Abandonment of Persian cats, Ragdolls, Maine Coons and Bengals have soared by up to 300% since 2018 as owners struggle with inherited health problems

My thanks to the Mail Online for being at the vanguard of discussing domestic cat breeds. They do focus on cats quite a lot which I like. And in this instance, they’ve focused on a topic which I’ve been concerned about for about 15 years. It’s a topic which should concern anybody who wants to adopt a purebred cat. I would urge people in that category to do their research on inherited diseases of purebred cats because it is these which are “coming home to roost” as the saying goes.

The Mail Online reports that the number of Bengals, Persians, Ragdolls, and Maine Coons in UK rescue centres has soared by up to 300% since 2018 as owners struggle to care for their pets according to the RSPCA. Health issues mean higher costs of caregiving at a time when for many money is tight. You’ll need a health insurance policy for some of the breeds and sometimes these policies don’t come cheap.

The information comes from the RSPCA rescue centres to where these purebred cats are being relinquished. This is because these breeds and others are at a higher risk of health problems due to inherited diseases.

Persian, Scottish Fold, Maine Coon and Bengal
Persian, Scottish Fold, Maine Coon and Bengal. This is a picture of four top breeds with unacceptable health issues due to inherited diseases resulting in the cats being relinquished to the RSPCA rescue centres in greater numbers since 2018. Image: MikeB

The worrying element in this story is that some unhealthy designer breeds such as the Scottish fold had been made popular by Taylor Swift and other celebrities. It would have been so much better if Taylor Swift had adopted a rescue cat from a shelter. But all we see is her in love with her Scottish Folds and her Ragdoll, Benjamin Button. I’m sure many thousands of cats of these breeds have been adopted as a result.

Alice Potter, Welfare expert at the RSPCA, in talking to the Mail Online said: “We know owners want their pets to be happy and healthy, and people may not realise that cats bred with exaggerated features can struggle with extremely serious health problems.”

It isn’t just about extreme features, however. For example, the Maine Coon cat doesn’t really have extreme features (except for some Russian creations) but with great sadness it has to be reported once again that they do suffer from too many inherited health problems such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a serious heart disease which can shorten lifespan. And others such as hip dysplasia and spinal atrophy. That’s not a complete list by the way.

RELATED: Bobby Flay heartbroken as his Maine Coon ‘Nacho’ dies at the age of 9.

In fact, HCM appears to be the curse of many cat breeds including the Bengal. This disease should not be so prevalent among the breeds. It is more prevalent among the breeds that it is among the non-purebred cats. This strongly indicates that it’s about artificial selection; about the breeding process and how it passes down the disease from parent to offspring in the bloodline and that goes on indefinitely.

The RSPCA tells us that the most common pedigree cat in their rescue centres is the Persian “with the charity seeing a 92% increase since 2018”.

This is followed by Ragdolls at a 61% increase, Bengals as a 22% increase in Maine Coons which have seen a “whopping 300% increase over the last six years”.

That last worrying statistic probably comes about because there has been an increase in adoptions of the Maine Coon because of increased popularity over the last six years. The popularity comes about because of very many websites and social media channels featuring the Maine Coon cat. TikTok is probably the number one social media channel where the Maine Coon is heavily promoted.

RELATED: Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats.

I have a specialised website and the Maine Coon cat called Your Maine Coon Guide, in which I discuss all aspects of this popular cat breeds including health problems which I specialise in and feature in this website. You might like to visit it to dig deep into the health problems of this magnificent breed.

Ms Potter said: “Over the last few years we have seen an increase in certain cat breeds coming into our care as a result of “designer” breeds becoming more popular with owners. Some can make cats prone to particular disorders, and some prevent them from behaving normally. Persian cats are bred to have “flat-faces” which often causes them to have brachycephaly which means they struggle to breathe, sleep and even give birth.”

The latest misstep by a celebrity, in this instance, Claudia Schiffer, the former model, is to indirectly promote, once again, the Scottish Fold by carrying her daughter’s Scottish, called Chip, in a fancy cat carrier with a large perspex window and ventilation holes, which Cats Protection, a large UK charity, criticised. It isn’t just the RSPCA who criticise the breeders for creating these breeds, it is also other charities.

