Domestic Bengal Cats - a Dog-like Pet
Thinking about getting a new pet for the family, but can't decide between a cat or a dog? Perhaps you should adopt a Bengal! These beautiful felines are unique, and in some ways easier to care for than other domestic cats. Purebred animals have the following traits:
- A love of water - some even will swim!
- Playfulness - they enjoy chasing balls, and running on wheels
- They can be trained to walk on leashes
- They can be trained to sit and do tricks
- Highly loyal
- Amazing jumping/balancing abilities
The Bengal breed is fully domesticated, although it was originally bred from a cross between an Asian Leopard Cat (a small, wild cat that lives in forests) and a "regular" domestic cat breed such as Abyssinian, American Shorthair, or Burmese. Now, only its markings are wild-looking. To be accepted for registration by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), The International Cat Association (TICA) or the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), a Bengal Cat must be at least four generations (F-4) away from its Asian Leopard Cat ancestor. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) considers Bengals to be "wild," however, and will not accept them for showing or registration.
Similarly, in the United Kingdom, it is currently unlawful to own one a Bengal under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976. The government is considering adopting regulations to lift the ban, however.
The Bengal breed was first "created" in 1963, but formal breeding programs did not start until the 1980s. It was formally recognized by TICA in 1984 as a registered breed.
These Cats Can be Trained Like Dogs!
Learn More About Domestic Bengal Cats
- Official Bengal Cat Website
- Bengal Cat Breeders
A resource of listed breeders from around the United States and the world, including available kittens!
- Bengal Rescue Network
- Pets 4 You (Page on Bengal Kittens)
- International Bengal Cat Connection
- Bengal Cat Clubs and Associations
Variations of the Domestic Bengal Cat Breed
There are many beautiful types of Bengal Cats, which differ primarily based on their coat markings and color. In general, the cats are medium-sized and muscular, weighing anywhere from 10-18 pounds when full-grown.
Bengals eat the same diet as other breeds, unless there are special health issues. Of course, they should be vaccinated as any other breed. Unless you plan to breed or show your feline, it should be spayed or neutered, as well.
Different Coat Varieties of Domestic Bengal Cats
- Spotted The most desirable spots are two-toned (dark around the outside and lighter on the inside). These are found along the body of the animal, with striping usually on the legs and face
- Marbled As the name implies, stripes/marking on the coat are swirled around in a beautiful marbled pattern
- Glittered Glittering is not so much a mark, but a characteristic of the coat. In some cats, it looks as though gold dust has been scattered over the top. Obviously, these specimens are highly valued!
- Brown (aka Gold)
- Seal Sepia
- Seal Mink
- Silver - Very rare; just recognized in 1994
- Blue (may occur, but not formally recognized by associations yet)
- Black (same as above)
- Cinnamon (same as above)
- Red (same as above)
Combining markings and colors, you can find the following Bengal variations eligible for competitions, among others: Brown Spotted Tabby, Brown Marbled Tabby, Seal Sepia Spotted Tabby, Seal Sepia Marbled Tabby, Seal Mink Spotted Tabby, Seal Mink Marbled Tabby, Seal Spotted Lynx Point and Seal Marbled Lynx Point.
Most versions of the breed are short-haired. However, you can now find a few long-haired Bengal Cats, as well. As with the colors that are not formally recognized, they simply make wonderful pets. Just do not plan on showing or breeding your Bengal.
Have you Ever Seen a Cat do This?
Cat Breed Reading
Where Can you Find a Domestic Bengal Cat to Adopt as a Pet?
It is surprisingly easy to find a domestic Bengal cat. We adopted one from a breeder in our relatively small Central Oregon city about 18 months ago.
However, as with any pet, you need to do thorough research about the breeder and their operations and make sure that you are ready to bring an animal into your home. While its true that cats are relatively easy pets, you should be certain that you have the time, patience and finances to adequately care for your new family member. And find out now if anyone has allergies! Not after you bring a new kitten home!
A pure-bred Bengal Cat can be very expensive, particularly if you are seeking papers to show and/or breed the cat yourself. Prices can range from $700-2000, or more!
In our case, the local breeder had several kittens that were a bit older (6 months old), whose markings did not "come out" for show. They were already fixed, and we got our "Romeo" for a bargain price of less than $100. You may also get lucky through a rescue organization, or even at your local Humane Society. Keep your eyes open for a Bengal!
