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Black Bengal Cat: Facts About the Melanistic Bengal (With Pictures)

Close up of a melanistic black Bengal cat outdoors

Featured Image Credit: brearleybengalboys / Instagram

You might already have seen a brown and silver Bengal since it is the most popular color for this feline breed. However, have you already met the mysterious and intriguing black Bengal cat?

Although the latter color is less common, this type has a special origin making it an interesting breed. If you are looking for a black panther-looking lap cat, a black Bengal makes a perfect choice.

This article will guide you to the facts and information about a black Bengal. It will also help you find the most reputable breeders in case you are ready to acquire one.

What Is a Black Bengal Cat? Can a Bengal Be Black?

Black Bengal cat laying on carpet comfortably
Image credit: patacsilmichaeljv / Instagram

The black Bengal cat is a coat variation of the Bengal breed. Its black coat and patterns result from a genetic mutation called melanism that leads to excessive pigmentation production. This is why black Bengal cats are also dubbed melanistic Bengal cats.

This feline breed was produced by crossing a domesticated cat and an Asian leopard cat. Its black or melanistic coat type is recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association, Inc. (CFA) breed standards.

As an Asian leopard cat descendant, this cat breed is intelligent, social, and sensitive. It is typically alert and highly active — traits possessed by its Asian leopard cat bloodline for survival.

A black Bengal cat is known for its impressive hunting abilities yet playful trait. This breed can easily express its desire to play with the owners or other people around it.

Are Black Bengal Cats Rare?

A black Bengal cat is particularly rare due to the recessive non-agouti gene. This means that black Bengal Cats are more difficult to produce than other Bangal cat varieties.

Although some cat breeders specialize in the black Bengal, you may have to be wait-listed due to the high demand for such kittens.

Black Bengal Cat Appearance 

Close up of a melanistic Bengal cat outdoors
Image credit: brearleybengalboys / Instagram

A black Bengal cat’s most dominant feature is having fur similar to leopard skin. The skin pattern may appear as solid black or black mottle on a solid base color.

In some cases, you will see a white-eyed or blue-eyed black Bengal cat. Its wild look is further accentuated by its sharp jaw lines. On the other hand, its body generally has an athletic and muscular build.

A black Bengal cat’s fur is so soft that some people compare it to bunny hair. Its eye colors may appear green, yellow, orange, and brown.

This type of Bengal cat typically weighs around 10 to 15 pounds, and its average height is about 6 to 10 inches tall. Females are usually lighter and smaller than their male counterparts.

Black Bengal Cat Color Genetics 

Black Bengals are also known as “melanistic Bengals” due to their genes causing a unique dark color. This Bengal type looks exotic because this color does not appear as much as other color shades.

A Bengal black has a slight difference from a charcoal coloring. The black one is fully melanistic, while the latter is incomplete melanism.

Melanism in the black Bengal may produce other coat patterns and colors. You may see spotted marble, charcoal marble, seal sepia tabby, silver tabby, and brown tabby.

Black Bengal Cat Temperament and Personality 

Black melanistic Bengal cat standing on a table
Image credit: bengal_cat_thomas / Instagram

Black Bengal cats have a perfect combination of the qualities of a wild animal and a domesticated cat.

This means that this breed is curious and independent while being playful and affectionate at the same time.

A black Bengal cat can also get along well with children and other family pets, such as dogs of any breed. As an owner, expose it to socialization at an early age to prevent unruly behavior.

It tends to be wild sometimes if not socialized, which may not be ideal for those who prefer a calmer pet. Further, it would be more challenging to train them later.

Since they are curious and intelligent cats, you must keep them mentally stimulated. Aside from playing with toys, teach them some tricks, walk them on a leash, and have some outdoor activities.

Black Bengal Cat Lifespan and Health Issues

Black Bengal cat sitting on cat tree
Image credit: floofybutts_ / Instagram

The average life expectancy of a black Bengal cat is around 15 to 18 years. It can reach its maximum lifespan if its owners provide excellent care and attention.

Make sure that your pet receives proper nutrition and regular exercise. Visit a veterinarian as well for regular checkups.

Many cat breeders are extremely careful when it comes to breeding their kittens. They make sure that they have no genetic problems. However, some health issues may occur among melanistic Bengal cats.

A black Bengal cat may suffer from the following common health conditions:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM): HCM is a common cardiac condition in cats that stretches and thickens the heart walls. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
  • Cataracts: Bengal cats are also prone to cataracts. This eye problem is characterized by clouding the cat’s eyes, blocking light from passing the retina, and eventually leading to blindness.
  • Progressive Renal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a collective term for diseases that cause the degeneration of the retina in the cat’s eyes. If left untreated, this may lead to blindness as well.
  • Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder (FLUTD): Diseases of the bladder and urethra are collectively known as FLUTD. Symptoms of FLUTD include frequent, prolonged, and strained urination, blood in the urine, and excessive licking of the genitalia. Treatment will depend on the specific diagnosis of your veterinarian.

