Bengals for the wrong reasons. It really is a beautiful animal in its own right, but the continuation of irresponsible promotion doesn't do the breed, nor inividual Bengals, any favors.
Instead, here's how to do the breed—and yourself—a big favor: Whenever you see a Bengal advertised for sale as a miniature tiger or leopard, walk away.
The information you will read here is factual and realistic. Don't believe the rubbish! Buy a book—I've listed the best ones at the bottom—and fully arm yourself with some factual, in-depth knowledge.
Become informed—not misguided.
Bengal Cats Are Rather Naughty!
A Bengal cat price can range from *£300 upwards, for what would be termed a ‘pet quality’ Bengal. For a show quality, expect to pay in excess of £600 and above. Most Bengal breeders that I’ve encountered in the last 12 years of Bengal ownership will also sell breed quality, though you can expect the price to rise very steeply if that’s what you’re after.
Bengal cats are, for the main, very happy members of the feline family. They are notoriously playful and love nothing better than to pass their time amusing themselves. I’ve yet to meet one that doesn’t play with water for example.
Indeed one of mine rather enjoyed swimming in a neighbour’s pond. And rarely came home without a fish.
*A rough £ to $ conversion will give roughly the US price.
Bengals Can Jump!
The Bengal cat personality also involves incredible acrobatics and nefarious predation. If you don’t want your cat to decimate the local small wildlife population, then I’d advise you to buy another less predatory breed.
Conversely, one aspect of their personality that I’ve always found rather endearing is their interaction with humans. They're incredibly affectionate and always appear to bond well with their owners.
Any Bengal is talkative at best and most develop a way of communicating their needs to their owners via a range of cat calls and meowing.
They also like to follow their owners around, greet them at the door and will even go for a walk with you if allowed.
I remain of the opinion that Bengals are more like dogs than their fellow feline cousins.
Before You Buy
If you want to buy a Bengal cat, a little information will come in handy prior to purchasing one. If you do decide to buy one, and you’ve never owned one before, I’d certainly recommend that you inform yourself as to what to look for in a kitten and certainly visit at least three different Bengal breeders.
No Bengal breeder should part with a kitten before it's 13 weeks of age. All Bengal kittens should be feeding well on solids and litter trained.
Also check the pedigree and make sure your Bengal kitten’s correctly registered with the GCCF. Further, all reputable breeders will ensure that their kittens are vaccinated, wormed, and temporarily insured.
Personally, as a Bengal cat owner of some years, I have no problem recommending anyone to think about Bengals as a future pet. But – do your homework first.