My bengal is extremely vocal, and doesn't like to be picked up. When I pick him up in a way he doesn't like he makes a noise like he were enduring all the fiery pains of hell. When I clip his nails I'm positive the neighbours must think his tail is caught in a door or we are abusing him. When I haven't woken up for his morning feeding he will tear across the apartment squealing and knocking things over in protest. Basically he's a cat with his own agenda. If you want a cat that you can pick up on a whim and sit down for pettings, I don't think a bengal would fit the bill. I say this to you because I had no warnings. I've had many cats before, and researched the breed quite thoroughly, but was quite suprised to discover some of the breed traits. However, this is your first cat so you wont completely know what to expect anyways.
Both of my cats, the bengal and my domestic shorthair refuse to drink water from anywhere but the tap. Try not to let him learn this trick or you will forever have to leave the tap on slightly. If I put out a fresh bowl of water daily, it goes untouched and just gets hair and dust in it. I've given up. My cats have trained me.
I can't say that my bengal enjoys showering, or bathing, but he is fascinated by water. He doesn't get in, but sits beside the shower every morning to watch the water. This is probably a behaviour which comes from the Asian Leopard Cat who often catches fish. Here he is in the bath. He tolerates it, but doesn't exactly "enjoy" it. My other cat is usually quite frantic to escape.
Speaking of Asian Leopard Cats, they definitly leave their mark on the breed even though bengals are a minimum of five generations removed. They walk in a slinky way, low to the ground. My bengal has a lot of feral behaviour. A lot of things will startle him, and make him shy away. He seems to have a slightly harder time trusting my boyfriend over myself. They have great fun playing together, but it's rare that he will sit in his lap. He does come to sit with me when he's in the mood. But it's almost as though his domesticated genes and wild cat genes are pulling him in opposite directions. He enjoys a good pet, but will walk away and come back, walk away and come back. He loves to come under the covers with me and I'll often wake up with the cats camped out on top of me.
Activity level is high of course, as bengals are famous for. He'll play fetch untill my arm gives out.
I tried him on the leash and harness and I ended up with a dead weight on the end of a line. But I hear it's possible.
The way I see it is if my domestic shorthair were the protagonist, then my bengal would be his comic relief sidekick. They make a great pair and provide lots of love and laughs. If I were to make one suggestion it would be to get a male cat. Others might argue with me, but I find that male cats are more even tempered. Of course I'm talking about neutered males. Females in my experience have everything in their own terms and tend to have mood swings just like us human females.
As for purebred vs. mix, a mix breed cat usually tends to be a heartier, healthier animal. Not to say that purebreds are unhealthy, but certain breeds are prone to a certain set of health problems, just like in dogs. For example german sheppards having problems with their hips. My bengal has a small heart murmer. Bengals need a special killed vaccine because they are part wild cat. I had to search to find a vet who did this and ended up finding one whos clinic I'll *never* return to. Purebreds are expensive, bengals tend to run $500-1000 for a pet. Depending on your region. Mix kitties are usually cheap or free.
So unless you're scared now, I say....GET A BENGAL!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, and if you get a mixed cat, rescue one from a shelter.