The Bengal cat looks very exotic, resembling a miniature leopard. Many people want to have such a pet, but keeping cats of this breed requires a lot of responsibility, and their character is not suitable for every person. These are extremely graceful and attractive animals, and the breed is very popular all over the world.
Origin of the breed
Bengals are a selection product, they are a hybrid of various domestic cats (mainly Burmese and Mau) and a wild Bengal cat (also called Far Eastern). The latter are distributed throughout the Asian part of the world and resemble the leopard in color, but are much smaller in size.
The origin of the current domestic
Bengal cats is associated with the name of the American biologist and geneticist Gene Mill (Sugden). She devoted her whole life to selection, was engaged in scientific and practical development of this problem. It was Mill who in the 60s of the last century acquired a kitten of a wild Bengal cat in Thailand and brought it home to America.
An ordinary black cat lived at the scientist’s house, and as a result, the grown-up Bengal cat brought offspring, which was surprising, since the result of such interspecific crossing turned out to be quite viable. The kitty, named Kin-kin, inherited the unusual exotic color of her mother. Then the geneticist decided to further breed a breed that would have the appearance of wild ancestors, but at the same time was adapted to living next to a person.
Due to some life circumstances, the experiment was interrupted, and the first representative of the hybrid Bengal cats, Kin-kin, died of an illness. Work resumed in the 1980s. Mill continued to breed hybrid offspring of wild leopard and domestic cats. True, there was a problem that occurs in many hybrids: the first three generations of males were sterile. But as a result, at the very beginning of the 90s, Bengal cats for the first time took part in the championship of one of the largest felinological associations in the world.
Today, most organizations of felinologists recognize the breed, standards have been developed, and Bengal cats successfully perform at various exhibitions. Jean Mill managed to achieve her dream: these unusual cats of an extremely exotic color have a gentle, soft and accommodating character.
Representatives of the breed can be of medium or large size, they look like real predators in miniature: a muscular proportional body, keen expressive eyes, strong developed limbs. An adult male can reach a weight of 8-9 kg, females – a little smaller, up to 5-7 kg.
- The head is elongated, the muzzle is powerful, located on the head in proportion.
- The legs are muscular, the paws are powerful, rounded.
- The tail is not very long, round with a rounded tip.
- The eyes are oval, set at a slight angle.
- The color can be any, except for blue, depending on the color. There is a variety of snow-white Bengals, whose eyes are exclusively blue.
- Wide large nose, the lobe of which is slightly upturned. Vibrissa pads stand out well.
- The ears are short, with rounded tips, small in size.
- Bengal cats have a thick, short coat that is silky to the touch.
By accepted standards, Bengal cats can have two types of coat patterns: marbled or spotted (rosette). The outlines of spots, rosettes or marble markings must be clear.
Spots can be of various shapes. It is desirable that the coat on the belly be lighter, a pattern in the form of a necklace is required on the neck, and the same rosettes or rings should be present on the tail, it should end with a black tip.
One of the largest felinological organizations TICA recognizes as standard colors such as charcoal, blue, silver tabby, brown tabby, and also snow (there are three shades – sepia, lynx and mink).
In the process of selection, Bengals acquired two features, called by the terms glitter (radiance) and fuzzy (fluffy, covered with down). The glitter feature has become entrenched in the Bengal breed, although not all representatives can boast such a stunning radiant coat. However, mostly Bengals flaunt silky fur, which really shines and shimmers, as if it was sprinkled with the smallest scattering of sparkles.
Fuzzy is a feature of Bengal kittens, which consists in the fact that at the age of about 1-1.5 months they begin to grow a rather long integumentary coat, which makes them fluffy, and the patterns of the main coat are a little blurry. By 8-9 months, long hair disappears, the kitten becomes the same Bengal: with short hair, on which a clear pattern is clearly visible.
Features of the character of the Bengal cat
By nature, these cats are soft, affectionate, but at the same time they inherited their temperament from wild ancestors. They are very active and love to play and hunt. The instinct of the hunter awakens in them early, kittens simply love racing, chasing, hunting for balls and other toys.
Representatives of this breed are very attached to a person and need to communicate with him. For those who spend a lot of time away from home, starting a Bengal is not recommended. The constant lack of communication with a person will make the animal unhappy, make it shy, avoid touching, hugging and other manifestations of love.
The upbringing of a kitten should start from a very early age, it is especially important to accustom a Bengal cat to hands. If she does not have tactile contacts with a person, then she runs wild very quickly. The cat is able to endure a short separation from the owner, but if it is constantly left for overexposure, for example, due to frequent business trips, then it falls into a stressful state and may completely lose confidence in the person, thinking that it was abandoned.
There is an opinion about the aggressiveness of Bengal cats, but in fact it is not, they just need constant attention and care. They get along well with other representatives of the animal world, they can play with children.
Dangerous for rodents and small birds, which they love to hunt.
If other animals live in an apartment with a Bengal cat, then he quickly becomes the leader of the pack, gains authority, and all animal life in the house becomes subordinate to him.
Maintenance at home, care
A Bengal cat must be vaccinated in a timely manner, treated against ticks and fleas, especially if he walks on the street. You should take your pet to the veterinarian regularly. In general, representatives of this breed are distinguished by excellent health, but it does not interfere with insuring themselves.
Bengal cats, like other breeds, need regular cleaning of the ears, teeth, washing of the eyes, trimming of the claws and combing. Since their hair is not long, you can comb out the Bengal about once every two weeks, using a special comb.
You should also bathe your pet regularly, using special shampoos and balms. Many representatives of this breed tolerate water quite calmly, although they cannot be called their favorite bathing procedure.
Since Bengals are descendants of real predators, they have very strong hunting instincts. If you get a kitten of this breed, then you definitely need to make sure that he has space to play and practice hunting skills.
The Bengal cat needs constant entertainment, so you will have to take care of constantly updating the set of toys. But it must be remembered that the most favorite games for representatives of this breed are with a person, so you should not deprive your pet of attention.
Felinologists do not give clear recommendations on feeding Bengal cats, they can be given both dry food and canned food, as well as arrange a natural diet.
If you feed a cat with “natural food”, then it should be remembered that this beauty has wild predatory animals in her ancestors, so the basis of the daily diet should be meat (about 70-80%).
You can give your pet liver for a change. Also, for health, he needs bones and cartilage, but small ones that he can gnaw. It is often not recommended to feed cats with fish at all, especially boys, as this product contributes to the development of urolithiasis. However, it is quite possible to introduce boneless marine fish into the diet in small quantities (for example, twice a week).
You can also sometimes pamper your pet with quail eggs, Bengal cats love them very much, especially yolks. However, this should be done no more than 1-2 times a week.
You can also feed your pet with industrial feed: dry or canned. Bengal cats have a rather sensitive digestive tract, so experimenting with transfers from one to another is not worth it unless absolutely necessary. This also applies to switching from natural to industrial feed and vice versa. They should be chosen from the same brand, paying attention to the composition, in which the meat component should prevail, and not soy or cereals.
Dry food should be diversified with canned food two or three times a week. When choosing canned food, be sure to pay attention to the composition and fat content. For Bengal cats, the fat content of food should not exceed 20%.
Bengals love cow’s milk, but some individuals may be intolerant to this product. Therefore, introducing milk into the diet of a kitten, it is necessary to monitor how the body absorbs it. Read about whether cats can drink milk. Dairy products are not recommended for this breed.