The breed name comes from the leopard cat’s taxonomic name.
Bengals have a wild appearance; their golden shimmer comes from their leopard cat ancestry, and their coats may show spots, rosettes, arrowhead markings, or marbling.
Bengal Cats History
The Bengal breed originated as a hybrid of a domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) and a leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).
The leopard cat looks very much like a domestic cat, except for the larger, snapping eyes, pronounced whisker pads, longer legs, and brilliant leopard-style markings. It looks, in fact, like a miniature leopard.
The Bengal breed began when a female leopard cat was purchased from a pet store. Unlike today, at the time leopard cats could be purchased at pet stores in the United States.
This is no longer the case due to these cat’s special needs and state requirements.
Some Characteristics of Bengal Cat
The Bengal could never be called delicate. They’re athletes: agile and graceful with a strong, muscular body, as befits a cat who looks as if they belong in the jungle.
Despite their wild appearance, Bengal cats are actually quite affectionate with their human families. That said, they also have high energy and a fun-loving, playful side. They want to stay active and need a home that can match their energy.
Athletic and agile, Bengals love to climb and will gravitate toward the highest point in any room. Bengals are often great sources of entertainment.
One of the main characteristics that make them so special as companions are their intelligence. It’s not surprising Bengals are sharp as furry tacks since surviving in the jungle takes wit as well lightning reflexes.
Bengal Cat Personality
Bengals learn very quickly and enjoy learning new behaviors. In fact, they may learn tricks you’d rather they didn’t, such as turning on and off light switches, opening doors, and flushing toilets.
The curious Bengal may get into everything, and changes in the home often provoke a quick response from the Bengal. Open a cupboard and your Bengal may dive in for a look-see and will rearrange the contents if they’re not up to his standards.
Because of the leopard cat’s habit of eliminating in water to hide their scent from larger predators, some Bengals learn to use the toilet.
Like their wild relatives, Bengals relish their freedom; they dislike being held or restrained. This isn’t unique to Bengals but to most very active breeds. Bengals often love water, particularly if it’s running.
Some only dip an occasional paw under the faucet, while others may try to go for a romp in the tub or shower—as long as it’s their idea.
Some report that their cats’ fascination with water borders on obsession, and steps must be taken to keep floods to a minimum; Bengal owners quickly learn to keep the toilet lid down.
Bengal Cat Physical Attributes
Before looking at the available Bengal Cat for Sale
Torso long and substantial, not oriental or foreign. Medium to large, but not quite as large as the largest domestic breed. Boning is sturdy and firm; never delicate.
Very muscular, especially in the males; one of the most distinguishing features.
Broad modified wedge with rounded contours. Longer than it is wide. Slightly small in proportion to the body, but not to be taken to the extreme.
Skull behind the ears makes a gentle curve and flows into the neck. The overall look of the head is often distinct from the domestic cat. Strong chin, aligns with tip of the nose in profile.
Muzzle full and broad, with large, prominent whisker pads and high, pronounced cheekbones. Slight muzzle break at the whisker pads. Nose large and wide; slightly puffed nose leather.
Medium to small, relatively short, with a wide base and rounded tops. Set as much on the side as the top of the head, following the contour of the face in the frontal view, and pointing forward in the profile view.
Light horizontal furnishings are sometimes seen.
Oval, almost round. Large, but not bugged. Set wide apart, back into the face, and on slight bias toward the base of the ear. Eye color is independent of coat color except in the lynx points.
The more richness and depth of color the better.
Legs & Paws
Legs medium length, slightly longer in the back than in the front. Feet large, round, with prominent knuckles.
Medium length, thick, tapered at the end with rounded tip.
Length short to medium. Texture dense and luxurious, close-lying, unusually soft, and silky to the touch. Patterns are spotted or marbled.
Spots are usually random or aligned horizontally. Rosettes showing two distinct colors or shades. Contrast with ground color is often extreme, giving distinct patterns and sharp edges. The belly is often spotted.