It should be added, as I’ve done before that Osteochondrodysplasia is seen in ALL Scottish Fold cats.

That’s thanks to a genetic mutation which is carried by this breed in which gives the breed its famous flat ears. The problem is the weakness in the cartilage is not only present in the ear flaps but in other parts of the body. Breeders have to do do their best to avoid this disease being too severe by breeding a Scottish Fold with a non-Scottish Fold so that the resultant cat is heterozygous to the mutation. But this cat will still carry this disease. This also leads to half the cats having straight ears which is why you’ll see “Scottish Straights” for sale.

Ms Potter said this about the disease and how Chip is featured in this new film called Argylle.

“Scottish Fold cats, as featured in the new film Argylle, have a genetic disorder that causes them severe and painful lameness,’ Ms Potter explained. This is because the cartilage abnormality responsible for their distinctive folded ears also affects joints meaning they can develop painful arthritis, even from a young age. Although we have only had seven Scottish Fold cats come into our care since 2018, we fear that this film may glamourise these cats and could be the latest breed to experience a boom in their popularity, without people realising the sometimes severe issues these cats can face.”

The RSPCA wants breeders to prioritise the health of their animals and their temperament over appearance. This is a point that I have made consistently for 15 years. Sadly, the primary objective of all breeders is the appearance which should follow the breed standard guidelines.

Unfortunately, in the instance of the Persian cat, for example, the guidelines insist on a vertical face which is entirely flat and therefore the breed standard encourages, indeed insists upon an unhealthy cat with breathing problems and tear duct overflow et cetera because the head is brachycephalic and the nose squashed into the face which dramatically alters the anatomy of the face very unnaturally. If you do that you will affect health.

Flat faces have also appeared in great numbers on dogs particularly the French Bulldog. These “Frenchies” were very popular purchases during the Covid-19 pandemic. People like the flat face hence the popularity of the Persian over many years and now the French Bulldog.

But the French Bulldog is the unhealthiest dog breed in the world on my assessment with a seven year lifespan in their life in which the animal struggles to breathe. If you walk past a man with a French Bulldog in a park, you will hear the dog snuffling and snorting indicating difficulty with breathing. It’s sad and it’s a shame. I suppose the owner thinks nothing of it. They might think it is normal. It isn’t. It’s a sign of a severe health problems.

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Do Bengal cats have breathing problems?

Four desirable Bengal kittens looking healthy
Four desirable Bengal kittens looking healthy. Picture in the public domain as assessed.

Yes, a Bengal kitten might have breathing problems if they suffer from the inherited disease flat-chest kitten syndrome (FCKS) which is similar to but not the same as pectus excavatum (PE). In both conditions the chest is compressed which results in breathing problems for the kitten. If the condition is severe the kitten does not survive. If not, the kitten grows out of the condition and lives a normal life to the best of my knowledge. This is a genetically inherited health issue due to selective breeding. Pretty well all purebred cats have their own burdens to bear on the issue of inherited health problems. It is a cat fancy disgrace. It’s horrible and purebred cats should not have these health problems which are so much part of the breeding process.

I’ll quote the National Kitten Coalition to describe the difference between flat chest kitten syndrome (FCKS) and pectus excavatum (PE):

PE affects the sternum (breastbone) and costal cartilages that connect the sternum to the ribs; FCKS affects the whole rib cage resulting in a dorsoventral (extending from the back to the belly) flattening of the thoracic cavity.

Severely affected kittens may not survive. Pectus excavatum is also known as funnel chest or cobbler’s chest. It is caused by a dipping of the end of the sternum (breastbone) toward the vertebral column (back bone) creating a funnel-like depression midway along the kitten’s body.

A breeder says that FCKS only affects kittens as kitten suffering from the condition are killed by it or they survives and grow out of it.

Other inherited conditions

This is just another inherited condition. There are others such as crusty nose leather called ‘Bengal Nose’ and a sensitive stomach causing smelly poop and diarrhoea. HCM also affects Bengal cats.