Adopting a Bengal Cat
If you decide to adopt one of these special breeds of cats, you should be pleasantly surprised. Even "non-cat lovers" have become converts to the Bengal breed. They are highly personable, relatively easy to train (who would say that about a cat), and have many great characteristics of a dog, but significantly less dependent!
Before you go to see a litter of Bengal kittens, or visit a cat you're considering bringing into your home, a word of warning. It will be hard to resist! The Bengal Cat is a unique, one-of-a-kind breed that will find quickly find a place in your heart (or in your shower in the morning!)
Its hard to find a more human-like feline companion! So, watch out dogs... before long the Bengals may become Man's Best Friend. Or at least give you a serious run for your money!
p.s. Domestic Bengal cats generally get along great with dogs, too. It might be the common misperception of the breed that they are actually dog-like!
Norma Lawrence from California on August 28, 2016:
Great article about the Bengal Cat. They do make great pets for some people. Thanks...
Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on August 15, 2013:
These are such beautiful cats! I have three dogs so I can't adopt a cat anytime soon, but what a great suggestion for those looking for a new family member!
Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on July 31, 2013:
Beautiful cats! I have a friend with one, her name is City Kitty, and he rides her around on rafts in the swimming pool. She likes to swim too. Thanks for the post and videos! Voted Thumbs up and Beautiful!
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on September 03, 2012:
So exciting Karen! Two Bengal kittens! I'm sure you are absolutely loving your babies! Best, Steph
Karen H on September 02, 2012:
We just got two adorable Toyger kittens from a breeder 2 weeks ago. They have wonderful personalities and are VERY active and talkative! Toygers are a designer breed being a cross between a Bengal cat and a domestic shorthair. They are being bred to eventually look like a miniature tiger (hence the name Toyger for toy tiger!). The male we have has bolder, darker stripes and our female has more orange in her but they are only about 4 months old so I'm sure their color will develop more as they get older. Both of them are BEAUTIFULLY glittered and look like the have been sprinkled with gold dust! Their fur is very short and is as soft as silk!! Can you tell I love my babies.
Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on July 29, 2012:
Love cats and dogs. I'd love to see one of these beauties up close. Great hub Steph.
phillip teague on June 19, 2012:
can you mate a male black panther cat and a female roc dog ?
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 30, 2012:
They are very beautiful, smart, trainable cats! We have very much loved having a Bengal in our home. Best, Steph
Leah Lefler from Western New York on April 30, 2012:
What a beautiful cat! I love the wild look of the Bengal - those spots are absolutely gorgeous! Our cat (a rescued domestic long hair) won't have anything to do with our dog. It's great to know that most Bengals are rather friendly with their canine housemates!
LyKae Frates on March 28, 2012:
The tiger cat you're talking about is the toyger. Standing for toy tiger, for it looks like a miniature tiger.
Georgi on February 11, 2012:
(This is long, I'm sorry, I know I'm wordy, but please bear with me, it's important to me)
I'm sure that the kitten I adopted from a box outside a grocery store is part Bengal. She and her two litter mates were so identical that I asked one of the boys to hold her while I did my shopping so I'd be sure I got this one. Taking her to the car it dawned on me that I had no cat carrier and I had a 30 minute drive home. I said, 'Oh well, here goes nothin'.', set her in my lap and took off. She curled up, purred herself to sleep and didn't move til I stopped my van. I took her in the house and introduced her to a kitten about her same age (a male named Scamper) and the two older cats, our alpha female (Monet) and her daughter (Amber) who were terrifying Scamper and making his life miserable in general. You see, we'd lost Tuffy, Amber's litter mate only about two weeks earlier, he'd gotten hurt or sick and hid himself as cats will do. He did too good a job of it and tho we called and searched within just a few feet of him, he made no sound and we found him too late. I needed to visit my mom a couple of days after that and while I was gone, my husband who isn't much of a pet person adopted this little tabby kitten that friends had founded abandoned in a latrine in the National forest near us. This poor kitten was so overwhelmed by our adult cats that hated him on sight that he was reverting to trying to nurse on our finger tips, earlobes, etc, they were so mean to him! When I saw those three kittens in a box, I knew that was the answer to the problem of what to do about Scamper. And it was. He had a playmate, Amber and Monet divided their spite between the two kittens and they all survived the experience. This was in 2003.
