Tag Archives: Cats

The Cat Who Hitchhiked on a Trip Around the World

Cat who hitchhiked on a journey around the globe: When former rugby player Dan Nicholson, of the Scottish Edinburgh team, quit his job to travel the world, he hoped the experience would change his life.

But what the former athlete, now 31, couldn’t imagine is that it would be a little kitten that would transform him forever.

After stopping playing rugby, Dean had become a welder. Dean says he was tired of working 9 hours a day and decided to get on his bike and see the world.

He left Scotland and traveled to Amsterdam. He passed through Belgium, Greece, Switzerland and Italy and boarded a ferry to Croatia. From there he went to Bosnia, where he met a striped cat that would become his travel companion.

It was an ordinary day. I was about to cross the border into Montenegro, and I was riding up a big hill by bike,” Dean told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime show.

Dean Nicholson and Nala became friends immediately

Dean heard a cat meowing behind him. She was following him up the hill. So he stopped, pulled over, and she just didn’t leave his side. Dean put her on the front of his bike and made her comfortable to take her to the next town.

I wanted to find out if she had a microchip identification.”

But the cat had no microchip.

She climbed on my shoulder and slept and I thought that’s it, she would come with me on the trip,” Dean says.

The original plan to go to Thailand fell apart and Dean realized that the kitten, whom he named Nala, had made him change.

She taught me to slow down and enjoy life much more. With her on the bike, her needs come first and that delayed the trip. Now we stop and play a lot, “he says, talking about Austria.

If there is a forest, we stop to play. And she loves to run on the beach.”

Just a cat, a bike and the open road

A cat, a bike and a road.
Credit, Instagram/1bike1world
The kitty watches the window in a cable car in Georgia.
Credit, Instagram/1bike1world 2020.

Nala has met several tourist attractions in Europe

The pair has cycled about 16 thousand km. Dean had to go after documents and make a pet passport for Nala. She became so important that her needs dictate the route.

I couldn’t go to Iran with the cat because there are no hotels that accept animals. The plan now is to ride through Russia in spring.

Wherever they go, Dean and Nala draw attention. Those who see them marvel at the little purring passenger who travels in a basket in front of the bike or on Dean’s shoulder if the road is rough.

Nala lying on a bed next to her passport.
Nala lying on a bed next to her passport. Credit, Instagram/1bike1world.
Nala plays on the sand of a beach.
Nala the cat on the beach. Credit, Instagram/1bike1world

Dean wants to finish his adventure on a beach in Thailand

People stop them to see the cat, and Nala is responsible for having already taken off at least a liter of free beer for its owner.

Nala went to Albania, Greece and returned to Dunbar (Scotland) for a pit stop. She has ridden in a cable car and even kayak.

They have become a sensation in Instagram, accumulating 800,000 followers and receiving about 1,000 comments a day.

Nala watches hot air balloons flying over the Kelebek Special Cave Hotel in Turkey.
Nala watches hot air balloons flying over the Kelebek Special Cave Hotel in Turkey. Credit, Instagram/1bike1world.
Dean shows affection for Nala in a kayak.
Dean shows affection for Nala in a kayak. Cat who hitchhiked on a trip around the world. Credit, Instagram/1bike1world 2020.

Its 150,000 YouTube subscribers generate enough advertising money to support them, including bicycle maintenance and cat food.

Nala even has her own calendar and now she has won a book that shows her adventures.

We will spend the winter in Greece working in some animal sanctuaries. Then we’ll pass through Russia in the spring and go to Thailand, Dean says.

I want to fulfill that dream of sitting on the beach drinking coconut water.


The 10 Most Intelligent Cat Breeds

Are some cats more intelligent than others? | Cats share their life with the people who care for them, establishing a very strong bond with them. They communicate outstandingly, both by gestures and by making sounds. In addition, these animals have no problem surviving in the wild. They are good hunters and adapt to any type of life.

All domestic cats share these characteristics and are highly intelligent. However, some breeds display a quite outstanding wit. Do you want to know which ones? If so, don’t miss this article on the smartest cat breeds around the world.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon cat is the official feline breed of the state of Maine, in the United States. Despite their beauty, these felines were naturally selected as working cats. On the farms of Maine they served as the best rodent hunters, capable of withstanding the freezing northern winters. These cats are very large, intelligent and have a dense fur.

Maine Coon cats are one of the most intelligent breeds of cats in the world. They have an extraordinary facility to learn all kinds of tricks and are as easy to train. In addition, despite their imposing size, they are extraordinarily gentle and sociable, making them not only good home companions, but also magnificent therapy cats.

American Bobtail

Despite their wild appearance, American bobtails are one of the most affectionate type of felines. They establish very strong ties with their family and greatly enjoy their company. These cats show great intelligence and empathy, having fun in good times and offer love and affection through hard times.

They are very calm and docile, but also enjoy interactive games, including home games and outdoor sports. These cats love to go out for a walk as they are very outgoing and sociable with strangers, including other furry four-legged ones.

A multicolored striped American Bobtail cat standing on grass

Siamese Cat

Known for its astonishing color and blue eyes, the Siamese cat is one of the oldest and most popular breeds. This feline stands out for being the most communicative and talkative. He does not hesitate to answer us and tell us what he wants through numerous vocalizations and gestures. It is often referred to as the “one person cat”. They are known to “choose” a favorite person with whom they forge a close relationship. These cats love to interact with humans and to participate in all family activities.