Prevalence of thoracic deformities in Bengals

Here is a useful quote from a study on the Bengal cat and chest problems:

Clinical records made during routine vaccinations were compared between populations of domestic shorthair cats and Bengal kittens. An increased incidence (12/244) of thoracic wall deformity was detected amongst the Bengal kittens. Deformities detected were: pectus excavatum (five), unilateral thoracic wall concavity (six) and scoliosis (one). Five-generation pedigrees were analysed for the affected kittens that showed a high degree of common ancestry indicating the likelihood of a familial cause.

Increased incidence of thoracic wall deformities in related Bengal kittens 2012

12 out of 244 indicates a prevalence for these thoracic deformities in Bengal kittens of 5 percent or around 5 kittens in every 100. It is significant but fairly rare.

Dwarf cats too

Separately the dwarf cats via the foundation cat, the Munchkin, are prone to both PE and lordosis which is a curvature if the spine. This is rarely reported but I wrote about this 15 years ago:

Dwarf cats: 2 health problems
Dwarf cats: 2 health problems. Photos: copyright Helmi Flick. Drawing by PoC.

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HCM in male and female Bengal cats and humans, a comparison

HCM in humans and Bengal cats
HCM in humans and Bengal cats. A comparison. Image: MikeB

I’ve spotted a peculiar anomaly in the story about HCM in Bengal cats. In case you didn’t realise it, Bengal cats are said to be predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Maine Coon cats have the same problem by the way as do some other cat breeds e.g., Ragdoll and British Shorthairs.

I will take what a Bengal cat breeder in Australia, Migaloo Bengal Cats, states as true but I haven’t verified their information.

They tell me that this heart disease is “common in Bengal cats (16.7%)”. They then go on to state that “it appears that males (20.4%) are more commonly affected than females (2.1%)”.

That’s a big difference. I have to question the validity of that data but I will take it on face value.

Interestingly, despite HCM being the most common inherited cardiovascular disease in humans, only 0.2% of humans suffer from it. That is one in 500. In Bengal cats it is around 1 in 6.

And it’s worth stating that in the general domestic cat population, HCM affects 14.7% of all domestic cats – source: the study mentioned below (another source states 10-15%). For an as yet unexplained reason domestic cats are far more likely to suffer from HCM than humans. Shouldn’t we know why? HCM affects a similar percentage of dogs.

Bengal cats NOT predisposed to HCM on this data

When people say that the Bengal cat is predisposed to getting HCM they are generalising (merging males and females) and indeed incorrect because on the numbers that I have presented on this page, it’s untrue because male Bengal cats have a slightly increased chance of getting the disease over the general population but female Bengal cats have a much lower chance of getting the disease.

Therefore, taken as a whole, we can’t say that Bengal cats are predisposed to HCM. In the past I’ve tended to restate what I’ve read on the Internet without digging around enough. I was wrong.

RELATED: An earlier (2008) page on HCM in Bengal cats.

A study, “Genetics of feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy”, tells me that the phenotype of HCM in humans is very similar to that in cats. The word “phenotype” means physical appearance or observable characteristics. However, the difference is that in cats the disease develops much more quickly than in humans. Is that because the domestic cat lifespan is much shorter than for humans?

The study also states that there is a similarity in the genotype of the disease within humans and cats. This means that the genetics causing the disease in cats and humans are similar. Although scientists have identified far more genes causing HCM in people than in cats because more research has been carried out.

Link to the study: https://doi.org/10.1111/cge.13743

FYI – New York State University is “looking for DNA samples from Bengal Cats with a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or are at least 8 years of age and do not have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to advance our study to identify a gene for the disease”. Click this link to get involved if you can. Note: exterior links sometimes break.

Treatment

For completeness here is a short mention on treatment for HCM.

Treatment for HCM can be divided into two phases: preclinical and clinical. During the preclinical phase, there are no signs of heart failure or blood clot formation, and the focus is on managing the disease and preventing complications from arising. Unfortunately, no preclinical therapy has been shown to slow disease progression or reduce ventricular hypertrophy in cats with HCM.