What I didn't realize was the impact this darling little purrball would make on MY life as well. She's still a kitten at heart, fights and plays rough with Scamper. who's grown into a huge, strong, long legged cat, in fact she usually instigates the wrestling matches, holds her own for a while, knowing I'm sure that she'll eventually lose. But she's never scratched or bitten either my husband or me, to just look at her is to set her to purring. I named her Sweet Stuff. She follows me everywhere, has a bed in an aluminum turkey pan lined with a towel right next to my computer, loves heat, the warmer the better, but is the first cat out the door to play in the snow. She's never wandered around in a bathtub with water in it, but we're shower people and she's immediately checking that spot out the minute we turn the water off and exit, leaving the shower door open for her. She has ocelot spots and green eyes as most Bengals I've seen in magazines and on line do. She's the cat I've waited my whole life for (I'm 73), playful, adventuresome, curious, funny but oh, so gentle and loving!
I'm down to Amber and Sweet Stuff now...living separate from my husband and Scamper who made D. his person and father figure from the get-go. When Scamper became so huge, he decided that he wanted to be alpha cat, didn't quite know how but Monet was so scared/tired of his size and the moves he was making on Amber and her that she left home and moved under a neighbor's barn, would NOT come back no matter how often she saw me and heard me calling her, hunted in the woods behind the barn and eventually she just disappeared.
Amber has always both scratched and bitten, we've never been able to break her of that unfortunate habit so you can imagine what a breath of fresh air it is to be able to hold and pet S.S. w/out taking my life in my hands. I've read that a breeder in a Bengal cattery wanted to come up with a cat that would just go limp in her arms...well that's my Sweet Stuff!
We've just been to our vet, she's developing a cataract (No pun intended, this is rare in cats, he sez) in her left eye. I'm devastated...and have questions. Since it's a rarity among cats, does anyone know if Bengals have a susceptibility to cataracts? I've never known a human or a dog that doesn't eventually get cataracts in the other eye too. But what about cats, does anyone know? I really want Sweet Stuff to outlive me, can't imagine life w/out her, can't bear the thought of eventually putting her down, healthy except that she can't see. I realize that I'm looking at the worst case scenario here, but I'm still trying to cope and not doing a very good job of it. Any info or help would be so appreciated! Thank you for listening to the worries of a woman who is feeling rather desperate at the moment....
giulya on October 04, 2011:
i adore them i want to buy one as soon as possible. i'm crazy when it is about cats!!!!!!!!
pgwodehouse on September 21, 2011:
Many Americans assume that until they find something it was never know before. BREEDERS over their some the cats here first.The Bengali tiger cat was first bred here by accident. They like water because they fish at the river sides and dive in when its possible to catch their fish supper, dinner, what ever. The breed has been around for at least 40years here. THAILAND.
jenb100 on September 01, 2011:
Hi im new to this and not sure im even doing this right.
I have the joy of owning a 14 wk old kitten may i add is extreamly active to say the least. I would like to know if it is possible to have a blonde bengal as my Amber has all the markings and behaviour, which i love but im not sure of her full mix but was told she was half bengal. I especially recognised the two stripes on the side of her face and spots on her bellie, dhe is extremly clever and a fantastic climber. Is there anyway of finding out if shes either a true breed or even half for sure. many thanks
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 04, 2011:
David, I hope Max isn't too distressed... but what cat ever is? Thanks for the comment - Best, Steph
David Alderson on May 04, 2011:
From one cat lover to another....Great Hub!! Now I know Max is not a Royal Scotish Tabby. I'll break the news easy to him. A lot of good ideas that can be put to practical use just like my Litter Clump Art.
naoma on March 20, 2011:
Many years ago I had a very large white cat. His name was "Big Boy" because he was so big. His fur under his stomach hung to the ground and he knew he was "beautiful." He would walk on a pink leash without any trouble and people would ask "What is that animal?" One day he decided that our living room couch would be "HIS." Thereafter, my Father gave him away. (the couch was my Dad's domain). I shall never forget Big Boy. My Mother sent him to the vet to be spayed (we thought he was a she) and when the vet told her he was a he, she said "do it anyhow."
