Bengal cats are an exotic breed created as a hybrid between an Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic feline. The Bengal cat is renowned for its gorgeous coat markings, which come from their Asian leopard ancestors. However an exotic coat isn't the only outstanding thing about these cats who tend to be huge characters with eccentric traits such an obsession with water and climbing.
Feed your Bengal responsibly. As with any cat, feed a good quality cat food of either a wet (canned or pouch) or dry (kibble) variety. Use the feeding guide on the back of the package as a guide to the initial quantity.
Take care your cat does not become overweight. Check once a week that you can feel his or her ribs and that he or she has a waistline. If you have difficulty identifying individual ribs then the cat has become overweight and you need to cut back its food allowance by 10%. After this cut back, check your cat's weight again in one week's time.
Give your Bengal water. You could just give it water in a dish, or get a running water system. You can buy running water for cats at you local pet store. If you can't find one there, go online and order one.If you don't want to buy a running water system, give them water in a dish and occasionally turn on the faucet in the bathroom and let them jump up and drink it!
. Bengals have a thing about water - an obsession really. They love to play with it and running water holds a special fascination. They will sit and bat at it with a paw for hours. This is great except you can end up with very wet carpets. Therefore, it's best to site water bowls on a waterproof floor that can be mopped dry if it all gets too much.
Also remember to keep the toilet seat cover down. This is the Bengal equivalent of a play pool and it will enjoy dipping its paw in and splashing water everywhere.
Give your cat a litter box that has a cover! It will give it the feeling of privacy. Also be sure to give you cat a litter box with high edges. Bengal cats can jump up to three times their height, so don't be afraid to give them a little higher edge around their litter box.
- The high edge is so they don't pee outside the box. If they only have to step into the box, they may pee along the edge of the box, thus leaving you a big mess to clean.
- If you want to teach your cat to go to the bathroom in a toilet, your job is a lot easier with a Bengal! Do some research on training programs and start it when your Bengal is young.
Do only a small amount of grooming. Bengals have a satin finish to their coat that doesn't need a lot of care. However, like most cats, if you start brushing a Bengal as a kitten, it will grow up loving the attention.
- Use a rubber grooming glove get the shed hair out of the coat and keep it extra glossy and sleek.
Take your Bengal to the vet on a regular basis. Like all cats, for a long and healthy life the Bengal requires certain routine health measures. As a kitten, this includes vaccinations, deworming, neutering, and having a microchip inserted.
- Having a microchip in place means you can prove ownership is the cat is recovered from thieves or if found when it's lost.
- Make sure your vet takes care of Bengals, because not all vets do.
Start vaccination from six weeks of age to give temporary protection. Repeat again at 10 weeks, with the final shot of this initial course at 14 weeks of age. The vet will vaccinate against distemper and rabies, as a basic course, and discuss vaccinating against feline leukemia and chlamydia.
- There is some resistance amongst Bengal breeders to giving the leukaemia vaccine. The reasons for this are not clear but are related to the ancestry of the Asian leopard. There is no proof whatsoever that Bengal cats are especially sensitive to this vaccine and there are no special complications in the breed.
- Neither does the Bengal's ancestry give them natural immunity, as some breeders argue, so not vaccinating leaves your cat open to possible infection. However, if your cat is going to be purely indoors, then you can save yourself the debate, because an indoor cat is at low risk of contracting feline leukemia.
Get your cat desexed. Desexing is usually done between 5 - 6 months. However, some breeders insist on the kitten being neutered before they are homed (at 12 weeks), in order to avoid their kittens being used for breeding stock.
Get your cat dewormed. Worming should be done at 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks of age with an oral product, such as Panacur. Good products, such as Stronghold (UK) or Revolution (US), last for 1 month, so they should be applied monthly from 6 weeks of age.
Consider taking out pet insurance for your Bengal cat. This will cost you a modest sum every year. However, it will help significantly if your cat has a medical emergency. It will pay a portion of your vet bills, depending on the exact policy, and it will assure that you don't have to make treatment decisions based on cost alone.
Give your Bengal a chance to climb. Bengals love to climb and the higher they get the happier they are. If you don't give them suitable things to climb on, they will find things for themselves, such as your curtains.
- A floor-to-ceiling cat gym is ideal, with lots of platforms and nest boxes. In fact if you have one in every room so much the better. Place one cat gym beside a window, so your Bengal can climb and watch birds through the window at the same time, which he or she will hugely enjoy.
Give the Bengal mental stimulation so it doesn't get into trouble. Provide plenty of toys, and be sure to have a minimum of twice daily play sessions, lasting at least 10 minutes (or until the cat gets tired). Bengals are intelligent and extremely energetic so you need to provide an outlet for all that pent up hunting behavior. Neglect this and the cat is likely to find its own amusement by shredding your best furniture.
- The Bengal is highly intelligent and adept at problem solving. This means he or she may work out how to open the food cupboard, or even the fridge. Be prepared to fit child locks on doors where there is anything that could harm the cat (such as cleaning products) or where there is food.
Help the Bengal to bond with all members of the household. Bengals have a tendency to become one-person cats and ignore everyone else. To avoid this, when you get the Bengal kitten, make sure all members of the house spend equal time playing with, feeding, and grooming the kitten. This will help the cat become equally familiar with everyone.
- Consider giving your Bengal cat a friend to play with. Bengals have play fights in the middle of night, so if you don't want a cat to bother you all night, get another cat. The second cat doesn't have to be a Bengal. It can just be a stray, cat from the pound, or a cat you already own.
Have fun with your Bengal! Playing with your cat can provide hours of entertainment for you, and your Bengal. These cats love attention, so the more, the merrier! They also love to sleep with their "parents" so, let 'em snuggle up to you at night! Bengals only live 12-18 years average, so make the most out of each day with your cat.
- Play time with kitties is always important! Cats love anything moving. Get a feather on a string, and move it slowly on the ground. This will make your Bengal think it is alive. Move it slowly, shaking it a little back in forth, until your Bengal pounces.