One of the most common questions we get asked on this website is ‘how to tell if your cat is part Bengal?’
What will often happen is someone will purchase (or already own) a cat, and then come across a photo of a Bengal cat and think that their cat closely resembles the breed.
After all, it would be a bit of a “coup” to purchase or adopt a cat only to find out that it is a highly desirable Bengal – or even part Bengal, wouldn’t it?
For example, my dad had a cat when he was growing up that looked incredibly similar to what a Bengal cat looks like. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to any of his childhood photos, but believe me when I say the likeness was striking!
So how do you tell if your cat is part Bengal?
The truth is that photo comparisons are not really an effective way to tell if your cat is part Bengal or not. Many breeds of cats do look rather similar, and it simply isn’t a reliable measurement to go off looks alone.
However, we do also think that as a rule of thumb, the more similar your cat looks to a Bengal, the greater the likelihood that your cat is a Bengal or at least part one.
However, the chances of someone accidentally selling or giving you a Bengal cat are probably fairly low, to say the least! Breeders know what Bengals are worth (check out our guide here on how much Bengal cats cost if you’d like to learn more about this) and therefore it is extremely unlikely you will chance in to receiving a Bengal cat.
One scenario in which you might inadvertently pick up a Bengal cat – or a part Bengal – is if you come across a stray.
Although I have never wound up with a stray Bengal cat, I have had a stray ‘normal’ cat in the past (I actually found her under a building at my work). Now this kitten didn’t look anything like a Bengal, but it illustrates a point – a Bengal can get lost much like any other type of cat, and you could theoretically wind up with a stray that looks like a Bengal but you wouldn’t be sure as you wouldn’t have any papers!
The only way to tell for sure that your cat is a Bengal is to get your cat from a reputable breeder, and get the papers to prove it as well.
Anything else is conjecture, although I’m almost certain there would be people out there who have been sold a Bengal when the seller thought it was just a normal domestic cat, or people who have come into ownership of a stray.
There is possibly even some form of genetic testing you can undertake. However, as you can imagine this would be incredibly expensive … probably more expensive than just buying a Bengal to begin with.
Therefore, if you’re wondering if your cat is a Bengal, then don’t get too hung up on this.
Love your cat for who he/she is – not what breed he/she may be!