How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Bengal Mix – 3 Ways To Tell

How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Bengal Mix – 3 Ways To Tell

Do you know how to tell if your cat is a Bengal mix, especially if there is no pedigree “paper trail” to follow?

You may have a cat that you think is a Bengal – or part Bengal – and not be too sure of how to determine what type of breed your cat is.

In this guide, we look at how you can tell if your cat is a Bengal tabby mix, or possibly even a pure Bengal.

This breed was largely created by breeding several different domesticated cats to each other and with the Asian Leopard Cat (read our guide here to the history of the Bengal cat).

As such, some of the features of the Bengal Cat may be shared with the cats that make up their pedigree, so if you cat has a bit of Ocicat in them, they might be spotted.

In this article, we are going to look at how you can tell if your cat is a Bengal mix.

Look At Coat Colors and Markings To Determine If Your Cat Is Part Bengal

Bengal cats come in a variety of colors, including silver, brown, black, cinnamon, blue, and torbie. They also tend to have markings that make them look like their wild cousins, including spots or rosettes. They generally also have a marbled pattern to their coat.

Bengal cats tend to have spotted bellies, but many domesticated cats like tabbies also have spotted bellies. One distinguishing characteristic is that Bengal Cats have almost no white on their body, just potentially small markings on their belly, chin, or whisker pad area.

This cat is clearly a full-sized Bengal, and not a mix. 

When you pet a Bengal Cat, you’ll notice that its fur is incredibly soft, a trait often referred to as pelted.

In addition, each of the individual hairs is “ticked,” which means that there are multiple bands of colors on each hair.

Many Bengal Cats also have a popular glittering appearance cased by the tip of the hair strand having less pigment, so when light shines through, it sparkles.

Different domesticated cat breeds can show some of these coat qualities, such as Ocicats and Egyptian Maus. It’s no wonder these were some of the breeds used to create the Bengal Cat.

Coat colour and marketing is definitely one of the best ways to tell if your cat is a Bengal cat mix.

Study Body Structure and Size To Determine If Your Cat Is A Bengal Mix

Wondering how to tell if your cat is a Bengal mix? Another strategy is to look at the body structure and size of your cat.

Another feature of Bengal Cats is that they tend to be lean but very muscular cats. You won’t commonly find them overweight. Their body is structured a bit differently than other cats, with their hind limbs higher than their front limbs, which gives them an impressive stride. Some other cats may have this same feature, but it is one that the Bengal Cat gets from the Asian Leopard Cat.

The Bengal Cat’s body is typically long, with a long tail that they can use for balancing while they climb all over your house. While they have a long body, their head is generally small, and they hold it out as they move, similar to the way a leopard moves. If you are looking at their head, they often have ears that are more rounded than a normal domestic cat’s ears, and their eyes tend to be more of a rounded shape than a normal cat’s generally almond shaped eyes.

One of the reasons Bengal Cats are hard to differentiate from other domesticated cats is that they share features with domesticated cats, such as tabby cat. These kitties both have a rather distinct “M” shape on their foreheads. In addition, they have an area on their ears where the fur is short and shaped sort of like a thumb.

Consider The Personality Of Your Cat

If you’re wondering how to tell if your cat is a Bengal mix, then another tip is to look at your cat’s personality. There can be many clues here!

Bengal Cats are known for being a little bit mischievous. They tend to be vocal and talk a lot, with a wide range of noises than a traditional domesticated shorthair cat. Indeed, their noises range from yowling cries to screams. They may even grunt. Especially when they are little, they can also make chirping sounds.

Part Bengal or full Bengal? You decide! 

Asian Leopard Cats tend to be impressive jumpers and climb high up in the trees. You will find that Bengal Cats have some of the same tendencies.

They will often climb as high as they are able to within a room and perch there, in places ranging from the top of a cabinet to the top of a door frame. They tend to be big fans of not just heights, but vertical spaces.

Bengal Cats tend to have high energy levels. They need to burn off energy every day and do not do well confined to small areas. Because of this, they don’t often make good apartment cats. Bengal Cats tend t be clever animals and need to have engaging activities with their humans.

For instance, some do quite well walking on a leash and harness outside. You have to be careful with Bengal Cats because many of them may learn to open doors and even windows when they get bored.

