The Bengal derives its name from Felis Bengalensis, the wild Asian Leopard Cat. The Bengal breed is a hybrid originating from crossing the small forest dwelling leopard with the domestic cat. Bengals must be four generations removed from their wild ancestors to be recognised. As a result the Bengal is unique retaining those wild and natural traits of the untamed cat combined with the gentle and affectionate disposition that we love in the domestic cat. The Asian Leopard Cat is hunted for its fur and body parts which are still used for native medicines. A major reason behind the beginning of the Bengal was to create awareness and educate people about animal protection. The theory was that if you owned a pet that resembled a leopard, you would think twice before wearing its fur.
Bengals love water which is a trait that they have retained from their wild ancestors. The Asian Leopard Cat is a fishing cat. So don’t be surprised if one ends up in your kitchen sink with you when you’re washing the dishes or jumps into the bath with you. Bengals often play with their water bowls and drop toys in them.
They are energetic and playful and are described as “dog like”. This is because they love to play chasings, they fetch and retrieve toys and are loyal, affectionate and want attention. Our children love to throw toys to our little boy Born To Fame and watch him fetch them and carry the toys in his mouth back to them just like a dog. One of our little girls, Madonna Lily loves to hunt and chase the family and pounce on top of them. At the same time she is very gentle when she plays, no aggression is displayed. She is so sweet and loves cuddles, she is definitely our number one lap leopard.
Because of their intelligence Bengals are easy to train, they are talkative, free spirited and have no problem in letting you know what they want. Be careful though, they are not easily intimidated and may soon win you over to become the dominant member of your family! We love our Bengals but soon enough our Bengals were becoming the boss. We knew we had to put our foot down and we agreed that sharing our beds was too much. However we lost this battle quickly. It’s difficult to set ground rules when they are so endearing.
Bengals also make great companions for adults, children and animals. Unlike other cats, they socialise and play with each other so you don’t have to limit yourself to one. Bengals make perfect pets for children because they never tire of playing. They don’t run away from kids like other cat breeds that only want to sleep and be left alone. They also get along remarkably well with dogs. We got a little worried when our little girl Danika Ice adopted our dog as her play mate. We were worried about his reaction to her since he is a Rotty cross Labrador but they quickly became good friends. Bengals are not at all afraid of dogs. Sometimes we think that they believe that they are actually leopards not cats and are invincible.
Bengals are a medium to large cat. They are recognised in 3 colours, the browns, silvers and snows. They have two distinct types of pattern, spotted and marbled. Their background colours are white to ivory and light golden to ginger. Their spots are black to grey and brown to ginger. They can be rosetted with two toned rosettes in many shapes such as arrow heads, paw prints, horse shoe and doughnuts or black outlined circles with rusty centres. They have an incredibly soft and silky pelt and can be glittered giving them a superior shine. They also have a very tight coat. When breeding Bengals it is recommended to stay true to the wild and exotic look of the Asian Leopard Cat with its incredible array of colours and contrast.
It is difficult to understand just how special this breed is until you own one, after you experience the thrill for yourself, one probably won’t be enough. Our Bengals are very dear to our hearts, they give us hours of hilarious entertainment with their wild antics and shower us with love and affection. Our little girl Madonna Lily likes to kill her food first before eating it, we guess she doesn’t realise the ground work has already been done for her. There really is no other breed of cat as unique and special as the Bengal. We hope that you enjoyed reading about the Bengal and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.