Purrsonality of the Bengal

Well-bred Bengals are affectionate, purr enthusiastically and are exceedingly intelligent, a trait probably inherited from the wild cat’s natural selection for jungle survival. They use the litter box, like to climb and run, and are quick and curious about everything. Bengal owners report that their cats retrieve, learn parlor tricks and love water, sometimes coming right into the tub to play with human toes.

Even as adults, Bengals are entertaining and playful, but as in other breeds of domestic cats, they vary greatly in appearance and behavior. For example, most Abyssinians are loving and calm, but a few are independent and aloof. Some Abys are born with the perfect agouti coat, while others show tabby markings. So it is with Bengals. In general, skittish, fearful kittens seldom become affectionate pets, but they may bond to certain family members.

Bengal kittens often go through an ugly stage of grayness between 2 and 6 months of age in which the clearly contrasted markings are spoiled and blurry. This muting is probably nature’s way of protecting the young; baby cheetahs go through a similar fuzzy stage. Then, depending on the seasons, the gray ticked coat falls out and the rufous coloration returns, unless, of course, the kitten was gray (tawny) at birth. All Bengals must have a black tail tip, regardless of body color. Blue, red and dilute colors are not recognized Bengal colors, although Bengals with Ocicat blood often produce them.

Two extra beautiful coat types of the Bengal are the snow leopard and the marbled. Much like its wild cousin, the real snow leopard, the Bengal color/pattern is ivory with subtle, dark markings of equal intensity all over the cat. The marbled has no counterpart in the wild, and in captivity no two marbled Bengals are alike. The pattern may be sharply defined patches of color; reminiscent of a stained glass windows, or flowing, twisting streams of clear color. Both of these patterns are breathtaking and exciting because they have never before been seen on domestic cats.


Note to reader: The above information has been referenced from Jean Mills article "The Bengal" in the Feb 1991 issue of Cat Fancy.