If you know anything about Bengal cats, you know they are a hybrid of an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat. If you’re considering obtaining this breed, don’t worry: you’re not going to have a leopard-sized cat running around your house. Seriously, a friend of mine thought these felines got so much bigger than normal cats she almost built a house in her backyard big enough for a St. Bernard! So, just how big do Bengal cats get?
A brief history of the Bengal cat
Bengal cats were developed by several people, but the most notable one was Sugden Mill, who in the 1970’s and 1980’s, had the goal of combining the beauty of the Asian leopard cat with the mild temperament of the domestic cat. Most people agree that this goal has definitely been achieved!
These felines have a very distinctive physical appearance. The first thing most people notice is the beautiful coat of fur they possess. Not only is it nice to look at, it’s very soft to the touch,almost like silk. Their fur shines in the light and glitters in a way that permeates every hair shaft.
There is another subtle physical difference between a Bengal cat and other cat breeds: their head and ears are smaller proportionate to their bodies, resembling their wild cat ancestors.
Like many of their tabby counterparts though, they have a ‘thumbprint’ on their ears – very short fur in the shape of a thumbprint. They also have a shape on their foreheads resembling an, “M” just like other tabbies.
Bengal cats are known for their slim and athletic forms. They are generally bigger than their other domestic cat breeds.
Just how big will they get
Bengal kittens start out about the same size of any typical cat breed. They will continue to grow at a steady pace, and reach adulthood at about 6 months. Male Bengals can be large, weighing anywhere from 12-15 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, usually weighing about 10 – 12 pounds. Remember that this weight is all lean muscle, so your Bengal will be very strong and agile. You’ll know when this feline jumps on you for a lap-cuddle.
By one year of age they should reach their adult weight, but this can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type and quality of food you give him.
When they reach their senior years (10+) you may notice that they lose some of their muscle mass and a bit of weight. This is natural, as they will typically be less active, and is nothing to be overly concerned about. Regular vet checkups will help ensure that your Bengal is healthy.
Personality and behavior
If you’re looking for a cat that eats, sleeps and is completely independent, then a Bengal is NOT for you! These cats are agile and active. Expect them to run around the house, jump on counters and climb up drapes. They don’t mean to be naughty, it’s just their nature! If you have a lot of knick-knacks around the house, you may want to buy a curio cabinet to keep them safe.
These cats need plenty of time and attention, ALMOST as much as a dog. They need plenty of toys at their disposal and look for treats often. They are vocal and will let you know when they need food, water or attention.
That’s not to say they don’t have a ‘soft’ side. They can be quite affectionate and show their human guardians plenty of love when they’re in the mood. They are quite intelligent, and if trained from kitten-hood, will walk on a leash or tether.
Caring for your Bengal cat
There are NO special instructions as far as caring for your Bengal. Quality cat food (a mix of dry and wet food), treats, toys and a safe environment are really all they need. If you are away all day, make sure you leave plenty of things for them to do, or keep them in a closed room with access to food and water.
Regular vet checkups with annual vaccines and immunizations will ensure they stay healthy for years to come. This is important even if your cat stays indoors.
They get along well with other pets and children, but they do like to be the center of attention. Bengal cats can be a wonderful addition to your family as long as you are willing to give them the time and attention they demand. They are bigger than most other cat breeds, so be aware that SOME may actually be the size of a very small dog!
Do you have a Bengal cat? How big is he/she and what personality traits do you notice? We’d love to hear your cat stories!