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Bengal
Recognized Breed

Bengal Energy Level 9
Playfulness 9
Dislikes Alone Time 8
Affection Level 7>
Vocality 3
Teachability 2
Intelligence 9
Autonomy 4
General Health 6
Grooming Needs 2
Ok with Kids 3
Ok with Other Pets 3
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OVERVIEW

Bengals are fun, furry, and full of life. It's no wonder they're some of the world's favorite cats. They're also one of the priciest breeds around—show-quality cats of this breed cost several thousand dollars. (And lots of Bengals do show; these breed is one of The International Cat Association's [TICA] most often exhibited.) That hefty price tag won't keep this sneaker from petty thievery, though, so be sure to put shiny valuables someplace she can't get them.

Those exotic-looking spots make give this kitty her distinctive spots—it's no surprise this breed used to be known as the Safari Cat. And if you bring a Bengal home with you, every day is certain to be an adventure.

This breed can grow to between 6-12 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years.

FAST FACTS
Size: Medium
Energy Level: High
Playfulness: Did someone say “toy?” Yes, please!
Affection Level: Average
Vocality: Average
Intelligence: You can SEE me thinking
Grooming Needs: I mostly groom myself
Dog-Like?: I'm a cat and proud of it

BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

WHAT IS THE BENGAL'S PERSONALITY LIKE?

Bengals are just bursting with personality. If you're looking for a low-maintenance, laid-back feline friend, this breed might not be “fur” you. She's watching you all the time, learning how to do things like open your doors and your cabinets. If there's something on her mind, she's going to let you know. If you're not paying enough attention to her, expect to hear about it and/or experience a “HEY HUMAN” bop on the nose.

WHAT IS BENGAL BEHAVIOR LIKE?

This is a very active and highly social breed. If you're not going to be home much with her, you'll want to be sure that your Bengal has another cat to keep her company. Can't find her? Look up—these kitties love to climb your bookshelves and perch atop the fridge. She growls when she eats, tries to follow you into the shower, and will hide your earrings if you leave them someplace she can reach.

HOW CAN I KEEP MY BENGAL ENTERTAINED?

Bengals will entertain themselves by doing things they know they're not supposed to in order to get and keep your attention. (Hint: give this girl outlets for her energy or you'll come home to tattered curtains and a kitty bursting to get into more trouble.) To channel her energy into a more constructive direction, think about getting a water fountain just for her—these cats love to play in water! Daily play sessions and regular outlets for their energy are a must for Bengals.

This breed also responds well to clicker training and is often amenable to walking on a leash.


CARE & HEALTH

WHAT DO BENGALS LOOK LIKE AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?

Bengals kind of look like miniature leopards, which might account for some of their popularity. Some have a glittery sheen to their coats. They have large oval eyes and decidedly tabby markings on their faces. Whatever their color or pattern, those highly contrasted spots show through.

Your cat's coat and skin can tell you a lot about her health and well-being. Healthy cats have coats that are smooth and shiny; they should have supple, clear skin. Nutrition and wellness factor heavily into the texture and luster of your kitty's coat, but you can help keep her looking and feeling her best with regular skin care and grooming.

WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BENGALS HAVE?

Bengals should be tested for kidney disease. Some are more susceptible to certain infectious diseases as well. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about common Bengal concerns if you bring one into your home.

Remember that cats often hide disease symptoms! It's important to bring your furry friend in for veterinary checkups at least once a year.


IDEAL FAMILY

ARE BENGALS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?

Bengals are among the breeds generally recommended for allergy sufferers. Short—or wiry-haired cats do tend to be easier keepers than their long-haired cousins. But shedding less doesn't make these breeds hypoallergenic. Dander (found in urine, dead skin, and saliva), not pet hair, is what sets off allergy sufferers. Lighter-shedding cats will distribute fewer allergens around your home, though.

Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies. Brushing can help cut back on airborne allergens. If your pet allergies are mild, a regular grooming session could have a big impact on your quality of life with your pet.

WHAT IS MY BENGAL'S BEST DAY?

She'll enjoy the heck out of perching someplace high, nicking your watch, chirping at birds out the window, and generally making sure things don't get too boring around the house.

SHOULD I ADOPT A BENGAL?

Bengals probably aren't the best choice for a novice cat owner. But if you're in the market for a distinctive-looking feline friend who will always keep you on your toes, this breed is the cat's meow.

Have you decided that a Bengal is the purr-fect cat for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.

Picture(s): Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Corbis | |

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