In the clinical phase, which may involve congestive heart failure (CHF) or arterial thromboembolism (ATE), the goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Beta-blockers, such as atenolol or metoprolol, are commonly used to manage HCM, especially when there is left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. These drugs slow down the heart rate, reduce the force of contraction, and help to decrease oxygen demand.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as enalapril or benazepril, are also frequently used to treat HCM. These drugs reduce blood pressure, decrease the workload on the heart, and improve blood flow. Antiplatelet drugs, such as clopidogrel or aspirin, may also be prescribed to prevent blood clots from forming in the arteries.

There are also some promising novel therapies being investigated, such as sarcomeric modulating drugs, which target the underlying genetic mutations that cause HCM. The feline HCM model has already played a crucial role in bridging research between rodents and human clinical trials, with one such trial investigating a novel drug for cats with HCM.

Additionally, there is growing interest in studying the role of beta receptor and ACE gene polymorphisms in cats with HCM, as they may provide insight into the response to therapy and disease progression. This interdisciplinary research may lead to more personalized treatments for cats with HCM in the future.

Source for treatments: ChatGPT.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) affects 10% of British Shorthairs

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Bengal Nose

Bengal Nose - a comparison between a good nose and an affected nose - photo copyright Helmi Flick

Bengal Nose – a comparison between a good nose and an affected nose – photo copyright Helmi Flick

This page was first written, as I recall, in around 2009. It has been updated on more than one occasion including today June 5, 2022 at which point I have republished it. My understanding of the cause of Bengal nose is that it is an inherited genetic condition but I welcome the viewpoint of others in comments, please.

Bengal Nose refers to a condition, which is a dry, crackly nose leather reported by breeders and in a research paper. It is not as far as I am aware a medical term. The nose leather (for people not in the cat fancy) is the end of the nose for a cat. Some breeders think the condition is caused by an incorrect diet in which there is a shortage of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). In that case rubbing vitamin E oil on the nose alleviates the condition. At least one vet diagnosed it as a food allergy, which was cleared up by a change in diet incorporating a different protein level.

However, a research article emanating from Sweden tells a different story. Diet may be a factor but there are other causes. There is also the question as to whether this condition is inherited from the Asian Leopard cat, the wild cat ancestor to the Bengal cat. For the time being, it is the research paper that tells us something about this disease. Perhaps more work is required? Or more cat breeder input.

The research was self-funded and is entitled, “A novel ulcerative nasal dermatitis of Bengal cats” – Author: K. Bergvall. The author refers to the condition as a unique dermatitis that affects Swedish Bengal cats. It, in fact, seems to affect non-Swedish Bengal cats too. The work was carried out on 48 cats over the period 1999-2003. This is many years ago and it surprises me that it has only now being talked about. Perhaps I (and others) was unaware of it but breeders (or some breeders) were aware of it and didn’t discuss it. How prevalent is it? Not sure, but of the 48 cats presented to the researcher 6 had crusts, fissures, erosions and ulcers of the nasal planum. That represents 12.5% of the total. The current percentage may be lower. Planum means “A plane or flat surface”. Nasal means “pertaining to the nose”. That doesn’t exactly tell me the area we are talking about but as it is the nose leather (info from breeders – above) it must refer to the flat surface at the end of the cat’s nose.

The condition was found to start at 4 months to 1 year of age. Antibiotics did not work. Salicylic acid improved the lesions in one of two cats treated. Prednisolone (a synthetic steroid similar to hydrocortisone – it is used as an anti-inflammatory drug and is an immunosuppressive drug) proved effective in curing one cat and partially cured another. Steroids are, as far as I am aware, a last resort in treatments as they can cause side effects. Some breeders wouldn’t consider steroids to be suitable to control this condition, for an otherwise healthy kitten.

The most successful drug in treating “Bengal Nose” was Tacrolimus ointment. This is an immunosuppressive drug used with corticosteroids to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs in humans. This drug decreased the lesions in 4 cats. Lesion means “discontinuity of tissue”. In this case it means that the nose leather is not cut but made up of broken tissue as a result of the condition.

The researcher speculated that it was an inherited disease and one linked to the immune system of the cat. Cat breeding can lead to defective immune systems and higher levels of ill health in purebred cats. It is well known that purebreds generally live shorter lives that Moggies, on average. Inbreeding depression is a description of immune system malfunction or an immune system not working to full effect. Bengal Nose may be linked, therefore, to inbreeding in Bengal cats but this is pure speculation by me. It is, though, recognized that the Bengal breed has been developed from a small number of founding individual cats. Also, the fact that the problem has no known environmental or dietary cause (i.e. it cuts across a variety of circumstances) and does not respond well to usual medication except as described above indicates a genetic illness.

