Saturday, January 6, 2018

Everything about your Bengal Cat

  The Bengal was first bred in the United States and is a relative newcomer to the cat scene. They are medium to large size cats that boast a lot of presence with their strong, athletic bodies and sleek marbled or spotted coats. 
  They were created by crossing between the Asian Leopard Cat with domestic breeds which includes the Egyptian Mau, Ocicats and Abyssinians. They are known to have outgoing personalities which when paired to their wild, good looks has seen the Bengal become a popular choice both as a companion and family pet not only in the UK, but elsewhere in the world too.

Overview
  Don’t get a Bengal if what you’re looking for is a sweet, gentle lap cat or a living sculpture that requires little interaction. The intelligent, curious Bengal is highly active. Constantly on the move, he loves climbing to high places, enjoys playing fetch and going for walks on leash, and thrives best when he has access to a large outdoor enclosure where he can indulge in the favorite feline hobby of bird-watching.
  Some Bengals are fond of playing in water, and you may find yours fishing out of the aquarium if you’re not careful. This is a happy, entertaining cat who wants lots of attention. He does best with a person who spends a lot of time at home and will enjoy playing and interacting with him.

Other Quick Facts
  • The Bengal's beautiful coat comes in many background colors, ranging from golden, rust, brown and orange to sand, buff and ivory. Bengal spots also vary in color, from rust or cocoa and chocolate brown to charcoal or black.
  • Some Bengal coats have striking rosettes or spots made up of more than one color, usually a secondary color forming a dark outlining to the spot. Bengal coats also come in a marbled pattern: one or more colors swirled into the background color. While most commonly seen in the brown spotted tabby pattern, they may also be found in the marbled pattern (classic tabby).
  • A Bengal’s coat can have hairs with an iridescent sheen, making it look as if it has been sprinkled with glitter.
Breed standards

Other names: American Wirehair
Lap Cat: No
Physique: Sleek and muscular
Average lifespan: 12-16 years
Average size: 6 to 18 pounds
Coat appearance: Short
Coloration: Black, Brown, Cream, and Ruddy
Pattern: Marbled, Spotted, and Tabby
Hypoallergenic: No
Best Suited For: Families with children and high activity levels
Temperament: Intelligent, affectionate, friendly, active

History
  With his distinctive spotted coat and large size, the Bengal looks like a wild cat on the prowl, but although one of his ancestors is the small, wild Asian leopard cat, he’s a domestic cat through and through. Bengals take their name from the Asian leopard cat’s scientific name, Felis bengalensis. They were created through crosses between an Asian leopard cat — which in the 1950s and into the 1960s could be purchased at pet stores — and domestic shorthairs. Jean Mill, a breeder in California, was the first to make such a cross, but not because she wanted to create a new breed. She had acquired a leopard cat and allowed her to keep company with a black tom cat so she wouldn’t be lonely. To her surprise, since she hadn’t thought the two species would mate, kittens resulted, and Mill kept a spotted female. Breeding her back to her father produced a litter of spotted and solid kittens. 
  At about the same time, Dr. Willard Centerwall was crossing Asian leopard cats with domestic cats at Loyola University. The leopard cats were resistant to the feline leukemia virus, so researchers were interested in finding out if the trait could be passed on to hybrid offspring. Various breeders became interested in developing the cats as a breed. Mill was one of them. Changes in her life had caused her to give up cat breeding, but she was ready to begin again. She had acquired some of Dr. Centerwall’s hybrids and sought out suitable males to breed to them. One was an orange domestic shorthair that she found in India, of all places, and the other was a brown spotted tabby acquired from a shelter. 
Bengals today are considered to be one and the same with domestic cats, and any Bengal purchased should be at least four generations removed from any ancestors with wild bloodlines. 
  The first cat association to recognize the Bengal was The International Cat Association, which granted the breed experimental status in 1983, followed by full recognition in 1991. The Bengal is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Canadian Cat Association and the United Feline Organization. Bengal cats are so sought after, that a British woman paid over $50,000 for her bengal cat in 1990, dubbing them the "Rolls Royce" of feline companions.