Many consider the Siamese as the most intelligent breed of cat in the world. In fact, it is the only cat breed that has a scientific staff member. In 1975, the physicist Hetherington added his cat Chester as a co-author of a scientific paper under the pseudonym F. D. C. Willard. The cat even signed copies of the publication with his footprint.

A Siamese cat with bright blue eyes sitting on a chair.

Japanese Bobtail

In addition to its short tail, the Japanese bobtail is characterized as one of the most intelligent breeds of cats in the world. As can be seen in their alert eyes, these cats are full of life. They are very playful and love to climb, jump and solve puzzles. For this reason, it is easy to train them, and they quickly become the kings of feline sports.

They also use their intelligence to be the center of family life. These cats are always aware of everything we do and do not hesitate to call our attention to be part of it. It is because this breed is one of the most sociable ones out there. They love being around people, including our guests and other animals.

A snow white Japanese Bobtail on a blue background

Bengal Cat

The wild appearance of the Bengal cat has made it a very popular breed. Its appearance is due to the fact that it is a hybrid cat. It originated from a cross between the domestic cat and the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).

In this way, a breed with the intelligence of wild cats and the loving nature of domestic cats was achieved. It is one of the most active and athletic breeds. Despite their wild origins, they have no difficulty learning basic orders and house rules.

European Burmese

The European Burmese cat is the perfect home companion. It is a calm, friendly and affectionate feline. These cats love to snuggle next to us on the couch, but also enjoy playing and participate in our activities. They don’t like being alone at all, so they follow us around the house, watching us closely and constantly try to get our attention.

These cats quickly become the center of attention for our guests and their pets. It is their empathy and their ability to socialize that renders them as one of the most intelligent breeds of cats in the world.

A light brown European Burmese cat with yellow eyes looking at the camera

Khao Manee

Also known as the Diamond Eye cat, is a rare breed of cat originating in Thailand. In its homeland it is considered as a talisman of good luck. The breed’s clear and luminous eyes inform us about his intelligence.

The Khao manee cat is an excellent rodent hunter that was naturally selected, so it retains the typical curiosity of the oldest breeds. In addition, they are characterized by being devoted to their family, whom they accompany everywhere.

A white Khao manee cat with one blue and one orange eye
The 10 most intelligent cat breeds – Khao manee

Lykoi

The lykoi or werewolf cat is a fairly recent breed that comes from a colony of cats in the United States. Its most particular characteristic is its fur, which lacks an undercoat. Its solid black roan coat gives it a rough and messy appearance.

Due to the lack of protective hair layer, this feline is considered to be a very homey pet. Therefore, he has a loving character and enjoys interactive games a lot. However, its lineage comes from stray cats, so it maintains the typical intelligence of those felines that are forced to survive without human help.

The Lykoi cat with a warewolf appearance jumping while looking at the camera, most intelligent cat breeds.

European Shorthair

The European Shorthair is the most common house cat. It originated following the domestication of the African wild cat (Felis lybica). Later it was distributed all over the world, giving rise to other cat breeds.

There is no doubt that these felines possess natural intelligence that allowed them to get along with humans. This is the reason we welcomed them into our homes in the first place. Due to the age of this breed, many of its members have been able to demonstrate their ingenuity. Stubbs, the honorary mayor of Talkeetna (Alaska) is one of the most notable representatives of the breed. This is also the case with the first cat in space, Félicette, who returned to Earth by parachuting.

An European Shorthair striped cat resting on the floor
The 10 Most Intelligent Cat Breeds – European Cat

Turkish Angora

In Turkey, people consider their Angora cats as a national treasure, something that is easy to agree on. Its beauty and intelligence are making it, little by little, one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. This feline is very versatile and adapts easily to different lifestyles.

The Turkish Angora cat enjoys all kinds of company, including children and dogs. Due to their outgoing and affectionate nature, they are considered one of the most intelligent breeds of cats in the world. However, they can become quite bossy, which is why they quickly become the alpha cat of the house.

Most intelligent cat breeds: A white Turkish Angora cat with luxurious fur and bright blue eyes

In this article we discussed the smartest cat breeds, but this list is not complete without mentioning other unique breeds. For example, the Turkish Van who is very energetic, playful and fun-loving. The Devon Rex who is active and will delight its human companions by giving enchanting playful performances. The dignified and docile Persian cats who are known for their discriminating affection. Finally, the Scottish Fold who is very intelligent, sweet-tempered, soft-spoken, and easily adaptable to new people and situations.

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Why Do Cats Sleep so Much?

Cats can sleep 17 hours a day, which is equivalent to 70% of the day. These hours are divided into several naps throughout the day and the total daily hours will depend on several factors. For example, the age of the cat, it’s diet, degree of activity, diseases and environmental factors. In this article we will talk about feline sleep, its phases, what is normal and what is not. We will also mention both external and internal factors which affect their sleeping behavior.

Is It Normal for Cats to Sleep so Much?