Brown tabby, seal sepia tabby, seal mink tabby, seal lynx point, black silver tabby, seal silver sepia tabby, seal silver mink tabby, seal silver lynx point. Spotted or marbled patterns.
Affectionate with Family – 5
Amount of Shedding – 2
General Health – 3
Potential for Playfulness – 5
Tendency to Vocalize – 2
Kid-Friendly – 5
Friendly Toward Strangers – 3
Easy to Groom – 4
Intelligence – 5
Pet Friendly – 5
How Much Does a Bengal Cat Cost?
For a pet Bengal kitten, the current average price is $1,500 – $3,000 (USD) when buying from a good breeder.
Several factors affect this price, including the kitten’s traits, what the breeder includes with the kitten, and most importantly, the level of breeder care that went into raising the kitten.
And there are many factors that go into this price. It’s a common perception that the only difference between an “expensive” Bengal and a “cheaper” Bengal is whether or not they come with pedigree papers, but the price is a reflection of so much more.
The reality is that breeding Bengals is an extremely expensive hobby when done ethically. In fact, breeders with kittens priced at $2,000 often barely make back their expenses!
What Can I Expect at Different Price Points for a Bengal Cat?
The infographic below breaks down what you can expect at each price point for a Bengal kitten. Note that this price guide is for an SBT Bengal kitten, in US Dollars as of 2021.
Under $500: Run the opposite direction! This will always be a backyard breeder or a scam.
$500-$1,000: Be cautious. Could very likely be a backyard breeder or scam.
$1,000-$1,500: On the low end of what you should expect to pay for a purebred Bengal kitten.
$1,500-$2,000: A good average price.
$2,000-$2,500: On the higher side, but still a very fair price for a Bengal kitten in 2021. Likely from an established breeder with decent demand.
Over $2,500: On the very high end of kitten prices, possibly from a cattery with champion bloodlines.
Where Do I Find a Bengal Cat for Sale?
First of all, where do you even find a Bengal cat for sale?! Here’s what you’ll want to know:
It’s super important to make a careful decision. You hope to have this animal for 15+ years! Take your time when researching. This article will help you make an educated decision when considering important cost factors!
Avoid your typical “classifieds” websites. Stay far away from Craigslist, eBay Classifieds, and Hoobly. This is just going to lead you to backyard breeders or scams. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
The best option for finding a Bengal kitten is finding and working with a reputable, ethical breeder. These are people who are dedicated to raising healthy kittens that exemplify everything there is to love about the breed. The pricing discussed below is what to expect when searching for a breeder.
Bengal Cat Colors
Before looking at the Bengal Cat for Sale, note. Bengals come in many different colors. The three basic breed-accepted colors are brown, snow, and silver. Fortunately, the Bengal’s color genetics are not too complex, and a breeder who knows with certainty their cats’ colors, both dominant and recessive, can predict the possible outcome of an upcoming litter.
1. Brown Bengal Cat
Brown Bengals are one of the most popular varieties and can be found in color range variations that include descriptions like golden, creamy, honey, caramel, red, and orange, with an orange-brown or butter-coat being the preferred standard base coat.
The Snow Bengal comes in three different variations, and contrary to their name, their base coat is not pure white in color.
Seal lynx point. These Bengals are the lightest of the snow variants and will often be born without any markings or faintly visible markings, at most. They have a creamy-white base coat that is contrasted by brown, grey, or tan spots or marbling. These beautiful cats often resemble snow leopards and are the only Bengals that have ice-blue eyes.
Seal mink. Seal mink Bengals usually have a light brown, cream, or ivory base coat, with a darker brown or caramel spotted or marbled pattern. They will usually have blue-green or aqua eye colors.
Seal sepia. Usually the darkest of the snow variants, seal sepia Bengals have light chocolate or tan brown base coat that has various shades of brown or tan spotted or marbled markings. They are typically found with green or golden-brown eyes.
