Helping Guide Bengal Cat Owners

Charcoal Bengal Cat: Everything You Need to Know

Bengal cats are one of the most striking breeds out there and the charcoal-colored variety has a look of exotic sophistication. 

Charcoal Bengal cats are high-energy, extremely intelligent, loud and persistent when they want something. You will need to understand how to pick a good breeder and understand the genetics of this breed before buying this cat. Here is information on charcoal Bengal cat everything you need to know.

Things You Should Know About Before Buying a Charcoal Bengal Cat

Bengals, in general, are high maintenance. It’s not that their coat requires a lot of brushing or that it sheds. All of that is normal when compared to other cats. 

The real work with a Bengal cat comes in their need for attention and time. They hate to be alone so they are best for those who are at home more than they are away. 

Bengal cats are the closest thing to owning a dog as a feline lover will find. They have an intense and loyal bond with their families and follow their owners around the house. They also will find ways to involve themselves in all your activities and can be incredibly loud when they are ignored.

Bengals Cats Are Vocal

Their meows resemble that of a wild cat as they have a large vocal tone range. A Bengal is the most communicative of all cat breeds and puts a lot of effort into trying to make you understand what they want or need. 

Bengals Cats Are High Energy

Bengal cats have a wild side. They are extreme athletes and love challenges. A Bengal can jump higher than most and love to climb. You could find them on top of your kitchen cabinets or hanging out on top of a curio cabinet. 

Bengals also love to hide so there may be moments where you can’t find them. You may have to cat-proof your home to keep them out of certain places. 

You will need to play with them for one to two hours a day.

Bengals Cats Have Personality

Most people who have owned Bengal cats say they are incredibly fun because they are playful, mischievous, and intelligent. They can be easily trained to obey commands like a dog and will even walk with a harness and leash!

They are persistent and love routine more than most cats. They are highly structured and thrive in a home that has set times.

Bengals do make good family pets as they get along with children well. 

They will also get along with dogs and other cats as long as they are socialized when they are young. 

Also, be aware that these cats are natural hunters. 

Read: Do Cats and Foxes Get Along?

Bengals Cats are Hypoallergenic

Like many designer breeds, this cat breed doesn’t produce allergens. People who are typically allergic to most cats can live comfortably with a Bengal.

What to Know Before Buying From a Breeder 

Bengal experts advise those wanting to adopt a Bengal cat to stay away from any breeders with listings on Craigslist, Hoobly, or eBay. Those places are a collection of unprofessional breeders and scammers. 

Research Breeders

Finding a good Bengal cat breeder will take some research. You will need to feel at ease with whoever you choose so your time in research is worth the effort. 

After all, you will contact the breeder if you have a question about your kitten. The cat’s foundation for lifelong health is in their young days with the breeder and choosing a reputable breeder supports ethical practices. 

There are at least five things to consider when you are looking at breeders. 

  1. The adult cats will tell you a lot about a breeder. Be sure to look at them.
  2. Find out how old the kittens are when they can go with you. Cat experts say most kittens should remain with the mother until they are 12 to 16 weeks old.
  3. Ask if the breeder does standard health testing. They should include PK-def, HCM, and PRA.
  4. A reputable breeder will have a contract and health guarantee.
  5. Finally, ask if the breeder is a registered cattery. Even if there is a CFA or TICA logo, make sure the Bengals are purebred. A breeder should be able to give you the pedigree of your Bengal cat.

Those are the obvious concerns. You will have other questions once you narrow your breeder picks. 

  • What is the buyer screening process? There should be one because breeders care about what happens to their animals.
  • Are other things included with a kitten purchase? All kittens should be vaccinated and dewormed before they’re given to you. Some will also include microchipping and neutering.
  • Are the housing conditions for the cats good? Good housing conditions contribute to good health.
  • Are visitors allowed? Anyone considering a kitten will want to see the cattery and look at the adult parents. If the breeder doesn’t allow visits, ask about live video sharing.
  • Is the breeder helpful and knowledgeable? A reputable breeder will be able and willing to answer any of your questions.

Differences in Color 

Bengals come in several colors and shades. The three colors that are considered standard in the breed are snow, silver, and brown. Charcoal, Blue and Melanistic (solid black) are also found in the breed but are non-recognized colors.