According to science, it is normalDomesticated cats are hunters, their behavior is similar to that of their wild feline ancestors. Booth stray and house cats share similar anatomical and physiological features which evolved for the purpose of hunting. Regardless of their habitat, whether they live one the street or in a home with guaranteed food supply, cats retain their hunting instincts. Due to the high amount of energy expended in the process of hunting, Wild cats sleep after hunting their prey. Domestic felines do the same. However, instead of hunting small prey they usually expend that energy by playing with their caretakers, running, jumping, stalking and keeping their body tense. These activities cause adrenaline rushes that exhaust them, and they need sleep.

The widespread notion that cats are nocturnal animals, that they sleep during the day and are awake at night, is not entirely true. The highest peak of feline activity coincides with dawn and dusk, which means that they are crepuscular animals (twilight animals) and not nocturnal. This also has to do with the hunting time of their wild relatives. During twilight their prey is most active and more visible. In the deep hours of the night, your cat will in many cases sleep as soundly as you.

Why Do Kittens Sleep so Much?

Many people who first welcome a kitten into their homes worry that their cat sleeps a lot and does not play. During their first weeks of life, cats need to sleep longer than adults, being able to sleep up to 20 hours a day. This is due, in part, to the release of growth hormone secreted by the pituitary gland during sleep. It occurs within twenty minutes of the deep sleep cycle. It is during sleep, therefore, kittens grow and develop. Similar to human babies, during sleep their brain processes the external information that they have learned while they have been awake. Resepcting your kitten’s sleep habits is therefore crucial for its growth and development.

When they reach four or five weeks of life, sleeping time decreases until they reach the hours of sleep of an adult cat. Again, similar to infants their, their curiosity increases. They begin to investigate their environment and interest in play emerges. At that age kittens are able to run and control their tail. At that point, their senses of sight and hearing are well-developed, some baby teeth erupt, and weaning begins.

A kitten sleeps on his back with paws over the head

What Is the Sleep Cycle of Cats Like?

When they sleep, cats alternate phases of light and deep sleep. Most of their sleep is light, around 70%. These are naps of a few minutes known as catnaps or dozes. Cats are able to catnap in various positions. During that time they keep their ears in an elevated position to respond and wake up easily to stimuli. There is a reason behind this sleeping pattern. In addition to being predators, felines are prey to other animals, they evolved to stay alert to possible dangers. Domesticated cats carry this behavior in their genes.

Do Cats Dream?

After about thirty minutes of light sleep, cats enter the deep phase of sleep known as REM phase. This phase occupies the remaining percentage of their total sleep. During this phase, despite having a totally relaxed body, cats have semi-conscious dreams just like people. This is because they maintain alert senses and brain activity similar to when they are awake. As a result they can move their eyes, legs and ears rapidly, and even to vocalize and modify their posture while napping.

An adult cat spends 7 hours awake and 17 hours sleeping of which 12 hours are light sleep and 5 hours are deep sleep.

Sleep Disorders in Cats – Causes and Prevention

There are several factors that can affect your cat’s sleep behavior and patterns for the worse. Here are the most frequent ones:

Temperature

Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, affect your cat’s sleep. Freezing cold or extreme heat significantly increase the time cats spend sleeping. It is advisable that if cats live indoors, an adequate room temperature is maintained that does not interrupt normal sleep patterns. During winter times it is best to provide blankets and warm places for the cat to spend time in. It will also help to avoid respiratory diseases. This is especially important for hairless cats, such as the Sphynx cat breed.

Diseases

Cats are experts at hiding their ailments, so it is very important to pay attention to changes in sleep patterns. Change in sleeping behavior can indicate that something is wrong. If your cat sleeps more than necessary or is lethargic, it is best to go to the vet to rule out health problems. A diet low in protein and essential amino acids as well as neurological diseases that affect the central nervous system, can cause sleep disturbances. Sensory deficits, abdominal diseases (intestinal, liver or kidney), cardiovascular diseases or hematological disorders such as anemia, and chronic pain can also be a cause. In some cases, oversleeping in cats is accompanied by anorexia and reduced grooming.

If less sleep is accompanied by an increased appetite and thirst, it can indicate an endocrine problem of older cats, known as hyperthyroidism.

Boredom

When cats spend most of the day alone and do not have the company of other animals or their caregivers they get bored. If they don’t have anyone to play or spend time with they get depressed. When cats can not find a better activity, they sleep. That is why it is very important to spend time with your feline friend, it will improve his mood and health.

Heat Cycles

At this time, female cats are more active due to the action of hormones. They sleep less because they spend much of the day attracting the attention of potential males, even when they live indoors. Male cats also spend less time sleeping during their heat cycles. They are usually dedicated to marking territory or fighting with other cats in order to win a female’s attention.

Stress

Stress greatly affects cats. It can be causing health problems such as anorexia or feline idiopathic cystitis, behavioral disorders and changes in sleeping habits. When cats are stressed they spend fewer hours sleeping and are usually looking for a hidden place to sleep in.

Many of these situations can be avoided or improved, so it is important to be attentive to your cat. That is, closely monitor possible changes in sleeping behavior and grooming habits. You should also pay attention to whether the cat meows more or less or if he is hiding or overly aggressive. Noticing these small changes can alert us that something is wrong. In these cases, it is best to take the cat to the veterinarian. The vet will make a correct diagnosis and apply the appropriate treatment according to the cause.

