Skip to content
Bengal cat breed

Bengal cat breed

With their wild appearance and infectious personalities, it’s no wonder Bengal cats are so popular. Learn all about their quirks, characteristics, and Bengal cat temperament in this guide.

Pet insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plcInformation on how we collect and use your personal data is available to read in our Privacy Policy

Bengal cat breed information and advice

With striking looks, a shimmering luxurious coat and friendly personality, a Bengal cat can make a wonderful addition to your family. But before you make the leap, it’s good to get to know a few things about them.

This cat breed guide has lots of useful information and covers everything from Bengal cat temperament and grooming needs to their lifespan. It also outlines some common ailments and highlights why cat insurance may come in handy.

These leopard pet cat lookalikes may appear wild in appearance, but don’t be fooled. These hybrid cats are friendly and sociable and will quickly become part of the family.

Bengal facts

British shorthair
Lifespan 12-16 years
How much £300 to £5000 dependng on the sub breed
Size 36 - 46cm
Weight 3.6 - 7.7kg
Grooming weekly brush
Temperament active, sociable and intelligent
Exercise regular, daily exercise, full of energy and needs room to run around

The Bengal breed was created by crossing the Asian Leopard cat with the Abyssinian, Burmese and Egyptian Mau breeds. The aim was to introduce the Asian Leopard cat’s immunity to Feline Leukaemia to the domestic cats. Unfortunately, the experiment failed, but these hybrid cats led to the birth of the Bengal cat breed.

Bengal cat insurance

When you’re considering the pros and cons of getting a Bengal cat, don’t forget to factor in cat insurance. Bengals are a robust breed but, as with any pet, they can still get ill. And vet fees can soon mount up.

Bengal cat insurance can help cover the cost of your cat’s treatment, including any medication, vet prescribed complementary treatment or surgery.

Bear in mind that Bengals may be slightly more expensive to insure than the average cat as they are more prone to certain health problems. These include:

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance for Bengals

Insurance isn’t just for valuable pedigree animals - you can insure all types of cat. You can take out Sainsbury’s Bank kitten insurance as long as your Bengal kitten is over eight weeks old and your cat is less than 10 years of age.

Once you have cover in place with us, you can insure your cat up to any age as long as you keep renewing the policy without a break.

Sainsbury’s Bank has three types of pet insurance to choose from. These are:
Time-limited cover – where your cat is covered for each condition up to 12 months or until the policy limit.
Maximum benefit cover – claim multiple times for the same condition up to your policy limits.
Lifetime cover – access up to £2,500, £5,000, £7,500 or £10,000 per year towards vet costs, depending on your cover level.

Please note that we won't cover any pre-existing conditions and that terms, conditions, excesses, exclusions and limitations apply.

How to care for a Bengal cat

Bengal cats are easy to care for. They’re very clean, and kittens will quickly learn to use a litter tray. But, as with any other cat, make sure that they have a balanced diet and lots of exercise.

The Bengal cat temperament is great for experienced cat owners. They have a distinct, dog-like personality and are very curious. They thrive off enrichment activities that keep them stimulated, such as cat furniture and wand toys.

Feeding and nutrition

Bengals aren’t fussy eaters. They should have a cat food that matches their age, size and activity level. It should also take into account any specific health conditions.

Knowing how much to feed your cat can sometimes be difficult to guage and the amount depends on their age and size. A guide to how much and how often you should feed your cat can be found on the cat food packaging.

Quality cat food can be quite pricey, but cheap brands are likely to contain lower quality ingredients. If you’re unsure what food to go for, speak to your vet. They will be happy to help you and give advice on what’s best for Bengal cat.


If you are concerned about how to groom your cat, don’t worry. Although the Bengal breed coat is luxurious, dense and very soft – and can sparkle like glitter – these cats don’t actually need much grooming. A weekly brush with a grooming glove to remove any loose hairs is all they need. They shouldn’t need a bath – but they do love water so might join you in the shower.

Bengals come in a variety of colours and patterns. A brown spotted Bengal cat or rosetted tabbies are the most popular. Their distinctive markings and characteristics are always there - whatever the colour. There are Snow Bengals (with a pale white or cream background), Silver, White and Grey Bengal cats. Most have green, yellow or gold eyes, but Bengals with lynx points have blue eyes and minks have aqua eyes.


Bengal cats love to be active and can easily get bored. If kept indoors they’ll need plenty of space for play and exercise. And they’ll need scratching posts, perches to climb and toys to keep them entertained. They also like company, so it’s best not to leave them alone all day.

Letting them outdoors will give these athletic cats room to exercise and give them the mental stimulation they need.


Bengal cats are smart and will quickly pick up litter training. They can also be trained to do tricks and can be taught to play fetch and walk on a lead.

Bengal cat temperament and behaviour

Bengal cats are full of energy and have an adventurous personality. They love playing with water and it’s not unusual to find them drinking from a dripping tap. It’s also best to leave the toilet seat down or you may find your cat in there. They’re very agile but can be clumsy too – it’s a good thing that cats land on their feet.

