The Bengal cat is a highly intelligent breed characterised by its wild, leopard-like appearance. It is also incredibly active and playful with an affectionate and gentle temperament.

The Bengal, or 'miniature leopard' as it is affectionately known, has become increasingly popular in recent times. In fact, it is actually one of the most popular cat breeds. It's affectionate and playful dog-like qualities make it a great family pet.

But here are 15 things you may not know about the Bengal cat.

Origins of the Bengal cat

#1. Originally from the US, this large breed was created by Jean Sudgen Mill and is the result of a cross between a wild Asian leopard cat or Prionailurus bengalensis (a type of small wildcat or jungle cat) and a domestic cat. Many people seem to be more captivated by cats with a "wild look", and so the Bengal was developed to obtain a cat with wild-like markings, but with the disposition of a domestic cat.

#2. The Bengal cat is considered domesticated from the 4th generation. The early generation of Bengals were given to people who were up for the challenge of raising a cat that wasn't really socialized. The fourth generation of Bengal cats are much more friendly, gentle and affectionate.

#3. The Snow Bengal has a white or light brown pattern and appeared early on in the breed's development when some of the domestic cats (carriers of recessive colorpoint genes) crossed with Bengals. The original variation, "Seal Lynx Point" was the result of the albino gene in the Siamese genes.

chat et chaton Bengal

A Bengal's intelligence

#4. The Bengal has an excellent memory. Which can be a good thing as well as a bad thing. For example, if they get stuck in a room all day, they will avoid that same place for several weeks.

#5. Because of the Bengal cat's wild traits, it's only natural for them to be exceptional hunters. Mice won't be their only prey. Don't be surprised to receive a large array of different animals such as squirrels, birds, and moles.

#6. Bengal cats are good at learning tricks! Much like dogs, they are easy to train and can be taught the basic tricks such as 'sit', 'lie down' and 'high five'. But they can also learn how to open doors, turn light switches on and off and even lift up bin lids!

Chat Bengal se regardant dans un miroir

A Bengal cat's personality

#7. One of the things that is very common with Bengals is their love of water! Don’t be surprised to find them drinking from the tap. They sometimes even like to drink by dipping their paw into the water bowl and licking it off rather than drinking straight from the bowl itself. Bengals love playing in water and may follow their owners to the bath or shower. Fish owners out there - be careful! Some Bengals enjoy catching goldfish by dipping their paws in the fish tanks.

#8. A very intelligent breed, the Bengal cat is very sensitive to their owner's moods. A self-awareness of emotions in cats is not proven yet. However, they can recognize human gestures and expressions, and they adapt their behavior to it.

#9. Bengal cats are very chatty. It seems like they have the need to communicate about everything, especially when they are trying to tell you that they need or want something. If you ignore them, they will most likely become louder. They can meow in a range of different tones, from sharp to low, giving the impression of a wild animal.

Bengal jouant avec de l'eau

A Bengal's characteristics

#10. The coat is a Bengal's most notable characteristic. The base colour can be speckled or marbled with different kinds of markings that decorate the coat. This includes bicoloured rosettes, arrow-point rosettes, open rosettes, and closed rosettes. Some Bengals can inherit the "glitter" gene which gives their coat an iridescent sheen and makes it look like their fur is sparkling in the sun!

#11. They are great jumpers and climbers. Bengal cats are very active and can actually jump up to three times their height! Their special climbing abilities enable them to hide in the most unthinkable places. They would most likely beat you hands down during a game of hide and seek!

#12. This breed is not one to doze on the couch all day long. They need to play and be stimulated a lot in order to expend their energy. Provide them with cat-friendly toys and don't forget to play with them!

chat Bengal

Having a Bengal cat at home

#13. Buying a Bengal is not cheap. So make sure to save up! The price of a kitten can vary from £300 to £5,000 ($400-7,000 USD), depending on the breeder, the pedigree and the age of the cat. It has been said that back in 1990, a British lady paid $50,000 USD (£38,000) for a Bengal cat! If you decide to adopt or rescue, Bengal cats can be acquired for $150-200 USD.

#14. Bengal cats can be little thieves. They tend to play with any little objects that they can find around the house and could even hide them in different places. It may be best not to leave things lying around the house! Make sure to offer your Bengal lots of cat-friendly toys to keep them entertained.

#15. Behind their wild exterior, Bengal's are gentle and affectionate cats. If you have a big family with other pets, then not to worry! They get along well with both children and other animals.

chat Bengal dans la neige

On top of having a beautiful, distinctive, wild-like fur coat, Bengal cats are intelligent, active and energetic. They love their owners and can sometimes act quite dog-like, playing games like fetch and following their owners. They are great family pets and one thing is for sure, you will have a lot of fun raising them and playing with them. A Bengal cat should be a great fit into your everyday life.

If you are planning on getting a Bengal, then have fun!

So, what do you think? Would you adopt a Bengal cat?

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    Debbie S My BFF Simba is a "glitter snow" Bengal. Believe it or not, he was dumped at my apt's front door as a tiny kitten. A first I thought I got a glitter lilac siamese and I thought how stupid the former owners Were. First, he was so sweet but loud. Hello siamese lineage. Second, $$$. Then they are expensive to retain blue eyes and he start to grow larger. He's my constant companion and follows me everywhere. His hair is so soft and I love to pet his fat white with brown dotted tummy. He's very long as i have long legs and his body can stretches as long. I believe that they are a one owner cat though. He's extremely jealous too. When he allows the other cat to get some loving from me, he decides how long by biting the cat. Basically starting a fight . I love my Simba and wouldn't be able to live without him!!