are bengal cats wild animals

Although they are a hybrid breed, Bengal Cats are considered domesticated when they are 4-5 generations removed from an Asian Leopard Cat parent. It’s wild to think these domesticated Bengals even exist, but their origin is even more wild.

The History of Bengal Cats

Bengals are a hybrid cat breed. In the early 1900s, breeders crossed domestic felines with Asian leopard cats, a small, wild species native to Southeast Asia. Asian leopard cats — also known as Felis bengalensis, which is where “Bengal” comes from — are known for having a slender build and wild appearance.

Even though breed crossings have been going on for over a century, the Bengal species itself wasn’t created until Jean Sugden Mill crossed Asian leopard cat hybrids with domestic cat breeds in the 1970s. Her intention was to create a breed that retained the exotic look of the Asian leopard cat while combining a house cat’s disposition.

Today, Bengal kittens are bred from other Bengals and they are several generations removed from their exotic ancestors. They are now one of the most expensive cat breeds — a show-quality Bengal can cost up to $2,000.

Bengals are renowned for their distinctive markings and jungle cat appearance. Their sleek coats and round-tipped ears are a direct reflection of their wild ancestors, and their muscular bodies and long hind legs give them a powerful stride. Bengals are known for having a leopard-like appearance, but there are differences in the color of their coat and eyes.

Coat Color

Bengals have soft, sleek and easy-to-groom coats. They can have non-standard colors like charcoal, blue, and melanistic (solid black) as well as standard colors like brown, snow, and silver with spots or marbled coat patterns. Snow Bengals have ivory or cream-colored coats. This is the outcome of a type of albinism originating from their ancestral roots in Siam and Burma.

Certain Bengals might even have glittery coats due to translucent hollow hair that reflects and captures light. This creates a shimmering effect throughout the coat, which is noticeable in low light.

Eye Color

The almond-shaped eyes of bengals can have varying tones of hazel, brown, green, gold, or copper. Snow Bengals can have blue, blue-green or aqua-colored eyes.

Bengal cats are generally healthy, but there are a few notable diseases that have been seen throughout the breed:

  • Distal Neuropathy: A nervous system disorder that can cause weakness.
  • The deformity known as Flat-Chested Kitten Syndrome can range in severity from mild to severe. Usually, if the cat lives to adulthood, they don’t exhibit any symptoms of the illness.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Bengals may experience hip dysplasia, which can result in lameness, although it is more common in some large dog breeds.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is a form of heart disease.
  • Patellar Luxation: This is a hereditary dislocation of the kneecap. Severe cases can be treated with surgery.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: A degenerative eye disease.

Weight Range

Bengals’ long, muscular bodies can give the impression that they weigh more than they actually do. The breed of Bengals is actually medium-sized; females can weigh as little as 6 pounds. and males can be closer to 15 lbs.

Bengals are often able to burn off extra calories to maintain a healthy weight because of their high energy levels. However, to ensure that your Bengal cat follows a healthy diet that honors their inherent carnivorous needs, it’s crucial to feed them premium cat food made with minimally processed ingredients.

Life Expectancy

According to CatTime, Bengal cats typically live between 10 and 16 years. But a lot of things will affect this, like the cat’s general health and whether they live outside or indoors.

Bengal cats can be just as amiable and loving as other domestic breeds, despite their untamed appearance.

Although these cats are extremely devoted to their owners, they dislike being held or restrained like any other active breed. Because of their high level of intelligence, you might be able to teach them challenging skills like flushing and using the toilet.

Bengal cats have powerful, muscular bodies that make them extremely athletic and full of energy. They even have a reputation for loving the water, and they adore climbing. Make sure your Bengal has toys that will help them with their mental and physical development, as well as a tall cat tree.

Bengals meet their social needs through daily engagement and stimulation. As long as you engage with them, they will gladly become a part of your day and enjoy routine. But because Bengals are intelligent, bored Bengals can get mischievous if left on their own. Bengals are renowned for opening doors and cabinets, turning on faucets and lights, and a long list of other tasks. Bengals welcome routine in their lives, so you can teach them anything with ease if they receive the right training. Bengals are really similar to dogs in that they can be trained to walk on a leash, play fetch, and use the restroom like people!

A frequent question among our team at Divinus Pride Bengals is whether Bengal cats truly come from the wild. In short, yes, they are descendants of the Prionailurus Bengalensis, also known as the Asian Leopard Cat. The modern domestic Bengal cat results from crossing an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic tabby. Literature supporting the origins of the Bengal breed dates as far back as the 1800s. However, it wasnt until the 1970s that the breed gained popularity, thanks largely to Jean Mill, often regarded as the Godmother of Bengals.

Does this imply that a Bengal kitten you adopt today would be untamed? Absolutely not. Most Bengal breeders only produce Bengals that have been domesticated for four or more generations. Four or more generations removed from the wild, a Bengal kitten would have lost most of its wild characteristics and become more tame, akin to a domesticated tabby. I understand that this may dishearten individuals hoping to become famous online by sharing pictures of their wild cats on Facebook and Instagram, but rest assured, Bengal cats share many amazing qualities with other cats.

Bengal cats are one of the most energetic cat breeds, with energy levels that are off the charts and continue to be high into adulthood. Having lived with Bengal cats for a while, I can assure you that they are a lot like dogs—in a good way! Bengal cats will keep you occupied. Forget about the old house cat that floats around; they only have two modes: sleep and ZOOOM!

There is a widespread misperception that a Bengal’s coat quality decreases with the number of generations the animal has spent away from the wild. However, this is not true. Coat quality is based on genetics and can be developed. Breeders employ a strategy known as culling to improve patterns, generating bloodlines with particular traits inside their catteries. This takes time and demonstrates how a breeder’s culling technique, nutrition, genetics, and generation all contribute to coat quality.


Do Bengal cats have wild DNA?

At F4, Bengal cats have less than 10% of wild genes in their DNA, making them much more tame. According to TICA (, the F4 generation is the first generation considered ‘stud book tradition’ (SBT) and is deemed ‘purebred. ‘ By the time Bengals reach F7, they have less than 1% of wild genes.

Are Bengal cats predatory?

Bengal cats have an extremely strong predatory instinct, so it’s important to keep bunnies, hamsters, mice, and other small pets away from them. If you’re squeamish—or just don’t want to wake up to the occasional dead mouse or bird—a Bengal may not be the right kitty for you.

Are Bengal cats exotic animals?

Ancient Wild Roots The Bengal cat looks exotic and there’s a good reason why. Back in the 1800s, the Bengal cat came into existence after an Asian leopard cat was bred with a domestic cat.

What states are Bengal cats illegal?

In the United States, legal restrictions and even bans sometimes exist at the state and municipal level. In Hawaii, Bengal cats are prohibited by law (as are all wild cat species, and all other hybrids of domestic and wild animals). In Connecticut, it is also illegal to own any generation of Bengal cat.