Before you even think about trying to get an F2 Bengal Cat, you need to understand that doing so is extremely unlikely.
You see, because Bengal cats originated from breeding with an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) the United States Government Fish & Wildlife Service originally put heavy restrictions on the breed.
Bengal Breeders have been fighting for years to get the Bengal Cat off of the restricted list and the way that they have successfully done this is to breed many generations beyond the first generation (or the “F1”) Bengal. If you’re in the market to get a domestic Bengal Cat it’s likely that you’ll get something that’s over 5 generations away from the wild ALC.
This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just the reality of owning a Bengal Cat. You’ll still get a cat that looks exotic and has a unique personality, but having a cat this many generations away from the ALC will allow you to avoid many restrictions placed on the cat in various states.
To understand what F2 means, we have to look at F1 first. An F1 is a cross between an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) and a domestic cat. An F1’s parent ALC is a small and non-aggressive feline with a coat covered in small “rosettes”. Usually weighing between 13 and 15 pounds, they are found in the wild in South and East Asia. They are notoriously shy but love water.
An F2 Bengal means that a female F1 (half ALC and half domestic cat) was bred with a male domestic cat to produce a litter of kittens that are one quarter (1/4) ALC and three quarters (3/4) domestic cat. These kittens are called F2 Bengals.
The breakdown of this title is quite simple. The “F” is short for “Filial”, a word that means “befitting a good son or daughter.” The “2” in F2 means that the cat is the first generation under the ALC. The name “Bengal” derives from the ALC’s scientific name, Prionailurus Bengalensis.
Looking at the Bengal family line, it can be broken down such as this:
ALC + domestic mother = F1 Bengal
Domestic father + F1 mother = F2 Bengal
Domestic father + F2 mother = F3 Bengal
Domestic father + F3 mother = F4 Bengal
As with F1s, male F2s are infertile. The females retain their fertility but the males do not receive this genetic capability. Although they will still act as a fertile male cat will, spraying and mounting females in heat until they are neutered.
This male infertility occurs because of the cross breeding of two different species that are genetically similar and isn’t lost on male Bengals until the fourth generation after the ALC. The phenomenon produces infertility in 98% of F1, F2, and F3 male Bengals. This is theorized to be caused by the length of the Y-chromosomes in domestic cats versus in ALCs.
Despite the lesser amount of ALC in their genetics, F2s still represent all of the wonderful traits people love this breed for. They may contain less ALC, logically dictating a lower cost, but there are other factors that go into deciding the cost of an F2 Bengal.
To begin, the domestic cat originally bred with the ALC is known as a Stud Book Tradition (SBT) feline. An SBT feline means that it doesn’t contain more than 1/8 ALC and that it is not a brown, spotted tabby cat. These felines get pregnant easily and usually give birth to large litters.
A female F1 Bengal however, does not get pregnant easily. There may need to be many tries with her stud before a pregnancy occurs. Even then, the female will give birth to a small litter, making the number of available F2 Bengals minimal compared to that of the F1.
This all works to raise the price of an F2 Bengal to that equal of an F1 Bengal. An F2 Bengal can still start at $2000 each with a price going up from there. A higher price is usually dictated by the coat color, breed variety, temperament, F1 parents specifics, domestic cat breed specifics, training level, and breeder choice.
Because of the similarity in size between the ALC and domestic cats, there isn’t much of a difference between the size of an F1 and that of the F2. An F2 male will still weigh between 12 and 15 pounds while a female will weigh between 8 and 12 pounds. There are exceptions ranging up to 20 pounds but these are rare and mostly depend on the breed of domestic cat(s) bred to get the F2 in question.
For comparisons sake, a pretty good rule of thumb is that an F2 Bengal will act twice as domestic or half as wild as an F1. Since an F2 is only one quarter ALC while an F1 is half ALC, an F2 should present less of the ALC temperament shown in an F1.
Of course there are variations of this because not every Bengal is getting exactly half of each parent’s temperament. Because of this, an F2 could show between near half ALC temperament and almost no ALC temperament. It solely depends on how much of each parent’s temperament an F2 acquired as well as its F1 parent.
