The Bengal cat is a truly unique cat breed that attracts many people due to its exotic appearance and friendly personality. One of the most common questions about the Bengal cat breed is whether or not they actually make good pets.
It has been noted by many Bengal owners that their cats tend to do very well with children and other pets, especially when they have been properly introduced to them. This can make Bengal cats great pets even for people with families. However, this mainly applies to Bengals with mostly domestic genes. Foundation Bengals are not recommended for most cat owners.
In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the Bengal breed and explaining whether or not they make good pets.
This includes answering whether or not Bengals do well with children, dogs, and other cats. Let’s get into it!
History Of The Bengal Cat
The Bengal cat actually has a fairly long and interesting history. Bengal cats were originally a cross between the wild Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat.
Although there have been Bengal hybrids for as early as the 1800s, the first official breeding program really began in the early 1980s.
This breeding program was a joint venture between Dr. Willard Centerwall and Jean Sugden Mill in the United States. These two people did have different interests when creating this hybrid breed though.
Dr. Centerwall was interested in breeding Bengal cats because they seemed to be immune to the Feline Leukemia Virus.
He got his idea to create a domestic cat and Asian Leopard cat crossbreed in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, this is untrue, and Bengal cats can in fact get Feline Leukemia.
Therefore, it is still a good idea to take some precautions to prevent your Bengal cat from coming into contact with the Feline Leukemia Virus.
Although Jean Mill was not very interested in Feline Leukemia, she was interested in breeding a cat that has exotic looks but the temperament of a domestic cat.
This cat breeder worked alongside Dr. Centerwall to discover if they could reach both of their goals.
The Bengal Cat’s history does not end there though. The breed was first accepted by the International Cat Association in 1983, and it gained championship status in 1991.
Bengal Cat Characteristics
The Bengal cat is famous for having some very unique and interesting characteristics such as looking like a leopard!
Bengal Cat Appearance
The Bengal cat is a beautiful cat that has a striking and wild appearance. This makes them very popular among those who enjoy cats that have a bit more of an exotic look.
Here we will go into what the Bengal cat is supposed to look like.
Bengal Cat Size
The Bengal is a medium to large cat. Bengal cats tend to be around 8 to 15 pounds, but they can sometimes be heavier than 15 pounds. Male Bengals tend to be larger and heavier than females.
Bengal Cat Head and Body Shape
Bengal cats have a sleek and muscular frame with long hind legs. This makes the Bengal incredibly agile and adept at jumping and running.
It is important to mention that Bengal cats that are more closely related to the wild Asian Leopard Cat tend to be larger, while those with more domestic cat genes tend to be closer in size to the average house cat.
When it comes to their head shape Bengals have a round head with large ears. This unique head and ear shape are mostly thanks to the Bengal cats’ wild ancestors.
Bengal Cat Coat Patterns, Colors, and Type
Bengal cats are famous for their silky and unique-looking coats. This coat is short and very fine, and it should be silky soft to the touch.
All Bengal cats have a spotted tabby coat pattern, but this spotted tabby pattern can come in a variety of coat colors. This includes the darker brown tabby and the light silver snow Bengal.
Bengal Cat Temperament
The Bengal is one of those cat breeds that are famous for being very playful and social. Bengals love to play and run around the house, and they are also not known to be overly shy around strangers.
In addition to being very playful and outgoing, the Bengal is also known to be a very intelligent breed.
Some Bengal cat owners will even train their cat some tricks in the same way that you would for a dog.
Are Bengal Cats Dangerous?
Bengal cats are probably no more dangerous than regular cats if trained properly from when they are a kitten.
So just because your Bengal cat looks like a leopard does not mean they are one!
Bengals can be territorial in nature and that may be interpreted wrong by some. Also, they are predator cats and are known to like to hunt birds and mice.
Don’t trust them alone around your pet hamster or guinea pig!
Will My Bengal Cat Bite Me?
Yes, a Bengal cat (just like any cat) could bite you. Sometimes a cat will bite you just because they are playing or bored.
Bengal cats are high-energy animals and biting could result so be careful and thoughtful.
Do keep an eye out though for erratic behavior. Lashing out at you or viciously trying to bite you are different scenarios and should be taken seriously.
Always call your veterinarian if you see unusual or undesired behavior from your cat.
Bengal Cat Grooming Requirements
The Bengal cat has a beautiful silky coat that gives them a wild look and makes them a truly unique pet.
The good news is that the Bengal cat’s coat is also relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming.
The Bengal has a very short coat that should be silky to the touch, and it is not prone to any matting or tangling.
Still, a short weekly brushing will keep your Bengal cat’s coat looking shiny and smooth.
Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic?
Many Bengal cat enthusiasts will tell you that a Bengal cat is hypoallergenic. Good news! Be advised though if you are allergic to cats you may still have a problem around a Bengal cat.
Do Bengal Cats Shed?
Bengal cats are known for not shedding much at all.
Bengal Cat Exercise Needs
Bengals are known to be active cats that have high energy needs. It is recommended that Bengal owners give this active breed plenty of opportunities to play and climb.
Due to their high energy levels, many Bengal cat owners even train their Bengals to walk on a leash.
Of course, having at least one tall cat tree and plenty of interactive cat toys is a must when owning a Bengal cat.
In fact, owners of multiple Bengals may want to have a couple of cat trees to provide enough space for their cats to climb and sit in high places.
Bengal Cat Diet
Bengal cat’s diets are the same as any other domestic cat. They need a well-balanced diet high in protein which is mainly derived from meat.
Do Bengal Cats Eat Raw Meat?