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Strange Cat Behaviors: 10 Weird Things Cats Do

Why is my cat acting so strange? Felines are an inexhaustible source of curious behaviors. Especially for human beings, who often find it difficult to find a logical reason for the things cats do. However, science has deciphered the reasons for most of these behaviors. Knowing them is important, because it is possible that your cat is trying to tell you something important about his condition.

1. Rub Against Your Legs

Surely you recognize the following scene. You come home and your cat greets you by rubbing his body and his face against your legs and ankles. Why is he doing this? There are several reasons. One of them is that he is happy to see you and expresses it this way. Another has to do with marking. By rubbing its body against you the cat recognizes you as part of its social group. The cat claims you as another member, which must share the same smell. Therfore, the cat transmits its smell to you through this gesture.

Strange cat behaviors: A black cat rubbing against a woman's legs to socialize.

2. Sleeping on the Sink

Many cat owners confess that cats often sleep in bathroom sinks without being able to find an explanation. However, there is no mystery. First, the toilet is a confined place, and some cats associate it with a quite and safe burrow, which they like so much.

Another reason has to do with temperature and it is very logical in summer and in tropical climates. When the heat is more intense, is there a cooler place than the ceramic in the sink? According to cats, no.

Strange cat behaviors: A red Tabby cat sitting in a bathroom sink

3. Attacks of Madness

It comes as a surprise to many cat owners when their beloved pets start running and jumping around the house with no apparent reason. This is more common at night and in young felines, but adult cats can also jump and rage during the day. Why do they do it? There are two main reasons.

The first of these is that your cat has a lot of accumulated energy and is bored. A sudden change in behavior such as a few crazy jumps help the cat to entertain himself a bit. When this is the case, consider offering your cat various means of entertainment so that he can release his energy.

On the other hand, this behavior also occurs as a response to an infestation by external parasites. These parasites bite the skin to feed, which causes itching. When the itch is unbearable or affects an area that is difficult to reach to scratch, it is common for cat to jump hectically. It also occurs when the cat suffers from Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS), a disorder that only a veterinarian can diagnose and treat.

Strange cat behaviors: Two Tabby cats jumping in the air, one of them catches a toy

4. Biting Fabric

Some cats enjoy biting and sucking on cloth garments, especially when they are made of wool. This is usually common in cats that have been weaned prematurely. This behavior can become compulsive in some felines, while others only manifest it in stressful situations.

In the same way, other cats tend to chew and even eat all kinds of objects, such as plastic or cardboard. The so-called Pica syndrome manifests itself when the cat has nutritional deficiencies or behavioral problems that lead to feline chronic anxiety. Such cases require urgent veterinary intervention.

A Tabby cat with green eyes biting on wool wrapped object

5. Lick Human Hair

Many cats enjoy giving their caretakers’ hair a good lick, either when they are laying beside them or when they climb on their shoulders. You would probably like the reason behind this behavior. Cats only groom other cats. When they lick your hair is only because they consider you a reference figure or part of their family group.

Felines do this because, when they are young, their mother is in charge of grooming them and keeping them clean. It is a way to reinforce the bond they have with the members of their close circle. In short, it’s one of the ways cats demonstrate their affection.

A cat sitting on a man's shoulders and licking his hair

6. Nibble on Plants

Many cat owners complain that their furry friends nibble and destroy their plants. However, the cat never does this out of the desire to harm plants and annoy you. Although they are carnivores, they have the need to eat food of plant origin in a timely manner. In nature, they satisfy this need when they eat the stomach of their prey, where they can find half-digested plant remains.

Domestic cats, however, may try to make up for the lack of herbivorous food by nibbling on your plants. However, we must be aware that some plants are toxic for cats. Therefore, we advise you to make sure that the ones you have at home are non-toxic for your feline companion.

A Tabby cat sitting in a green leafy plant.

7. Scratching the Ground Outsie the Sandbox

If you’ve ever caught your cat scratching the ground outside his litter box instead of covering his feces, he’s trying to tell you something. Cats are very picky about cleaning their litter box and also with the materials that you use as a substrate. So it is possible they do not like the texture of the litter sand you are using. When this happens, the cat substitutes the behavior of covering its stool, something that is completely instinctive, by scraping the surrounding surface.

A gray Tabby cat walking out of a litter box

8. Biting Itself

If you notice that your cat bites its back, its tail or any other part of its body repeatedly, you should be alert. This behavior can be a sign that it has external parasites, so you should check its coat for these annoying insects.

This behavior is also present in stressed cats that even hurt themselves, as they bite themselves compulsively. In either case, you should consult your veterinarian if your cat exhibiting such behaviors.

A gray Tabby cat biting and licking his forelimb pads

9. Dragging Their Bottoms

It is not normal for cats to drag their bottoms on the ground, so when they do it means that something happens. Although it may seem curious, the truth is that it is an unequivocal symptom that something is not going well. It is possible that feces are stuck to their fur, something that can happen in long-haired cats or those who suffer from diarrhea.

However, it can also occur when the cat has feline intestinal parasites or an inflammation of the anal glands. In both cases, a visit to the vet is mandatory.

10. Drinking From the Tap

When it comes to water consumption, all cats appear to be different. Some drink from their container without problems. Other cats prefer metal troughs, while some hardly drink water no matter what you do. There are also cats that enjoy water from anywhere, except from the bowl that you have arranged for them. Among the latter are cats that enjoy drinking from the faucet or tap.

