The Bengal cat is an athletic, graceful and agile cat with a strong muscular body.
These cats were developed in the late 1800s by selective breeding of domestic cats with Asian leopard cats in order to produce a personable, healthy pet with a distinctive spotted and striped coat.
The Bengal cat breed may look wild, but they are friendly and gentle, though they retain their wild ancestors’ athleticism and are superb jumpers.
Should You Purchase Pet Insurance for Your Bengal Cat?
Because of their mixed background, Bengals exhibit what breeders call “hybrid vigor,” meaning that they are relatively free of hereditary health issues, and they usually live from 12 to 16 years.
There are however susceptible to at least two illnesses that have a genetic component:
- Feline Cardiomyopathy: all cats are at risk for cardiomyopathy, which is a term that encompasses four related conditions in which the muscles of the heart become weakened or fail to function properly. For Bengals, the prevalence of the disease can exceed 16%. Left untreated, cardiomyopathy often leads to heart failure and death. The condition is diagnosed based on a veterinarian’s examination for heart murmurs and other cardiac abnormalities. Treatment usually involves the administration of drugs that help to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): as the name suggests, this disease occurs when the cells of a cat’s retinas degenerate. A single gene mutation is responsible for the problem, though as yet no genetic test has been developed for cats. It is therefore imperative to know a cat’s breeding history before acquiring a kitten in order to ensure that none of its ancestors has gone blind. There is no treatment for PRA, though affected cats can almost always live full lives if kept indoors.
Disorders involving the heart and eyes can be expensive to treat, and with kittens going for $500-$1000, Bengal owners will want to consider purchasing an insurance plan that will protect their investment, prevent financial shocks and ensure that their cats will receive the best care available without any delay.