The Bengal cat is an exotic and unique animal. Though the name implies a relation to the Bengal Tiger; the feline is derived from the Latin name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Feline Bengal catensis. The desire for an exotic domestic cat motivated the development of breeding domestic shorthairs such as American Shorthair, Burmese Abyssinian, or Egyptian Mau with an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC); a small wild cat found in Southeast and Central Asia. Credit for the breed is given to Jean Mill (Sudgen at the time) who first bred a black shorthaired domestic feline to a female ALC in 1963. However, it wasn’t until 1984 that the breed known today as the Bengal Cat was recognized by the International Cat Association.
Credit: Source: Wikimedia CommonsBengal Cats are muscular felines with long bodies. Males weigh from 14-20 pounds and females from 7-12 pounds. The heads are wild looking with a feral appearance, rounded, small ears and intense facial markings with pronounced whisker pads. The coats vary in background color from golden, brown, orange, rust to whiter colors, called “snow of sand”, buff, or ivory. The white colors are referred to as “snow” by cat breeders and indicateCredit: photo by: Ylvan, Source: Wikimedia Commons the cross with Siamese and Burmese ancestry. The eyes of these cats are usually blue or aqua. The undersides of the Bengal cats are light or white regardless of the coat color.
The spots of the Bengal vary in color from chocolate brown, rust, charcoal, black, rust or cocoa. The patterns are the coat can be spots Credit: Bengal Cat; Source: Wikimedia Commonsor rosettes, which are spots made of more than one color. They can also have a marble pattern; achieved by combining the rosettes of the ALC with the domestic tabby pattern. The spotted pattern is most common as it retains the exotic look of the Asian Leopard; the original motivation for the cross-breeding.
The first three generations of these felnes are called the “filial” generations. A Bengal with an ALC parent is an F1 Bengal. When F1’s are bred with domestic males, the kittens are F2. An F2 bred to a domestic male produces F3 kittens. Kittens produced from an F3 bred to a domestic male are F4’s. F4’s and later generations are considered domestic cats. They are designated as Stud Book Tradition Bengals. Most Bengal Cat breeders no longer use the ALC in their breeding programs; the few that do only sell the kittens to knowledgeable and experienced people.
Credit: photo by Namibie, Source: Wikimedia CommonsBengals are full of energy; cuddle time for the Bengal usually means nap time. For them, it is all about playtime. They can learn to play fetch and are easily trained to the leash. They tend to be quite vocal in communicating with their human companions. They are people oriented and often display “dog-like” qualities such as following their humans around the house. They get along well with children and when introduced properly, get along well with other pets. Many people with allergies claim they do not have allergic reactions to this breed of cat; most likely due to the sleek coat.
Credit: Source: Wikimedia CommonsUnlike most cats, the Bengal enjoys water and often entertains its owners with water-play antics. They particularly seem to like slightly running water in sinks and tubs, and have been known to take showers with their owners.
There are Bengal Cat breeders in Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe and the United States. Some breeders ship intCredit: Source: Wikimedia Commonsernationally. Purchasing a Bengal Cat can be costly. In the USA prices range from $300-to over $8000 depending on the generation and whether or not the cat is a show cat. However, bargains are available. A breeder may sell an older “non-showable” kitten for less than $100.
Bengal Cats make excellent companions and are a delightful addition to the family. Whether purchasing to show or simply as a companion; the intelligent, unique and exotic Bengal Cat is a good choice.
The copyright of the article Water-loving Bengal Cat is Unique Pet is owned by Cheryl Weldon and permission to republish in print or online must be granted by the author in writing
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