Bengal cats are a distant relative of the Leopard and are prized for their energy, distinctive spots, and love of water sports. If you’re fortunate enough to afford one, you want to know that you’ll have your new feline buddy for a long time. So, how long do Bengal cats live?
Bengal cats live between 12 and 16 years, much like other domestic cats. Their lifespan depends on several factors such as proper medical care, plenty of exercise, and if they live indoors. Balanced nutrition can also keep your Bengal cat healthy for many years.
Bengal cats are no different than domestic shorthair cats, but they do require a little more maintenance. Read on to find out how to care for your Bengal cat and what health concerns you need to be aware of.
Bengal Cats Live Between 12 and 16 Years
Bengal cats are the result of breeding a domestic shorthair cat with an Asian Leopard cat. The first documented Bengal cat was in 1963, so it is a relatively young breed compared with other breeds. They live between 12 and 16 years and are generally healthy as a breed, and are resistant to feline leukemia. But their lifespans are comparable to other domestic shorthair cats.
From the beginning of the process, breeders monitor the parents and kittens for any abnormalities that could end their lives early, like PK deficiency or heart health. Any deficiencies will be dealt with and weeded out in subsequent generations.
As a breed, however, they are relatively healthy. But they are more prone to certain conditions than other cats, such as pink eye, ear infections, or urinary tract infections. When you get a Bengal cat, the breeder should give you instructions on keeping your cat healthy and what to look for when caring for your cat.
Lifespan Depends on Several Factors
As with other domestic cats, the Bengal’s lifespan depends on several factors, including balanced nutrition and proper medical care. In particular, proper nutrition has a large impact on how long they live, especially if their diet is as close as possible to what they would eat when living on their own outdoors.
Bengal cats are energetic and need opportunities to exercise and move. Their dental health is especially important, as they are prone to periodontal disease. Let’s take a further look at these factors in detail.
The best diet for Bengal cats, and other domestic shorthair cats, is a raw meat diet, which mimics the diet cats have in the wild. Cats’ teeth are meant to rip, tear, and shred food like mice, birds, rabbits, and rats. Bengal cats need a heavy meat-centric diet that minimizes non-meat food like that found in commercial cat food.
Indoor or Outdoor Cat?
Outdoor cats, including Bengals, have a shorter lifespan than indoor cats due to the many threats and dangers outside. Cars, other animals, and even humans pose threats to the Bengals’ safety, which lowers their lifespans. But when they live indoors, those threats are minimized, and they can live a much longer and satisfying life.
Proper Medical Care
Many diseases and illnesses can go undetected in a Bengal because they hide their pain and discomfort well. But regular vet care and wellness checkups can detect illness or disease much earlier, which means the cat’s illnesses can be treated fairly quickly. Proper medical care can help your Bengal cat live much longer.
Get Plenty of Exercise
Bengal cats are very active and need at least an hour of activity daily. If you have low energy or cannot interact with a Bengal cat daily, you might want to get a different breed of cat that doesn’t need as much activity every day.
Ribbons or laser pointers will keep your Bengal cat interested, and as long as you keep playing with it, your cat will keep playing with you. When using ribbons to play with your cat, make sure they don’t chew on the ribbon too much or ingest parts of it.
Or, try getting specially made cat toys that encourage play and exercise.
Keep Chemicals Away From Your Cat
As with all cats, keep chemicals and cleaners from your Bengal cat. While the most obvious toxins like antifreeze and poison should be kept away from your cat, other chemicals can cause cancer or other diseases that don’t act as fast as poison.
Weedkiller, cleaning supplies, and other things should be avoided when you have a Bengal cat. If you want to get rid of weeds, and your cat lives partially outside, pull the weeds by hand rather than spray weed killer. Find ways to clean your home inside using natural cleaners like vinegar and lemon juice.
Other pollutants like air fresheners or cleaning sprays could be harmful to your cat and should either be eliminated from your home or reduced use.
Bengal cats don’t always tell you when they have dental pain, but you will be able to detect if your cat has issues due to their behavior. If they are eating only on one side of their mouth or refusing to eat, they might have some dental issues that need to be cleared up immediately. Call your vet if you suspect some issues, as your cat might have the beginning stages of periodontal disease.
Getting treatment early for any dental issue can help your cat live longer and perhaps go past where most cats live.
What Is the Age Record for a Bengal Cat?
Though unofficially and not proven, the record for the oldest Bengal cat is 34 years, which is more than twice the average lifespan of any cat. However, since this is an unproven fact, there’s no way to know how long the cat lived. But Bengal cats have the same lifespan as many other breeds and have been known to live for up to 20 years.
Like the Persian or Siamese, other breeds live longer on average, but all domestic cats have roughly the same lifespan.
What Are the Health Concerns of a Bengal?
The ASPCA pet insurance website reports that many Bengal cat parents make claims for their cats’ health needs that involve the following health conditions:
- Stomach issues could be due to the cat ingesting a harmful substance, or it could be due to stomach cancer.
- Weight loss, which could be related to several issues, either physical or mental.
- Lymphoma, which is a white blood cell cancer.
- Ear infections or eye conditions.
- Urinary tract infections.
Other concerns center around behavioral issues due to the Bengal’s unique social needs that might not be met at home. But some pet parents will put their Bengal in a shelter rather than try to address the issue.
Bengal cats need a lot of attention, activity, and places to climb. Make or buy toys that will keep them interested for hours and provide cat shelves for them to climb.
When given a healthy diet and have regular vet visits, Bengal cats can live very long and healthy lives. They need clean homes, healthy food, clean water, and several social opportunities throughout the day.
A Bengal cat from a responsible breeder will also have more of a chance to live a longer life due to the number of health tests they do on the parent cats. They also run heart tests on new kittens to ensure they are healthy enough to go to new homes. Before buying a Bengal kitten, do your research on their breeding practices.