The Exotic and Unique Bengal Cat

The Bengal

has nothing to do with the widely known Bengal Tiger. This uniquis a cross-breed of an Asian Leopard Cat with domestic cats such as the American Shorthair, Burmese, Abyssinian, or the Egyptian Mau. The Bengal was developed to produce the wild, exotic look of the Asian Leopard, but, with the disposition of domestic cats. It takes its name from the scientific name of the Asian Leopard Cat-Prionailurus bengalensis.

The Bengal Cat is a fairly new breed of domestic cat; not recognized by the International Cat Association (TICA) until 1984. Jean Sudgen of California in the United States is given credit as the first Bengal Cat breeder. In 1963, she bred a black shorthaired domestic cat with a female Asian Leopard Cat. After a hiatus of over a decade, she resumed a breeding program in 1975 and years later, the cat seen today was finally recognized by TICA; and in 1991 gained championship status.

BengalThe first three generations of the cats are referred to as the "filial" generations. A Bengal cat with an Asian Leopard Cat parent is a first filial or F1 Bengal. When an F1 female is bred with a domestic male cat, the kitten is a second filial or F2 Bengal. When an F2 female Bengal is bred with another domestic male cat, the kittens are called F3. The subsequent mating of an F3 female with a male domestic cat produces F4 Bengals. All F4 and later generation Bengals are considered domestic cats. Today, a Bengal Cat breeder commonly uses Bengal-Bengal cat breeding programs so most Bengal Cats are fourth or fifth generation from the Asian Leopard Cat.

The Look of the Bengal Cat

The Bengal Cat comes in variety of colors and patterns. The background color of the Bengal can be golden, brown, sand, rust, or orange; or in white colors a Bengal Cat breeder refers to as "snow." These colors cause the coat to appear ivory, cream, or light tan. These "snow" Bengals usually have blue or aqua colored eyes. The spots of the cat vary in color as well and can come in rust, cocoa, charcoal, black or chocolate brown. The patterns range from rosettes, or spots made of more than one color, to a marble pattern.

The marble pattern is created when a Bengal Cat breeder combines the rosettes of the Asian Leopard Cat to the domestic tabby pattern; thus creating a look of color or colors swirled into the base color of the coat. The Bengal is the only domestic cat that has the rosette markings. The most common of the patterns is the dominant spotted pattern which replicates the look of the spotted Asian Leopard Cat. Some Bengal Cats have an iridescent sheen to each hair of their coats and this is called glitter. The Bengals have a light or white belly.

The Bengal Cat is a medium to large sized cat ranging in size from 14-20 pounds for the male and 7-12 pounds for the female cats. They are muscular with long bodies. The head of the Bengal looks wild with a feral face. The ears are small and rounded and there are distinct facial markings and pronounced whisker pads.

Disposition of the Bengal Cat

The domestic Bengal cat is highly intelligent and affectionate. These cats are easily trained to a leash and can be taught to fetch. These cats are mischievous and extremely active. While they like cuddle time; they most often save this time for napping. They are highly inquisitive cats and unlike most domestic cats; most Bengals enjoy water. It is common for them to enjoy playing with running water in the tub or sink and may even join their human owners in the shower.

Most Bengal cats are vocal with their owners. They like human companionship and often follow their humans around the house. The sleek, soft coat of Bengal Cats seems to cause fewer allergic reactions in allergy sufferers. Bengals also get along well with other pets when introduced properly

Bengal Cats have become so popular it is not hard to find a Bengal Cat breeder. Breeders across the United States, Canada and parts of Europe have these wonderful cats available for those who want to show or simply want a delightful companion. Many Bengal Cat breeders ship internationally and most have kittens available. The cost of a Bengal Cat depends on the generation of the cat and whether or not it is "show quality." A Bengal Cat breeder can charge up to eight thousand dollars for a show cat; and the average range is USD $300-$1500 for a companion cat.