Personality
  The Bengal is highly active and highly intelligent. This makes him fun to live with, but he can sometimes be challenging. On the whole, the Bengal is a confident, talkative, friendly cat who is always alert. Nothing escapes his notice. He likes to play games, including fetch, and he’s a whiz at learning tricks. His nimble paws are almost as good as hands, and it’s a good thing he doesn’t have opposable thumbs or he would probably rule the world. 
  Fond of playing in water, the Bengal is not above jumping into the tub or strolling into the shower with you. Aquarium and pond fish may be at risk from his clever paws. He also loves to climb and can often be found perching at the highest point he can reach in the home. A tall cat tree or two is a must for this feline, as are puzzle toys that will challenge his intelligence. On the rare occasions that he isn’t swinging on chandeliers or swimming in your pool, the affectionate Bengal will be pleased to sit on your lap. It goes without saying that he will share your bed. And yes, he steals the covers.

Health Predispositions
  The Bengal is a healthy, vigorous breed, with an average lifespan of about 15 or more years. There are no widely reported health concerns in this breed. The Bengal’s so recent wild ancestors crossed with completely unrelated domestic cats give it a particular health boost, called “hybrid vigor.”

Care
  The short, thick coat of the Bengal is easily cared for with weekly combing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. A bath is rarely necessary. Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. 
  Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear. Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene, and a dirty box may cause them to start using other places in the house instead. It’s a good idea to keep a Bengal as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Keeping him indoors also protects local birds and wildlife from this avid hunter. If possible, build your Bengal a large outdoor enclosure where he can jump and climb safely. 
  Bengals who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.

Behavioral Traits
  The Bengal’s unusual range of vocalization is distinct among companion cats and is one of the remaining attributes of its wild Asian Leopard Cat ancestry. Because Bengals are genetically so close to a wild feline, this breed should be kept indoors and managed very conscientiously. Owners of Bengals need to ensure that their cats have a stimulating living environment and receive plenty of attention, to keep them from becoming bored and potentially destructive.

Activity Level
  Bengals are muscular, energetic, athletic animals that usually enjoy playing in water. They are one of the few cat breeds that seem to really enjoy being walked on a leash around the neighborhood. Domestic Bengals are almost always indoor cats, as their close wild ancestry does not make them particularly suitable for an outdoor, free-roaming lifestyle. These active cats require a constant influx of activities and distractions, including new toys and rotation of climbing trees and scratching posts, to keep them occupied.

Grooming
  Bengals have a short, luxurious, soft coat that is easy to care for with weekly brushing. He will love the attention, and if you brush him more often you will find fewer dust bunnies and hairballs around the house.
  The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually weekly. Check the ears every week for redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle cleanser recommended by your veterinarian. Brush his teeth frequently at home with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and schedule veterinary cleanings as needed. Start brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing early so your kitten becomes accepting of this activity.

Children And Other Pets
  The active and social Bengal is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He will play fetch as well as any retriever, learns tricks easily and loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect. He’s smart enough to get out of the way of toddlers but loves school-age children because they are a match for his energy level and curiosity. 
  Nothing scares him, certainly not dogs, and he will happily make friends with them if they don’t give him any trouble. Always introduce any pets, even other cats, slowly and in a controlled setting. Like many active cats, bengals have a high prey drive and should not be trusted with smaller prey animals such as: hamsters, smaller rabbits and guinea pigs.

Is the Bengal the Right Breed for you?
Low Maintenance: Occasional grooming is advised to keep its coat in good shape. Though we see cats regularly lick their coats to clean themselves, some regular grooming can be good; it removes hair, prevents matting, and stimulates circulation. Frequency should be every few weeks.
Moderate Shedding: Expect this cat to shed moderately. By providing it proper nutrition, regular grooming, and keeping the shedding contained to a small area, like a pet bed, will minimize shedding and make it more manageable.
Health Problems: Unfortunately, it is known to have a myriad count of illnesses and conditions. Owners with these cat breeds should prepare for some long-term medical costs or hedge their risks with pet insurance.
Low Vocalization: It is known to be quiet. Therefore, owners shouldn't be concerned of excessive and undesirable crying or meowing, especially at night.
Attention Seeking: This breed needs lots of attention. Owners who are home often or are able to participate in activities with this cat breed will be delighted. Time alone spent can be 4 to 8 hours per day.
Very Active: It likes to engage in activities. Try to spend 10-15 minutes actively involved with this breed several times a day. Daily exercise will help maintain its body weight and keep its muscles toned and strong.
Good With Others: It is usually good with adults and older children  and can be affectionate towards them.

Did You Know?
  Bengals with seal sepia, seal lynx and seal mink color patterns, which have a pale white or cream background, are known as “snow” Bengals.