One important attribute of this is an F2’s ability to bond with humans. If the F2 was socialized thoroughly as a kitten, and its F1 parent was as well, the F2 should be more likely to be comfortable around humans, even strangers. But if either the F2 or its F1 parent weren’t socialized very much at a young age, there is a chance that the F2 will hide from humans or only bond with one. This chance increases if both the F2 and its F1 parent weren’t socialized at a young age.
An F2 will likely still be very particular about its environment, a trait shared by Bengals of most filials. They may have trouble accepting furniture being moved or getting a new home. The F2 might act out such as peeing and pooping outside of its litter box or breaking objects.
Just because an F2 has less ALC in it, doesn’t mean that the cat shouldn’t be eating a nutritious diet containing plenty of meat. F2 owners may decide to feed their cat a raw meat diet. The minimized amount of ALC in an F2 doesn’t mean that the cat wouldn’t still benefit from this diet.
However, some owners feel that a raw meat diet is too much work, too messy, and doesn’t give enough nutritional payout in the cat since it still needs vitamins. Considering this, a high quality cat food is also a nutritionally effective food choice for an F2. It just needs to supply the cat with all of the nutrients that the F2 needs for its ALC ancestry and its domestic cat needs.
The life expectancy of the domestic cat breeds going into the F2 and that of the ALC combine to influence the life expectancy of an F2 Bengal. ALC’s in captivity have been known to live to 13 years of age. Considering this as being one quarter of an F2’s life expectancy, because it contains one quarter ALC, the remainder of its estimated life expectancy comes from the breed of domestic cat used.
Presuming that an F2 acquired three quarters of its genetics from the domestic cats used in breeding to this point in its ancestry, the majority of an F2’s life expectancy is ruled by the life expectancy of the F2’s father and grandmother’s domestic cat breeds.
Putting these influences together gives a specific F2’s life expectancy range. Because the breed of domestic cat used in breeding a Bengal is the breeder’s choice, each Bengal’s life expectancy can vary from F2 to F2.
With a smaller amount of ALC in an F2, it will present less of the ALC’s pelt and less of its lack of shedding. Minimal shedding is still a wonderful perk of the Bengal breed, an F2 is just slightly more likely to shed than an F1 would.
Getting an F2 Bengal is easier than getting an F1 Bengal because the breeder is interacting with a Bengal and a domestic cat, a much easier interaction to deal with as well as cats that are more well behaved and accepting of humans than ALC’s are. Breeders are more willing to work with these cats because they present less of the ALC’s temperament.
That being said, breeders may not have an F2 Bengal Cat available as they are often used for breeding themselves. Though you may be able to purchase an F2 Bengal Cat that is no longer actively breeding, you’ll likely have to search to find an F2 Bengal Cat.
Verifying the legality of an F2 in a prospective owner’s location is still important though. Some states may not allow F1 or F2 Bengals because of their proximity to their wild cat ancestor. Checking what Bengal filials are legal in a given location is an important part of buying and owning a Bengal of a low filial number.
Such as with other Bengal filials, certain states mandate that certain paperwork or blood tests be turned in to prospective offices to assure the state that a specific Bengal is of a certain filial number and therefore a certain amount of ALC genetics. More information about breeders working with F2s and other certain filial numbers is important to research prior to purchasing a Bengal in any given state.
Just because an F2 contains and exhibits less of an ALC’s wildness, doesn’t mean that training is any less important. An F2 Bengal that isn’t trained as thoroughly as it should be, will become a cat who controls its house, possessions, owner, and even the owner’s life. Bengal training is key to establishing an F2 as a fun and lively pet to be loved for years.
A thoroughly trained F2 will be socialized young so as to associate with any humans or other pets in the home, will always use its litter box, talks but only at an acceptable level, and any other traits that the owner deems important or otherwise helpful to owning their F2 and getting along with it.
The amount of ALC temperament passed down to a Bengal is highly significant in the ease and effectiveness of training a Bengal. Since an F2 contains one quarter ALC instead of an F1’s half ALC genetics, an F2 likely will be easier to train and the training will be more effective.
