From Wikipedia – The Bengal is a domestic cat breed developed to look like exotic jungle cats such as leopards, ocelots, margays and clouded leopards. Bengal cats were developed by selective breeding from hybrids of the Asian leopard cat (ALC), Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis, with domestic cat, backcrossed to domestic cats, with the goal of creating a confident, healthy, and friendly cat with a highly contrasted and vividly marked coat.
The name “Bengal cat” was derived from the taxonomic name of the Asian leopard cat (P. b. bengalensis). They have a “wild” appearance with large spots/rosettes/arrowheads, and a light/white belly, and a body structure reminiscent of the ALC. Bengals are an intelligent and active breed, and are known for being especially vocal and friendly. Once separated by at least four generations from the original ALC × domestic cat crossing, the breed’s temperament resembles that of a domestic cat.
Bengal cats are generally a bright orange to light brown colour, although pale or off-white “snow” Bengals also exist, and are popular among owners.
The earliest mention of an Asian leopard cat × domestic cross was in 1889, when Harrison Weir wrote of them in Our Cats and All About Them.
However, in 1927, C. Boden Kloss wrote to the magazine Cat Gossip regarding hybrids between wild and domestic cats in Malaya: “I have never heard of hybrids between bengalensis (the Leopard Cat) and domestic cats. One of the wild tribes of the Malay Peninsula has domesticated cats, and I have seen the woman suckling bengalensis kittens, but I do not know whether the latter survive and breed with the others!”
The earliest mention of a confirmed ALC × domestic cross was in 1934, in a Belgian scientific journal, and in 1941, a Japanese cat publication printed an article about one that was kept as a pet. Jean Mill (née Sugden), the person who was later a great influence on the development of the modern Bengal breed, submitted a term paper for her genetics class at UC Davis on the subject of crossbreeding cats in 1946.
In the 1970s, Willard Centerwall bred ALCs with domestic cats to aid his studies in genetics because of their apparent immunity to feline leukemia. Eventually, these hybrids were given to Jean Sudgen Mill because of Centerwall’s illness.
At the same time, Bill Engler wanted to preserve the exotic cats’ genes by breeding them with house cats. Although none of today’s Bengal lines originate from these cats, he chose the name “Bengal”, which was accepted by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), the first registry to accept the breed.
Jean Mill was instrumental in recognition of Bengals as a breed by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1983. Her plan was not to keep the breed as a hybrid, but to domesticate these cats by breeding them further with each other. There were others, such as Doctors Greg and Elizabeth Kent, who were crossing their Egyptian Maus to their Asian Leopard cat Baghara Kahn. While many breeders worked together to get the breed off the ground, it was Jean Mill who worked to get them accepted as a registered breed through TICA and began to show them around the world.
Bengal cats have “wild-looking” markings, such as large spots, rosettes, and a light/white belly, and a body structure reminiscent of the leopard cat. A Bengal’s rosetted spots occur only on the back and sides, with stripes elsewhere. The breed typically also features “mascara” (horizontal striping alongside the eyes), and foreleg striping. The eyes of a Bengal cat are relatively large and are usually bright blue or green.
The Bengal cat is usually either classed as brown-spotted or snow-spotted (although there are more colours, brown and snow are the only colours of Bengal that the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (UK) recognise). Within brown Bengals, there are either marble or spotted markings. Included in the spotted variation is rosetted, which consists of a spot with a dark line surrounding it. Snow Bengals are also either marble or spotted, but are also divided into blue-eyed or any other colour eyes.
The International Cat Association recognizes several Bengal colours (brown, seal lynx point, mink, sepia, silver) and patterns (spotted and marbled) for competition and shows. In the New Traits class, other colours may be shown, as well as longhairs.
Alongside other hybrid cat breeds such as the Savannah, Bengal cats are typically larger than the average house cat. Males on average weigh between 4.5–6.8 kg (10–15 lb) and females 3.6–5.4 kg (8–12 lb).
After three generations from the original crossing, the breed usually acquires a gentle domestic cat temperament; however, for the typical pet owner, a Bengal cat kept as a pet should be at least four generations (F4) removed from the leopard cat. The so-called foundation cats from the first three filial generations of breeding (F1–F3) are usually reserved for breeding purposes or the specialty pet home environment. Bengals are known for liking water, and require a large amount of attention to keep them happy. Bengals tend to be “talkative” and more vocal than other cat breeds.
Bengals also enjoy playing, and have been recorded jumping over 4 feet from the ground.
Greer (the breeder) handles the kittens on a daily basis. This is a critical step in their socialization with humans. Our pedigree kittens are sold as pets at $1,000. The price for established breeders is $2,000. If you are interested in learning about one or more of the kittens, please contact Greer via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call her at (508) 395-0393.
The breeder will arrange a private showing in which you will have an opportunity to play with the kitten(s), and she can help you determine which one might be a good fit for your home based on the kitten’s personality. There is a screening process to ensure that each kitten is placed in a suitable household, as well as a pet contract. All kittens will have received their first set of shots at the veterinarian’s office before going home with you!