The first Bengals were created by breeding Asian leopard cats with domestic cats. While documentation of the hybrid reaches back as early as the 1800s, the breed was perfected in the 1980s by Jean Sugden Mill. Over time, breeders like Mill developed a cat that combined the beauty and grace of a wild, forest-dwelling cat with the temperament of a domestic cat.
The threat of getting wet sends most cats clamouring for cover, but not the water-loving Bengal. These frisky felines will gladly drink right from the tap if allowed. A Bengal may even follow its owner into the shower or bathtub. If you prefer privacy when bathing, make sure to close your door and prepare for some serious meowing from your Bengal.
Bengals are not typical, lazy house cats. They’re very smart and need plenty of attention and toys to keep them occupied. We’re not just talking about stuffed mice. Toys with puzzles to solve are best for a curious Bengal. If your home is lacking in entertainment value, your Bengal will likely find his own way to combat boredom. This can include destroying your electronic equipment or getting into things it shouldn’t.
Think your Bengal can’t possibly get onto that 10-foot-high ledge where you’re displaying your prized orchids? Think again. Bengals can jump up to three times their height, and can easily find a way onto just about any shelf or ledge in your house. In addition to their “flying” abilities, they’re also excellent climbers, and can hide in places where you’ll never imagined they would venture.
Because Bengals are so intelligent and hungry for attention, they’re among the easiest cats to train. For example, it’s simple to teach a Bengal to play fetch. And one of the easiest tricks to teach a Bengal is how to turn on and off light switches. But use caution. Once a strong-willed Bengal learns how to do that, it might decide it wants to play with the switches all night long.
One of the Bengal’s most attractive qualities is its incredibly soft, beautifully speckled or marbled coat. Bengal coats come in a variety of colors, from golden brown to gray and black. Some Bengals also inherit something called the “glitter gene,” which gives their coats a bright, iridescent look. It is difficult to capture in pictures, but a Bengal with this gene will appear to sparkle in sunlight.
Having a hard time finding your house keys? You may want to cross examine your bengal. These cute crooks tend to do what they please with whatever objects and items throughout your house catch their interest. They might pick something up and hide it behind your couch, or decide that important check you’re supposed to cash would be better in a million little pieces all over the living room floor. Keep your Bengal out of your things by offering it plenty of cat-friendly toys.
Putting a leash on most adult cats means also putting several painful scratches all over your forearms. A Bengal, however, is much easier to leash-train, even as an adult. It is recommended that your Bengal be a mostly indoor pet, due to its tendency and amazing ability to hunt birds. However, harness training will allow your Bengal to explore the outdoors safely under your watchful eye.
Bengals are very vocal and can be loud when they want something. A Bengal will definitely let you know when it’s time to eat or time to play, so before adopting one, make sure you’re OK with a cat that demands conversation. All that said, Bengal meows can be quite adorable, expressive and fun to hear.
You won’t likely find a Bengal roaming the streets. This breed can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for one cat, depending on the pedigree and whether the cat is fixed. There’s often a premium paid if breeding rights come with the cat. That being said, there are numerous Bengal rescue groups out there that can help you find a more affordable pet if you’re not picky about markings and age.