Super Bowl LVI: Go Bengals!

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Today is Super Bowl LVI. For those who don’t pay attention to football (full disclosure: I am fully in this camp) or live under a rock, the game features the Rams vs. the Bengals. Needless to say, I’m rooting for the Bengals.

A closeup of the face of a Bengal tiger.
This is their quarterback. Photo by Blake Meyer.

Of course, the Bengals referred to by the football team are Bengal tigers. While I don’t work with tigers, I do work with house cats. There is an official breed of cat also known as a Bengal so in celebration of the football team/big cats, let’s explore the kind that may come live with you in your home.

What Are Bengal Cats Like?

If you’re considering getting a Bengal housecat, you’ll want to know what to expect before you adopt one. These cats are a hybrid of a wild Asian leopard cat and domestic cats so they retain characteristics of both species.

Physical Appearance

Bengal cats have coats that are spotted similar to their wild ancestors and are usually brown in color. However, there are a few different coat patterns that one can find in this breed. Coat patterns range from dark black to lighter white. The color of their spots will also vary with some having lighter spots and others having darker spots. Some Bengals will even have blue eyes which, to me, makes them look a bit like Siamese cats!

They can vary in size but typically are going to average to large size. They can weigh up to 15 pounds, though this varies from cat to cat. They do tend to have longer, leaner bodies with impressive musculature. Watching a Bengal cat run is a sight to see!

A Bengal cat sitting on top of a paper bag.
And of course they’re really cute. Photo by Bodi Raw.

Bengal Personality

Bengals tend to be very sweet and very affectionate cats. They tend to be extremely playful so if you’re looking for a cat that loves to play, this is a great breed. They can be full of cat antics, however, so be prepared to keep them entertained. And, of course, be prepared to laugh a lot when these silly cats create mischief.

Clearly, Bengal cats can make great, friendly companions for the right home and the right humans. Before rushing out to get one of these cuties, you want to be sure that they’re going to be a good fit for your household. These aren’t a breed you want to casually adopt as they retain a lot of the characteristics of their wild ancestors.

What Are Bengal Cats’ Behavioral Needs?

Each cat is an individual so not every Bengal will be the same, but in general, you can expect these cats to have a lot of energy. In fact, Bengal cats were one of the reasons cat exercise wheels were originally developed. They need lots of play time and ways to get their energy out or they’ll run into behavior problems.

While most cats naturally want to climb, Bengals in particular are known for their tendency to climb. Have a high nook in your house that the cat can easily reach? Chances are you’ll often find them up there. They also tend to be extra curious and you may often find them getting into places you don’t want them if they are bored. You can help mitigate the unwanted climbing by building cat shelves or adding plenty of cat towers to your home.

Clearly, providing enrichment for your cat is extra important if they are a Bengal. One way to provide enrichment? Training! Bengals can be excellent cats for those interested in clicker training their cats. They may catch on faster than some other breeds and be better able to do tricks that other cats may not learn as easily.

A Bengal cat curled up on a bed on white sheets.
They are not a hybrid of between a cat and a shrimp, despite appearances. Photo by Paul Hanaoka.

Sound like a Bengal may be a good cat for you? One might be your new best friend! This is a brief overview of the breed so I encourage you to look a bit more into these cats before making a lifelong commitment to one. Even if you don’t want to get a Bengal, looking into whatever breed of cat is a very good idea. Cats are individuals and you always want to meet a cat before adopting them to make sure they seem like a good fit, but looking into the cat’s breed is a good starting point. You’ll be thankful you did when you find a cat that’s a good match for what you’re looking for!

And, of course, if you need help finding a cat, Class Act Cats is here to help! A quick Zoomies session is a great place to start if you’re looking for a little guidance. If you want assistance both before and after bringing your new best friend home, a Welcome Home package offers both!

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Joey Lusvardi

Joey Lusvardi CCBC is an IAABC Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and professional cat trainer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He runs a behavior consultation and cat training service, Class Act Cats, where he helps cat parents address a variety of unwanted behaviors. Joey is available for in home sessions locally or virtual sessions wherever you are located!