There is no reference to it in Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated, a recommended book.

It there anyone who can shed light on Bengal Nose?

Update June 10, 2021: The Institute of Genetics refers to this condition as “nasal hyperkeratosis”. It’s not completely clear that this is the condition called ‘Bengal Nose’ which can be suffered by Bengal cats but they state that it has been recognised for more than 10 years and is mainly reported in Bengal and Egyptian Mau cats. They say that it is an inherited disease. In other words, it is a disease caused by inheriting defective genes. They say that the mode of inheritance is unclear by which, I presume, they mean that the not sure whether the gene is dominant or recessive. On their website they were asking for help from readers to send in blood samples so that they could do some research on this and better understand the condition. Their article is undated but I think that it was written some time ago.

This page, written by me, was published in 2017 and there is precious little according to a Google search on the causes of Bengal Nose. There are quite a few posts on the Reddit.com website from Bengal cat owners reporting that their cats suffer from this condition. It is probably not that uncommon and therefore something needs to be done about it.

I believe that the fact that nothing or little has been done is indicative of an inbreeding issue with the cat breeders. If they are unwilling to address the problem (which seems to be the case) nothing will change.

Update June 5, 2022: I have just bumped into another study on this topic. It is titled: Juvenile idiopathic nasal scaling in 3 Bengal cats.

The conclusion of the scientists was that “an underlying congenital condition is suspected that manifests with high epidermal cell turnover and normal keratinisation”.

My interpretation of that is the cause is an inherited genetic condition which results in the cells of the nose being produced and shared at a higher rate than normal. This smaller squares up as I recall with what I said above and I suspect, without being critical, that this is a selective breeding process. Selective breeding is controlled inbreeding to fix appearance characteristics. When humans play with natural selection and indulgent artificial selection, another term for selective breeding, they are liable to end up with this sort of result.

Definitions from www.thefreedictionary.com

Comments for
Bengal Nose

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Dec 06, 2011 Bengal Nose Solution
by: Wrenaria

I had this problem with my Bengal cat and the solution we found with our vet was tacrolimus. You can read more about our experience here.

It’s a prescription ointment, so it is not a cheap upfront cost, but a tube of tacro will probably last us at least a year. Totally worthwhile.


Dec 01, 2011 sierra
by: Anonymous

We have had sierra for a little over a year now. She is 6 years old. The weather started to turn cold and my husband noticed half her nose was dry and cracked. We did some research and heard about bengal nose. The next day we put neosporin on it. The next day i looked over as she was cleaning herself and it was bleeding. we added more neosporin to it. We cant take her to the vet for a few more days until we get paid. It doesn’t seem to bother her. I feed her indoor science diet. From what i have read is most of them get it at a few months old then it goes away. the side of her nose that is affected always had a funny look to it. i thought it had been from the previous owner. But it was soft. She lets us add the stuff to her nose with out any problems so far. I worry about taking her to the vet. when i got her from petsmart she was so stressed out it took over a month before she stopped losing hair in clumps. Nothing has changed in her food. It was colder last winter than this one and it didnt happen. Im not sure what to do for her until we can take her to the vet or if they can do anything.


Sep 13, 2011 Bengal nose thoughts & observations
by: Anonymous

Bengal nose does not for the whole part seem to bother the cats involved. It often has dissapeared on my kittens whom got it around the time the nose leather changed from black to brick. I remember the Asian Leopard is mainly a protein eating cat (birds) who also eats alot of fish probably ocasionally lizards or bugs when times are sparse, does this mean thier ancestors should have higher protein fresh uncooked meat? Calling Bengal nose a “disease” is to me a far off stretch as the cats are not bothered nor does it seem to affect their overall health. As for breeding about 1/3 kittens of my litters have had Bengal nose at some time or another, I dont fail to recognize it is always arriving almost immediately after the first shots, (caused by the immunization?)

