|Frequently Asked Questions
about Bengal Cats
|What is a Bengal Cat?
A Bengal cat is a hybrid cat, resulting from the cross between domestic cats and Asian Leopard
Cats. This is a cross that has happened naturally in the wild with feral cats, and only recently has
been recognized as a possible domestic breed.
|Is a Bengal Cat considered a domestic cat or a wild cat?
Bengal cats are domestic cats. They are accepted in several cat registries as domestic cats. (See our
Interlink page for links to cat registries that accept Bengal cats in show competition.) You should
check with your local Animal control/licensing department prior to adopting a Bengal, as there are
some areas where the status of Bengals is questioned. Your breeder can assist you with this, so
there is no concern when you bring your new addition home.
|Are Asian Leopard Cats an endangered species of wild cat?
No, there are several subspecies of ALC, and they are found scattered in many parts of the world.
Some of the native homes for these cats are in Russia, Malaysia, India, China, and the Philippines.
Though they are not endangered, their jungle homes are at risk, and they are in danger of being
hunted into extinction in the future.
|Where do the ALCs used in Bengal breeding come from?
Legal traffic in wild ALCs is no longer done, and illegal traffic is not encouraged nor participated
in by reputable Bengal Breeders. Nor is this allowed by any cat Registry. ALCs used in Bengal
breeding programs are domestically bred, and are hand-reared. We do not encourage or
participate in capture of these animals from the wild.
|Do you need a special permit to have a Bengal or an ALC?
Not to have a domestic Bengal cat, but you may need one to house an ALC. This is dependent on
the area where you live. Some areas consider certain early generations of Bengals to be hybrids and
regulate their housing. It is important to remember, even without needing a permit, these animals
have special needs and must be cared for appropriately. It is not recommended that anyone
consider these cats without consulting reputable breeders prior to committing yourself.
|Do Bengals get along with other pets?
Yes, with certain exceptions. Other cats, dogs, and large animals do not seem to have any
problem with Bengals, and the Bengals love companionship! We have seen Bengals share their
homes with many different types of pets, and know they do much better in homes with other
companions. Bengal cats tend to be extremely “people-oriented,” and do not do well as solitary
pets in a home without company. One warning, however, due to the wild nature of their
background, Bengals seem to have a heightened sense of hunting. It is not recommended that you
house small “rodent-type” pets, birds, reptiles, or fish, where your Bengal has access. This could
lead to a disastrous situation for all concerned. Any cat is hard-pressed to resist these creatures,
and Bengals are even more adept at getting what they want!
|Do Bengals get along with children?
Like any pet, certain training is required for both cats and children. Grooming of the claws is a
must! Bengals love children, and mutual respect is important. It is necessary to teach small
children how to hold a cat/kitten, to provide the animal with confidence and trust. It is also very
important to teach the animals what boundaries are expected. Accidents can happen when
training is not done. As a rule, Bengals love the children, because they share an activity level that
cannot be matched by adults, and a love of adventure that can only be appreciated by the
fearless! Our oldest granddaughter has trained most of our kittens from birth, and they adore
her. She takes our big Stud boys for runs around the block, and grooms our show cats. They dote
on her, and she can do things with them that no adult is allowed to do. Several sleep with her,
and share her room!
|Where did the Bengal cat get its name?
The name Bengal is derived from the scientific name for the Asian Leopard Cat, Felis bengalensis,
and has no close relationship to the Bengal tiger.
|What do Bengals eat?
Bengals eat cat food. Like any cat, human food is not a good diet. Treats are okay, but cats need
nutrition that is designed for feline health. In fact, some foods, chocolate for instance, is not good
for them at all. Bengals need extra calories and nutrition while they are still growing, and if they
are extremely active. We encourage you to feed your Bengal a high-grade kitten food for the first
18 months to ensure healthy growth. After that, a high-grade adult food is recommended. Most
Bengals are very happy with dry food, though some do enjoy canned food as a treat.
|What kind of grooming is required for Bengals?
We refer to our Bengals, as the "wash and wear kids." Bengals require very little grooming, as the
coat of a Bengal is actually a short, tight pelt. It lies very close to the skin, is dense and
semi-waterproof. Bengals love to play in water, (some more than others) and many will just get in
the shower or tub with their owners. This can be very disconcerting unless you are prepared to
share your bathing with a very active, furry mermaid! It is loads of fun, though, and makes
bathing very simple. The most important grooming ritual, is clipping claws. We do not advise
de-clawing, but it is necessary to trim the claws of any housecat. This can be done very simply, and
you should have the breeder show you how to do it before you bring your baby home. Weekly
trimming can prevent accidents, injuries, furniture disputes, and trains the cat to allow someone to
handle them for treatment or grooming.
|Can you really train a Bengal?
Can you discipline a hyperactive child? The answer is, Of Course! Not only CAN you, but you
absolutely MUST! For the sake of your cat and your sanity, you must be consistent with rules,
appropriate with discipline, and creative with activities. Bengals are extremely intelligent, and
need constant stimulus to keep them happy. Training them allows for interaction with you,
teaches them rules and boundaries, and can be very exciting. There is now a competition that is
specifically geared for this aspect of Bengals, called ICAT (International Cat Agility
Tournaments.) We leash train all of our cats, and they love to go for walks, rides in the car, and
just play outside with us. See our Agility page for pictures of our Sampson in an ICAT
|How do you discipline a Bengal?
NEVER hit a Bengal. They will remember, and it can lead to distrust of you. Bengals are VERY
smart and learn very quickly! Never laugh at a behavior that you do not want repeated. Be
consistent! If it isn't okay for the adult, it isn't funny for the kitten to do. We have found that
starting with them as kittens, when they misbehave, we discipline like their mother does:
Immediately stop the behavior, hold the kitten to the ground firmly, say "NO" in a very firm
manner. You may then cuddle and snuggle the kitten. The kitten learns very fast, as this is the way
a queen will discipline her kits. The kitten responds to the displeasure in your voice, and the
uncomfortable restraint. After the kitten gets older, a stern "NO" will often stop misbehavior
without any physical discipline. Ours stop immediately, look at us, and will run to us for
cuddling. They seldom repeat a disciplined behavior more than twice.
|I hope these answer most of your questions. If you have other questions, please feel free to email
me. If I do not have the answer, I will refer you to someone who can answer your questions. We
may even post your questions here, if you agree.
Purrs to all!
|Do Bengals have any special needs?
Just lots of attention. Bengals do not do well in isolation. They need companionship, exercise,
and a healthy diet. Regular veterinary care and a safe environment are necessary as well. These
are not unusual needs for any pet, but are essential for a happy, healthy Bengal.
|What colors and patterns do Bengals come in?
There are currently only three "colors" and two "patterns" that are accepted for championship
status, in most registries. However, this can change as standards are revised in each registry, and
each registry determines what it will accept into championship. Sometimes a kitten is born that is
"different" and that can lead to new colors or patterns. Browns, "Snows", and Silvers are the
accepted colors, and Marbled or Spotted are the patterns. You can see many examples of these on
our website, as well as a couple "Blues." We have never had a "Melanistic" Bengal born here, but
you can find them in several catteries, and at some shows for exhibition or sale. Go to our Bengal
Show page for more information.