A true Bengal will have a contrast of high degree, making them one of the most distinctive breeds in the world.

Eight contrast varieties exist within the Bengal color scheme. They are:

  • Brow
  • Snow Lynx
  • Snow Mink
  • Snow Sepia
  • Silver
  • Charcoal
  • Blue
  • Black

One note is the differences in markings. Some Bengals have spotted while others have marbled markings.

Bengal Color Comparison

Focusing on the Charcoal variety of Bengal cats, the cat will have a dark brown or gray  “ground” color, which is the background for the markings.  The markings are a darker grey to black color. 

One of the more unusual features of a charcoal Bengal is that it has a darker face mask and thick dorsal stripe or cape. 

The face is striking because the eyes are wrapped in white, making them stand out against the dark gray “mask” on the rest of the face. There are usually some lighter lines jetting from the eyes upward, giving this cat a more jungle look.

The Brown version looks the most like a jungle cat with its brown ground color falling into several different shades. Its markings can be either jet black, brown, or both. 

The Snow versions differ in the amount of contrast they have. The Snow Lynx is the lightest with a white cream ground color and a combination of dark and light seal markings. 

The Snow Mink has more contrast of its ivory, cream, or tan ground color against the various shades of darker seal mink markings. 

The Snow Sepia sounds like it looks. It has a sepia contract that includes a ground color of ivory, light tan, or cream. Its markings are darker with medium contrast.

The Silver Bengal is one of the most striking versions in contrast because it has a white to dark steel ground color with markings that vary from dark gray to jet black

The Blue Bengal has a pale ground color that is a blue-gray hue. Its markings range from medium to dark blue and it has a dark gray tipped tail.

The Black Bengal has no warm tones in its coat but features black spots on a black ground color. Its markings are barely distinguishable with them being ghost-like or faint. 

Genetics of the Bengal Cat

Bengal cats are misunderstood because of their name and jungle look. They are not named after the tiger of the same name but are named after their ancestors’ scientific name which is Felis bengalensis. 

This designer feline was created by the breeding of an Asian leopard cat with a domesticated house cat. The Asian leopard isn’t an actual full-size leopard. Instead, it is a small wild cat that was sold at pet stores in the 1950s and 1960s. The domestic cats used in the experimental breeding were shorthairs. 

Most of the credit for the breed goes to Dr. Willard Centerwall at Loyola University. Scientists discovered the leopard cats didn’t get feline leukemia and were hopeful the resistant trait could be passed to hybrid offspring. 

The experiment didn’t work and the cats were given adoptive homes where owners continued to breed them to distinguish the breed.

However, the first Bengal came from a breeder in California named Jean Mill. Her cross-breeding was not intentional and surprised her. 

Mill obtained an Asian leopard cat. She didn’t want the female cat to be lonely so she allowed it to hang out with a black domestic tomcat. She never dreamed the two would mate because they were of different species. 

Her leopard had kittens and a spotted female from the litter was used to breed back to the father cat. That produced a litter of spotted and solid kittens that became known as the first Bengals.

Mill, who had previously given up cat breeding, became interested again and got some of the female hybrids from Dr. Centerall’s study. She began to breed them with specific males, including an Indian orange shorthair domestic cat and a brown tabby she found in a shelter. 

According to pedigree rules, a Bengal today must be at least four generations down the line from a wild cat bred into the mix. 

The breed was given experimental status by the International Cat Association in 1983 and was fully recognized by the association in 1991. Other groups recognize the breed including the United Feline Organization, the Canadian Cat Association, and the Cat Fanciers Association. 

Genetics gives this cat a bit of a wild personality as it needs to be mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day. It also makes this cat larger than most with a length between 17 and 22 inches, without its tail included. 

A Bengal cat’s weight varies depending on its length but it can weigh between 8 and 17 pounds. 

Health of Bengals

Bengals are pretty healthy and fall in line with other breeds. They can live up to 16 years without a lot of health problems. 

They can have a nervous system disorder, hip dysplasia, or a form of heart disease. It can also have patellar luxation, which is a genetic dislocation of a kneecap where severe cases will need surgery. 

