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Bengal Vs Tabby: How Similar These Two Cats Are Actually?

Bengal Vs Tabby: How Similar These Two Cats Are Actually?

Bengal cats are recognized for their wild appearance and spotted, luxurious coats. Their awesome looks isn’t the only great thing about them: These cats are also very sweet, loving, and intelligent.

Despite their wild appearance, Bengals make fantastic companions.

Another awesome cat many people will consider as their potential pet is the tabby cat. This isn’t a separate breed like the Bengal, but rather the description of the cat’s fur characterized by stripes, spots, or swirls. Their coats can come in different colors, such as brown, orange, or gray.

A friendly and affectionate nature is a hallmark of tabby cats. Both tabbies and Bengals have awesome traits, and they might even be hard to distinguish for some people.

The truth is that these two cats are quite similar in their appearance. Let’s look at the Bengal vs tabby debate up close to find out how to tell these two apart.

Bengal Vs Tabby Overview

Bengal        Tabby
Weight   8-15 pounds   Around 10 pounds
Height    13-16 inches9-10 inches
Coat type     Short and denseShort or long
Coat colorsBlue, brown, silver, snowBrown, cream, gray, or orange
Temperament   Affectionate, playful, intelligentFriendly, independent, adventurous
Health issues Gastrointestinal conditions, Patellar Luxation, Hypertrophic CardiomyopathyHyperthyroidism, urine problems, obesity
Lifespan 12-20 years12-15 years

Bengal Vs Tabby Appearance

Let’s start by examining the sizes, coat types, colors, and body and facial features of both Bengal and tabby cats to better understand how similar or different they are.


Bengal cat walking

According to the Bengal cat growth chart, this cat’s average weight goes from 8 to 15 pounds, while she’s 13 to 16 inches tall on average.

Since tabby isn’t a distinctive cat breed, it’s not possible to say exactly how big this cat will get. However, we can make a rough assumption, taking all the breeds into account.

Therefore, a tabby cat is expected to weigh around 10 pounds, and stand around 9-10 inches tall.

Coat Type And Colors

Many people might struggle with differentiating a Bengal from a tabby kitten. The truth is that these cats indeed have much in common. They both are characterized by their stripes and spots. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, one feature that all tabby cats share is an “M” shaped marking on their heads, just above their eyes. But, some Bengals might share this feature, too!

Still, while a Bengal has a short and dense coat, with minimal shedding, a tabby can have both short and long coats, depending on its breed. 

Four recognized Bengal colors are snow, silver, brown, and blue, while tabbies can come in a variety of colors, such as brown, cream, gray, or orange.

Furthermore, tabbies can also be seen in different coat patterns, such as the classic tabby, marble, mackerel, or spotted.

The distinctive stripes, spots, or swirls on their fur are what primarily identify tabby cats. You can see an example of an orange tabby cat in the video below.

The one feature that can be helpful for separating Bengals from tabbies is that tabby cats usually have white coloring on their bellies, and sometimes on their muzzles, too, which is not seen in Bengals.

See Also: Are Tabby Cats Hypoallergenic Or Likely To Trigger Allergies?

Body And Facial Features

Tabby cat laying down

Bengals have muscular and well–proportioned bodies, while their heads are relatively small. Their eyes can be round or oval, and are usually green, gold, or yellow.

These cats have thick tails, large feet, and thick necks.

When considering other physical characteristics, there is no singular definition applicable to tabby cats.

Many different breeds can be tabbies, such as the Abyssinian, American Bobtail, American Shorthair, Birman, Egyptian Mau, etc. This means that a tabby’s cat’s physical appearance will depend on their breed, and not their coat pattern.

Bengal Vs Tabby Temperament

The Bengal may resemble a wild cat in appearance, but it possesses one of the sweetest and most affectionate temperaments you can find in a cat!

This breed gets very attached to its owners and it stays loyal to them. A Bengal is also very curious, active, and alert.

This cat needs a lot of activity and attention from her humans. A Bengal cat is notably people-oriented, which contributes to their role as wonderful companions.

One thing a Bengal cat needs to have is a lot of entertainment! Therefore, you’ll need to dedicate a fair amount of time to play with this cat, and also to provide it with interactive toys, scratching posts, and cat trees.

Bengals exhibit high intelligence, demanding mental stimulation as well. If they get bored, they can show some destructive behaviors, such as scratching the walls around your house.

Bengals are likely to be very vocal, which is also a trait tabby cats share with them.

Tabby cats are expected to be independent, adventurous, friendly, and outgoing, according to Spruce Pets.

Of course, their personalities might vary depending on its breed, but, in general, you can expect a tabby to have the previously mentioned characteristics that make them a great choice for a family pet.

Bengal Vs Tabby Health And Lifespan

bengal cat hunting

Expected health issues and life expectancy are also crucial factors to take into consideration while choosing your future pet.

Some of the common health problems in the Bengal breed are gastrointestinal conditions, Patellar Luxation, and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

A tabby cat’s health can vary depending on their breed, but, in general, these cats are prone to upset stomach, hyperthyroidism, urine problems, and obesity.

Taking your cat for regular vet check-ups is crucial for their well-being and long lifespan. Bengals are expected to live 12 to 20 years, while tabbies usually live 12 to 15 years.


When you observe their appearance, Bengals and tabby cats can be seen as very similar. The biggest difference between them is that Bengal is a purebred feline, while tabby is simply a description of the cat’s coat pattern.

Still, they are both awesome cats without a doubt. Both Bengals and tabbies are friendly, social, and quite vocal. They also make great family pets. Maybe having them both would be the most perfect choice!

You might find it interesting to read about the similarities and differences between Ragdolls and Maine Coon cats, too. See you there!