The reasons are not strange. Plastic water containers for pets can change the taste of water. Even if the effect is so subtle that the human tongue can hardly detect it, cats will refuse to drink such water. Second, you may forget to change the water daily, and the cat will refuse to drink if it is stagnant.

Apart from this, many cats are struck by running water, as it gives them the feeling that it is cooler. If this is the case with your cat and you want him to stop drinking from the sink faucet, get a cat fountain.

A tri-color Tabby cat drinking water from a tap

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Bengal cat: breed characteristics, nutrition and health

The Bengal cat is a unique breed. In a sense, it looks like a domestic leopard. Being a hybrid breed, Bengals tend to be larger than other domestic cats. They are agile and athletic and can weigh up to 7 kg and reach 70 cm in length. The Bengal cat is a relatively recent cross-breed, it originated in the United States in 1970.

Jean Mill, the first American Bengal breeder.
Jean Mill, the first American Bengal breeder.

Jean Mill, a cat breeder and a conservationist carried out the first experiment of crossing between a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) in 1963. Mill’s goal was to achieve a breed of tame domestic cats with the coat of their wild feline ancestors.

What distinguishes this hybrid cat? What character and behavior does it exhibit and do Bengali cats make good family pets? In this article you will find all the answers.

Bengals as a new cross-breed

The Bengal is a breed of a domestic cat selectively bred to look like exotic wild cats such as leopards, ocelots, margays, etc. The Bengal cat is a result of the crossing between a domestic cat and a female leopard cat. Bengals as a breed did not exist before 1975. Following her first efforts in 1963, Jean Mill resumed breeding in 1970 which yielded a cross-breed of Bengal cats in 1975.

The first three generations (F1-F3) that start with Felis Bengalensis as one of the progenitors are called foundation cats or early generation Bengals. These were hybrid cats, which were crossed with domestic cats with mottled features, such as the Egyptian Mau, in order to obtain a domestic cat with a coat similar to a leopard. From the fourth generation (F4) breeders achieved fertile and tame Bengali cats.

At present, it is not necessary to cross-breed a Bengali cat with a Felis Bengalensis, because the Bengali is already an established breed. Selective breeding of the best Bengalis is enough to perpetuate and improve the coat of this precious domestic breed.

Brief history of Bengal cats breeding

While this is a relatively new breed, it is not a new idea. In 1889, the British journalist and artist Harrison William Weir had already entertained the idea of a crossing between an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat. There is also evidence of Belgian and Japanese publications from the years 1934 and 1941 concerning similar crosses.

Nevertheless, Jean Mill had the greatest contribution to Bengal breeding and is considered an official founder of the breed. Mill attended graduate classes in genetics at UC Davis in 1946. She wrote a term paper which proposed crossing the Persian cat breed with the new Siamese breed to make ‘Panda Bear’ cats. In the early 1960s she put her knowledge and ideas into practice. She crossed domestic cats with female Asian leopard cats.

The establishment of the breed

The first generation resulting from the direct crossing between a domestic and a wild animal is called F1. The offspring of a new cross between an F1 cat and a domestic cat are called F2 and so on. F1 and F2 cats often display the fierce behavior of wild cats. Jean Mill re-crossed the F1 females with domestic cats and obtained F2 cats. After the next two or three generations, the offspring already exhibited a behavior similar to that of domestic cats. Jean Mill stopped her experiments for some time, due to the death of her husband, but resumed them around 1970 when she had the opportunity to receive hybrid females from scientist William Centerwall, who had crossed Asian leopard cats with domestic cats to investigate immunity to feline leukemia virus. This was the beginning of the modern breeding of the Bengal cat, officially recognized by TICA (International Feline Association) in 1983.

At first, they were also crossed with breeds such as the Abyssinian, the Egyptian Mau and the American short hair, in order to define the desired appearance of the Bengal cat. Currently, only Bengalis are used for breeding, but only those from the fourth generation onwards (F4) are allowed in exhibitions. From this generation on, cats are considered as tame as domestic ones. Since then, the Bengali has gained a large following and to date the TICA has registered more than 60,000 pure cat breeds. However, not all breeding associations are in favor of hybrid cats, for example, the CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) does not recognize any breed that is descended from wild cats.

Physical features of Bengal cats

Bengal cats possess the following distinct characteristics:

  • Their torso is long and substantial, not thin and tubular.
  • They are well muscled, especially the male cats.
  • The head of Bengal cats is relatively small in comparison to their body, and dome shaped.
  • They have sturdy and dense bones.
  • Their paws are large with prominent knuckles.
  • The coat is short to medium, thick and luxurious with a horizontal pattern.
  • Hind legs are longer than forelegs, and they walk with raised rear and dropped tail.
  • The tail is thick and medium with a rounded tip.

This breed has prominent high cheekbones and oval shaped, although can be slightly almond shaped large eyes. They are usually blue or green. The ears are small, with a rounded tip and a wide base. The whisker pads and the chin on a Bengal cat are always strongly defined but not heavy. Bengal cats have large noses of a distinct shape with very puffed nose leather, similar to all wild cats.