Some Bengals can also have progressive retinal atrophy, which is an eye disease that gets worse over time. 

What Color Eyes Do Bengals Have?

The standard eye colors for Bengals are bright green, gold, yellow, and sometimes a striking icy blue. 

The only Bengal that has blue eyes are the Snow Bengal cats. Even then, they may not all have them.  There are specific blends of the breed within the Snow Bengal category and one of those, the Seal Lynx Bengal, is the only Bengal cat guaranteed to come with blue eyes. 

The Snow Mink variety has either blue-green or aqua eyes.

What Is the Price of Buying a Bengal?

Owning a Bengal doesn’t come cheap and these aren’t the type of animals you will find in the local shelter. Expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 for a Bengal kitten. 

You may be able to get one at a lower price, or free, by going through a Bengal rescue group. 

Why Are Bengal Cats So Expensive?

Being exotic and rare drives up the Bengal price. The fact that Bengal cats are designer cats that were created as a hybrid makes them more expensive. 

Learn About Bengal Breeders in U.S. and Canada

There are several good Bengal breeders in the United States and Canada. Here is a look at five of them.

Jungle BeautyKitchener, CanadaBrown Bengal$2,800 CAD
Mandy’s BengalsVaughan, CanadaSnow BengalsNone listed
Royal Bengal CatteryWestminster, MDVariety$1,700 to $3,000 USD
Jaks Wild BengalsNorthern CaliforniaVariety$1,800 to $2,500 USD
The Best BengalVancouver, WAVariety$2,300 to $3,000 USD


Jungle Beauty, Kitchener.

It is registered with The International Cat Association (TICA) and has a range of brown Bengals in three colors with small and medium two-color rosettes. 

This breeder focuses on building the kittens’ immune systems. 

Their kittens are socialized with other pets and people in an environment that is non-caged. They are typically released when they are between 11 and 14 weeks old. 

There is a waiting list and you must reserve a kitten with a deposit. A health guarantee is included.

Mandy’s Bengals, Vaughan, Canada

This company is a registered breeder with TICA and all their kittens and cats are purebred certified. It has served Toronto, Ontario, and North America since 2016.

While they have all the colorsand shades of Bengal cats, Mandy’s Bengals specialize in the highly exotic Snow Bengal. It has a genetic screening of adults selected to breed. Kittens are highly socialized. 

This cattery received the TICA Outstanding Award in 2019. All their kittens are reserved in advance of their birth. 


Royal Bengal Cattery, Westminster, MD

Royal Bengal Cattery is registered with TICA and remains a member in good standing with that group as well as The International Bengal Cat Association (TIBCS), The International Bengal, and the World Cat Federation (WCF). 

Its breeding program started in 2015 features high-quality Bengals with colorful and large rosette markings. 

Kittens are available after 12 weeks. They are raised among the breeder’s family and play freely with children, so they are easily adaptable and sociable. This cattery provides health guarantees. 

Jaks Wild Bengals, Northern California

Jaks Wild Bengals is a TICA registered breeder operated as a small family business. The Bengals live in a 1400-square-foot cat house that is both heated and cooled and have access to 5,000-square-feet of protected outdoor space. They also enjoy walking supervised in the family’s forested acres.

Each cat has their own private indoor and outdoor space but can play together in common areas.  New moms and kittens live in the family’s home. 

They began breeding Bengals in 2018 but the family adopted their first Bengal kittens 18 years ago. They still have the first one they adopted. You do need to be on a waiting list to adopt.

The Best Bengal, Vancouver, WA

The Best Bengal is TICA registered. The breeders are a family that got into the cattery business after adopting a spotted Seal Lynx Point and a marbled Brown Bengal. They said they fell in love with the breed.

All kittens get a wellness examination by a licensed veterinarian and vaccinations at 8 and 12 weeks, among other treatments. They are microchipped. Cats bought as a pet or a show cat are spayed and neutered. 

Buyers also have the option of coat color testing and coat marble testing for an additional expense.

Kittens can be adopted at 14-weeks and there is a waiting list. You must reserve a kitten to adopt. There is a screening process for new kitten owners. This cattery provides a health guarantee.

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