Bengals look like little leopards because….they are! In 1963, a Himalayan breeder bought a female leopard cat. (At this time, it was legal to buy exotic pets; it is no longer legal.) She then attempted to form a friendship between the leopard cat and a random-bred male. It worked so well, they had a kitten, who went on to have two more kittens. The breeder then experienced some personal problems and gave away the leopard cat. In 1975, after her life had settled down, the breeder began trying again to introduce a domesticated leopard into the homes of cat lovers. (She was hoping that by doing this it would discourage the poaching of leopards.) It took an additional ten years before she had worked out the kinks enough to present this new breed. At first, Bengals posed quite the ethical dilemma, but since then, Bengal cats have become one of the most popular spotted breeds of cats.
Bengals are athletic-looking, muscular-bodied medium-to-large cats. Their hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs. Their heads are broad modified wedges that are slightly smaller in proportion to the body and sit atop long, muscular necks. Their noses are large and the bridge extends up past their eyes. Males weigh 10 to 18 pounds while females weigh 7 to 12 pounds.
Bengal coats are short to medium in length and lay close to their bodies. It’s thick but soft and silky. Some Bengals have a recessive “glitter” gene that gives the coat an iridescent gleam. (It looks like the cat is covered by a winter frost.)
Eyes are large, oval, set wide and range in color. Ears are medium to small and rounded at the tips.
Loving and dependable, Bengals form deep long time bonds. Very communicative and interactive, they let you know what they’re feeling. Active and athletic with that feline curiosity, Bengals are always eager to play. They love to climb (they did descend from leopards!), so you might have to put your knickknacks away. With superior intelligence, Bengals can be taught to fetch and a multitude of other tricks — like turning off the lights, opening doors and flushing the toilet…They also love to pounce. If you’re having a problem with mice, well, you won’t soon after you bring a Bengal home. Like many other active breeds of cats, Bengals prefer not to be picked up and fussed at. They love and cherish their freedom. And a final note, they love water. Don’t be surprised if your Bengal joins you for a bath.