Size and coat

It is a large cat. Male Bengal cats usually weigh up to eight or nine kilos, while female cats only weigh between three and five kilos. The jaws are strong and broad. The Bengal coat  is one of the main reasons for the creation of this breed. Their coat is flattened over the body and is short, soft and thick, while delicate. It is advisable to wipe the coat with a cloth so that the hair does not get matted.

The Bengali is one of the few cat breeds that have brindle coats. It is a brownish or tawny color of animal fur, with streaks of other color. The base color itself can vary in shades: ivory, cream, yellow, gold or orange. Their coat’s hue stains can also vary, which can range from black to chocolate or cinnamon. To be considered purely bred Bengal, a cat has to have a tail with a black tip while its foot pads and abdomen should be mottled; marked with spots or smears of color.

Types of Bengal cats

There are many Bengal cat patterns and color variations. The two basic pattern variations of the breed’s coat are spotted and marbled. Both types have unique varieties of pattern and a many combinations of coat colors.

Spotted coat types

This is the most popular style of coat. The spotted Bengal has small to medium-sized spots all over its coats. Large, random, two-tone rosetted markings are particularly sought after. This pattern style resembles the spotted tabby pattern found in domestic cats, which has been modified by selective breeding to create a coat similar to that of wild cats. These patterns were inspired by Jaguars, Leopards or Ocelots.

The coat is covered in random, diagonally or horizontally aligned spots on the torso, abdomen and legs. There are many variations to the spotted type.

Rosetted Bengal cats

The Single-Spotted or Rosetted pattern is characterized by solid spots splattered in droplets on a contrasting background, similar to those of wild cats like Cheetahs or non-hybrid spotted cats like that of the Egyptian Mau or Spotted Shorthair breeds. The Rosetted Bengal is the most popular spotted coat for a Bengal cat. Spots are called rosettes when they are two-toned contrasting colors distinct from the background color. There are five types of rosette patterns:

  1. Arrowhead Rosettes: can be solid and monochrome in the single spotted group, or they can be rosetted with different colors fading into the background.
  2. Donut Rosettes: these are spots that are darker than the background’s coat color and outlined with an even darker color. This type of coat is Inspired by the Jaguar’s coat, the lighter colored center of the spots is enclosed by a nearly complete dark outline.
  3. Paw-print Rosettes: this is a shaded spots pattern. The spots are open on one side with smaller and darker spots on the edge. A paw-print rosette is never entirely enclosed by the darker, surrounding color.
  4. Chain Rosetting: clouded rosettes are large, full spots that appear to fit together like a puzzle with little space between them.
  5. Cluster Rosettes: are small spots forming clusters around the center color.

Marbled coat types

The marbled coat pattern originated from tabby stripes that swirl. This is a horizontally flowing, random, asymmetrical pattern made up of swirls of two or more colors. The marble Bengal cat has four official types:

  1. Reduced horizontal flow
  2. Horizontal flow
  3. Chaos pattern
  4. Sheet marble patterns

The Sparbled Coat

The sparble pattern is a combination of spotted and marbled coats. This isn’t really an official pattern category. The term is used to describe Bengals who have both rosettes and marble markings or spotted Bengals with marble-like patterns. This pattern is a subtype of a spotted/rosetted Bengal.

Coat and eye colors

Color variationBase colorMarkingsTail tip colorEye color
BrownAll shades of brownBrown to jet blackBlackGreen or Gold
Snow LynxLight white creamDark or light brownDark brownBlue
Snow MinkIvory, cream, light tanTawny brown to dark brownDark brownBlue-green or aqua
Snow SepiaIvory, cream, light tanMix of black with a brown or red earthDark brownGreen or Gold
SilverWhite to dark steelDark grey to jet balckBlackGreen or Gold
CharcoalDark grey/brown or carbon coloredCarbon with white goggles around the eyes and a dark charcoal maskDark brownGold
BluePale blue gray to stale blue grayMedium blue to darker blueDark grayGreen, gold or hazel
BlackBlackBlack, faint to ghost like markingsBlackGreen, gold or hazel

Character and behavior of Bengal cats

The most remarkable traits of the breed’s character are hyperactivity and curiosity, as well as his insatiable desire to play and sociability. Although it originated from a wild cat, the Bengali cat is very affectionate and close to its human companion. They tend to follow you around the house, wait for you at the door when you return from work, etc.

Starting with the third generation (F3), Bengal cats are considered tame, although they are very active animals with a strong character, due to their wild heritage. For this reason, it is only recommended having them at home from the fourth generation (F4) onwards. Likewise, only F4 cats can be presented at exhibitions. According to the breed standard, the Bengal cat is reliable, attentive, curious and friendly.

As a general rule, the mothers (F3) of the fourth generation (F4) are highly socialized, since Bengal kittens grow up indoors and are used to human contact from the beginning. Therefore, they do not exhibit wild character alterations as pets.

Are Bengals easy to train?

Without a doubt, they are fun cats, as well as intelligent and fearless, so they require a lot of attention to get their instincts heading in the right direction. While it is not easy to train cats, Bengals are certainly among the smartest ones out there. They can be trained to sit, stand, jump, roll over, jump through hoops or even use the bathroom. Bengal owners frequently affirm that the typical games and pampering are not enough to entertain a hybrid cat. Target and clicker training are very useful methods to create a boredom free environment for the Bengals. These cats also enjoy climbing and swimming. If they have the opportunity to go outside safely, they will not get bored and will be able to expand their energy. A large yard is ideal for creating a healthy environment for the Bengals, but a sheltered balcony or any activity room where they have different objects to climb on are also good options.

