How to tell if your companion is a half Bengal cat
Adopting a cat doesn’t have much to do with their breed—purebred or mixed, a healthy and happy kitty is all that matters.
Although you won’t love them any more or less, discovering that you live with a half Bengal cat can help you understand their psychological traits, health issues they’re prone to, and what their ideal diet should be.
Untamed explains how to determine whether your cat is a Bengal mix and how to go about caring for them.
How do I know if I have a Bengal cat?
To determine whether your kitty descended from an Asian Leopard cat, pay attention to their:
- Physical traits
- Psychological characteristics
Oh, who cares if I’m Bengal or not? I’m cute and hungry, and that’s all that matters!
Source: Paul Hanaoka
Physical traits of Bengal cats
Bengal cats have a distinctive wild look, characterised by their:
- Coat pattern
- Body type
Your cat’s coat pattern
All Bengal cats, half or purebred, resemble tabbies (cats with striped and mottled coats). Their coats have unique patterns, resembling their ancestors—Asian leopard cats.
If you adopt a Bengal mix, they’ll have one of the following coat types:
- Spotted—It’s monochromatic with unique spots in various sizes all over the body. Most Bengals have spotted coats
- Rosetted—Bengals with rosette fur have two different colours that come in three shapes—arrowhead, paw print and doughnut
- Marble—This pattern is characterised by swirls that look like marble rocks
- Sparbled—As a mix of spotted and marble, sparbled coats have both spots and swirls
Bengals have short coats, which makes them easy to groom. Although they are not hypoallergenic, these tiny tigers shed less than other domesticated cats, so they can be a good option for people suffering from mild cat allergies.
Your cat’s coat colour
Although a typical Bengal has a light brown coat with dark spots, they can come in various colours.
The International Cat Association, or TICA, recognises the following as standard:
The colour category
Gray, brown, sandy brown, tawny brown, brown, sorrel
The seal lynx, the seal mink, the seal sepia
Silver base coat with black markings
Bengals come in other colours, including blue, chocolate, ginger, and cinnamon, but they've yet to be accepted as official.
Your cat’s body type
If your cat is a Bengal mix, they might have a bigger frame than a typical feline.
Females weigh around 4.5kg and males around 5–6.5kg. They’re known for their sturdy build and muscular physique. Miniature leopards are usually athletic and move with great stealth.
Bengals are active, so they rarely put on weight. If your kitty is chubby regardless of a healthy diet and adequate calorie intake, they’re likely not a Bengal’s offspring.
I might be cute and little now, but in a few months, I’ll grow big and strong! You’ll see!
Source: EILA CHÉRIE
Bengal mix cat personality
Besides recognisable physical qualities, Bengals have strong and distinctive personalities. Your feline companion might have some Bengal blood if they’re:
- Not afraid of heights
- Keen on water
Bengals are vocal and love to express their interest, disinterest, love, and resentment loudly and unapologetically. If your kitty meows, purrs, chirps and yowls every chance they get, they could have some Bengal blood!
Asian leopard cats can jump impressively high, which is a skill they’ve passed on to their descendants.
Bengals love to climb and explore, whether in the wild or indoors. They often climb or jump to the highest spots in the room and settle there to observe the environment.
With incredibly high energy levels, Bengals need plenty of exercise to burn it off. Extensive playtime, a scratching post, and enough space are essential if you want a happy and well-behaved indoor cat. A lack of physical activity could result in an irritable and unhappy Bengal.
Unlike most felines, Bengals adore water. They love to look at it, touch it, bathe in it, and often drink straight from the tap.
Bathing your tiny leopard will be fun and chill, giving you an excellent opportunity to bond with your feline companion. Some Bengals can even be trained to use the toilet instead of a litter box.
Most cats like to keep to themselves because they are independent and enjoy solitude, but Bengals love to socialise. Although territorial, once they let their guard down, they’ll be great pals with cats and dogs alike.
Bengals are also pretty expressive and affectionate with their humans, which makes them fantastic companions.
Other ways to determine whether you have a Bengal cat crossbreed
If you need an expert opinion, try the following:
- The adoption centre—If you’ve adopted your kitty from a rescue clinique or an adoption centre, they might have some info on your cat's background
- Your vet—Consult your vet. DNA tests are expensive, but they're the only way to know for sure whether your furry friend has some Bengal blood
- TICA—Browsing through TICA, the world's largest genetic registry of cats, might help because there are numerous images you can compare your cat to. You can also reach out to various feline organisations for an objective assessment
Health issues you should look out for if you have a half Bengal cat
If your cat is half Bengal, be on the lookout for these genetic diseases:
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Patellar luxation
- Hip dysplasia
- Pyruvate kinase deficiency
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Anaesthetic allergy
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
PRA is a congenital disease that causes progressive blindness in Bengals. Those who inherit this recessive gene usually end up fully blind two to four years after the first symptoms appear.
The condition starts with night blindness and progresses quickly. Although you cannot stop or slow down the development of PRA, you can modify parts of your home to improve your kitty's quality of life.
Patellar luxation is a dislocation of a feline’s kneecap due to a genetic malformation or trauma.
