The Bengal is still a very modern cat; full of bling and zing despite being created in the 1980s. There was a time when there was a surge in interest in wild cat hybrids resulting in the motivation to create fresh breeds. There are several wildcat hybrids in addition to the Bengal, the best known of which is the Savannah.
The Bengal has a very high contrast coat and plenty of agility and intelligence. Perhaps of all the domestic cats the coat of the Bengal cat resembles most the coats of the exotic small wild cats such as the margay and ocelot. Of course, it also resembles the Asian leopard cat (ALC), its wild cat ancestor.
Bengal cats are the most glamorous spotted tabby cats you will see. Even the classic tabby “M” on the forehead of LOBO is special – look at it, it’s like some special Celtic sign from the mysterious past.
It is important that the Bengal cat does not have the temperament of its wild ancestor because the Asian leopard cat is known to be very independent and not suited to being a pet. Some wild cats are better suited such as the margay and serval.
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TICA make sure that the Bengal is a true domestic cat in temperament. In order for the Bengal to be shown the cat must be four generations from the wild cat. The breeders have done a nice job in this regard as the Bengal is a loving and affectionate cat but active and somewhat demanding compared to the more docile Persian and Ragdoll, for example.
Potted history of the Bengal cat
I will take this opportunity to briefly touch on the history of the Bengal cat. I have actually been critical of Jean Mill of the Millward Cattery who is the founder of the Bengal cat. I was critical of her in an earlier post because I don’t like breeders caging up male and female cats nearly all their lives. It does not suit my attitude towards the domestic cat. In the 1960s Jean Mill crossed the female Asian leopard cat (ALC) with a black domestic shorthair cat. She was surprised to see a female kitten. She named her “Kin Kin”.
She was told that the kitten would be sterile but she bred her back to her father which resulted in a litter of kittens some of which were spotted and some were black. At that time, she gave up her efforts to produce a wildcat hybrid at least temporarily. Those were the first attempts. She resumed in the early 1980s by crossing several domestic cats with an ALC. This time she felt that she was more successful and the resulting kittens formed the foundation cats of the entire Bengal read that we know today.
Below you will see some links to a selection of articles on the Bengal cat, chosen at random.
This page was first published around 2009. I’ve decided to go over some old pages and refresh them and republish them at today’s date. This is important in order to ensure that what was said then is current now. And it also helps to refresh the website.
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