The appreciation of a spectacular breed! The most sought after "Living Art" luxury pet! Have you ever wanted an exotic hybrid living room lap leopard cat with a dog-like personality?
Throughout history there are indications of a profound human fascination with the large and small wild felines that inhabit the jungles and forest of the world. In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a spotted five to twelve-pound shy wild cat species from Asia. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a favored fireside tabby and the striking look associated with Leopards, Ocelots, and Jaguars. The modern Bengal breed traces to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980's. The breed's name is a reference to the scientific name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Prionailurus Bengalensis, and not from the more widely known Bengal Tiger species, which is unrelated to the Bengal's ancestry. The hybrid crosses are registered as Foundation (F1, F2 & F3) Bengals that are not eligible for show and only the females are used for breeding. Accepted as a new breed with TICA in 1986 and CFA in 2016, Bengals gained championship status in 1991. They are now one of the most frequently exhibited breeds in TICA and advancing quickly in CFA also. An enthusiastic group of breeders around the world have successfully fulfilled the goal of creating a docile, civilized house cat that wears the richly patterned coat of the jungle cats and has some of the arresting features that have inspired and aroused humanity for centuries.
Loved by those who appreciate its inquisitive and loving nature, the Bengal is a medium to large cat renowned for its richly colored, highly contrasted coat of vivid spots or distinctive marbling. Originally developed from crosses between the domestic cats mainly Egyptian Maus, American Shorthair, Abyssinian, Ocicat, and the Asian Leopard Cat, the Bengal is the only domestic cat that can have rosettes like the markings on Leopards, Jaguars, and Ocelots and a glittered plush pelt. Today's domestic Bengal cat comes only from breeding Bengals to other Bengals and requires no specialized care. Since their beginnings in 1986, the Bengal's regal beauty and alluring charm have quickly made it one of the most popular breeds. Employing scientific insights and a cooperative spirit, Bengal breeders continue to develop these stunning cats with careful selection for temperament, health, and beauty. Bengals participate in TICA & CFA shows throughout the world and have a devoted following of happy pet owners who couldn't imagine sharing their lives with anything other than these feline beauties.
The Bengal is most noted for its luxurious short, soft coat which may appear in either the spotted or marble pattern. Some Bengal's coats feature something called glitter which imparts an iridescent sheen and causes the tips of the hair to sparkle. Different colored Bengal's will have different color glittering. Brown's will have the golden glitter and silver, snow, and charcoals will have crystalline or silver glitter. Not all Bengal cats are glittered. The spotted pattern is most associated with the "leopard look" as the coat features clearly discernible spots and rosettes. The Bengal's spots can be large or small and often include rosettes, like the spots of Jaguars and Leopards, which are two-toned spots. Bengals may also be marbled, which is a derivative of the classic or "bull's eye" pattern found in many breeds of cats but with an especially dramatic appearance in Bengals. The marbled Bengal has a swirling pattern that appears as random swirls or thick diagonal and horizontal lines flowing across the coat of the cat.
The most popular color of the Bengal is the "Brown/Black" tabby, a lackluster description for coats that can be anywhere from a cool grey to vibrant shades of golden, bronze, copper or mahogany with spots or marbling ranging from rich browns to intense black and their eye colors are green or gold. Bengals also come in a range of colors associated with a form of albinism, called "Snow" by breeders, that indicates Siamese and Burmese ancestry. In these colors the coat appears ivory, cream or light tan with spots or marbling that may range from light brown to dark chocolate and their eye colors are blue, aqua, green, gold. Snow Bengals are classified into three categories; Seal Lynx Point (Siamese gene), Seal Mink (combination of Siamese & Burmese genes), Seal Sepia (Burmese gene). "Silver" Bengals have grey to nearly white backgrounds with dark grey to black patterns and their eye colors are green or gold. Also, distinctive about the Bengal's coloring is that they may have nearly white undersides and facial markings that still show the tabby pattern. Occasionally Blue, Melanistic, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Lilac, Fawn, colors are born, but these are non-recognized standard colors for the breed currently.
Starting at about three weeks of age and lasting until approximately six months of age, the Bengal kitten often (but not always) go through an 'ugly fuzzy stage'. The coat takes on a muted, washed out, gray, fuzzy appearance with long guard hairs. This stage of development is similar to the camouflage stage that Asian Leopard Cat kittens display in their natural habitat to make them less vulnerable to predators. Thankfully, the kittens gradually grow out of it and their spectacular markings, sharp contrast, vivid colors and patterns return on their tight, silky, plush pelt.
Bengals are medium to large cats, from 6-15 pounds, with males generally being larger than females. The average Bengal is not fully grown until it is between one-and-a-half and two years old. The average life expectancy of a well cared for Bengal is 12-16+ years. Bengals are usually hypoallergenic (they have a fur pelt, little to no shedding & no cat dander). A healthy Bengal is well muscled and has an appearance that depicts its athleticism. Bengals are balanced cats and none of its physical features should appear exaggerated or especially pronounced. Bengals are generally confident, curious, and devoted companions. They get along well with other pets when properly introduced and enjoy being part of a family. Each Bengal is an individual and those interested should find out as much as they can about this wonderful breed before adding one to their family.
While you can train a Bengal to have "good manners", they are an active, inquisitive cat that loves to be up high. If you don't like a cat to leave the floor, a Bengal is probably not the right cat for you. Bengals are busy by nature. They are very affectionate and can be a "lap cat" whenever THEY want to be, but in general their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing, and investigating. When a Bengal is in full play mode, it's rather like trying to hold on to running water! They'll often save the cuddle time for when they want to sleep. Many Bengals enjoy water and may join you in brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Some Bengals are vocal while others are more quiet and selective about using their voice. Bengals will also, in general, ALWAYS want to be where you are. After all, that's where the action is! And Bengals are all about "The Action". When given the choice of a static toy, and one that does wild, unpredictable things, Bengals will always choose the "wild" one! The Bengal is easily leash trained, loves water, will follow you like a dog, come when called, loves to climb, jump high into the air, and learns tricks easily. For individuals or families who enjoy rambunctious, funny, beautiful, loving, intelligent, and dynamic feline companionship, consider the Bengal cat breed!