This color variant is more of an additional masking layer than a separate color, as it is usually described as a “ghost” layer that comes out on top of Bengal’s standard base coat.
Charcoal layers can be seen in any of the standard color variations and are then described as charcoal silver, charcoal brown, etc.
Blue Bengal variants are rare, and thus, these unusual cats are highly prized animals. They have a steel-blue or powder-blue base coat with occasional cream tones and a dark, grey-blue marbled or spotted patterning.
They will typically have hazel brown or green eyes.
6. Black or Melanistic
These prized cats are revered for their resemblance to black panthers and will typically have a base coat with marbled or spotted patterned colors that are almost indistinguishable from each other, giving them an almost solid black appearance.
This is another Bengal Cat for Sale.
A spotted Bengal is the most popular and most recognizable pattern variety, at times closely resembling baby leopards. The spots are usually small to medium-sized patterns that are scattered all over the cat’s coat, with large, dark spots on a light background being the most highly prized variation.
Single spotted: This is the simplest variation of spotted Bengal, but just as eye-catching. The pattern consists of small monochrome spots that are spread on a contrasting base coat, without any gradient in color inside the pattern. The spots are similar to a cheetah in that there is no second color to the small spots, and they are usually a dark contrasting color, like dark grey, brown, or black.
Cluster rosettes. Rosette patterns are spots that have two contrasting colors that are distinct from the base coat. Cluster rosettes are the least dramatic version, consisting of a center color that is darker than the base coat, punctuated by small clusters of even darker colored spots.
Paw-print rosette. Similar to cluster rosettes, paw-print rosettes consist of dark spots edging one side of the second color only but never enclosed. They resemble small paw prints strewn across the cat’s back.
Clouded rosette. These rosettes are spaced close together and are large in size, with subtle signs of a second color around the edge.
Doughnut rosette. This pattern is defined by spots that are surrounded by an even darker colored outline. This is one of the most popular spotted patterns, giving the cat a leopard-like appearance. They can also appear as what is known as pancake rosettes, which have thinner outlined rings than the doughnut rosettes.
Arrowhead rosette. Arrowheads are a fairly uncommon pattern that can be monochrome or outlined, with varying degrees of a rosette. They are triangular-shaped patterns that point toward the back of the Bengal and can vary greatly in size and density.
This is one of the Bengal Cat for Sale.
The marbled pattern is a series of swirls and stripes of Bengal Cat for Sale that intermingle in a flowing, random pattern made up of two or more color variations. This patterning can come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, which are typically divided into four distinct categories by breeders.
Horizontal Flowing. These markings are much like the markings seen on a Boa Constrictor, flowing horizontally along the spine of the cat.
Reduced horizontal flow. Also known as “high-acreage,” this pattern has a high ratio of background to markings and is prized due to its close resemblance to wild cats.
Sheeted flow. This pattern has a high ratio of markings to the base coat, with little negative space. This can be especially prominent in some Bengal kittens, and it can take up to two years before the patterns properly “open up.”
Chaos pattern. The chaos pattern lives up to its name and is a dramatic amalgamation of all of the above. It consists of chaotic swirls, flows, and colors, punctuated by occasional splashes of color and patterns.
A sparbled coat is the meeting of spotted and marbled varieties, creating a marbled and rosette clashing of markings.
Although it is not an officially recognized pattern, it is still beautiful to behold, especially when there is significant negative space between the chaotic patterns.
These unique and wild-looking cats have dramatic variations of color and patterns, resembling the wild ancestors they came from. These cats are the gentle, domesticated versions of leopards, tigers, cheetahs, and jaguars, with almost all big cats being represented in miniature by Bengals.
The modern Bengal breed began in the early 1960s, thanks to Jean Mill, when she made the first deliberate cross of an Asian Leopard Cat with a black Tomcat.
Although several other breeders contributed to the Bengal breed, Mill is widely considered as the originator, as she was able to successfully continue the breed past the fourth generation (F4).
The breed was officially recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1983.
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