Getting to Know the Bengal Cat
With a striking appearance, athletic build and curious and friendly attitude, the Bengal cat has something for everyone.
Physical Characteristics: Lovin’ That Leopard Look
You’ll know a Bengal cat when you see one—they have a richly colored, highly contrasted and unique coat that is hard to miss. Their coats have a “rosette” pattern, and Bengal cats are the only cats that have it. A proper diet with omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids help support and maintain the health of those glorious coats.
Besides their coats, Bengals have a distinct jaw shape and muzzle conformation, as well as an athletic and well-muscled build. They are a medium to large breed—usually 13-16 inches tall and weighing 6-14 pounds.
Personality and Temperament: Curiosity Makes for a Great Cat
If most cat breeds are known to be curious, Bengals fulfill that role to a T. Besides their curious nature, this breed is also intelligent, active and clever. They require a lot of exercise, which includes climbing and exploring, and they can even learn to play fetch or perform other tricks.
The Bengal cat also makes for a great family pet, since they love attention, are super smart and get along well with other pets (although you’ll need to be careful not to leave them alone with smaller animals like hamsters or guinea pigs, since a Bengal’s prey drive is high).
Health: Take Special Care of Sensitivities
While a healthy, happy Bengal cat can live 14-16 years, it is important to pay special attention to certain needs the breed has, especially when it comes to diet. With a sensitive digestive system, the Bengal needs a diet of balanced fiber content and highly digestible proteins. The breed is very active, as well, which means they need to be fed a healthy diet to keep up with their activity.
Diet: Giving Your Bengal the Best Nutrition Possible
Keeping their glossy coat, distinctive jawline and stomach sensitivities in mind is of utmost importance when picking out the perfect food for your Bengal cat. Take the Royal Canin Bengal Adult Dry Cat Food, for example. This kibble is specially designed in a y-shape that’s adapted to the Bengal’s jaw and encourages chewing to help support oral hygiene. It also contains nutrients to help support the Bengal’s sensitive digestive system, and an optimal ratio of high levels of protein and fat content to help maintain the Bengal’s strong muscle mass. Added nutrients, like the skin-barrier complex (four B vitamins and one amino acid), help promote the protective function of the skin. The omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and specific amino acids also promote overall skin and coat health in the Bengal cat.
Certain gastrointestinal sensitivities like soft stool are also common in the Bengal, so the Royal Canin Bengal cat food formula contains prebiotics as well as other fibers, to help promote balance in the intestinal microflora.
Grooming: A Coat That’s Easy to Maintain
For as beautiful as the Bengal cat’s coat is, it’s also spectacularly easy to maintain. Give your Bengal a weekly combing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils, and follow a general dental hygiene routine. A healthy diet will help accomplish the rest.
If you cater to the breed’s particular needs and stick to a healthy diet, your Bengal will thrive for years to come.
Cheryl Lock is a writer and editor who lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, daughter and cat, Penny. Her work has appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines and websites, and she’s written about everything from pets and politics to parenting, travel and food. Find more of her work at CherylLock.com, or follow her passion for travel on her blog at WearyWanderer.com.