The name Bengal is a derivative of the Asian leopard Felis Bengalensis. In 1963, An American scientist named Jean S. Mill adopted this leopard breed to keep her company. Soon after, she adopted a tomcat to keep her Asian companion company. The result? Much to her surprise, the birth of a crossbreed between the Asian leopard and the tomcat. This first-generation hybrid of wild cats led to other generations of semi-wild cats known as Bengals. By the 8th generation, the Bengal cat was already considered a fully domesticated, good-natured, and affectionate cat. However, it was not until 1985 that Jean S. Mill participated in her first cat show after the Bengal cat was recognized by the International Cat Association (TICA).
This muscular cat is distinctive because of its medium to large size and coat. The Bengal coal carries the rosettes common among leopards; thus, no two Bengals look alike. Baby Bengals have fewer markings – a trait inherited from leopards whose babies lack the spots to help them camouflage against predators. Nonetheless, the Bengal cat coat is very silky and soft to touch. Also, Bengals come in many colors, including marbled patterns, black silver, brown tabby, and seal varieties. Even though the male is more muscular than the female, both have a firm bone structure that makes the Bengal cat less delicate than other breeds.
Don’t be fooled by its wild appearance; the Bengal cat is an adorable creature that loves to be around people and is full of life. Bengals are energetic, playful, and very friendly with curiosity to boot. These cats tend to form very loyal and affectionate connections with their families, as long as you provide the love and freedom they need in return. Expect to find this athletic, curious, and brilliant animal climbing towards the highest points in your home, turning your light switches off and on, flushing toilets, or opening doors. Some even rearrange things if they are in disarray. Expect to find your Bengal bathing in the toilet water or playfully spending time under the running faucet water, so keep these areas closed.
Bengals can live to 16 years or longer since they generally have no outstanding inherited diseases. However, get a comprehensive health history about your Bengal cat before adoption to ensure you are well aware of any health issues upfront. Cats that live in high-density facilities can be prone to feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Also, feed your Bengals a diet rich in proteins, the right fat content, and moisture like you would find in fish.