With their striking rosette coats and low-maintenance grooming needs, Bengal cats are already one of the most desired breeds in the world. Once known as Safari cats, the breed went through a name change in the 1970s to reflect its fascinating heritage. But what is living like a Bengal cat actually like? Are they as feisty as their Asian leopard ancestors?
We'll explore the Bengal cat's personality in depth, covering everything from a brief look into their history, the most common Bengal personality traits, and any breed-specific requirements that may hinder your quest to adopt one of these lovely cats.
Bengal cat history
While some cat breeds, such as the Egyptian Mau, can trace their lineage as far back as 10,000 B.C.E., the Bengal cat is a relative newcomer on the scene. The Bengal cat was first bred deliberately in California in the 1980s, after cat breeder Jean Mill crossed a domestic shorthair (a black tomcat) with an Asian leopard cat. Asian leopard cats, a breed of dainty wildcats hailing from Southeast Asia, are also known as Felis bengalensis -- hence the aforementioned name change from Safari cat to "Bengal cat," -- a nod to this hybrid breed's wild ancestor.
However, there may be another reason for the switch that led to the newly dubbed Bengal cat. When the breed's name was changed in 1974, the man responsible was named William "Bill" Engler -- B. Engler. Some believe he drew inspiration from his own name.