Even if you'd had other cats all of your life, bringing home a Bengal can be a whole new feline experience. A fascinating blend of the exotic and the domestic, the Bengal cat resembles wild cousins, like the jaguar or ocelot, with his marbled or spotted coat.
The Bengal cat dates only from the early 1960s, when a breeder crossed a domestic feline with an Asian leopard cat. The breed is named for this wild Asian cat, whose scientific name is Prionailurus bengalensis.
Forget the adage that kitties don't like to get wet. The Bengal is an exception - many Bengals enjoy playing in water. Be careful if you keep an aquarium as your fish may have some unwelcome company. You might have a companion in the tub.
In addition to the beautiful marbling or spotted rosette features of the Bengals' coat, some cats inherit the so-called "glitter gene," which gives their coats an iridescent quality.
Bengals love to climb. Perhaps there's a mountain-climbing gene in there along with the glitter. If you have high cupboards or very tall furniture, you may find your Bengal has gone where no cat has ever gone before.
Just Like A Dog
Bengals have several attributes found more often in canines than felines. He likes to play fetch, and if you want to take your indoor Bengal outside try walking him on a leash. Reports of barking or rolling in nasty stuff are highly exaggerated.
If you come home and some of your jewelry is missing, it might have been an inside job. Stash anything glittery away from your Bengal (maybe another version of the glitter gene?) as he loves to play with and hide such objects.
Your Bengal enjoys learning tricks. Keep this smart cat entertained and out of mischief by teaching him tricks, like jumping or retrieving. You also should provide him with plenty of cat toys, but not ordinary ones like stuffed mice. Give him something he must figure out, like kitty puzzles.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.