Today’s domestic Bengal cat comes from various crossings of domestic cats and the Asian Leopard Cat with the objective of creating a stunning wild looking cat that could reside in the average cat loving home. This is primarily thanks to Jean Mills who helped to progress the breed with her breeding program in 1963 helping to develop the various colors and patterns we see today, all originating from many of the cats she established in the 1980’s. She also helped to get the breed recognized by The International Cat Association or T.I.C.A in 1991. Although today’s domestic cat originated from a wild cat and domestic street cats as well as several other purebreds including Abyssinian, Burmese, British Shorthair, Ocicat, Egyptian Mau and American Short Hair, most domestic Bengals are direct Bengal to Bengal pairings resulting in the wild looks of the Asian leopard cats, but the general temperament of a domestic house cat.
While Jean has passed on, her website and information was archived and can be viewed here
Domestic Bengals are certainly no average cat. They can range in size, color and personality. Bengals can be light in color like those of the snows (Seal Lynx (tabby) Point, Seal Mink (tabby), Seal Sepia (tabby) they can be colder in color like the charcoals and the silvers or warm in color like the browns. Pattern can also vary from the swirly patterned marble, but they can have spots shaped like arrowheads, filled in completely or big and bold rosettes. Their coat can also come with a beautiful glittery shine that glistens in the sunlight. Bengals can also have larger round eyes that come in various colors like beautiful greens, golds and brilliant blues. Their noses are a rustic brick red outlined by black, a characteristic very similar to their wild ancestors. Their ears typically are smaller and more rounded rather than have a triangular pointed shape. Their tail is also not long, thin and pointed, rather medium length, held lower with a blunt end. Males typically are muscular, long, lean and dense weighing around 10-15 lbs while females who are also muscular, are on the smaller side at 7-12 lbs.
Bengals are unique and certainly unlike the typical domestic cat. One defining characteristic is their aptitude towards human interaction. Owner beware if they don’t get it as they can develop some naughty habits. They are very active cats and enjoy climbing and jumping. Bengals also love water, many are known to enjoy the beach and even baths! Bengals are also extremely intelligent often having the ability to learn tricks whether you are the one who teaches them or not. They also love talking which includes a wide variety of purrs, chirps, meows and even some odd sounds. If you are looking for a cat this not only beautiful but who is devoted to its owner, is curious and active, loves to talk to you and is very intelligent this is the cat for you. There is nothing like being owned or loved by a Bengal. If you are looking for a quiet, independent lap cat, this is not the cat for you.
Bengals can be very particular with change whether this be a move, a new baby or animal in the home or even a change in work schedule. However that being said they are fairly good with dogs and even children when introduced properly.
Although all animals can become ill from their environment, nutrition, genetics and other factors there are some illnesses Bengals are more likely to have however.
The Bengal is a relatively new breed less than 50 years old. Being aware of where your Bengal comes from is important as some family lines carry hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a severe heart condition. Responsible breeders will not only test for this condition by the time the cat is 2 years old age, but they will also offer up the results and retire or never breed those that have it. Because Bengals should not be tested under one years of age due to unreliable results many cats are assumed free of HCM based on their parents who should be negative for the disease.
Bengals also are prone to Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency where red bloods cells break down resulting in hemolytic anemia . Luckily there currently are also tests for these diseases that can detect those that carry them. Again a responsible breeder will test their cats and provide you with the results. Please keep in mind anything can happen and therefore we can not 100% guarantee the unexpected. However, Elysian Bengals promises to do everything we can to avoid these conditions and be proactive in their detection providing you with happy and healthy kittens.
It is said that Bengals are hypoallergenic. Although they don’t shed as much as other breeds, no breed is truly hypoallergenic. One can be allergic to fur, dander, oils and even saliva however some individuals who are allergic to some breeds are not to Bengals. Bengals typically are very clean and good at grooming themselves and require very little grooming care. However, basic care such as cutting their nails, checking their ears for debris or dirt or unwanted bugs and practicing proper oral care is essential.