The Bengal cat is a relatively new breed originated from a cross between wild Asian Leopard Cats and domestic shorthairs

Bengal Cat

Contrary to the popular conviction, Bengal cats have been derived from the taxonomic name of the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) and not from the generally known Bengal tiger species. A new breed of cat, Bengal, though exhibits the 'wild' markings, are extremely friendly to both humans and other pets. They have a gentle temperament and nature, much unlike their wild look. Bengal cats are active and energetic animals and love to explore places. Generally, they have a life expectancy of 12 to 16 years. To know more about the history, appearance and personality of Bengal cats, browse through the following lines.

Originally named as the Leopardette, Bengal cat is the hybrid variety of domestic cats and Asian leopard cats. It was in 1963 that Jean Sudgen of Yuma, Arizona bought a female Asian Leopard cat and christened it Malaysia. To give the cat company, Jean put a black domestic cat in her cage. The two mated and produced two kittens - a male and a female. When the male offspring was attacked by Malaysia, KinKin, the female kitten was removed and raised by a Himalayan queen. Though Jean thought KinKin to be sterile, this was proved wrong, when KinKin was mated back to her father and delivered two kittens - a black female and a spotted male. However, due to the death of Jean's husband, the ongoing process of the project stopped.

In the year 1980, Jean got in touch with geneticist, Dr Willard Centerwall, who was working on a breeding program, which involved crossing Leopard Cats with domestic cats. It was a division of a study of Feline Leukaemia. Jean, then, acquired several F1 (the F stands for Filial) hybrids from this program. Two years later, in 1982, Jean (now, remarried) along with her husband, came across a tailless feral domestic male with markings similar to that of the leopard. On seeing this cat, Jean imported it to United States, wherein he was mated with the female hybrids. The other domestic breeds used were Ocicats, Egyptian Maus, Abyssinians, Bombays & British Shorthairs. It was in 1984 that Bengal Cat gained an official recognition with TICA.

Bengal cats are generally the size of the conventional domestic feline. While the females weigh between 7 to 10 pounds, the males are of 9 to 12 pounds in weight. However, at times, some cats may even fall within the range of 15 to 18 pounds. Bengal cats are generally large-boned and well-muscled, with the males being more muscular than the females. Talking about their face and body features, the Bengal cat usually has a series of distinct horizontal stripes, which extends from the sides of the eye to the back of the neck. The body of the kitty is characterized with spots, similar to those of the jaguar and the rest of the body, including the legs and tail, have symmetrical stripes.

Bengal cats generally have spotted or marble coat patterns. They come in veried colors and patterns such as brown spotted tabby, brown marbled tabby, seal sepia spotted tabby, seal sepia marbled tabby, seal mink spotted tabby, seal mink marbled tabby, seal spotted lynx point and seal marbled lynx point. Silver is another color variation that was recently added in the list. Thought cats are also available in blue and melanistic (black), they are not recognized as the Bengal breed. One of the most distinctive characteristics of Bengal cats is that they display gold or pearl dusting effect, usually called glitter and has a pelt that has a rich smooth satin or silk feel. Even the voice of these cats is different from other domestic cats.

Bengal Cats are extremely mischievous and boisterous. They are also very vocal, intelligent, loving and people oriented cats. They are very affectionate and mix well with children and other animals. Contrary to the popular notion, Bengal cats love to play with water. Another distinctive feature about Bengal cats is that they love to climb high lofty places and are extremely enthusiastic climbers. In other words, Bengal cats make active and energetic pet.