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Bengal cat breed profile

Yes, that's right — Bengal cats look like mini leopards.

Whether your cat is a purebred Bengal cat or a Bengal mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. 

Bengal cats, who have a muscular build and marbled and spotted coat, physically look like a mini leopard — and they sometimes act like them, too, thanks to their active, independent personalities. Do these traits describe your best friend? If so, here are some other fun facts that may help you understand your pet more.

What are Bengal cats’ personalities like? 

“Bengal cats are talkative, highly intelligent, inquisitive, very active and independent,” Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, says. These pets are so smart and independent that they’ll likely vocalize when they want affection or want to eat. 

But Bengals’ independent nature, doesn’t mean they struggle to get along with other pets. Dr. McCullough shares that these pets make great additions to households with cats and cat-friendly dogs. Plus, they’ll add some fun to the pet-sibling dynamic. “Bengal cats require an active lifestyle with plenty of ways to engage their curious minds with play and puzzles,” she says. 

What’s the average size of a Bengal cat? 

Unlike their leopard look-alikes, Bengal cats don't grow to be very big. Dr. McCullough says Bengal cats are 17 to 22 inches long and weigh between 8 to 17 pounds. It takes Bengal kittens around 18 months to 2 years to reach their full maturity and size. 

Each cat is different, and Dr. McCullough recommends asking your veterinarian about the proper diet for your growing cat. 

Are Bengal cats hypoallergenic? 

Bengals are short-haired cats, and their coats are typically smooth, soft and shiny, Dr. McCullough explains. In addition, their coats are marbled or spotted and can range in color from brown to silver to white. 

This breed is known for shedding — so if you struggle with allergies, you may want to talk to your doctor before bringing a Bengal into your life.

"Bengal cats may not be ideal pets for allergy sufferers due to the presence of allergens in their saliva, dander and fur," Dr. McCullough says. 

Brushing a Bengal's fur each week will help remove excess fur, she adds.

RELATED: Breed profile: Norwegian Forest cat

What common health issues affect Bengal cats? 

Some Bengal cats have a disease that affects their heart muscle called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), Dr. McCullough says.

“Most cats are asymptomatic for HCM, especially in the early stages, but there are screening tests that veterinarians can perform, such as blood work and a heart ultrasound,” she adds. 

Unfortunately, HCM can’t be prevented or cured, but there are medications to help manage the condition.

Welcoming a Bengal cat into your home

Are you interested in adopting a Bengal cat, Bengal mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners when looking for your best friend. 

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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Photos by Paul Hanaoka and Igor Karimov on Unsplash

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