Friday 7 March 2008

Bengal Cat Congenital Deformities

It is hard to image such a beautiful cat as the Bengal cat being subject to congenital deformities. Yet it is true. Congenital deformities mentioned here are not particular to Bengal cats and the photographs (copyright Feral Indeed! under creative commons) are clearly not of Bengal cats but are illustrative only of one example of congenital deformity - polydactyl toes. 

I wonder if the Asian Leopard Cat occasionally suffers from congenital deformities. It goes without saying (but I'll say it) that careful controls should be in place to track breeding lines in which these problems are found to gradually eliminate or at least minimize the occurrence. Bengal Cat congenital deformities occasionally include chest compression. 

It is called Pectus Excavatum and is found in other breeds and dwarf cats (in which it may be more prevalent). Another deformity is kneecap (the Pattelar) displacement. Once again it is not confined to Bengal cats. This is unsurprising because the Bengal is bred from Asian Leopard to domestic cats and these conditions have, I believe, been imported into the breeding programme from the domestic cat side. 

This condition can be treated through surgery. Finally, there is Hip Dysplasia. This is a hereditary disease also found in dogs and sometimes humans too. When this condition is present the ball and socket joint where the top of the leg meets the hip malfunctions due to either (a) misshaped ball and/or socket and (b) a poor, loose and partial fit of the ball into the socket. These are some examples, there are other such as crooked tails, crossed eyes (Siamese), extra toes (Polydactyl cat, see photos - Hemingway cats after the cats kept by the famous writer).
Note: I am not criticizing Bengal cats or Hemingway cats, just chatting about cats. Also congenital deformities such as polydactylism is very benign indeed. I like poly cats and Bengal cats! I hope people don't misunderstand this post. For genetic diseases in purebred cats this is the page to see: Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats. The diseases that are associated with the Bengal are listed on that page.
Bengal Cat Congenital Deformities to Home page


  1. I don't understand why this article was titled "Bengal Cat Congenital Deformities." Some of these congenital deformities are seen in Bengals, e.g., HCM and knee problems, but I've never heard of a polydactyl Bengal. And some of these deformities are extremely rare in Bengals but are common in other breeds. I enjoyed the article but question the title. It seems like it'd be better to just call it "Congenital Deformities found in Cats."

  2. I have a polydactal cat who is likely a Bengal -- silver or snow leopard. Gorgeous cat, very healthy. Vivid blue eyes, great personality. Six toes AND pads on each paw -- 24 total. She is a rescue cat, likely dumped by a breeder at age two or earlier. Malnourished when we adopted her. Love her dearly - she is a handful, needs much stimulation. But the only reason polydactals are rare in Bengels - if that is the case -- is that breeders are probably killing the "imperfect" kittens. Breeding is a sick business. If you want a breed - any breed -- check petfinders and you'll find plenty. 12 million pets killed by shelters EVERY year, thanks to out-of-control breeding. If you love pets, avoid breeders.

  3. Good breeders do not kill their kittens. Most of these cats go to homes where cats are kept indoors and are all neutered before leaving the breeder. It's people who let their cats go outside and don't have them neutered that cause the problem of over population; then they give the kittens away and you have more unneutered cats running loose and producing more and more cats.

    1. Good owners do humanely euthanize animals, regardless of why they exist, if the deformity will hender their quality of life in an impact full way.


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