Hardy and strong, Bengals usually don’t show the symptoms (discomfort, pain, inability to move properly) until the disease has already progressed. Regular check-ups could help you spot the problem early and react on time. It’s important to keep your feline’s weight within normal limits since extra pounds can make matters worse.
Bengals are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia, which can be painful and lead to arthritis. Severe forms of this disease can affect kittens as young as six months, resulting in lameness and difficulty walking.
Pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD)
PKD is a hereditary illness caused by a lack of pyruvate kinase enzymes responsible for red blood cell formation. The condition entails mild and gradual anaemia. Even though the disease isn’t fatal and likely won’t disrupt your feline’s life, catching it early and treating it is vital for your companion's longevity.
I’m anaemic? Is that thing they cure with lots and lots of beef?
Source: Paul Hanaoka
HCM is a common heart condition in senior Bengals, causing the thickening of the heart muscle. The heart needs to work harder to maintain the blood flow. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy leads to blood clots, immobility in the hind legs, and heart failure.
Regular physical activities and a healthy diet are the best ways to prevent the disease from developing. Since obesity can contribute to the onset of this condition, portion control and weight maintenance are crucial.
The most common symptoms are:
- Heavy breathing
- Loss of appetite
Bengals are extremely sensitive to ketamine, a common anaesthetic in veterinary medicine. If your kitty requires anaesthesia, the vet needs to be careful with the dosage. Although some cats might only experience swelling and irritation, others could go into cardiac arrest or anaphylactic shock.
The right diet for your Bengal mix kitty
In the wild, cats hunt small animals like mice, rabbits, birds, and frogs. Domesticated indoor cats have the same nutritional needs but more sensitive tummies. Good cat food should mimic their natural diet in a safe way, so zero harmful bacteria are vital for your kitty's well-being.
Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, sardines, or mackerel will keep your Bengal fit and calm. Raw food is not the best option because the storing and handling procedures carry the risk of contamination with bacteria.
High-quality cat food should contain the following nutrients:
- Animal protein
- Animal fat
- Vitamins and minerals
Whether you go for wet or dry food (or a mixture), animal protein needs to make up more than 50% of your cat’s food intake. It is the primary energy source for felines, and it contains all the essential amino acids, including taurine and arginine, that support your kitty’s:
- Digestive tract
- Heart function
Cats are obligate carnivores, so digesting plant-based proteins can cause fussiness, followed by diarrhoea or vomiting. They’d also need to eat a lot of veggies, such as peas, carrots, rice, and soya, to satisfy their protein needs.
Keep the veggies to yourself, hooman! I want all the meat!
To provide your cat with the best quality protein, they’ll digest and metabolise efficiently, feed them:
- Chicken (cooked, not raw)
- Liver (works best as a taste enhancer in regular meals)
- Pork, ham, bacon, and beef (only as treats)
Animal fat promotes:
- Nutrient transport across cell membranes
- Coat and skin health
- Absorption of vitamins and minerals
Cats also find the smell and taste of animal fat irresistible. If you have a fussy eater on your hands who rejects wet food and skips meals, look for high-quality jelly and gravy formulas because they tend to have a hint of animal fat as a natural taste enhancer. Fat shouldn’t make up more than 20% of your Bengal’s diet since overconsumption inevitably leads to obesity and diabetes.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are vital from an early age, through adulthood, all the way to the senior stage. Cats can extract them from high-quality meat, so there’s no need for supplements if your Bengal’s meals are complete and balanced.
Keep your Bengal away from carbs
Bengals shouldn’t consume feline-inappropriate ingredients, including cereals, vegetables, fruits, and sugar, since they don’t have the enzymes necessary to process the high carb content efficiently. Your feline’s diet shouldn’t contain more than 3% carbs.
How can Untamed help keep your feline healthy?
Looking for delicious cat food with loads of animal protein? Give Untamed a try!
Regardless of your kitty’s breed, our healthy and delicious recipes are suitable for all.
Image (c) Untamed
Your cat will purr with excitement after trying Untamed formulas because our meals are:
- Hypoallergenic—If your feline suffers from food allergies, our allergen-free meals will settle their tummies instantly. For extra sensitive kitties, we’ve prepared two single-protein-source recipes—Chocka Chicken and Tuck-in Tuna in Jelly
- Human-grade quality—If it’s not good enough for us, it’s not good enough for our felines! All Untamed products are made with prime quality meat and fish because our kitties deserve the best
- Ethically produced—We cooperate with cruelty-free and dolphin-safe suppliers and use 100% recyclable packaging because we'd like to leave a safe planet for future generations of cats and people
- Vet-formulated—Untamed recipes are developed with the help of vets to ensure that our products are complete and balanced
- High in animal protein—Our cat food contains double the amount of protein than most other commercial products
How to get Untamed
Ordering a trial pack for your Bengal requires three simple steps:
- Take our Try Now quiz
- Select the products
- Complete your order
Your taster pack will arrive at your doorstep in a day, and we can send you monthly supplies to ensure that your pantry is always full. If you ever wish to cancel, postpone, or change your order, you can do it in no time from your account!
What do other Bengal cat parents say about Untamed?
Cat parents who’ve already switched their kitties to Untamed reported the following improvements:
Within a week
After two months
Within four months