Courtney Godwin on January 31, 2011:
I love this site:) i have a Bengal kitten. she is AMAZING. I cant wait to get more Bengals, their awesome pets seriously:)
Marie-Lisa on October 02, 2010:
Bengal cats are just so adorable, I start a breeding 3 years ago so I have allots of Bengals in my home....I could not live without them anymore, they are much more then just a cat, so interactive.
itard on September 16, 2010:
My partner and I have a big, beautiful 8mo. F15 silver marble Bengal, and she is a great purrer - sometimes all it takes is me telling her what a pretty kitten she is - without touching her - and off she goes! The ability to purr might be related to how close to the ALC bloodline the cat is. I'm no expert, but I've heard that lions and tigers can't purr because of their jaw shape - this is the same shape that allows them to roar. Our girl is F15, so 15 generations away from a pure ALC (majoritively crossbred with Egyptian Mau), so it doesn't really surprise me that some kittens can purr while others can't.
On another note, everyone who meets our kitten absolutely adores her - she learns quickly, plays hard, and is extremely affectionate. She loves playing fetch (which she learned within 3 days of picking her up from the breeder, as a 3mo. kitten), scooping bubbles in the bath, and at the end of the day, bouncing gently into anyone's lap and snuggling in to watch tv and fall asleep. She speaks to us all the time in trills, chirps, yowls, meows and peeps (as well as other noises that I don't even know how to describe), comes when she is called, and generally understands far too much of what we say - she can even tell the difference between "chicken" and "crab" ("crab" is always replied to by the hungry yowl, where "chicken" never is). It's basically like having a toddler in the house. Needless to day, we love her to bits, and would absolutely recommend a Bengal to anyone who wants a highly active, intelligent, affectionate companion.
Stacey on September 03, 2010:
My husband's Bengal (he owned the cat before we met) purrs. He even purrs for me. I will say, it did take him a lot longer to warm up to me (try 10 months) of nearly daily contact with him before he would willingly let me pet him. It has been 2 years now and he still much prefers his owner (my husband) over anyone else.
Sharon on August 11, 2010:
My Bengals are 5 and a half months old (sister and Brother) and he acts like he can't see well and gets lost. I have 3 litter boxes and my house is only 1100 sq. feet bur he has accidents as far as urinating in different places. Is there something I can do to stop this. My Vet suggested moth balls in the places it;s happening but the smell is yuk. Help
Also I have not had a female cat before they are quite different, right....
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on August 08, 2010:
How lucky are you that your Bengal adopted you! Enjoy the unique personality and here's to many years of fun with your independent pet. :)
KimATC on August 07, 2010:
I just got a Bengal, and she does not seem to purr either. How sad! But she is just beautiful, and so talkative! We just started bringing her inside the house at night, since she wandered up to our deck a few weeks ago, and never left! She hardly ever leaves the deck or back yard at all when she is outside. Apparently, a breeder right down the street put her out when the next litter was about to be born, and she found her way to us. We are just starting to get to know this special breed, and can't wait to see her jump in the shower! LOL
kristiene from philippines on June 14, 2010:
Wow...you got a very cute bengal cat...here's some of mine too.. http://www.unique-spots.com/
my favorite cats...:) isn't adorable?
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on June 01, 2010:
Hi V, that is a great question! Our Bengal cat does not purr either. I will see what I can find out from breeder websites. Hopefully one of my readers may respond in the meantime!
V Reynolds on June 01, 2010:
We just adopted a beautiful male Bengal, a brown marble one. He's 9 years old and took to us immediately; we were amazed. My question is: Do Bengals purr? The previous owner said he does not, and this seems to be true. He kneeds with his front paws when he's content. It it typical that they don't purr?
Nando's from Pretoria, South Africa on May 24, 2010:
Ahhh, Very beautiful pictures. You are right about the pure bred cats, traits, I had a cornish rex, he had most of the traits you mentioned.
sweetKitten from England on March 15, 2010:
well this hub is very nice! Bengal cats are very cute, and I like that silver tabby-like coat on the silver Bengal.
I am a cat expert, I know EVERYTHING about cats, and I will one day make a hub for cat lovers!
hey, does anyone know a good cat centre to get a kitten in England?
