Have you recently adopted a cat but you are not sure about its lineage? Take a closer look and scrutinize its coat markings, physical build and personality. For all you know, you might have a cat that is half Bengal! This breed is popular because of its exotic and luxurious coat, stocky build and intelligence.
How to tell if your cat is a Bengal mix?
Here are the ways how to tell if your cat is a Bengal mix:
1. Look at your cat’s coat type.
The coat or fur of Bengal cats is unique since it has patterns or markings that resemble those with wild leopard cats which is understandable because all Bengals descended from the Asian leopard cat.
These are the following coat types of this breed:
- Spotted – the most common coat type; single-toned and comes in monotonous color with various sizes
- Rosetted- spots with two colors; the shapes include the arrowhead, paw print and donut which are larger spots formed by the fusion of many spots
- Marble – swirls that resemble marble rock which appears from the head to the tail
- Sparbled – a mixture of spots and swirls with the latter often found on the cat’s legs or tail
Bengals have dense, plush and ticked fur and they are hypoallergenic. Check your cat’s coat type and see if it has the above markings or patterns and if so, it is likely that she is a Bengal mix.
2. Check your cat’s coat color.
Most people presume that Bengals have light brown coat with dark brown-colored spots. However, they come in various colors. These are the color types that are recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA):
- Brown Bengal cats- common variety; the cats have a light brown or golden background with dark brown spots and eyes are green or golden and have a black tail tip
- Snow Bengal cats – rare and expensive variety; the color varies from white to off-white; the spots, swirls and rosettes range from light brown to chocolate brown; the eyes are a stunning blue but some also have green or aqua-colored eyes
- Silver Bengal cats – this variety has a gene that inhibits dark colors from appearing as base coat color, thus, it only ranges from white to dark steel; the markings are dark and the rosettes have a light-brown color
These are the colors that are common but are yet to be recognized:
- Blue Bengal cats – they are not blue since the base color is bluish-grey with dark blue markings that do not turn black
- Black Bengal cats- this variety has a black undercoat with dark brown markings that are not noticeable unless viewed in sunlight
- Charcoal Bengal cats – this is a rare variety; they have a gene that gives the undercoat a smoky look which is found in a silvery hue; the dark markings complement the undercoat
If your cat possesses any of the coat colors mentioned above, there is a high possibility that she is a Bengal mix.
3. Check your cat’s body size.
Look closely at your cat’s physique and body size and compare it to a typical Bengal cat’s size. Females of this breed weigh around eight to 10 pounds while males weigh around 10 to 15 pounds. They have a stocky build and have strong muscles and they are athletic by nature.
Generally, their size and weight will depend on the type of domestic cat breed used for breeding and regardless of ancestors, Bengals are energetic and rarely get fat. Thus, if your cat has a bump and on the fat side, it is likely not a Bengal mix.
4. Observe your cat’s personality and temperament.
Bengal cats love playtime and would often be seen jumping around for no apparent reason. These cats can jump up to three times their height. They are fascinated with heights and are great climbers and love to climb on high branches or window sills.
Bengals are not lap cats and prefer to run and chase their fellow cats or toys like balls rather than sit on your lap. However, they are affectionate and may also cuddle if they want to. These cats also like to socialize and get along well with kids, fellow cats and dogs. They have a bit of reputation of being aggressive but that is mostly unfounded.
This breed is very vocal and they meow, purr, chirp and yowl to communicate. They are intelligent, easily trained and have good memories. These cats are good hunters and they also love the water and would willingly dip their feet in the bathtub. They are fond of drinking water straight from the tap and will not hesitate to snag the fish from an aquarium.
Observe your cat closely and try to compare her temperament and personality with that of Bengals as mentioned above and if you see close similarities there is a possibility that your cat is a half Bengal.
5. Reach out to cat associations and breeders.
You may also reach out to breeders in your area as they are certified professionals who are experts at determining the qualities of Bengal cats. Similarly, cat associations like The Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association can assist you in checking if your cat is a Bengal mix.
6. Consult your vet.
You can never go wrong with your vet as he is a recognized authority in animals and cats. He may also suggest a DNA test for your cat to help determine if your cat has a Bengal lineage.
If you recently brought home a cat and suspect that she is a Bengal mix, you can check and compare its body size, coat color and type as well as personality and temperament with that of a Bengal cat. A consultation with your vet, a local breeder or cat association may also help determine if your cat is a Bengal mix.
Image: istockphoto.com / kipuxa