Originally a cross between Asian Leopard cats and domestic cats to make an attractive coat pattern in a variety of colours. The coat is short and easy to care for. Although originally bred as a hybrid cat, it is now accepted as a domestic breed. Bengals can be very active, noisy and demanding. While the Bengal can be a very sociable animal to members of its own household, many anecdotal reports suggest that some seem to be very territorial and intolerant of other cats in the area which could make it difficult in neighbourhoods with a high density of other cats.
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Because this was originally a hybrid cat, some lines of Bengals remain difficult to manage as household pets because of their behavioural characteristics. If a Bengal is considered as a pet careful consideration is needed.
Health and welfare issues
Pyruvate kinase deficiency has been identified in the breed, as has progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and flat chested kitten syndrome.
Bengals may also be predisposed to hip dysplasia and it is suggested that they may have a higher prevalence of a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy than some breeds.
International Cat Care’s position on hybrid breeds
International Cat Care is very worried about the increasing number of ‘breeds’ which are being developed by crossing our domestic cat Felis catus with wild cats. Aside from the very early generations, these cats are being bought by people wanting a pet with something different, but the character and behaviour of the cats is uncertain and many of them are quite large cats. Add to this the problems if they go outside and are aggressive and highly territorial to other cats, or are much more avid hunters causing devastation to wildlife. What is also not considered is the welfare of the wild cats which are kept for breeding, the danger for the domestic cats which are mated to the wild cats and the welfare of the early generations which cannot be sold as pets but must be kept as wild cats. International Cat Care believes that there are plenty of lovely cats to choose from and that we should not add more hybrid cats.
We have limited the information about inherited disorders to those conditions that are known and proven to exist within a breed. For many breeders and many conditions, insufficient information may be available at this time to know whether any particular breed is necessarily free of any particular condition.
In general, pedigree breeds use a much smaller gene pool for breeding than domestic cats and therefore have a higher risk of developing inherited disorders. In addition, a number of ‘newer’ pedigree breeds are derived from matings between one or more ‘older’ breeds, and in these situations perpetuation of inherited problems that were seen in older breeds is likely within the newer breeds.
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