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1. What exactly is a Bengal cat? Does it come from a Bengal tiger?
No, a Bengal cat is not a tiger. A Bengal cat is a domestic breed resulting from the cross breeding of an Asian Leopard Cat and a domestic cat (typically an Egyptian Mau or an Ocicat). The Bengal name was derived from the Asian Leopard Cat’s scientific name, Prionailurus Bengalensis.
2. How did the breed come about?
The main credit for this breed is given to Jean Sudgen from Covina, California. Jean Sudgen crossed a black shorthaired domestic cat with a female Asian Leopard Cat in 1963. Offspring were produced proving that a second generation was possible. Further experiments were interrupted due to a death in the family.
Later in 1975, Jean Sudgen, now Mrs. Jean Mill, acquired eight female hybrids from a geneticist named Dr. Willard Centerwall in Riverside, California. He had been involved in a breeding program where Asian Leopard Cats were crossed with domestic cats as part of a study of Feline Leukemia. Jean Mill began again to further the new breed.
Mill did not use local domestics to create her first Bengals. She felt the ALC was a genetically superior animal and wished to avoid weakening this element. Around 1982, Mill and her husband made a trip to India where a zoo curator showed them a feral Indian Mau. This is how the famous rosetted domestic called "Millwood Tory of Delhi" came to be found in virtually all Bengal pedigrees. This was the beginning of the exciting and exotic Bengal cat breed. Finally in 1984, the domestic Bengal we know today became recognized by The International Cat Association.
3. At what age are Bengal kittens ready to go home with their owners?
Ultimate Xotics kittens typically are shipped between 10-12 weeks of age. All kittens develop at different rates and we will evaluate each one to make sure he or she is ready to go to their new home at the appropriate time.
4. Do Bengals use a litter box?
Yes, absolutely. All Ultimate Xotics kittens are litter box trained prior to leaving for their new homes. Male, pet kittens, even early generation sterile male kittens, should be neutered to prevent spraying.
5. What kind of personality does a Bengal have?
Bengal cats may closely resemble the look of their wild ancestors, but don't be fooled by looks alone. Today's Bengals are prized for their wonderful, entertaining personalities, gaining themselves a reputation as great family pets. Bengals are very active, highly intelligent and extremely interested in everything you do. They need plenty of things to do to keep them busy and they love to leap and jump up onto high places. They are also very affectionate and loyal to their owners. They have a unique interest in water and can be found playing in their water bowls. Don’t be surprised if your pet Bengal follows you into the shower. It is quite common for them to do that. Bengal cats can be trained to walk on a harness with a leash. Bengals have been known to play games with their owners, such as "fetch" and "hide-and-seek." They tend to vocalize to communicate with their humans.
6. How energetic are Bengals?
Bengals are highly energetic cats that need plenty of things to do to occupy their time. They love to jump and enjoy playing with feather teasers. Like Savannah cats, they have the ability to jump as high as 6-7 feet into the air from a sitting position. Bengals are very strong, muscular cats who enjoy leaping from place to place as they explore their territory. A cat tree with several varied levels is a good investment for this breed of cat.
7. Do Bengals require a special diet?
While a Bengal cat will enjoy most commercialized cat foods like a domestic cat would, they also are very receptive to a raw diet. Most of the store bought cat foods are deficient in many of the nutrients that a high percentage hybrid cat needs. We recommend that you use a high-quality cat food brand such as ZuPreem Feline Diet. Bengals need very good nutrition because most of their growth development occurs in the first few years of their life. A combination between high quality wet food and dry food is recommended to give your Bengal cat variety. If you choose to feed your Bengal a raw diet, please do some research to make sure that you are fulfilling the dietary requirements that are needed to maintain good health.
8. How much does a Bengal cost?
Bengals vary in price depending on their generation, color and markings, and overall quality. They are divided into pet, breeder or show quality categories. Ultimate Xotics pet kittens and breeder/show kittens are healthy, good-natured, well-tempered, and highly socialized before they leave for their forever homes.
9. What different types of colors are available within the Bengal breed?
Bengal cats come in two different colors and patterns.
Colors include: Brown, Silver, and White (also called “snows”)
Patterns include: Spotted and Marbled
Bengal cats also have a gene known as the glitter gene. It is believed this came from the kitten Jean Mill imported from India. It is a recessive gene and is highly desirable in the Bengal. It looks as if a handful of gold has been sprinkled over the coat. As you can see, either color may be overlayed with either pattern to create a very exotic look indeed.
