The Bengal cat breed is not one of the most popular breeds but it is gaining recognition as one of the most athletic breeds around. They are good jumpers and have a lithe and muscled build. More pet owners also want one because of their luxurious and striking coat and physical features. But, how do you know if it is a purebred or Bengal tabby mix?
Bengal Tabby Mix: How to tell
Having a Bengal tabby mix cat may be fairly easy to determine since being a tabby is a coat pattern and not a specific breed. A cat is considered tabby regardless of breed if it has a distinctive M-shaped marking on the forehead, has stripes on the eyes and cheeks, along the back and around the legs and tail. Tabby cats are also known to be friendly, affectionate and smart although these may vary from one breed to another.
There are at least five tabby patterns and these are the following:
- Classic tabby – bold and swirling patterns on the side like a marble cake, also called a blotched tabby and the circular smudges on the body resemble a bullseye
- Mackerel tabby – has narrow stripes running in parallel down the sides, also called a tiger cat and the body has narrow stripes running down the sides in a vertical pattern, the stripes resemble a fish skeleton
- Ticked tabby – also called the agouti tabby, it does not have traditional stripes or spots except for the tabby markings on the face and agouti hairs or hairs that are striped with alternating light and dark bands
- Patched tabby – also called tortoiseshell or tortie tabby, they have separate patches of brown and red tabby patterns, tortie cats that also carry the tabby gene are called torbies
- Spotted tabby – has large or small spots all over the sides of the body and sometimes appear to be broken mackerel stripes, they are either round, oval or rosettes
Now, let us take a look at the characteristics of a Bengal cat breed’s physical traits and behavior.
- Weight: 12 to 15 pounds
- Height: eight to 10 inches
- Body length: 14 to 18 inches
- Lifespan: nine to 15 years
- Eye color: blue, brown, yellow, orange
- Coat length: short
- Colors: brown,seal, black, cinnamon, silver, blue, torbie, snow, red, smoke
- Patterns: tabby, ticking, spots, rosettes (paw print, donut, arrowhead, spotted, cluster, clouded)
Bengal cats are medium to large-sized and the result of crossbreeding an Asian leopard cat with a domestic cat to produce an obedient cat with an exotic appearance and distinct coat colors and pattern. The first hybridization took place in the 1960s in the United States of America. Bengals have spotted bellies and almost have no white in their body except for markings in the belly, chin and whisker pad area. Their fur is soft or pelted and the individual strands are ticked and it has a glittering appearance since the tip of the hair strands has less pigment so that when it is hit by the light it sparkles.
Bengals have triangular-shaped heads and they have a thick neck, large feet and thick tail. They are heavily-muscled and they have medium leg length.
Personality and behavior
Some people are adamant to own Bengal cats owing to their so-called wild origins but domesticated ones or those that are a few generations separated from their ancestors are sweet, loving and affectionate. They are loyal to their owners and can be closely bonded to them. They are curious, alert and they love to run, jump and romp around. These felines are also energetic, playful and agile. They love to climb and they tend to be vocal, producing chirping and cooing sounds.
These cats are intelligent and they want companionship during the day but also like physical activities like climbing in high areas around the home. They have an excellent memory and can be trained to do tricks like sit, lie down, high five and how to open doors. They also love water, are not necessarily aggressive and can recognize human gestures and expressions. They need to be physically stimulated therefore interactive cat toys are a good fit to provide exercise and entertainment for them.
So, how does one ascertain if their cat is a Bengal tabby mix?
Considering the factors discussed above, it is safe to presume that your cat is a Bengal tabby mix if it possesses the characteristics of a Bengal cat but also has a distinctive tabby pattern. You may check your cat’s color markings and patterns and compare them with the common tabby patterns mentioned above to have an accurate match. You may also consult a local breeder or your veterinarian to help you in determining if your cat is a Bengal tabby mix if you have doubts.
Is it safe and legal to own a Bengal tabby mix cat?
Yes, it is safe and legal to own a Bengal tabby mix cat in USA, Europe and Australia but just be sure that your cat is at least five generations separated from its ancestor, the Asian leopard cat. Sadly, there are some states and cities in the USA that do not allow Bengals regardless of filial stage including New York City, Connecticut, Hawaii and Seattle. You may check out our earlier article on whether Bengal cats are legal for more details.
Bengal cats have distinct and luxurious coats, an athletic build and affectionate dispositon that endear them to cat owners. They are notable jumpers, very agile and smart. You can determine if your cat is a Bengal tabby mix if she possesses the physical qualities, behavior and temperament of the Bengal cat breed but also has a distinctive tabby pattern in her coat including the classic, mackerel, spotted, ticked or patched pattern.
Image: istockphoto.com / AaronAmat