2 in a litter may develope it and 2 may not, all cats I have kept from said litters, it has cleared up by the time they turn 14-15 months but they tend to be more boogery than my other cats who never developed it.

My kittys that do have it seem extremely healthy and loved though I would not show them until it clears.

It is possibly the nose leather because of the genetic code has a hard time changing over from the black to the nose color it will become and it could be one of the components in the immunizations themselves cause an irritation or the immune system response to those immunizations which I highly suspect, it could also be the dietary needs are not met as far as oils, pure raw protein.

I really wish more studies could be done on it as a non disease but a condition (like chapped lips or hang nails we dont dub them diseases) and possibly studies on a holistic approach via diet, suppliments to see if this will make a difference. I myself am working on a few things and will post if I find any of them helpful but to put the scare into people over the dreaded Bengal nose is quite ludicrous it is one of the minor incoveinces we face to have a hybrid animal and hopefully one we can find the cause and alleviate it.

by the way may it be noted we have 6 spayed and nuetered bengals who roam free on our 180 acres they have never had Bengal nose and I often catch them eating grass and bugs….


Jul 10, 2011 Re:Sorry but..
by: Anonymous

Hi Michael,

Contrary to popular belief being a breeder of purebred animals does not mean that a person must give up all moral obligations. As a general rule, most breeders are concerned about the illnesses present within the breed they work with just as much as the owners of the pets they sell to.

With this said, the very idea of a purebred is one in which people choose to isolate specific traits and features by limiting the gene pool. If genetic illnesses are present in the breed, it should be brought to the attention of those who are interested in the breed itself. The same could be said for HCM in the bengal breed, or hip dyslpasia in the Maine Coon.

As a bengal breeder myself, in the past six years of breeding I have seen this condition appear on a few of my cats on occasion. Though it’s something that I definitely agree is undesirable, it is generall classified as a cosmetic fault (like a kinked tail or crossed eyes) and is not life threatening.

It neither hinders a cat’s quality of life nor does it cause an lowered immune system/increase in illness. And in most instances, it seems to be seasonal at best, as many of the cases I’ve been reported by my pet buyers it seems to come and go. A good diet with supplements and lack of grain seems to have worked best for the cases I’ve had.


Jul 02, 2011 Surolan Drops
by: Michael

Suralon worked for one Bengal cat. This drug is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal combi drug. Seek veterinary advice before use.

I think the anti-inflammatory element works but this drug does not cure the underlying cause.

That is just a personal and untested view – a guess essentially.


Jul 02, 2011 Sorry but..
by: Michael

Response to last comment. I am sorry but I get the uneasy feeling that your comment is not genuine but one designed to water down the potential impact of this article on the popularity of the Bengal cat.

I may be wrong and if so I apologise but…


Jun 19, 2011 My Bengal had Dry Nose
by: Anonymous

Hi all, just sharing my story. I have 2 bengals, both 6 years old now. When my male bengal was about 6 months old, he developed the horrible crusty nose. No one at the time had even heard about such and problem and my vet was stumped. I did a lot of research and came across a few articles and other info, but not as much as you can find now. We tried some steroid cream, but it only made it marginally better. Then we just used neosporin for a while to keep it moist and prevent infection. Then, almost as suddenly as it appeared, the dry nose just went away when he was about a year old. The odd thing was that his nose went from being black, to deep pink, and it has been that way for the last 5 years. No recurrence of dry nose either. Hope others have the same experience I did. It sure was scary while he had the condition!


Jun 19, 2011 Response to last comment
by: Anonymous

Nice comment but I am not sure that your intentions are genuine. Very sorry if that sounds horrible or if I am wrong. But I don’t think it is a problem that is as easy to eradicate as you suggest. My feeling is that it is linked to breeding.


