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20 Interesting Bengal Cat Facts: Appearance, Origin & Traits

Sophie Herlihy

By Sophie Herlihy

aggressive Bengal cat

The Bengal cat is a unique breed of feline that has garnered much attention in recent years. There’s a lot more than a wild appearance and a funky personality to these kitties, though.

Here are 20 facts about Bengal cats that might just surprise you!

Top 20 Bengal Cat Facts

1. Bengals are a relatively new breed

The Bengal cat was first established in the 1980s by Jean S. Mill of California. This may seem like a while ago, but compared to other pure breeds, Bengals are still quite new to the scene.

bengal cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: lshman000, Pixabay

2. Bengals are the result of crossing a Domestic Shorthair with an Asian Leopard cat

The Asian Leopard cat is a small wild cat that is found throughout much of Asia. Bengals were originally bred in an attempt to create a domestic cat that resembled a wild leopard.

Today, Bengal cats are still bred with Asian Leopard cats to maintain their unique appearance. Bengals have distinct physical features inherited from their wild ancestors. Bengals are easily recognizable thanks to their large, round eyes and Leopard-like spots.


3. Bengal’s most notable feature is its leopard-like spots

These spots are called “rosettes” and are actually clusters of 3–4 smaller spots that are surrounded by a darker color. Rosettes are not found on any other domestic cat breed.

While most Bengals have the traditional spotted coat, there is also a Bengal variety that has a marbled coat. The marbled Bengal looks like it has been dipped in melted chocolate, with swirls of light and dark colors running through its fur.

brown spotted bengal cat
Image Credit: Wildrose Bengals, Shutterstock

4. Bengal’s fur has an iridescent sheen

One of the most striking things about a Bengal’s fur is its shimmering, almost metallic sheen. This effect is caused by the way the light reflects off the Bengal’s fur.

Not only is the Bengal’s coat beautiful to look at, but it is also very soft and silky to the touch. This makes them very pleasant cats to pet.


5. Bengals tend to be super energetic

If you are looking for a lazy lap cat, the Bengal is not the breed for you! These kitties are known for their high energy levels and love to play. An exercise wheel is a common furnishing in Bengal homes.

We with domestic shorthairs or mixed tabbies scoff at the thought of our own lazy cat on such a contraption.

a bengal cat running outdoor
Image Credit: Jeannette1980, Pixabay

6. Bengals are intelligent and love to play games

Because of their wild ancestry, Bengals are very smart cats. They are quick learners and love to play games that challenge their minds.

One way to keep your Bengal happy is to provide them with plenty of toys and puzzles. You can even teach your Bengal to fetch!


7. Bengals have nimble paws to get into mischief

Bengals are known for their “nimble paws,” which means they are very good at using their paws to open doors, cupboards, and drawers. This can be a great trait if you want a kitty that is good at hunting, but not so great if you have a lot of valuables that you want to keep safe from prying paws.

Bengal cat biting its nails
Image By: Ilona Koeleman, Shutterstock

8. Bengals love water

While most cats avoid water at all costs, Bengals actually enjoy playing in the water. This love of water is another trait inherited from their wild ancestors. It is not uncommon to see a Bengal taking a dip in the toilet or playing with the water from the faucet.


9. Bengals were once called Safari cats

When Bengals were first introduced to the world, they were known as Safari cats. This was because of their wild appearance and love of water (which made them ideal for life in the jungle!). They were renamed Bengal after the Asian leopard cat’s scientific name (Prionailurus bengalensis).

bengal kneading blanket
Image Credit: K Lim, Shutterstock

10. Bengals are more sociable than most cats

While Bengals are not quite as social as dogs, they are definitely more outgoing than your average cat. They love to meet new people and will often greet guests at the door. They do fine housed with other pets such as cats or dogs.


11. Bengals are amazing jumpers and climbers

Bengals are known for their incredible jumping and climbing abilities. They can often be found perched atop high shelves or furniture. When keeping a Bengal, a catio or jungle gym is a must to keep them entertained and safe.

bengal cat walking on plank outdoor
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

12. The Bengal is outlawed in some states

Due to their wild ancestry, some states have laws that prohibit the ownership of Bengals such as Hawaii and Connecticut. Other states have restrictions on ownership based on how many generations the cat is from their wild heritage.


13. Bengals are natural-born hunters

Bengal Cat Hunting
Image Credit: TheCats,Shutterstock

Another trait inherited from their wild ancestors is their hunting instincts. Bengals love to stalk and pounce on their prey, whether it be a toy mouse or a real one. This instinct can make them good at pest control, but it can also be a nuisance if you have other pets in the house (such as birds or rodents).

Consider your local wildlife also, particularly if you are allowing your Bengal outside. It’s recommended that they stay indoors only.


14. They’re like Nifflers—Bengals like to hide things

Have you ever seen those little creatures called Nifflers in the Fantastic Beasts movies? They have a habit of hiding things, and Bengals are a bit like that too.

They love to stash their toys away in secret hiding spots, and you may often find yourself searching high and low for a missing toy or even your car keys.


15. Bengals are adventurous

Bengals are always up for an adventure. Whether it’s exploring a new room in the house or going for a walk outside, they love to experience new things.

This adventurous streak can sometimes get them into trouble, so it’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t get into something they shouldn’t.

a bengal cat about to swim in the sea
Image Credit: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

16. Bengals get bored quickly

Bengals are very intelligent and active cats, which means they can get bored easily. If they are not given enough mental and physical stimulation, they may become destructive or even start to exhibit signs of anxiety.

Providing them with plenty of toys, climbing trees, and opportunities to run and play will help keep them happy and healthy.


17. Bengals are chatty

If you’re looking for a chatty cat, then the Bengal is definitely the breed for you. They love to vocalize their thoughts and feelings, and you will often find yourself having full-blown conversations with them.

Their voices are usually soft and pleasant, but they can also be quite loud when they want to be.

bengal cats licking eachother
Image Credit: Ilona Koeleman, Shutterstock

18. Bengals come in many different colors

Bengals come in a wide variety of colors, from the traditional brown and black to more exotic colors like blue, silver, and even marble. No matter what color they are, they all have one thing in common: beautiful spotted or marbled coats.


19. Bengals love their family

Bengals are very loving and affectionate cats. They love spending time with their family and will often follow them around the house or sit on their laps. They are also known for being very good with children, making them ideal family pets. Just be aware that they can be a bit too rough and tumble for young kids.

bengal-cat-close-up
Image Credit: Pixabay

20. Bengals are called the “Rolls Royce” of cats

Bengals have often been referred to as the “Rolls Royce” of cats due to their luxurious coats and regal appearance—oh, and their price tag! These cats are not cheap, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for a well-bred Bengal kitten.

The most expensive Bengal ever sold was for over $40,000. Yes, you read that correctly. In 2014, a Bengal cat named “Cato” was sold for a whopping $41,435.

This is believed to be the most expensive cat ever sold, and it just goes to show how much people are willing to pay for these beautiful animals.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Bengals are unique and special cats. They make great pets for those who are looking for an active and loving companion.

Just be sure to keep an eye on them, as their adventurous and mischievous nature can sometimes get them into trouble.

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