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Why a Bengal?

"oh wow!"

That is the typical comment we get when someone first sees our bengal 'silvergene mystique'.

The goal with a bengal is to have a cat that looks wild but behaves like a typical domestic cat. like most cats bengals, love to climb. our first bengal, pita, is always looking for ways to get higher. i have seen her walking on the curtain rod and once when i went in the closet her blue eyes were staring at me from the top of the clothes. unlike most cats bengal also like water – some more than others, but all to some degree. some will jump in the bathtub at the slightest invitation while others are content to just play in the sink, the toilet, the water dish, the planter tray, or anything else they can find with water in it. i read an article about one bengal that would turn the faucet on in the bathroom sink and then play in the water making a terrible mess.

asian leopard catbengal’s are noted for their lightning quick movements, something to keep in mind when striding down the hall in the dark or opening a door to the outside. bengal’s were created by breeding an asian leopard cat (see photo) with domestic breeds. a bengal must be at least 4 generations from the asian leopard to be entered in a show. people that are allergic to other breeds of cats are not allergic to bengals. also their hair is short and does not have the barbed ends typical of longhair cats so the hair does not cling and is easily brushed off furniture or falls to the floor. it is extremely rare for someone to be allergic to a bengal even when they are highly allergic to other breeds. the coat of a bengal has a “glitter” feeling luxurious and silky.

a bengal is more outgoing, more confident, more active, more curious than other breeds. because of their wonderful personalities, 60% of the cats shown in a typical t.i.c.a. show will be bengal. they are aggressive in a good way; not shy or timid but friendly, outgoing, and confident. they often follow you around the house and typically check the door when you come and go. as they get past the kitten stage they are more inclined to stay hidden during the inactive part of the day but first thing in the morning or in the evening they are out and around looking for some playtime and excitement.

they love to play. they have a great variety of vocalizations including a sound best described as trilling or yodeling. p.i.t.a. will usually make a sound like a loud purr, rolling or trilling the sound when she is going to jump in my lap. i have never heard another cat make that sound and it is one i never get tired of hearing. they seem to need people and are sensitive to their masters making them easy to train assuming the owner is willing to take a position and be consistent.

it is especially important to get a kitten that has been raised in a home if you want a fully socialized cat. bengals are sensitive. it is important that children are taught to never abuse a kitten - they will remember! children are never a problem with p.i.t.a. – she will stay in the room but in such a high place she can never get caught unless she lets the grandchildren reach her. bengals for the most part will jump in your lap but most bengals do not like to be restricted. they want affection on their terms but mostly they want to be moving constantly until they are ready to stop at which time they will jump in a lap and go to sleep.

if you hold them a lot when they are kittens they will accept being held as adults. our first bengal identifies with people and will go right up to any stranger and is always willing to use a persons back or shoulder to jump higher or to see what is going on. many bengal’s love to ride around the house wrapped around a neck. pita will anticipate our moves and mock-attack us as we come into a room. our second bengal, silvergene mystique, was raised in a kennel until she was 7 months old. she is just as willing to be around people but she is shy around strangers. she will come in the room with a stranger but she will stay a safe distance.

bengal’s are lightning fast, very active, curious, and aggressive in a friendly way so a little more caution is in order with a bengal than other cats. never play rough with a kitten. discourage any biting of the fingers or ankles. also bengals have an affinity for heights, are sure footed, with extraordinary athletic ability. their penchant for play makes them great source of amusement.

because a bengal is so active it is nice to have two cats for those times you are too busy to stop and play. they like water, they like to climb, they have interesting vocalization, they are stunningly beautiful – they look like something right out of the wild, they are intelligent, they are more active than most other breeds so this is a cat for people that want to know there is a cat in their lives. i have always had dogs, never a cat, but a bengal is not quite like any other cat.

click here to read about "the legend of the marbled cat".

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