These cats are self-confident, rather dominant, and at times somewhat aggressive, which is why problems can arise if they are socialized with other territorial cats. However, it is never advisable to have a Bengali alone. Some quiet breeds like Persians or British Shorthairs can be good companions for them. In any case, a good coexistence between two animals will depend on the character of each one of them.

Adaptation

When it comes to a hybrid breed, the breeding of each individual cat is very important. Although it is true that a small wild cat resides inside every domestic cat, those with the closest wild lineage may display this inheritance more easily.

For example, first generation cross-breed cats are not as reliable as other established breeds, and it takes a lot of patience until they adjust to new environments and people. When acquiring a cat, be that any breed, you should buy only from professional breeders who understand the importance of socialization and who can support you during the beginning of coexistence. This is especially important when acquiring a hybrid cat.

Once the Bengal cat has adapted to its new home, it will be sociable and make friends with other pets, be it cats, dogs, or even ferrets. Their curiosity is insatiable, and they will inspect everything to get it under control. Their cunning and intelligence keeps them always alert.

Inherited taste for swimming

The Bengali cat, although it seems strange, is a great swimmer. This quality, unusual in most domestic cats, is a genetic inheritance bequeathed by its wild ancestor, which is characterized by its great qualities as a fishing cat and swimmer.

The Bengal cat is a sociable and affectionate pet, and very suitable for children despite its wild and mischievous origin. Once a Bengal cat is gently introduced into the family, it is certain to have a good experience. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how much your Bengal cat will enjoy playing with your children.

Diet and Nutrition

The Bengal cat does not need a very different care from that of any other domestic cat. A varied diet based on high quality food, fresh water and lots of love. It is a very active cat, so you will not encounter obesity problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle. It is recommended that you encourage them to enjoy daily exercise and abundant moments of play.

Each cat is unique and has its own particular tastes and needs when it comes to food. However, cats are carnivores and each cat must obtain 41 different specific nutrients from their food. The ratio of these nutrients will vary depending on age, lifestyle, and general health, so expect an energetic kitten that is still growing to need a different balance of nutrients than a less active older cat. Attention needs to be paid to the amount of food required to maintain ideal fitness in accordance with eating guidelines and taking into account individual preferences regarding the type of food (wet or dry).

Therefore, the food we choose for a Bengal cat, must be high-end to ensure that it contains good nutrients. For example, it is important that it has taurine to support heart and eye health. It also must be low in phosphorus to avoid kidney conditions. The most advisable thing is to feed them natural foods, preferably dry, of high quality, and suitable for the age of the cat.

Health conditions specific to Bengal cats

This breed can suffer from any of the most common cat diseases. In addition, they may suffer from a more specific illness. Some Bengal cats are prone to various genetic diseases, which must be detected in time for prevention and treatment purposes.

Patellar luxation (dislocation)

It is a joint problem that some felines suffer from, but it is more commonly found in Bengal cats. It occurs when the kneecap moves out of place, leaving the joint and can occur to different degrees.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

It is a heart condition that commonly affects Bengals. The heart muscle gets thicker and causes the organ itself to have to work harder to do its job. The most visible symptoms of this disease are lethargy and gasps that we can observe in our faithful companion. This heart problem usually occurs more in elderly cats, as it begins to develop after a long time of work and effort by the heart muscle.

Anesthetic allergies

Most living beings suffer from an allergy throughout our lives, whether chronic or specific. In the case of Bengal cats, they are prone to allergy to anesthesia. In case we know that our Bengali must undergo an operation with anesthesia, we should discuss the issue with the veterinarian to weigh all the options possible before the operation.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)

PKD is an inherited disorder that causes cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to form in the kidneys of Bengal cats. These cysts are present from birth. At first, they are very small, but they grow over time and can damage the kidney. When this happens, the kidney cannot function properly and kidney failure occurs. The cysts generally grow slowly, so that most affected Bengal cats do not show signs of kidney disease until they are adults, usually seven to eight years old. However, there are some cats that develop kidney disease at a young age. Unfortunately there is no treatment that can prevent the development of kidney failure in a cat that is affected by PKD.

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What do we know about the origins of domestic cats?

The history and evolution of domestic cats still generates many debates in the scientific community. There is no consensus among experts on how our adorable kittens have originated. Even today, it is still debated whether the domestic cat should be classified as an independent species or continue to be considered as one of the subspecies of the wild cat.

The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) is a species of a small carnivorous mammal of the Felidae family, domesticated by humans. The current name in many languages ​​comes from the Latin term catus, even though the term originally referred to wild cats. The term felis was used for Domestic cats in Latin.

As a result of genetic mutations, interbreeding, and artificial selection, there are numerous cat breeds. Some, such as the Sphynx or Peterbald breed, are hairless. Other breeds lack a tail, like Manx cats, and some have atypical coloration, like the so-called blue cats. As of 2019, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 71 standardized breeds, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognizes 44, and the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) recognizes 43.

Origins of domestic cats

Today, cats are the second most popular pet globally. In 2016 GfK conducted an online survey of over 27,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 22 countries. While dogs are the most popular pet globally, cats are second, owned by 23% of respondents. But how cats were domesticated?