Jen on January 02, 2010:
Great page! I adpoted twin Bengals, and I just have to say, they are great pets for someone who doesn't want to mess with potty training a dog, taking a dog on a walk every day, and worry with neighbord compaining over a barking dog.
My little guys are smarter than any other animal I've met. They can open everything in the house (so, be careful where you store food, as they decide when it's time to eat). And it seems like they "talk" to me when they enter the room.
I used to have a calico cat, and I'd gotten accustomed to her being quiet, avoiding the tub, sleeping most of the day..Imagine my surprise when the boys were big enough and started jumpin in the tub with me!
They are fantastic animals, and I can say for certain that owning a Bengal will change your world.
Elaine on January 02, 2010:
I never knew these were domesticated cats until I visited this site. My daughter told me about some a friend has and I honestly did not believe her. Beautiful cats. I am a cat person and just cant wait to see one in person.
scarlett on September 21, 2009:
i really want one but i have to wait
gwennies pen on September 15, 2009:
Wonderful hub on unique cats! :) I love any of the striped cats! Big or small. Good to know what breeds go well with dogs, as I would like to have a dog someday. I have two black beauties. (My kitty's). Thanks for the hub!
jt on July 09, 2009:
i will be getting one soon!!!!!!!!!!!11
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on March 20, 2009:
Hi Ashley - thanks! If you love dogs, then the Bengal is the cat for you!! If you do adopt one, please let me know. Best of luck - and have fun with a new pet! Steph
AshleyVictoria from Los Angeles on March 20, 2009:
Steph, great hub! I am a dog lover through and through, but I was introduced to Bengal cats about six months ago now and have been doing research ever since about adopting one. Thanks for all of these helpful websites, truly a big help!
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 19, 2009:
That is depressing news! Bengals are not wild cats at all, but let's see what the government says, I guess.
bengal lover on February 18, 2009:
The HSUS has succeeded in having bengals banned in the state of Iowa, slipped in with a law that was supposed to ban true wild animals like tigers and bears. They'll be visiting a state near you soon.
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 13, 2009:
That is great! Bengals really are dog-like and enjoy companionship and attention. Cheetah sounds like a cool cat. :)
CC on January 13, 2009:
I have bengal and his name is cheetah... he is spotted brown/gold and very lovable. He doesn't like it when we're gone to long so if you plan on getting a bengal they would need a companion or take them with you because they hate being alone. I went to texas for a week and since cheetah has a mind of his own he would come to be for awhile, lol letting me know not to do that again...
And when there tired.... they love to go lay in the sun so if you have windows leave the curtain or shade open for them to lay in it. If they are really tired they may just want to curl up with you and lay somewhere on you... cheetahs favorite spot is near my side so he can lean against me... and when he stretches out I cover him up... its so cute..
Anyway... if you plan on getting one make sure you put the time in to love them up because they will need it.. and if you have kids... even better because they can play all day if you let them... lol
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 12, 2009:
Hi John and Linda - thanks for the great personal story about your Bengals. They have personality like no other cat breed, wouldn't you agree?
John and Linda Merriman on January 11, 2009:
We love our Bengals we have three. They are very playful and tough at the same time, very loving cats, with a flare people would never forget. My wife Linda has trained our Bengal, Bella Mia to walk on a leash. Great pets all away around. I high recommend this breed as one of the true adventures in the feline family.
John and Linda Merriman
Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on December 02, 2008:
Hi Nessa - I will be honest - Bengals do not seem to be less allergenic than regular cats. My father-in-law is allergic and he still has issues over at our home. But Bengals are much like dogs -really! They love to play, and to be walked on leashes. Our Bengal kind of went nuts inside only, but I have another friend who adopted one and has done a great job keeping him inside only. I think the issue is that our kitten was allowed to go outside before we brought him home.
Hope this helps - the Bengal is a wonderful, unique pet!
Nessa on December 02, 2008:
Do Bengals have just as much dander as regular house cats? Cause these are very beautiful cats but my mom isn't sure if shes allergic to the hair or the dander and since im living with her at the moment i have to think of her! I would love to get one cause they sound like the perfect cat for me since im more of a dog person. But my dog is getting kkind of old and not as energeic as she was when she was younger. My mother also says that if we did get a cat that it would have to be an indoor cat! So can bengals be indoor cats or do they have to be outdoor cats?