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Bengal Cat

Bengal Cat

Descended from Asian Leopard Cats, Prionailurus bengalensis, the Bengal is a wild looking cat, who has an energetic and affectionate heart. 

The Bengal breed originated in the USA, when cat fancier Jean Mill crossed an Asian Leopard Cat (which at that time were sold in pet stores) with a domestic cat. The resultant hybrids were bred to eventually form the Bengal cat we know today. Most recognised cat associations require that the Bengal is at least four generations removed from any of the wild ancestors, so the Bengal cat is rather removed from his wild roots. 

They are a muscular, large cat weighing up to 6kgs. The coat colours are typically brown and spotted, seal lynx point, sepia, silver, and mink spotted tabby. They have a life expectancy of around 10 to 17 years.

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Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

USA, 1970’s 

Size 

20 to 30cms,  3 to 6kgs

Weight Range

3 to 6kgs

Colours

Brown Spotted, Seal Lynx Point (snow), sepia, silver, and mink spotted Tabby 

Life expectancy

10 to 17 years

Coat

Short, minimal brushing required

Temperament 

Active, playful, affectionate 

Exercise requirements

High 

Best suited for 

Singles, couples, families 

Apartment Friendly

Yes 

Personality 

Bengals are active cats who tend to like water. They enjoy human company and are generally a prominent member of the household. Bengals typically love playtime which helps keep them fit and healthy. Be sure to provide your Bengal with plenty of cat trees and toys to play with.

Grooming 

With a short sometimes rough coat, they don’t need a lot of grooming, but gentle, regular brushing helps to remove shedding fur as well as helps you to bond with your cat. You may not notice your cat scratching like you would with a dog, but the cat flea "Ctenocephalides felis" is the most common flea found on both dogs and cats. So, make sure your kitty is on flea and tick control all year round to prevent these nasty parasites. 

Feeding

When choosing a food for your Bengal, select a premium food appropriate to your cat's age and life stage. As Bengal’s can have urinary tract problems, consider foods that include urinary tract protection. Ensure that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size to help avoid obesity and ensure your fur baby gets appropriate nutrition. 

Common Health Concerns 

According to PetSure data from 2019, the five most common reasons for a Bengal cat to visit the vet (excluding for routine visits like vaccinations) are as follows:

Feline Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is an inherited disease in Bengal cats. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy the heart muscle becomes abnormally thickened, impairing heart function. 

Traumatic accidents are also common in this breed. It may be possible to help your Bengal cat avoid outdoor accidents by keeping them indoors or in a suitable cat friendly enclosure. 

Most common pet insurance claims for this breed, (PetSure data, 2019) 

Rank

Condition

Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment
(highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

1

Traumatic accident/fracture

$400

$5,300

2

Gastrointestinal tract conditions

$352

$4,083

3

Respiratory tract condition
(including feline asthma)

$429

$2,930

4

Urinary tract disease

$323

$1,832

5

Cancer 

$499

$3,671

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Bengal names

According to PetSure data from 2019, the post popular names for Bengal cats were:

  1. Loki
  2. Cleo
  3. Hunter
  4. Koko
  5. Luna
  6. Mia
  7. Milo
  8. Nala
  9. Pepper
  10. Willow

Most popular female names

  1. Cleo
  2. Koko
  3. Luna
  4. Mia
  5. Nala
  6. Willow
  7. Amber
  8. Asha
  9. Chloe
  10. Georgie

Most popular male names

  1. Loki
  2. Hunter
  3. Pepper
  4. Alfie
  5. Arlo
  6. Dexter
  7. Bob
  8. Chester
  9. Dexter
  10. Flynn

Did you know?

The ancestor of the Bengal, the Asian Leopard cat is noted on the US Endangered Species list. In China, Myanmar and Thailand they are hunted for fur as well as for sale as pets.

Where can I get a Bengal? 

Your local animal shelter or rescue organisation is the best place to look for a cat as shelters generally have many cats looking for loving homes. It may also be possible to find a Bengal cat through a breed specific rescue organisation. 

References

  1. Cat Fanciers Association, The Bengal, Accessed on 26/10/20
  2. VetStreet, Bengal, Accessed on 26/10/20
  3. Wikipedia, Bengal Cat, Accessed on 26/10/20
  4. Wikipedia, Leopard Cat, Accessed on 26/10/20

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka