If you are on the lookout for an affectionate cat breed with exotic and striking coat patterns, the Bengal cat is a good choice. This breed is a relatively new but gaining popularity because of its spotted or marbled coat which displays a gold or pearl dusting effect also known as glitter not found in any other breed. However, some prospective cat owners are hesitant to get one since it is rumored to be less domesticated, aggressive and has a shorter life expectancy compared to other breeds.
Bengal cat lifespan: How long does this breed live?
Bengals have an average life expectancy of 12 to 16 years if they are properly cared for.
These are the factors that affect a Bengal cat’s life expectancy:
1. The food that your Bengal cat eats
Nutrition is vital to a Bengal cat’s longevity just as it is with any other animal. Cats are obligate carnivores so you should feed your Bengal with food that is high in protein and moisture but low in carbohydrates. Their food should also be based on the age of the cat as cats have different activity levels and nutritional needs at different ages. You should also consider potential food sensitivities that your cat may have such as allergies.
Wet cat food is also generally better than dry kibble as the former will better meet your cat’s nutritional needs. Also, while some food intended for humans are okay, there are some that you should not feed to your cat including garlic, chocolate, coffee, food with artificial sweeteners, grapes, raisins and fruits with pits.
2. The amount of exercise she gets
Bengal cats have muscular bodies and they are naturally active pets. This is due in part to genetics, thanks to their ancestor, the Asian leopard cat which is known for its agility and being a skillful tree climber. Bengals need to have adequate and regular exercise to keep them agile, active and healthy. Schedule playtime with your cat for at least 15 minutes twice a day especially if she is an indoor cat.
3. The amount of healthcare and veterinary care that she receives
Another vital factor to prolonging the life span of your Bengal cat is by taking care of her health. Bring her for regular visits to the vet, give proper dental care and get regular vaccinations. Aside from medical care, it is equally important to keep your cat well-groomed and to keep her surroundings clean and well-maintained to protect her from parasites and bugs.
These are the common health issues observed in bengals:
- patellar luxation – unusual skipping or lameness on the affected leg when she walks, runs or jumps
- flat chested kitten syndrome or FCKS – disorder where kittens develop ribcage compression due to lung collapse; a soft-tissue problem not caused by bone malformation
- hip dysplasia – cats with this disorder have a loose and misaligned hip ball and socket, preventing the femoral head from moving well
- hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a feline cardiac disease that causes the heart’s muscular walls to thicken, decreases its efficiency and creates symptoms in other body parts
- progressive retinal atrophy or PRA – a group of degenerative disease affecting the photoreceptor cells of cats and may eventually lead to blindness
- pyruvate kinase deficiency – a type of inherited hemolytic anemia observed in some cat breeds including the Somali and Abyssinian
4. Exposure to pollutants and other environmental factors
Cats, in general, are more prone to toxins and pollutants since they are relatively small and physically close to the ground. They use their sense of smell extensively and they are fastidious groomers. This makes them more prone to toxic materials since they use their tongues to groom their bodies including their paws that are exposed to various surfaces. Because of this, cats may easily absorb or ingest insecticides, dyeing agents, fertilizers and other types of chemical agents.
To avoid exposing your Bengal cat to toxic materials, make sure that her living area is clean and free of these toxins. Similarly, keep her away from plants that are harmful to her such as the day lily and geranium.
Aside from the above-mentioned factors, the breeder of your Bengal cat is also influential in determining your cat’s life expectancy. The breeder should be utilizing solid breeding technologies. Always opt for Bengal cat breeders who test their cats for genetic tests of PRAb and PK deficiency. These breeders should also scan their breeding cats’ hearts up to the age of five years old at a minimum and ideally until eight years old.
Bengal cats stand out from other breeds because of their striking and exotic coats, muscular built and affectionate nature. They have a lifespan of around 12 to 16 years especially if they are well cared for and given the proper diet. The vital factors that affect their longevity include nutrition, exercise and the health care she receives. It is also essential that you obtain your Bengal cat from a certified and responsible breeder.
Image: istockphoto.com / mister Big