Has the beautiful Bengal cat captured your heart? You’re not alone! This playful yet elegant breed has gained a loyal audience in recent years due to its spitfire personality and gorgeous appearance. If you’ve made the decision to add one to your family, we’ll help make this process easier. Here are some fun facts and history about Bengal kittens and some tips for adopting one of your own.
An Introduction to the Bengal Breed
The Bengal cat was derived from mixing the Asian leopard cat with domestic breeds, namely the Egyptian Mau. As kittens, Bengals are very high-energy and enjoy playing and bouncing around all day long. However, unlike other breeds, Bengals often retain these traits into their adulthood. They have naturally inquisitive and curious personalities and are highly active when compared to other breeds. Bengal cats need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Because of this, many people consider them somewhat labor-intensive for first-time cat owners.
That being said, if you’re looking for a snuggle buddy or lap cat, the Bengal might not be a good fit. Despite this, they’re fiercely loyal and dedicated to their owners. They forge deep relationships with their humans and are very attention-seeking, even if they don’t express it through physical affection. Appearance-wise, the Bengal cat is characterized by their striking fur patterns that closely resemble the spots of a leopard. Many consumers seek them for this exquisite look. As adults, their bodies are long, slender and athletic. Many go on to enter the show cat ring and they often have great success in these ventures.
History of the Bengal
A woman named Jean Mill is responsible for the development of the Bengal cat. To achieve this, she initially began crossbreeding Asian leopard cats with domestic breeds. She set out on this venture in an attempt to slow poaching attempts on Asian leopard cats. Her philosophy was that if cats of this coat pattern were readily available to consumers, wild Asian Leopard cats would be left alone. Although it can’t be said that this helped slow their declining numbers, her mission was admirable. She spent the better part of her life dedicated to this cause.
This remarkable woman is not only responsible for the creation of the modern Bengal, but she also had involvement in the development of the Egyptian Mau and the Himalayan cat. After a long and successful career in this field, Jean passed in 2018 but remains a legend in the cat breeding world. Bengal cats have been around for decades, but the breed began gaining popularity at a much more rapid pace during the 1980s. In the present day, the Bengal is undeniably one of the most popular cat breeds, and demand only continues to grow.
The Importance of Finding a Reputable Bengal Breeder
While searching for a Bengal kitten, the most important step in this process is finding a reputable breeder. Although it might seem obvious, the cheaper the price of a Bengal kitten, the less likely the breeder is to be ethical. Backyard breeders or kitty mills don’t perform genetic testing on the animals that they’re breeding. This creates an increased risk for the offspring to inherit genetic disorders. Ethical breeders will usually charge a premium, but this will come with added protections. They will typically offer a health guarantee, which ensures the health of your kitten for up to approximately three years.
After this period of coverage ends, you may want to consider getting pet insurance for your Bengal kitten. On average, pet insurance costs between $20 and $50 per month, and in the event of a medical emergency, it is invaluable. Overall, Bengals are a healthy breed, and they are not plagued by many medical issues. However, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Growth and Milestones
When you bring your Bengal kitten home for the first time, they’ll likely be between eight and 12 weeks old. During this period of time, they will be growing at a rapid pace, and it’s important that you support them properly. Be sure to buy nutrient-rich kitten food and make sure that they’re playing and exercising enough. In addition, rest is also paramount in their development. After about six months, your kitten will enter adolescence. This period will last until they’re between 12 and 18 months old.
After this, your Bengal will be mature and considered an adult, although they will continue to grow up until they’re about two years old. If you plan on neutering or spaying your Bengal, try to do so before this time. Although there aren’t many additional medical risks performing this surgery as your Bengal gets older, recovery time will be shorter the younger they are.
How to Prepare
Depending on your current living situation, there are certain things you should purchase before bringing your Bengal kitten home for the first time. Bengals are highly active cats, so toys that engage them athletically should be considered. Things like exercise wheels and cat towers to climb on will greatly enrich their lives and prevent them from playing on your home furniture. According to Bengal Cat World, “Cats like dark corners, and Bengals in particular love high places. You can provide safe dark corners by having ‘igloo’ type beds, or even cardboard boxes (which we love). See if you can provide a few high places for kitty to sit and survey his/her kingdom.”
Purchasing a Bengal kitten can be expensive, and prices range between $1,500 and $2,500 on average. In addition to this, be sure to save about $500 or so for food, supplies, and initial medical expenses. Overall, Bengal kittens can be slightly more challenging to raise than other breeds. However, if you’re up for it, they make loving and wonderful pets.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Olga Apanasenko/Shutterstock.com
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