Sunday 24 February 2008

Bengal Cats Heart Disease

Heart disease in Bengal cats seems to be a growing concern (as at 2008 - when this was written). This is an additional post on the subject. There are others, click here to see all posts on cat health. The reason why there are several posts is because I gather information progressively. And information is disclosed by breeders piecemeal. I think that heart disease in Bengal cats is of major importance to the entire breed. Bengal cat breeders are rightly proud of their work. 

HCM affects around 20% of male Bengal cats and about 2% of females. No one has explained the difference. It affects about 15% of the general cat population apparently.

Mackerel tabby Bengal cat.

They try very hard to do the right thing for the betterment of the breed as a whole. But they are in a business and it would seem that in the past they may have kept quiet about a growing health problem when it would have been wiser in hindsight to open up on it to ensure the health of cats for the future. The two types of heart disease concerned are HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and DCM (Dilated cardiomyopathy). 

HCM is the thickening of the heart muscles. DCM is the thinning, dilating of the heart muscles/wall. Both make the heart less efficient. HCM can present with symptoms (see this post for symptoms). It is a little difficult to find hard facts on this tricky subject; there are some, however. Here they are: - -- DCM is treated by giving taurine supplements and it works (in addition to other drugs - I'll leave that to the vets obviously). This is because the disease is caused (at least in part) by a lack of taurine in the diet. -- It is unclear if taurine can help cats with HCM. 

This is because of a lack of research. And HCM is a genetically inherited disease so on the face of it a supplement may not help. Cats need taurine, without it there will be health issues such as heart disease (DCM) and retina deficiencies for example. -- Bengal cats are dying suddenly without warning of HCM. They can be OK when you go to bed and dead when you wake up. Testing can be done and should be done. -- Cats are carnivores. 

Meat contains taurine. When cooked there is less taurine. Example: Uncooked beef: 362 mg/kg, cooked beef (baked) 133mg/kg, cooked beef (boiled) 60mg/kg. lamb has a slightly higher level of taurine. -- It is not clear as to exactly how much taurine supplement the Bengal cat needs - is it more than other domestic cats? The ALC (leopard) needs a lot more apparently. -- We don't know how big an issue heart disease in Bengal Cats is. We should know. 

It may be that this is a big problem. PETA and HSUS would probably like to use this against breeders. Breeders are it seems paying the price of not dealing with it more openly initially. More to come I expect. From Bengal Cats Heart Disease to Home Page


  1. we all wish taurine would cure hcm. it doesn't. the link between taurine and hcm is brought up by breeders who have hcm in their lines. it's very sad but some breeders are just in it for the money. they aren't testing their cats regularly. every time a new bengals is diagnosed with hcm, a few breeders will start talking about diet, virus, and a bunch of other causes just so people will get confused and think that there might be other things causing hcm.
    taurine was proved to cause DCM in the 80s. scientists have been studying the effects of taurine and other diet deficiencies ever since. they've never found a link between taurine or any other diet problem with hcm. only with dcm.
    just watch what the breeders do. the next time a bunch of cats get diagnosed with hcm, some of them will start talking about some other cause. there's no scientific proof to back up anything they say.

  2. Thanks of for the comment. It is a shame (for the cats primarily) that Bengal cat breeders are in the middle of a major health problem for their cats and have no idea as to how to fix it. This will affect business too.

    I am afraid it is due to shortsightedness and taking a short term viewpoint on breeding. No criticism is intended as it is human nature.

  3. Hi,

    I'm new to the bengal breeding scene and I was wondering if anyone could discretely tell me which lines are most notably known for carrying HCM or DCM. My e-mail is

  4. after having two bengal males die within 6 months, the most recent mon dec 21, of hcm, and myself suffering mightly their loss, i feel bengal breeding should be outlawed...these magnificent, loving beings should not have to suffer and live so sort a cheetah died 06-16-09 after living 4 years 3 diablo died 12-21-09 after living 4 yrs 6 mos...they were such good boys, and i, at 72 yrs old, will mourn them forever...i still have diablos' sister and a new 8 mo male...please stop breeding bengals...their lifespan is cut too short by this horror...please

  5. My male Bengal has recently been diagnosed with HCM, but at the age of 14 years, and apparently this can happy to any kind of cat. There will always be irresponsible breeders, but he has had a very healthy life. (Ten days on from his collapse he is currently walking on a shelf trying to climb out through a roof window). His sister (also 14) appears to be perfectly healthy.
    Being a Bengal does not equal being unhealthy.

  6. My male Bengal was recently found next to a road, they said that he had HCM and that paralyzed his leg and the also got hit by a car the same time. Prehaps the shock made it occur but this ruined my day completly as my grandad died the same day. My cat ninja is now in critical contidion and he has one temp paralyzed and one broken leg both his back legs is now not working. Bengal cats are very loyal and they look up to there owner, however if these breeders comtinue breeding HCM carrier it will cause great misery to all families and so I would say that this should be a crime and they should pay for what they are doing.


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