Bengal Cat Health Problems

Bengal cat health problems are not different from health problems in other breeds of cats, but they are troubling because the two biggest health problems (PRA and HCM) are genetically linked. Normally breeders can try to avoid these problems by bringing new genetic lines into their cattery but the Bengal cat is a relatively new breed that has a small gene pool from which to draw new breeding stock.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA in Bengal Cats

Progressive retinal atrophy is a health problem that has begun showing up in increasing numbers of Bengals today. PRA makes the rod and cone light receptors of the cat's retina slowly deteriorate and ultimately leads to blindness. Unfortunately there is no test to detect PRA in breeding stock so the new Bengal cat owner has to rely on their breeder to use the best parent stock available, preferably ones that have no instances of PRA in their lines. PRA has also been linked to a lack of taurine in the cat's diet. Bengal cats as a breed seem to need more taurine than other cat breeds so consult your breeder and your veterinarian to ensure he is getting the proper amounts.

Cataracts in Bengal Cats

Cataracts are a film that slowly turns the normally clear lens of the Bengal cat's eye opaque. They can be hereditary, the result of an injury to the eye or the side effect of an illness. Cats adjust surprisingly well to blindness and cataracts do not shorten their life span.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) in Bengal Cats

HCM is a primary disease of the heart muscle and is the most common heart disease of cats, regardless of their breed. It is usually a progressive disease and many affected cats experience heart failure and die. HCM is thought to be hereditary and can be exacerbated by hypertension and hyperthyroidism, both of which cause thickening of the ventricle. As with PRA, a lack or taurine is also a contributing factor. Moderate to severe HCM can be diagnosed by an echocardiogram, but it will not always detect mild cases. Try to find a board-certified cardiologist to perform the test for the best results. Quality of life and life span depend on many factors, but early detection will normally allow the best control of the disease.

Chronic Renal Failure or CRF in Bengal Cats

Chronic renal failure is common in all breeds of cats and is showing up in increasing numbers of Bengal cats. Age, genetics, other diseases and environment are all contributors to CRF. You should have your Bengal cat tested for CRF yearly after the age of seven. The veterinarian will perform blood and urine tests to detect the disease. Some of the early signs of CRF are increased thirst and urination as well as loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, weight loss and loss of coat condition. Early detection offers the best chances of controlling the disease and many cats go on to live full and normal lives.

No one can offer a 100% guarantee that your Bengal cat will not get sick, but choosing a breeder who tests their breeding stock and has several generations of healthy cats in their lines will offer you the best chance of a healthy, long-lived cat.