Bengal Cats tend to love water, a trait that they seem to have inherited from the Asian Leopard Cat (read our guide here to the history of the Bengal cat for more information on the origins of the Bengal). Depending on the cat, they enjoy more than just batting at water, they like getting in it and swimming, as well. Some may even use water as their own litter box area, so a Bengal is the perfect cat to train to use the toilet.

Of course, many other cats may meet these same distinctive traits. You will find that many young cats are active and can find themselves getting into trouble. Stereotypically, many cats don’t appreciate water, but you can find some that aren’t Bengal Cats that enjoy a little splash.

In Summary – How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Bengal Mix

It can be hard to determine if your cat is a Bengal tabby mix or not because Bengal Cats share so many features with other cats.

Instead of wondering what they are, embrace your kitty’s distinctive personality and appearance and let their behavior shine on through.

This video also contains some handy insights on determining if your cat is part Bengal:

49 thoughts on “How To Tell If Your Cat Is A Bengal Mix – 3 Ways To Tell”

  1. Three years ago I adopted a Bengal year-old female whose owner had to take a job outside the country and couldn’t take her with him. At the same time I adopted a rescue cat, also female, the same age. These two have gotten to be besties. They romp and play in our 1700 square foot apartment in New York City. Our Bengal is really “my” Bengal. She is bonded to her foster-sister, but also to me. She has trained me: to feed her — she stretches up as I sit at my kitchen table (our huge kitchen is really our living room; I work there) reading or typing at the computer, and pats my back. If I don’t pay her heed, she begins putting her claws into the back of my sweater or my slacks. (I’ve spent a lot of money getting Bengal-inflicted sweater-holes mended). And then I feed her. She gets me to play with her, always around 11 PM, the same way. And we have a play routine. I swish and drag a tape measure around, and she goes after it. She chases it (and me) and then I chase her. At some point my rescue kitty enters the show and my Bengal begins romping with her. Incidentally: my little rescue cat, a tough little street kitty, is the dominant one of the two!!! Go figure.

  2. PS My Bengal, Bella, is almost silent. Sometimes she utters a few little endearing squeaks but that’s it. She is fascinated by the shower, especially when I’m in it, and she’s taken to sitting in it — but only when there’s no water. It is absolute hell to clip her claws. Usually we have a groomer come to the house to clip her claws but I’m writing this in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic and sooner or later my husband and I will have to do it ourselves. Not looking forward to that. Even though I have been able to clip the claws of every cat who has been in my life, and that would make 11 total.

    • My Aulii looks like he has part- Bengal..
      He has rosettes on his tummy.
      He also has a brown undercoat, but gray- black topcoat.
      Hes super shy but yowls at night.
      ( yes hes neutered, lol)
      Heres a photo of him..
      Can you please let me know what you think ?!!🐱

  3. After reading this article, I am convinced my 9 month old cat sibling rescues are bengal mixes. The German couple we adopted them from didn’t speak much English and we didn’t speak any German so we communicated through smiles, hand gestures and a bit of whatever their young daughter could translate for us, which wasn’t much. Mordecai and Amortentia are mostly brown. He has gold stripes and she has gold swirls but only on her hind legs. They both have spotted stomachs. His hair feels like other cats fur, hers is silky smooth like my Maine Coon. I wish I could say they glitter like Edward Cullen but I havent noticed that. Maybe when their older….Sheeeeee still makes chirping noises when she carries her ‘hunted’ treasures around the house or if she sees a fly or bird. And like my Maine Coon (Monty), they both like the water.

  4. There is a stray cat who’s been hanging around by mine .he keeps coming in the house with my 2 house cats an is very vocal & friendly . At first thought e was just a tabby now am not so sure .he looks like he s wearing eye liner also jumps high for a normal tabby

  5. A big male stray comes over every other day or so. He comes inside , walks around while my little calico follows him all over. Then he wants back out. I want to adopt him, maybe he is a bengal mix? he is dark gray with black stripes and spots. he is gorgeous. and calm, not wild at all.

  6. I think my 8 month old orange tabby might be a bengal mix. He’s content to just lay around and snuggle for a little bit, but when he wants to play you better engage!! If he doesn’t have anything to do, he will jump on your feet and start biting them. He attacks and chews on my area rug, blinds, clothing, couch, toys….pretty much anything he can get his paws on. He is very demanding when it comes to food and will get super grumpy if you do not take his hints that he’s hungry seriously. He will wander around the house meowing loudly if no one is giving him attention. His coat is also super soft and fine. Which says something considering he was born a stray in my aunt’s pasture. He loves to jump and is at home sitting on your shoulders while you’re trying to eat, watch TV, cook, clean, whatever. He’s a beautiful cat, but man he is a handful sometimes!!

