Wild at Heart: The Bengal Cat


With its striking spotted coat, large athletic body, and playfully enthusiastic personality, it’s no wonder that the Bengal is one of the most popular cat breeds around. Although a relatively new breed, first developed in the 1960s, the charismatic Bengal is a distinctive cat that has quickly gained wide appeal. The Bengal’s sleek looks and assertive personality make it a favorite with cat lovers…as well as admirers who say they are “dog people” but make an exception for the Bengal cat!


According to cat breed experts, the Bengal is the only domestic cat breed that can have the “rosette” coat markings of wild cats like leopards and ocelots. There’s a good reason for this. In 1963, a breeder named Jean Mill crossed a domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a small, spotted wild cat. The descendants of this pairing went on to create today’s Bengal, a perfect mix of wild good looks and charming personality.


Besides the spotted markings (which can either be the rosettes or marbled like a tabby), the Bengal’s coat is also pleasingly thick and plush to the touch. Bengal coats come in a variety of colors, and their faces have wide eyes and prominent muzzles that add to their wild look.


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Bengal owners will tell you that there’s nothing quite like watching these cats at play. They are muscular but graceful and can exhibit some pretty impressive gymnastic moves while chasing their toys and engaging in one of their favorite activities…jumping to impossibly high perches. If you don’t want your cat on top of the refrigerator, the Bengal probably isn’t for you.


If you’re thinking about getting a Bengal, be prepared for a lively, curious cat that will pretty much make himself at home all over the house. Bengals love to check out what you’re up to, especially if any of your activities involve running water! While affectionate, they are very active and don’t fit the mold of the traditional lap cat. If you’re looking for a fun-loving, intelligent, and energetic cat, you can’t go wrong with the wild at heart Bengal!


Photo credits top to bottom: BEN Prince MoonLight*RU by Nickolas Titkov; Pixel by Chris; Jeffy by Kyle Greenberg; untitled by Rosana Prada; bengal cat by roberto shabs (all Flickr).



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