The Magic of Bengals
Bengals aren’t delicate cats at all. Rather, they look athletic, agile, and graceful with strong, muscular bodies that fit any cat that belongs in the jungle. The typical Bengal mentality may either be aloof and independent, even if he is raised since his kitten days by a caring person or he bonds closely with just one person, being indifferent to others. The third type, though rare, is a typical family cat and showers the whole family with his affection. History The large and muscular build coupled with a spotted coat makes the Bengal look like a miniature leopard on the prowl. This is attributable to the fact that his ancestry is traceable to the Asian leopard cat or the Felis Bengalensis. The Bengal was a cross breed between the Asian leopard cat and domestic shorthairs, bred by Jean Mill, a California-based breeder who crossed her leopard cat with a black tom cat, which to her surprise mated. Simultaneously, a research scientist, Dr. Willard Centerwall crossed domestic cats with Asian leopard cats at Loyola University, following which the trend of breeding Bengals gained momentum. Today, Bengals are accepted as proper domestic cats and it has been recognized by The International Cat Association since 1991. The American Cat Fanciers Association, the United Feline Organization and the Canadian Cat Association too, have recognized this breed. The price of a premium Bengal has even shot to $50,000 in 1990, dubbing it the “Rolls Royce” among felines. Characteristics Bengals live on average between ten to sixteen years and weigh between 8 and 15 pounds or even more. They are highly intelligent, active and alert. They are confident and friendly and like to play games like fetch and to learn tricks. However, boredom resulting from inactivity leads to destructive habits like scratching furniture, turning off light switches, fishing seals from drains or even nibbling at cushions and pillows. They tend to be fond of water and promptly jump into tub or showers with their owners. Climbing table tops is another passion which makes keeping fish in aquariums a risk. Its fondness for climbing may also find it perched atop trees in the neighborhood or on top of a shelf in your home. Thus keeping a tallish cat tree at home makes sense as do puzzle toys that challenge its intelligence. Fond of comfort, the Bengal will readily curl up on your lap or get in between the bed covers. Health Since it’s a mixed-breed, a Bengal is prone to genetic diseases like Distal neuropathy, a disorder of the nervous system; Flat-chest kitten syndrome; Hip dysplasia, that may cause lameness; inherited Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart disease; Patellar luxation, a hereditary kneecap dislocation and Progressive atrophy of the retina, a degenerative ophthalmic disease. Care Give it a weekly combing to eliminate dead hair and an occasional monthly bath. Teeth brushing is required for prevention of periodontal disease as is nail trimming every four weeks. Regular eye care with soft, damp cloth is required to remove any ocular discharge as is a weekly ear cleaning with a 50-50 solution of 50-50 warm water and cider vinegar. A spotlessly clean litter box is essential also and keeping it indoors is advised.