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How to Tell if Your Cat is a Bengal Mix? 4 Vet Approved Traits

Cassandra Kyser

By Cassandra Kyser

bengal kitten

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you want to own a purebred Bengal cat in the U.S., you have to make an effort to find one. Bengals are a newer cat breed that has only been available to the public since the 1980s. Most purebreds are purchased from breeders or rehomed through breed-specific rescues.

Bengal mixes might be another story, though. These litters can exist due to intentional breeding to combine desirable traits into one mixed-breed cat. Or, Bengal mix kittens could be a “happy accident”! Either way, there are Bengal mix cats out there, but it’s impossible to know how many.

Do you suspect your kitty might be part Bengal? Read on to learn more about this breed’s traits and the one guaranteed way to find out your cat’s heritage.

The 4 Key Traits of the Bengal Cat

All Bengals can trace their lineage to an Asian leopard cat/domestic cat pairing. Asian leopard cats are a wild breed that has distinctive characteristics and personalities. Do any of these unusual traits sound like your cat?

1. Likes (Maybe Even Loves!) Water

The stereotype of a water-hating cat doesn’t hold true for most Bengals. Asian leopard cats are known for going for the occasional swim, and they passed this unusual trait down to their Bengal descendants.

Many domestic Bengals tolerate or even enjoy being in the water. If your cat jumps into the bathtub with you without a second thought, you may have a Bengal mix.

2. Athletic and Graceful

The only time Bengals sit still is when they’re asleep! These cats spend their days on the move—climbing, swatting, and discovering. Bengals aren’t clumsy or awkward like some housecats, but they’re graceful athletes that make climbing and jumping look easy.

striped tiger bengal cat
Image Credit: Cressida studio, Shutterstock

3. Spectacular Coat Patterns

A list of Bengal traits wouldn’t be complete without talking about their gorgeous coats. A Bengal has one of two fur patterns: two-toned ringed spots or marbled fur.

The ringed spots are called “rosettes” and look like leopard spots. According to The International Cat Association, Bengals are the only domestic cat with these spots. A marbled Bengal’s markings are much more intense and dramatic than your average tabby cat’s, and Bengals have short yet incredibly soft fur.

4. Goes for Walks Like a Dog

Was it surprisingly easy to get your cat to wear a harness? Do you get a lot of stunned looks when you take your kitty out for an evening stroll? Bengals are intelligent, easily-trained cats. Unlike other breeds that balk at the sight of a leash, you can take a Bengal for a walk.

bengal cat on a leash
Image By: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Comparing Bengal traits is fun, but it won’t give you a definite answer about your cat’s ancestry. The only surefire way to know if your cat is a Bengal mix is to take a cat DNA test. These tests aren’t inexpensive, but they will give you an approximate answer. You’ll find out if your cat has any Bengal ancestors or other breeds in its ancestry.

It’s normal to be curious about your cat’s breed, especially if you aren’t sure about one or both parents. But your kitty is still your pal, whether they’re Bengal or not.

Image Credit: JanineWilkins, Pixabay

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