Fortunately, critical viral and bacterial illnesses, such as panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rabies, may be prevented through proper and timely immunization of your black Bengal cat.

To keep your black Bengal cat healthy and active, feed it with high-quality cat food. You may also explore giving this feline a raw diet, which it likes. 

Further, providing nutritional supplements is also something to consider for additional strength and energy.

Here are more tips to take care of a Bengal cat, which apply to black Bengals as well:

How to take care of a Bengal cat Updated 2022

How Much Does a Black Bengal Cat Cost? Kitten Prices & Expenses

The average cost of a black Bengal is around $1,500 to $3,000, while those with excellent pedigrees can reach as high as $4,800.

Factors such as coat color and pattern, pedigree, age, gender, and the breeder’s reputation affect the price of Bengal cats.

Black remains a popular color with Bengal breeders and has a high demand. This is due to the overall miniature panther look of these cats.

Nonetheless, do not forget that it also has daily needs for health and survival, as well as for grooming and hygiene, just like other cat breeds. These expenses should be carefully considered in your budget.

The table below shows a breakdown of the initial expenses of owning a black Bengal cat:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$20 – $50
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $25
Litter Box$20 – $160
Litter Sand$15 – $25
Collar and ID Tag$5 – $20
Cat Bed$15 – $30
Cat Carrier$20 – $60
Toys and Scratching Post$15 – $70
Grooming Essentials$25 – $3
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $250
Initial Vaccine Shots$25 – $50
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medications$30 – $100
Neutering or Spaying$200 – $500
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$555 – $1,465

Before taking your new black Bengal cat home, most of these items should already be prepared. Buying high-quality items should also help you avoid unnecessary repurchasing in the future.

RELATED: How Much Does a Bengal Cat Cost? (2022 Price Guide)

Places to Find Black Bengal Kittens for Sale and Adoption 

Cute black Bengal kitten
Image credit: floofybutts_ / Instagram

Bengal black cats are a bit rare and are sought after due to their distinct looks. Due to this, many breeders have focused on producing these melanistic cats to meet this demand.

Therefore, there are many places you can go to check black Bengal kittens ready for sale or adoption.

Check out these trusted cat breeders that offer black Bengal kittens for sale:

  • Indian Creek Bengals –Indian Creek Bengals is located in Pennsylvania and has been in service since 2001. They have been named “Outstanding Cattery” by The International Cat Association (TICA) multiple times and recognized as the top pet breeder in their area. They have melanistic kittens in their breeding program.
  • Traipse Bengals – Traipse Bengals is a reputable breeder of Bengal cats in Washington. They have produced beautiful Bengal cats, including blacks and charcoals, for over a decade. Their kittens come with vaccinations, health guarantees, and microchips.
  • Exotic Legends Bengals – This cattery has over 35 years of experience in breeding, including melanistic Bengal cats. They take pride in being a CFA Cattery of Excellence, TICA Outstanding Cattery, and Certified Cat-Friendly Veterinary Advocate. They ensure that all of their breeding stock is free from any genetic disorders.

Further, if you plan to acquire a black Bengal through adoption, here are some reliable rescue organizations you can check:

  • Bengal Rescue – Bengal Rescue is a member of large communities of Bengal cat breeders, behavior experts, rescue organizations, adopters, fosters, and medical experts. They ensure that their rescued Bengal cats and hybrids get the best health care before adoption.
  • Rescue Me! – This organization focuses on rescuing different animals, including black Bengal cats. Their interface features a map showing adoptable Bengal cats and other animals across different states.
  • Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue – As the name of this rescue suggests, this non-profit organization specializes in providing a foster alternative for homeless purebred cats and kittens whose special requirements may not be provided in a shelter. In 2021 alone, they successfully rehomed 600 cats in need.

Though these rescues may not specialize in black Bengals, it is worthwhile to check their adoption listings occasionally to look for one.

Further, here is a guide on finding free kittens in your area to widen your options.

READ NEXT: 10 Best Bengal Cat Breeders (2022): Our Top 10 Picks!

Final Thoughts: Is a Black Bengal Cat the Right Pet for You?

A melanistic Bengal cat has such huge demand, so patience is necessary as you carefully look for a healthy and vibrant one. No matter how long the waiting time is, it will be worth it.

Owning a black Bengal cat is like having an independent wild cat and a loving, affectionate feline at the same time. Nonetheless, you need a lot of energy to match your Bengal cat’s activeness.

Do you have any experience with black Bengal cats? Share your thoughts on this mistifying black cat in the comment section below!