The Bengal is a vigorous and athletic cat with a charming appearance and independent character. It owes its distinctive primitive look to its immediate progenitor, the wild Asian Leopard Cat. In recent decades the breed earned sizeable following in European countries as a friendly and docile household pet.
Photo: © cattery Lamparty (lamparty.jimdo.com)
The Bengal was developed to satisfy persistent desire of a humankind to tame and domesticate such wild cats as ocelots, lions and leopards. Unfortunately all attempts were doomed to failure since these beautiful creatures can’t adapt to peaceful co-existence with a human-being. Nonetheless a happy accident led to creation of the feline breed, which looked strikingly similar to its wild fellows and had an easy-going demeanour.
In 60s of the XX century Jean Mill, a breeder from California, adopted a leopard cat and allowed it to interact with a homeless black cat so it wouldn’t be bored. She was fairly amazed when two separate species had an affair that resulted in the litter of kittens. Mill decided to keep a spotted female and subsequently cross it back to its father. Resulting kittens possessed luxuriously coloured, highly contrasted coats with bright marmoreal spots.
Approximately at the same period, Dr. Willard Centerwall was engaged in breeding work whose goal was to produce the hybrid of the leopard cat and the ordinary domestic cat with natural resistance to leukaemia virus. Gradually various breeders were captured by the thought of developing a new breed with uniquely wild look and pleasant temperament and Jean Mill was one of them. She bought several feline hybrids of Dr. Centerwall and began searching for proper males to cross with them. Finally she found two suitable specimens, bred them to the doctor’s half-feral cats and a new breed was born.
The present-day Bengal is reckoned to be a domestic cat through and through and any of its members, which are supposed to be sold on a pet market, should be minimum four generations separated from any forefathers with wild bloodlines.
The complete recognition was granted to the Bengal by the International Cat Association in 1991. The breed also enjoys official recognition of the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Canadian Cat Association and the United Feline Organization.
The Bengal is an interactive and quick-witted cat, which is always ready for an adventure. It’s quite entertaining to live with such a lively and resourceful animal although it can be hard to handle at times. The Bengal always stays vigilant to its environment and will accompany its master wherever he walks. This cat will gladly join you in your pastime on the sofa but only on its own terms. This purports that this breed will disappoint the cat fancier who wants to have always a sweet, obliging and quite lap cat.
With its naturally high intelligence the Bengal is usually an eager and highly capable learner especially if its training is approached with proper patience and consistency. This cat should always have various puzzle toys, which will challenge its mind and satisfy its curiosity. The breed is well-known for its love of height so it would be wise to install in your house at least one tall cat tree. Unlike most of its fellow cats this cat enjoys playing in water and can be frequently seen on a kitchen tub trying to catch running water.
The Bengal is an amicable cat, which will be happy to share its existence with other felines. It will tolerate a family dog if it doesn’t invade the borders of its personal space. This playful and cheerful cat has potential of becoming a child’s best friend. At the same time it won’t allow an unfair or harsh treatment during a game so it’s essential to explain the child how to handle the cat properly.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· distal neuropathy;
· flat-chested kitten syndrome;
· hip dysplasia;
· hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;
· patellar luxation;
· progressive retinal atrophy.
The Bengal possesses a short, rich and gentle coat, which needs very insignificant amount of grooming. Its master should brush the cat’s hair once a week in order to make them shiny and beautiful. It’s essential to trim the cats’ nails at least every other week.
Ears should be regularly checked to detect such early signs of infection as nasty smell or redness. Dental hygiene will also require some attention from the master of the Bengal although he can entrust such procedure as a teeth brushing to a professional. Care routines should be introduced as early as possible so an adult cat wouldn’t shy away from them.