  7. My cat regularly kills squirrels, raccoons, possums and large rats (which he eats completely). My only
    concern is the risk of disease transmission since he comes in the house, but is happier (and spends most
    of his time) outdoors. In any event, there’s no possible way to keep him inside since he runs out
    any time a door is opened.

    There’s no question this cat is a Bengal/Tabby hybrid. I’ve had numerous tabby cats who may
    kill the occasional bird/mouse/lizard, but not large pests such as these. There’s no mistaking
    this breed of cat. They have a relatively small head, very long tail, svelte build- somewhat like a
    miniature cheetah but with the odd, distinctive markings.

    This is a terrific pest control breed if you have this sort of problem around your property. Dogs,
    of course, will destroy large pests around your property, but they have a limited range in terms
    of climbing and obviously aren’t free to roam outside the fenced confines of your property.

  8. Thank you! My vet is 100% sure that my Schrodinger is part bengal, she has a good deal of experience with them. He is 9 months old and as big as our 15# maine coon mix! But weighs a slight 7.5#. He has all the attributes you describe, legs, facial features, fur softer than silk! Fussy about that box, and man does he talk! We thought his tail being 13 long was unusual, but it begins to make more sense when if you look at how big bengals can get. He has been slightly cross-eyed since birth and is most likely part -mese of some kind. I have never had a kitten with more energy or personality! He loves water and dogs more than anything else there is. He is prone to curtain climbing and long cuddle sessions. As he grows his patterning becomes more prominent and his fur colour changes more gold-ish. Our other cats are a marbled maine coon mix, and a b w lady. We raised both from kittens and never did we have to work as hard to entertain or feed right that very second with them. Being part Bengal definitely explains so many many things! Thank you for your well laid out easy to understand explanation of the differences.

  9. My neighbor passed away and left his bengal-mix, which his family did not want and left him to mend for himself on the streets. He now hangs around my house and sleeps on my screened patio. He is definately more bengal than tabby. He has long slim back hind legs, small face and a long tail. His coat is spotty with some tabby stripes. But the most amazing part is how huge his fangs are! I have two tabbys at home and their fangs are only 1/2 the bengals-mix fang size. I named him Hunter because he kills small prays and leave them in my driveway. Boy he hates to be confined. Hence reason I have not brought him inside my home. My sister once left him inside my screen room for the night (it was raining) and he destroyed the room during the middle of the night trying to escape. Now I leave a small opening in the door so he can come in and go as he pleases.

  10. I am wondering if my 5-year-old boy who we rescued from a horrible situation is Bengal mix. He is very vocal even whinges at bugs that wont let him kill them lol. Also the vet keeps saying he weighs to much but he eats less than my other two and is just solid you can’t see much flab at all he also loves scratching anything but the scratch post lol. Some things aren’t very Bengal like but there’s enough to make me wonder xx

  11. My Cat/Kitten (Gizmo) is nearly a year old, we were told by the people we got him from that he is a Bengal mix, mother a Bengal which we seen (she looked like a Bengal but we saw no papers or anything like that) and his father we were told was a grey tabby, he certainly has many of the characteristics written in your article which I found very helpful (Thanks!)
    You can see a picture of gizmo here: if you’d like to assess his credentials
    Regardless … we love him to bits!

  12. Hello! My husband recently bought me a kitten and I absolutely loooove my Luna! She has so much energy. She will bring you her treats or try to open it, obsessed with the shower, drinks from the faucet, tries to climb my curtains, and she plays fetch!!! It’s always play time but she is not a fan of outside. She looks out the window but that’s as far as that goes. Luna is grey with spots and stripes with a spotted belly, white fur in her ears, belly and whisker pads and her tail is extremely long. We are ver curious if she’s bengal or part.

    • Hi Shaniqua, thanks for commenting.

      It sounds entirely possible your cat is a part Bengal at least. Do you have any photos?

      Also sorry for you having to submit a second comment. This site uses WordPress that requires comments to be approved first before going live (so you write your comment and then I get to review it before hitting publish).

