Bengal cats are a hybrid variety of cats, which are very homely and friendly by nature with a very wild look. They are also very intelligent and alert. Along with being friendly, they are very good at sports. Their distinct features are markings such as spots and rosette. It has very close resemblance to the Asian Leopard Cat and from its taxonomic name was the word ‘Bengal’ derived.
Bengals have an average build. Males weigh up to fifteen pounds and females weigh up to ten pounds. The horizontal lines on the side of their face, which starts from the end of their eyes and go up to the back of their neck, are known as mascara. Their bodies have spotting which is usually rosette or some even have a marbled coat pattern. Bengals with spots, with more than one color, are the ones, which are more in demand. The color of spots varies from rust to chocolate brown to cocoa to gray and black. Their tail, hind legs and fore limbs has symmetrical stripes. Bengals cats win championships in most of the competitions held to award the most exotic pet because of their looks, intelligence and friendly nature.
Bengals are a result of years of selective crossbreeding techniques. Jean Mill of United States developed Bengals in 1970s. They are a hybrid breed created from crossing other breeds of domestic cats like American shorthair, Egyptian maus, ocicat, Abyssinian and other shorthaired pet cats. Basically, they originated by crossing small Asian Leopard cat or ALC and domestic cats. This gives them the wild and exotic look with a friendly nature. Breeders are still working all over the globe to develop more qualities in this breed. The foundation generations of the filial are the first three generations of Bengals. Most of the males of these generations didn’t have the ability to reproduce, where as the females were. After the fifth generation, they were no longer crossbred; instead breeding was done between two Bengal cats.
Presently there are three kinds of Bengal cats available as pets, the Cheetoh, the Toyger, and the Serengeti cat. The Cheetoh are hybrid cats derived by crossing Ocicat and Bengal, to get a breed of spotted cats. The Toyger are hybrid cats, which are produced by crossing domestic pets that results in a cat with stripes. The Serengeti cat has been produced by crossing Siamese or Oriental cats to get a cat that looks like an African Serval.
Based on their patterns they can be named as brown marbled tabby, brown spotted tabby, seal mink marbled tabby, seal mink spotted tabby, seal sepia marbled tabby, seal sepia spotted tabby, seal marbled lynx point, and seal spotted lynx point. Other than the mentioned colors, they also come in blue, grey, and black, but still yet to get recognition across the world in these colors.
Unlike other domestic cats, Bengals get fascinated with running water and are easy to bathe. They get attracted to tap water, shower and instantly jump inside the tub. They are also trained to vocalize so as to interact with their owners. They are good with sports and play hide and seek and also learn games very well. Young ones need human attention and can be bonded with by playing for at least an hour during the day and evening. They are attention seekers and always try to be involved in human activities. They follow their owners, but do not like to be placed on laps.
People who have made their minds to keep Bengals as pet should be aware that they have to spend lots of time with the cat, otherwise it will get bored. And if the cat gets bored it can get frustrated and can trouble a lot. They have a very high energy level, which they need to let out, that can only be done by keeping them occupied with activities. Owners who do not have time to spare should certainly keep Bengals in pairs, so that they can play with each other. But both the Bengals should be given equal attention, otherwise the neglected one tends to become envious of the other.