They’re also very vocal and will let you know whether they’re happy or unhappy. They may look like their wild ancestors, but they’re friendly, affectionate, intelligent and loyal. And once attached to their owner, they’ll be a constant shadow.

They’re good with dogs but can be territorial with other cats if there are lots of cats in the house. They’re also good with children. But, as with any other pet, don’t leave young children alone with your cat.

They enjoy company and don’t like to be left alone all day. They can cause chaos if left alone for a long amount of time. They’ve been known to steal things like pens and pencils, so make sure they have enough cat-friendly toys to play with. And remember that it’s not unheard of for a Bengal to behave erratically every now and again.

Common health problems

Bengals are generally healthy; however, it’s important to take out Bengal insurance as the following health issues have been seen in the breed:

Flat-chested kitten syndrome (FCK)

Bengal kittens can have a common malformation of the chest, which can become noticeable within a few weeks of birth. The condition can vary from being mild to life-threatening. FCK is also known as ‘Swimmers’ because the kitten’s legs can be splayed and weak. Mild cases may not need any treatment, but physiotherapy and splinting of the ribcage have been used in more severe cases.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (commonly known as HCM) is a disease that affects the heart muscle. In HCM, the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. This reduces the amount of blood flowing through the heart, so the heart doesn’t work properly. The condition is likely inherited in certain cat breeds including some Bengal lines.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a DNA test available at the moment to identify those at risk. Screening of cats using echocardiography (a scan of the heart using ultrasound) is recommended for Bengals. If the condition is recognised early enough, long-term medication and other measures can slow the disease down.

Patellar luxation

Bengals have been known to be affected by patellar luxation. This can be caused by trauma, but the tendency for patella luxation can also be inherited with Bengal cats at risk for this. The kneecap (patella) can slip out of place and cause lameness. Surgery may be needed in severe cases.

Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency

PK deficiency is an inherited disease caused by a deficiency in an enzyme called pyruvate kinase. The condition shortens the lifespan of red blood cells and results in anaemia. It’s caused by a genetic mutation so there’s no treatment or cure. However, the episodes of anaemia are usually mild and can be managed.

The condition can affect certain breeds of cats, including the Bengal. A genetic test can identify those affected. These cats should not be used for breeding.

What is a Bengal cat?

A Bengal is a large cat with a colour pointed coat and large blue eyes, known for having a placid and affectionate nature. The breed was developed in the US in the 1960s and came to the UK in the 1980s.

Are Tiger cats the same as Bengal cats?

While Tiger cats and the Bengal breed look similar, Tiger cats are actually known as Toyers. The Toyer cat was bred by crossing a Bengal and a stray cat from the streets of India.

Toyer cats have beautiful distinctive markings with stripes on their red, gold and orange coats.

How much is a Bengal cat?

You can expect to pay anything from £300 to £5,000 for a Bengal kitten. The cost depends on the breeder and breeding line. The price might also be higher if the Bengal has a rare or unusual eye colour or coat pattern. They are quite rare and in-demand, which is another reason why they can be quite expensive.

Can Bengal cats go outside?

Bengals love to explore outdoors and are very trusting – which can expose them to danger from other cats and dogs. Their high value can also put them at risk of being stolen.

Fortunately, they adapt well to being kept as indoor cats if they have company and lots of cat toys to keep them occupied. They’ll also need places where they can curl up for a cat nap.

So, is a Bengal right for you?

Bengals can make great companions for elderly owners, single people working from home and families with children. They enjoy company and interaction and will get along with any other pets you might have. They don’t like being left alone, so it would be good to consider getting a feline companion if you’re out at work all day. Bengals love cuddles and are happy to be a lap cat.

Frequently asked questions

Is a Bengal a good family cat?

Yes, the Bengal temperament is loving and loyal so they’ll quickly feel part of the family. They’re affectionate and energetic so make amazing companions for both single households and families.

How long do Bengal cats live?

The average lifespan of a Bengal is between 12 to 16  years, but some can live up to 20 years if well cared for. It takes up to four years for Bengals to become fully mature adults.

Do Bengals make a lot of noise?

Bengal cats are known to be quite noisy and vocal. They are certainly talkative and have a wider range of sounds than other cats. These sounds range from loud to louder!

Browse our guides

Choose from our list of helpful guides and information

Explore dog breeds

Find out how to keep your dog healthy and happy

Cat breed guides

How to care for your cat, common health problems and more


Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

Vetstream Ltd (online) Bengal. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

David Godfrey and Geert Verhoeven (online) Flat-chested kitten and pectus excavatum. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Sorrel Langley-Hobbs, Rosanna Marsella, Susan Rackard (online) Patella: luxation. In: Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Michael Day, Urs Giger (online) Pyruvate deficiency. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Natasha Mitchell, David Gould (online) Retina: inherited degenerations. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Terms and conditions

Important information

* The discount is based on information related to you and the Sainsbury’s and Sainsbury’s Bank transactions linked to your Nectar account. For more information on how we use your data, go to

Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.