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MYTH VS. REALITY

Myth: Bengals have wild blood and don't make good pets.

Bengal breeders often hear this comment from misguided animal rights organizations, and even non-Bengal cat breeders.  Rumors fly that Bengal have vicious tendencies, urinate all over the house, and destroy furniture and belongings.  We even read a fake report of "escaped Bengal cats stalking little old ladies on the street."  These are overstatements or outright lies, designed to discredit reputable breeders of wonderful cats.

In truth, Bengals are no more likely to bite, scratch, urinate, or claw furniture than other cat breed.  However, they are more active, intelligent and emotive than other breeds- they're not going to hide in a corner all day- and this can throw people off.  Like all cats, Bengals need playtime, love, and a sturdy cat tree to climb on.  They have energy and they like to be the center of attention rather than sleep all day under the bed.

Owning a Bengal is a wonderful, rewarding experience.  It’s rare to meet a cat as intense, expressive, loving, and fun as a Bengal.

Myth: Bengals have health problems because of their wild ancestors.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM),  Allergies, and weak immune systems - we’ve heard them all!  But these can be found in all breeds of cats if you look hard enough.  Here are some things to consider about Bengal health:

(a) Bengals are usually best fed a grain-free diet.  (More about this later.)  You'll usually find that a cheap or inappropriate diet is at the root of a reported digestive problem.

(b) While Bengals are statistically a bit more prone to develop HCM than the average cat, they are not the most likely breed to do so.  Furthermore, HCM has nothing to do with their Asian Leopard Cat ancestry.  The fact is, certain breeds have certain health concerns, and the vast majority of individuals within the breed are unaffected.

(c) Bengals are purebred cats.  Acquiring a Bengal from an irresponsible breeder or from an unsanitary cattery can lead to more illness or genetic faults.  Unfortunately, there are bad Bengal breeders out there- and they're not always easy to identify.  A good breeder won't pressure you into buying a kitten "before someone else does."  A good breeder will welcome your visits, not be evasive or make excuses.  A good breeder will allow you to meet the parents and observe them with the kittens.  A good breeder takes time to answer questions before and after you purchase a kitten.   

For more information on Bengal health, check out this page.

Myth:  Hybrid breeds negatively affect the protection of endangered wild cats.

Asian Leopard Cats, Servals, Geoffrey’s Cats, and Caracals are all at risk in the wild.  In their native Asian and African countries, they face threats from poachers, farmers, and deforestation.  While many big cat rescue groups insist that the best place for wild cats is in the wild, the truth is their natural habitat is where they are most at risk.

Hybrid cat breeders provide a safe environment for wild cats.  Moreover, responsible breeders often act as educators and advocates regarding the status of wild cats.  Click here for more information about Asian Leopard Cats, Servals, and other small (and big) cats.

Myth:  Bengal breeding has created a huge market for fur traders.

One of the most absurd myths circulating is that Bengals are bred so that they can be sold to fur traders for their wild-looking pelts.  THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!  We've even seen obviously fake photos of fur jackets that were supposedly made from Bengal cats.

This rumor probably got started due to a misunderstanding.  Early in the development of the Bengal cat, a pioneering breeder said that she wanted to decrease the demand for wild cat pelts in the fur trade.  But she didn't intend to sell Bengal pelts!  She hoped that by creating beautiful spotted pets, people would reconsider buying spotted fur coats.

No responsible Bengal breeder would ever sell their cats into the fur trade.  We have never heard even a hint of truth to this vicious rumor.  All Bengal owners, breeders, and cat lovers everywhere would vehemently object.  Any such practice would be considered disgusting and unethical.  Furthermore, reputable breeders carefully screen potential buyers to rule out irresponsible owners.  We and other breeders are in this business because we LOVE cats!

Myth: Domestic cats are often killed by wild cats during the breeding process.

Very, very rarely.  We've heard of this happening, but never to anyone we know.  But there are also rare instances of normal tomcats injuring or killing a female.  It's tragic and it is often due to an unsafe breeding environment, and perhaps to very bad luck.  All cats, wild or otherwise, should be supervised during the breeding process- it is part of being aware of our cats.  Furthermore, most modern Bengal cats are a few generations removed from their Asian Leopard Cat ancestry, so there are very few ALC-to-Domestic matings these days.

So what are the facts about Bengals?

* They make wonderful, loving companions that can be, at times, demanding.

* They are robust, healthy, and respond to interaction, play, and high quality food.

* They are smart and they will let you know this.

* They are unique and beautiful.

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