With correct training, there is nothing dangerous about an F2 or a Bengal in general. They can get along perfectly fine with other humans, even strangers, as well as other household pets. Despite the factors that go into training an F2, since its end product is so important to the well-being of the F2’s home, training is a detrimental part of owning an F2 or a Bengal.
When trained and reared correctly, an F2 can get along with any member of the family, human and otherwise. It can take a lot of work but will lead to a friendly and lively cat to entertain and love for years. An F2 Bengal is a perfectly safe pet to own and can be a highly-loved member of any family.
Knowing of the proximity to a wild cat can steer some prospective owners to a higher filial number Bengal or even away from the breed all together. Whether an F2 Bengal will get along with other pets already in the house or other pets in the future may worry people looking into the breed.
Training comes into play here in order to eliminate this as a problem. Socializing the F2 Bengal from a very young age can get a Bengal comfortable with being around other animals, especially if the F2 is socialized with the other pets in question.
An F1’s notorious habit of befriending other pets over humans is not lost on F2 Bengals either. A Bengal owner may find that their F2’sbest friend is another cat or dog in the house instead of their owner or another human.
If the F2 is closest with a human, it will likely only bond with that human, no others. If socialized well enough from a young age, this could be prevented. The F2 may befriend multiple humans or like all humans equally, but the change that it will still connect with one human over others may still be the F2’s personal choice. It’s important to remember that an F2 isn’t doing this to hurt another human, it’s simply what the Bengal is the most comfortable with.
To see how well socializing an F2 Bengal can get the cat to like humans and want attention, check out the video below:
If the F2 Bengal is socialized with children of all ages as a kitten and growing up, the F2 will understand that children don’t pose a threat to the cat and it can be close to and a friend to children of all ages. Getting children around the F2 Bengal in a safe way will help the F2 Bengal to adjust to having children around and helping the F2 to accept children as a member of its family and as a friend.
Of course, training the Bengal isn’t the only education needed in this situation. Children also need to be taught how to act with the F2. Grabbing its tail may provoke its wild instincts and it may claw or otherwise harm the child out of fear.
Older children can be taught not to behave with the F2 as such but babies and toddlers cannot be changed in this manner as easily. Keeping babies around the F2 enough that the cat associates with children of these young ages is important but keeping a distance to protect the cat from being manhandled by the unknowing child will protect the cat and the kid.
It’s important to socialize F2s with children young and old, but keeping all involved safe and unafraid is more important. A problem situation such as tail grabbing may do more damage to socializing the F2 with children than it does good. It’s better to prevent problems like this than have to go about fixing a negative view from the F2 to children of any age or a certain age group.
As with F1s, an F2s temperament can be seen as early as kittenhood. Keeping this in mind when observing a litter of F2 Bengals can help a prospective owner to pick out an F2 kitten that demonstrates the traits that an owner is looking for.
Observing an F2 kitten’s behavior can help in picking the right F2 kitten for a specific person, but it’s also important to remember that some F2s temperament can change as they reach adulthood. Keeping this possibility in mind when picking out an F2 kitten can help in the final decision.
The F1 mother and the domestic cat father’s temperament can help with the prospective temperament of the F2 litter. The domestic father will likely pass on a usual, comfortable domestic temperament so the F1 mother’s temperament effects the kitten’s temperament the most. The F2 kitten’s ALC grandfather’s temperament may show through in the kitten depending on how much it shows in its F1 mother.
Kitten socializing is very important to getting the kitten to accept people and other pets into its life. The benefit of it mostly depends on how well the kitten is socialized but is also influenced by how well its parents were socialized as well, especially the F1 mother. An F2 kitten’s ability to socialize with humans and other pets can be influenced by how well its F1 mother was socialized and by how well its mother took to that socializing.
The best way to socialize an F2 Bengal kitten to other pets is just to introduce the kitten to other animals and specific pets from an early age. The best way to socialize an F2 Bengal kitten is for it to be frequently held, kissed, and cuddled by humans from an early age. These kittens will be best socialized and more likely and willing to bond with any human, especially its owner(s), best accepting the humans into the F2’s life.