10. Do Bengals get along with children and other pets?
Absolutely! Bengals are extremely affectionate and very loving with their owners. They get along wonderfully with children and other household pets such as other cats and dogs. You would simply introduce your new Bengal as you would any other domestic cat. They have bounds of energy. Some will love to cuddle in your lap, but most of them are always on the go and very playful. They would prefer to play and climb and roll around as opposed to being held for any length of time.
11. What size are Bengals at maturity?
Bengals on average may take up to 1 ½ to 2 years to reach their full adult size. The Bengal is much like any other domestic cat. They vary in length from about 15 to 20 inches, excluding the tail. Male Bengals can easily weigh up to 18 pounds, however about 15 pounds is most common. The females are usually smaller and lighter, weighing about 4 pounds less than the male.
12. How much Asian Leopard Cat blood is in a Bengal?
All Bengal kittens carry the wild blood of their ancestor the Asian Leopard Cat in varying degrees. The first generation from the Asian Leopard Cat carries 50% wild blood and is called an F1. Male Bengals are sterile for 3-4 generations. F1 female Bengals are bred to other domestic cats or SBT Bengal males to produce the second F2 generation. Then the F2 female is bred to another male Bengal to produce the F3 generation, and so on. At the 4th “SBT” generation the males become fertile and kittens are accepted into cat shows. So, most of the SBT or later generation Bengals carry about 6%-9% wild Asian Leopard Cat blood in them.
13. Is the Bengal breed recognized?
TICA recognizes the Bengal Cat breed. Ultimate Xotics registers all of its breeding cats with TICA. Each of our customers will receive the proper paperwork so that they may register their new pet.
14. Should Bengals be kept indoors?
Bengal cats do not have to be kept indoors, although Ultimate Xotics recommends it. New owners should be very careful that their Bengals do not escape from their homes and attempt to run away. Bengal cats are very fast. It is highly recommended that new owners keep their Bengals on a leash with a walking jacket or harness while outdoors to keep them safe. Do not use a collar with the leash. You don’t want your Bengal to come in contact with other stray animals that could be carrying illnesses or diseases.
15. Are Bengals intelligent?
Yes, Bengal cats are extremely intelligent. They are known to play with anything in their paths. Much like their ancestor the Asian Leopard Cat, Bengals love water. They often play in their water bowls as well as kitchen and bathroom sinks, bathtubs and showers. Don’t be surprised if your Bengal kitten finds a way to open the faucet in your sink or flush your toilet. They are very curious and will find a way to get into anything and everything in your home. Even though the Bengal cat can be a bit mischievous at times, he or she can become the best, most loyal friend you will ever have, making them just like the Savannah cat, the Ultimate companion to last a lifetime.
16. Is it legal to own a Hybrid cat?
Every state is different. In fact, even in states where no permit is required by State law, some localities require permits, and others outlaw hybrids altogether. Therefore, it is crucial to research the laws in your city, municipality, county, township, AND state BEFORE attempting to acquire a Bengal. Please go to Hybrid Law online to see what the requirements are in your area http://www.hybridlaw.com .
17. Can you ship Bengal cats domestically or internationally?
Yes, we ship both domestically and internationally. The price of shipping is NOT included in the price of a kitten.
If you live outside the United States and wish to purchase a kitten from Ultimate Xotics, you must first check with the authorities in your country to be sure hybrid cats are allowed. If hybrid cats are allowed, check to see if any generation of hybrid cat is not permitted. Some countries place stipulations on the earlier generations. The easiest way to check hybrid cat import status may be by calling your country's Embassy in the United States or by checking with your federal vet.
18. What kind of a deposit do you require to hold a kitten?
This depends on the pricing. But, in general, to reserve an Ultimate Xotics kitten, a $1,000 deposit is required. This deposit is non-refundable, but if you change your mind your deposit can be transferred to another kitten.
19. Does the price of the kitten include spaying or neutering?
All kittens sold as pets at Ultimate Xotics are spayed or neutered before they leave our cattery. The surgery costs are included in the price of a kitten.
20. What are the “ugly fuzzies”?
Some Bengal kittens go through a stage we call the "Ugly Fuzzies". Like a wild-cat cub, Bengal kittens typically develop a coat that camouflages or mutes their markings. Unfortunately, the "fuzzies" are at their worst at about ten weeks old, when kittens are getting ready to go their new homes. This coat begins to clear again to higher contrast at about 12 weeks and is again breathtaking by 6 months. This is quite normal. It is best to see the kittens first (or a photograph of the kittens) at an earlier age, between two to six weeks old. This way you can see what the adult markings will be like.