  13. I’m not sure why my post was taking down and I’m not going to speculate. I just needed help with my cats possible heritage. Be well.

    • My Bengal mix is very quiet as well. She’s very smart & I have trained her to obey a few commands & gets a treat almost every time. As far as clipping claws, I have figured out the if u get them when they are sleeping, they won’t care what u do to their paws. I suggest that. U will be amazed at the indifference a sleeping cat has.
      Michelle Foor Clearwater,Florida.

  14. I might as well repeat the comment made by Rose Fontanero because our experience is much the same. She said this” A big male stray comes over every other day or so. He comes inside , walks around… Then he wants back out. I want to adopt him, maybe he is a bengal mix? he is dark gray with black stripes and spots. he is gorgeous. and calm, not wild at all.” I live in South Florida and we have been unable to determine the owner of this cat although he has become a community cat and that he frequents a lot of the neighbors who give him a little love.
    There is no doubt he has a lot of bangle in him because my neighbor and I saw him catch a squirrel the other day and drag him off. He never is super hungry when he comes around although we did find a particular food he can’t resist. I believe our cat has a lot of Oriental shorthair cat in him which I read there is a special breed called a Serengeti cat. He resembles this kind of cat very much so with a little longer snout like an oriental cat. He is gray and black with spots on his stomach and all the other features and behavior traits of a Bengal cat.

  15. I rescued my Mickey and Minnie at 2 weeks old from a barn fire here in Wenatchee wa. My vet confirmed what I thought and that they are bengal/tabby mix. Both larger than normal with all the distinctive bengal markings. I fed them with a bottle the first 3 months of life. They are besties and are very attached to me. Especially Mickey-he follows me everywhere. They jump and climb higher than I’ve ever seen a cat and their playful personalities are explosive and very fun to watch. They have the distinct markings and body structure with their gait and movements prominent of a bengal mix. I’ve been blessed to have found them 2 years ago. JOJO

  16. Thanks for wishing my family of Felines the best. I have a couple questions and/or comments about them. I recall reading in your posts that the breed like to catch squirrels. We have a few squirrels in our neighborhood and I have watched my Mickey hunch down and stock a squirrel but hasn’t come close to one. Until today that is.
    Today he was on the prowl and just about caught one. It scares me. He is big but is he really a match for a squirrel? Wouldn’t a squirrel maul my Mickey?
    Is a squirrel any match for my 14 lb Mickey. Or is there cause for worry.
    Thanks JOJO in wenatchee wa.

  17. I’ve been curious about my guy because people have commented that before that have be around bengals, but he’s got some rad patterns on it, he looks like an ink blot… his fur is very very soft it’s sleek and soft very shiny, I’ve recently notice that he has just a little bit of white on the ends of his fur on his back but not everywhere. One other thing is he has a longer landing pad than I’ve ever seen… but idk oh he does communicate very often and about everything. He lets me know when he wants anything and his meow is very distinct and tells you what he wants.

  18. Phew… for 2 years now i thought I’d done something horrible as a child that karma decided it was pay back time! Turns out my Monster & his sister Sweet Demon are just following their instincts. And it explains their fascination with water, their ability to tiene random lights on & open the blinds, the front door, anything they want to get into really. & their ability to chase each other at 100 mph across the window ledges and built ins.

    Also tells me where their shimmery coat comes from, their striking markings & their huge size (he’s 20 lbs & she’s 16). & their massive paws and multicolored “soft as cashmere” fur. In fact, everything about these guys says Bengal… good to finally know.

    & it relieves my anxiety about karma paying me back- maybe instead an Angel wanted to send me 2 awesomely crazy & unique friends instead…

    I wanted to ask if wimpy mews were a trait & being extremely affectionate, too? Thanks for all of the great information!!!

  19. Hi there! We just adopted a 4 month old tabby kitten from the Humane Society. After couple of weeks, I’m fairly certain he’s a Bengal mix. He beautiful, smart, nosey, mischievous, loves water, plays fetch, and is remarkably snuggle and friendly (when not stalking). I am so in love with him…his name is Mister Noodle.