Yes, they can and do eat raw meat! Make sure you feed your Bengal cat professionally prepared cat food that is approved by your veterinarian.
Don’t be surprised if your Bengal cat comes home with a mouse or bird one day!
Your cat’s food should be served at room temperature. You don’t want to give them cold food straight from the refrigerator or hot food you heated up in the microwave as it may burn their mouth or throat.
Bengal Cat Health Issues
Like all other breeds of cats, the Bengal is unfortunately prone to some health issues.
Some medical conditions that Bengal cats tend to be diagnosed with include but are not limited to:
- Feline infectious peritonitis
- Hip dysplasia
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- A variety of eye conditions including progressive retinal atrophy
- Dental problems
- Thyroid problems
Unfortunately, this means that some Bengal owners may need to spend a lot of money on veterinary care for their pet cat.
The best way to ensure that your new pet is as healthy as possible is to get one from a reputable breeder.
Are Bengal Cats Good With Children?
Bengal cats are known to do fairly well with children. This is especially true when it comes to older children, as they will likely enjoy playing with these energetic and intelligent cats.
Bengal cats tend to do fairly well around young children as well, but it is also recommended that young children are never left unsupervised with a cat.
This is for both the child’s safety and the cat’s safety.
Are Bengal Cats Good With Other Cats?
Bengal cats can behave well around other cats, especially when they have been well socialized from an early age.
This early socialization with other cats is crucial because Bengals can be very territorial when around other cats when they haven’t been properly socialized with them.
Due to their unique personalities and incredibly energetic nature, most Bengal cats tend to get along best with other Bengals.
However, they can learn to get along with other types of cats when properly introduced to them.
Are Bengal Cats Good With Dogs?
Although it may be surprising to some people, Bengals are actually some of the most dog-friendly cats around.
Many Bengals enjoy playing with dogs and even snuggling up with them. Their bold nature does not make them scared of friendly dogs as easily as some other cat breeds either.
Of course, this only applies to cat-friendly dogs. This is because even though the Bengal is a very robust and athletic cat, it can still be severely injured by a dog that does not do well around other cats.
Are Bengal Cats Good With Small Pets?
Unfortunately, Bengal cats do not tend to do well around small animals.
This is mainly thanks to the Bengal cat’s high prey drive, and it means that any small pets should be kept well out of a Bengal’s reach.
This includes small mammals such as hamsters, bunnies, guinea pigs, and small reptiles like small lizards and snakes.
It is essentially a good idea to keep any small pet away from your Bengal cat for the small animal’s safety.
Do Bengal Cats Make Good Pets?
Bengal cats make for a great pet, especially for pet owners looking for an intelligent cat that is sure to keep them on their toes.
If you have children and other pets in the home then it is a good idea to get a Bengal kitten if it is possible.
This way you can ensure that they have been properly socialized with children, dogs, and other cats.
Bengal cat ownership is a wonderful experience that has improved and enriched many people’s lives.
They are one of the most popular breeds of cats for a very good reason, and they fit in well with many homes and families.
Are Bengal Cats Good For Families?
Considering that Bengal cats tend to do well around children, dogs, and other cats the short answer is yes, Bengals are a good match for most families.
Families with multiple people and pets in the home tend to provide the cat with more exercise and mental stimulation, which fits the cat’s needs well.
Additionally, the cat’s high intelligence and energetic nature make for a cat that will interact with many family members and enjoy playing with children.
Early socialization is recommended for homes with other cats. Overall, Bengal cats make for a great family pet.
What Are Foundation Bengal Cats?
Foundation Bengals are Bengal cats that are half prionailurus bengalensis (wild Asian Leopard Cat) and half domestic cat.
Sometimes this term also refers to cats that are 25% wild cat and 75% domestic cat.
Considering how much of their DNA is from exotic cats, these should generally be treated like small wild cats.
Are Foundation Bengal Cats Good Pets?
Due to the fact that foundation Bengals essentially have the temperament of a wild cat, many foundation Bengals that need to be rehomed end up in a wildcat sanctuary.
It is safe to say that foundation Bengals do not tend to make good house pets, and many people with these small wild cats keep them in a large outdoor enclosure.
As a result, foundation Bengals are not recommended for most cat owners, even if they are long-time cat owners of normal cats.
Related Bengal Cat Questions
How Much Does a Bengal Kitten Cost?
When getting a Bengal kitten from a reputable breeder in the United States you can expect to pay at least $1,000 to $1,500.
When it comes to a show-quality Bengal kitten you will likely pay more than $1,500, especially if you are planning to breed them in the future.
Are Bengal Cats Good Indoor Cats?
Yes, Bengals make for great indoor cats. In fact, it is strongly advised that you do not let your Bengal cat roam free outdoors.
This is mainly out of concern for local wildlife, which can be reduced when Bengal cats are allowed to hunt.
In addition to this, inside of your home or a secure outdoor area is the safest place for your Bengal, even if they look like a jungle cat.
Are Bengal Cats High Maintenance?
Bengal cats do tend to be high-energy cats that require a decent amount of exercise and mental stimulation.
Although this may make them high maintenance to some people, Bengals also have very low grooming needs.
This means that it really depends on what your definition of high-maintenance cats is.
Bengal cats make for excellent pets overall. This is especially true if you are looking for an active cat that has a playful and friendly personality.
Additionally, Bengal cats tend to do very well with children and other pets. However, this is for Bengal cats today, which are mostly domesticated and act as domestic cats.
Due to their wild nature, foundation Bengals are not for the faint of heart and do not make good pets.