The Bengal Cats

The Bengal Barn is home to a number of Bengal not Bengal Tigers, but small domestic cats that are the result of breeding an Asian Leopard cat to a domestic cat.  They are often mixed with American Shorthairs, Eqyptian Mau, Indian Mau, Burmese or Abyssinian. They get their name from the scientific name of the Asian Leopard cat  Prionailurus  bengalensis.  They are often marketed as "lap leopards" or having a "wild appearance."   Today's Bengal is a far cry from the jungle dwelling wild cats of its ancestry.  This athletic, exotic looking feline is now one of the most popular domestic breeds in the US and is one of the only hybrids widely accepted by cat organizations. But this little hybrid is not necessarily the cat for everyone.


The Bengal breed has retained some of the physical and behavioral characteristics from the founding Asian Leopard Cat (ALC).  While some of the traits have been removed or diluted through generations of breeding, some traits have remained intact.  Some may still display the elusive, independent, shy traits of the ALC.  Some are very distrustful and uneasy. They often flee to high ground until the perceived threat goes away.  Some are fearful of loud noises or new people.  These cats typically exhibit very strong instinctive behaviors that can require drastic changes in the owner's lifestyle. 


Because there are very few Bengal sanctuaries we receive a number of requests to take in Bengals that display a number of issues, but the most common reasons for owner surrender are inappropriate litter box use, noise, aggressiveness, destructiveness, health issues or they just don't fit into the owner's lifestyle.  Some contact us when they learn they are illegal in their area.  If you are thinking about adding a Bengal - or any hybrid cat to your family please do your research and spend some time interacting with one before bringing it home.  For more information on Bengal cats please read our Bengal Cat Brochure.