  20. Hi, my husband and I adopted a kitten from a shelter and he was labeled as domestic shorthair. He’s 7 months old now and he grows a lot faster comparing to our other kitten (they are the same age and he was smaller when we first adopted him). He’s very muscular and has a longer torso, he eats a lot too. He’s very vocal comparing to our other kitten, we’d hear him coming before we actually see him. He is extremely curious, always looking for a way to get inside our cabinets and loves digging my plants out from the pots. Everyone who has seen him mentioned that he has a “wild” look to him. I can’t help but think he’s a bengal mix because he’s just so different comparing to our other kitten and a previous cat I had. He is short hair with tabby patterns, brown and black stripes and spotted belly. Could I have your opinion on this please?

    • Hi Thaian,

      Do you have a photo or two of your cat you could upload so I can take a look? (and other readers can look as well).

      I am just in the process of setting up a photo upload functionality on the site so you can list your photo and get feedback. Check back as this will be up soon.

      Anyone is welcome to post a photo of their Bengal mix for feedback!

  21. We got our now 12 week old cat from an animal rescue shelter, that said she was turned in as a stray. I am thinking she is a bengal mosaic and was likely a less than perfect specimen. Of course it doesn’t really matter to us, though I can anticipate some future behaviors. She is now longer, leaner and full of personality and daring.

    Is there a way to paste in a photo?

    • Hi Kathy,

      Sorry for the late reply here – have been very busy with work so haven’t had much of a chance to check in on the comments on this site of late.

      I am actually working on setting up a photo upload option on this page so that visitors can upload a photo of a cat they think is a Bengal and others can provide feedback as to whether they agree or not that the cat is a Bengal mix.

      Check back as this should be going up fairly soon.

  22. I adopted a kitten, unknown breed 3 years ago when I was off of work on injury. It didn’t take me long to figure out she is part bengal. Her fur is like silk (bunny soft), she opens doors, dismantles her water fountain, which I had to get because she would only drink from moving water (so she dumped her water bowls multiple times a day and drank off of the floor). She is very talkative and when she wants attention she meows a pathetic meow in a different room to trick you into coming to her. I adopted a male kitten a year ago so she’d have a playmate once I went back to work and I will never not have 2 cats again. The energy these 2 burn running and playing together and with me is amazing!

  23. Hi , everyone i I found this post very helpful I read almost the trade I’m still confused about my two cats out I just got them a week ago a male and female 10 weeks each the person I got it they claim that they’re pure Bangel I’m a little confuse still very possible here if I can post a picture and get or a video that get some help that if they are bangle bangle mix thank you and everyone

  24. Hi, I too have been reading this trail to determine if out little rescue girl is part Bengal – when we first took her to the vet he was fascinated by her coat/ stripes and spots and thought she may be… so I have been researching ever since, she is now about 3 months old. She has long legs, almost flies the way she jumps off a dining chair to our shoulder (while we stand at least a metre away) she definitely ‘chirps’ alot, super active, we say she is almost like a dog, comes racing from anywhere in the house when you call her name, loves food and loves treats (unlike my big ginger boy) … would love to upload a picture if possible for some opinions…

    • Sounds entirely possible that she is a Bengal mix based off your description of her looks and behavior. I will set up an upload area on the site where you can add an image for us to look at. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  25. It took me a while to figure out my Tabbinese Tigers. As a lover of felines and someone who worked with problem horses i pay a lot of attention to how animals in my care are responding. My DVM was the first to suggest the possible link to some background breeding from a bengal.
    From a behavior standpoint if your feline is suspected of being part bengal several companies now offer dna testing that is inclusive of many breeds.
    My results were interesting. Adjustments in their environment and care resulted in happier felines.

  26. We adopted a sweet but crazy kitten of about three and a a half months old last October. I can honestly say that in my entire lifetime of owning cats I have never had another like him. He is now just over a year old. He is orange with classic tabby markings but his coat is so soft and shiny, like it almost glows in sunlight. He has a taller hind end than front end with a rather small head. He is currently a bit overweight and on a diet but the vet suggests that 13 pounds will be ideal for his build, he’s a big boy. He won’t get in the water but likes to put things in it and is fascinated with it. He plays fetch tirelessly. He wants to play all the time, which lately we have been busy and has led to him harassing his adopted brother, and is vocal but doesn’t meow proper too often unless he really wants something. He chirps and brrrs and even squeaks and grunts frequently. He loves climbing on things and heights. We are very much wondering if he isn’t part bengal. I have never had such an intelligent or mischievous cat before but we wouldn’t trade him for the world, even on his most aggravating tear through the house days.

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