Last common ancestor

Today’s cats share a common ancestor that is likely related to the Miacis. These animals are the oldest known group of primitive carnivores that are known today, from which all modern carnivorous mammals, including felines, have probably evolved. These first ancestors of the cat would have the size similar to a [Genet] with a long tail and an elongated body. They lived during the Upper Cretaceous period, about 60 million years ago. Few fossils of these animals remain in the Northern Hemisphere.

The evolution of felines

Some millions of years later, the members of miacis begin to differentiate morphologically, giving rise to different groups of carnivorous mammals. Unfortunately, the origin of felines is poorly documented in fossil records since the ancestors of felines normally lived in tropical areas. Those areas do not offer good conditions for fossilization.

Likewise, it is assumed that the first species related to felines would have been proailurus, a small arboreal carnivorous mammal that lived in Europe about 40 million years ago. During the Oligocene period, the first felines were divided into two large groups: Nimravidae and Felidae. Later, there was proailurus, from which the extinct species closest to modern felines, pseudaelurus descended. It is estimated that this animal appeared for the first time about 20 million years ago and disappeared about 8 million years ago.

Later, during the Miocene, which began about 23 million years ago, pseudaelurus had already diversified significantly and its population expanded to Africa and America. The specific morphological and genetic roots of modern felines would have started about 10 million years ago, when they separated from pseudaelurus_,_ having adapted to the steppes and savannas, where they found great availability of food due to the variety of herbivorous animals that lived there. In this same period, the long canine felines would emerge, which would become extinct around 10,000 BC.

Modern felines

Modern small felines belonging to the genus Felis, such as wild cats, took a little longer to inhabit the earth’s surface. The appeared for the first time about 5 million years ago on the Asian continent and expanded to other continents at the same period. However, they did not reach Oceania or Madagascar.

In 2006 several analyzes of the sex chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA of different species of modern felines, including the domestic cat, have been carried out. Added to the many paleontological investigations, their results suggest that the genetic lineage that would give rise to the domestic cat would have been separated from other small cats about 3.4 million years ago, in the forests and deserts of the Mediterranean basin.

Domesticated cats

The zoologist Carl von Linnaeus first described the domestic cat as Felis catus in 1758 in his Systema naturae. However, his position on the classification of living beings changed greatly over the years.

In 2017, DNA found in archaeological sites revealed that the origins of the domestic cat are in the Middle East. First domesticated cats lived in coexistence with the first farmers about 10,000 years ago. The same analysis also revealed that most of these ancient cats had stripes, while spotted cats were rare until the Middle Ages.

Types of wild cats

Currently, six subspecies of wild cats are recognized:

  1. Felis silvestris: better known as the European wildcat, it lives in Europe and the Anatolian Peninsula.
  2. Felis silvestris lybica: popularly called the African wild cat, it lives in North Africa and Western Asia up to the Aral Sea.
  3. Felis lybica cafra: this is a South African wild cat, which inhabits the sub-Saharan region of the African continent.
  4. Felis lybica ornata: known as the Asian wild cat, it is found in Central and East Asia, Pakistan, and northwestern India.
  5. Felis bieti: also known as Chinese desert cat and Chinese steppe cat, found mostly in northern China.
  6. Felis silvestris catus: the domestic cats, which have spread throughout the world, being the feline with the greatest geographic distribution and morphological diversity.

The shared morphological traits and some genetic research led to the assumption that domestic cats were descendants of the African wildcat (Felis lybica). In addition, the more sociable and less aggressive nature of the African wild cats could have facilitated their coexistence and adaptation to human lifestyle. In 2007, a detailed molecular study showed that domestic cats are indeed related to the African wild cat, from which it would have been separated approximately 130,000 years ago. A relatively short time in relation to the evolution of felines.

Where did the domestication of cats begin?

Much of the fossil remains found and analyzed seemed to point to the fact that the domestication of cats began in Ancient Egypt, around 2,000 BC. However, recent discoveries pose new challenges and controversies regarding the history of the domestic cat. In 2004, the remains of a cat that had been buried next to its owner was discovered in Cyprus, which probably lived between 7,500 and 7,000 BC.

DNA analysis

In mid-2017, extensive research supported by the University of Leuven (Belgium) was published. The DNA analysis revealed that all domestic cats descended from the African wildcat (Felis lybica). It is a wildcat species native to Africa, West and Central Asia up to Rajasthan in India and Xinjiang in China.

Researchers analyzed DNA of teeth, nails, skin and hair belonging to more than 200 cats found at archaeological sites in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Their analysis revealed that the oldest fossil remains are between 10 and 9 thousand years old. These fossils were found in the Middle East area. Researchers believe that African wild cats started to approach peasant villages after a proliferation of mice in grain storage.

Consequently, it could have been the cats themselves that had taken the initiative to get closer to humans when they spotted an abundant supply of food near their communities. In turn, farmers realized that cats can help to fight rodents, and may have begun to offer felines other comforts, such as shelter and warmth.

However, it is still unknown whether domesticated cats have reached Egypt due to migration of farmers from the Middle East. It is also possible that a second independent domestication process had actually taken place in Ancient Egypt, starting with African wild cats that lived in the surroundings of this great civilization.

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