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Breed Profile: Bengal Cats

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Bengal Cats

History

The Bengal cat was only introduced to the UK very recently, having been bred in America during the seventies. Bengals were first developed by crossing Asian Leopard Cats with domestic tabbies which produced first generation hybrid females. Other breeds were then introduced into the mix which included the Burmese, Egyptian Mau and Abyssinian with an end goal of widening the breed’s gene pool.

Care and Characteristics

Bengals are smart, energetic and playful and make great family cats. They  are active and very inquisitive cats that love to be up high and enjoy chasing, climbing and investigating.

There are two distinct Bengal types; Spotted Bengals and Marbled Bengals. Spotted Bengals have a distinct letter “M” on their foreheads found above their outlined eyes. They have a complex scarab marking on each side of their heads with broken spots or streaks running down their necks and over their shoulders before they turn into “rosettes.” These are made up of part of a circle of spots found around a lighter coloured center. Their under bellies can be spotted and their legs can also have broken horizontal spots and/or lines on them. A Bengal’s tail has rings, spots and/or streaks along the whole length with a dark, solid colour at the tip.

Marbled Bengals spectacles extend to vertical streaks outlined by the letter “M” on their forehead, with broken streaks that run on either side of a complex scarab marking and over their heads right down to their necks and then onto their shoulders. The patterns in their coats are well defined, but not symmetrical which is how cats get their “marbled” look. They can also have spots or broken horizontal lines on their legs. Their tails can be ringed, spotted and/or marbled along the entire length of the tail and always have a solid dark tip.

Health

The average life expectancy of a Bengal is between 12 to 16 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.

Bengals are known to be a healthy breed. They do have a few health issues that are occasionally seen and worth knowing about when thinking of sharing a home with one of these cats. The health issues that have been occasionally reported in the breed are as follows:

  • Flat Chested Kitten Syndrome (FCKS)
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Pyruvate kinase deficiency – Breeders should have stud cats DNA tested
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – Breeders should have stud cats tested
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Shedding and Grooming

With their short to medium length coat that’s extremely dense, soft and luxurious to the touch, Bengals need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. Breeders often claim that Bengals are a hypoallergenic breed and one less likely to cause an allergic reaction, as they produce lower levels of allergens.

Breed Profile: Bengal

  • Size: Large (4.5kg to 9kg)
  • Life Span: up to 16 years
  • Colour: Brown spotted, marble or snow spotted
  • Grooming: Regular brushing
  • Health: Generally healthy

Breed Traits

Chatty | Playful |Affectionate| Energetic | Active | Intelligent | Loyal | loveable | Sociable

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By Melissa Pickburn

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