Bengal females experience a longer harsher heat cycle than most other breeds and this takes a lot of energy from them. They are also more likely to get a type of uterine infection called pyometra should they go through repeated heat cycles without being bred. Due to the extreme nature of the Bengal heat cycle and the health concern of pyometra, it is far more humane to breed a Bengal when presented with the opportunity than to keep a Bengal suffering through multiple heat cycles. A Bengal's heat cycle will typically be less severe and shortened to 2-5 days when ovulation or pregnancy occur from being bred, otherwise it can last 5-9 days and cause more strenuous symptoms.
Felines show pregnancy signs in a few ways. This can be a little confusing because a lot of the signs for pregnancy can also be signs of an oncoming heat cycle, which include becoming very friendly. The most notable pregnancy sign is the nipples turning a pink/red color at roughly 21 days into the pregnancy and can even be used to help place the due date. Pink nipples can also be a sign of being in heat in some cats as well, thus adding to the confusion. Cats that have not had a litter yet tend to have small nipples while cats that have nursed have large distended nipples. Smaller nipples makes it a little more challenging to see the nipple color change in first time cats.
What determines when a Bengal mother goes back into heat after giving birth to a litter depends upon several factors, including if she has gained back enough weight to sustain another pregnancy. Often times at Lap Leopard Bengals due to our high nutrition standards, our queens go back into heat when their new litter is 6-8 weeks old. This can equate to a new litter being born and released every 4 months. It is very important to our cattery that we treat our queens as Queens and give the highest amount of nutrients and protein to support large healthy litters, easy pregnancies, and an easy recovery from pregnancy all while maintaining superior health of our breeders. Since Bengals do get bred very often due to the challenges in this exotic breed, it is also important to retire Bengals early so they can continue to live a long and healthy life after their breeding days. When to retire a Bengal from breeding is dependent upon the quality and quantity of the litters and ease of pregnancy as well as age. Most breeds that are afforded breaks in between pregnancies retire around 8 but Bengals usually retire around 5-6.