Mar 22, 2011 Bengal nose
by: Debby

I received my new stud @ 5 mo. old. He had a very crusty nose. He had just gotten over months of ring worm, so his immune system was weakened. I was lead to believe that it was caused by the nasal vaccine that was given to him. He came down with the same symptoms as he was being vaccinated for. With CS, lycine, neosporine on his sore nose , he got over it in about 4-6 wks. Never showed up again. Different diet might have helped. I think he was raised on Iams.. None of his kittens have had it and hes a great guy 🙂


Dec 28, 2010 Begal Nose
by: Anonymous

I bought a kitten for stud purposes, when he was 5 mo. old. He had sore, crusty, scabby nose, when I got him. I was concerned, and I treated him with lycine, and Collodiol Silver. He had just gotten his 3rd vacsine , and it was the nasal type. He seemed to have come down with the virus he was being vacsinated for. He had also,was just getting over ringworm. I think his immune system was already low. He came out of the “bengal nose” in a month, and has been healthy, and is a great stud for his mate. The kittens are healthy. I do not recommend the nasal vacsinations. I get the shots at the vet clinic now.


Nov 12, 2010 Bengal nose 5 month kittens
by: Anonymous

our bengals had it but it appears to be getting better since I have switched away from a food with grians etc to one with higher proiein…


Feb 06, 2010 bengal nose
by: Anonymous

My cat definately has this and has had since only a few months.Whilst it does not affect him seriously bathing it seems to bring him some comfort. would it be okay to use vitamin e oil to soften it up for him as it really does look painful and the vets were absolutely useless.


Nov 13, 2009 Hi – response to last comment
by: Michael

I am not a breeder. The problem is hard to cure because it is associated with the immune system. That then makes it severe. But it is not (it seems) a major debilitating disease/illness so in that way it is not severe.

I think vets prescribe ointments and the like that keep it in check and comfortable without curing it.

I don’t think steroids are appropriate because of the side effects for long term use.


Nov 10, 2009 my cat
by: alisha

Im pretty much definitely sure my bengal has it. How severe is this?


Oct 15, 2009 what
by: Anonymous

hi i need help with my science project — what other genetic diseases?

Answer: I made a post on the blogger site that lists genetic diseases for cat breeds:

genetic-diseases-in-purebred-cats.html


Sep 01, 2009 Response to last comment
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Yes, if it is an inherited condition that affects the immune system then I think it would be irresponsible to breed from him. If in doubt don’t breed is my view because it may affect the offspring and their offspring and perpetuate the problem to the detriment of the breed generally.


Aug 31, 2009 bengal nose in studs
by: Anonymous

I have a bengal stud whom is 8 months old so i havn’t bred from him as yet. However i am positive he has bengal nose. i did not breed him myself he was purchased and bought into my cattery. should i not breed with him will this condition be passed on through his kittens?


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Infographic showing 8 different types of Bengal cat coat

Thanks to the Royal Bengal Cattery I am able to publish on PoC an excellent Infographic showing eight different types of Bengal cat coat. I must say that it can be a little confusing to outsiders so this infographic is most welcome. The Bengal cat has come a long way since the early days when they started off with the brown background colour and a range of markings such as rosettes and arrowhead spots or the marble pattern. This is the first ‘variety’ in the Infographic below. Apparently, it is still the most popular colour and it was the first to be recognised by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1983. Bengal cats with this colour have green or gold eyes. Nowadays the brown comes in a variety of shades from golden through caramel to honey and cinnamon.

Bengal cat coat infographic
Bengal cat coat infographic. Published here under a creative commons license.

RELATED: Picture of a charcoal Bengal cat

The Snow Lynx Bengal cat has a pale coat with almost ghost markings on the flanks. The breeder says that this is a mini snow leopard. This variety of the Bengal cat comes in three genetically different colours: seal lynx, seal mink, and seal sepia. These cats have blue eyes.

The Snow Mink Bengal Cat has a slightly deeper colour and pattern. The background colours are: ivory, cream or a light tan colour. Markings can be various shades of seal to dark seal mink. The eyes are blue-green or aqua.

The Snow Sepia Bengal Cat has a background colour of ivory, cream or light tan. Markings are in seal sepia to dark seal sepia and the eyes are green or gold.

The Silver Bengal has a higher contrast coat but it lacks colour because the inhibitor gene “inhibits” the production of warm colours and creates an almost white base coat against which are set strong dark markings. The background colour varies from white to very dark steel colour. This should be as little “tarnish” in the coat as possible. This is a reference to a yellow/rusty brown colour. The markings should be from dark grey to jet black. The eyes should be golden.

The Charcoal Bengal coat is darker. We are told that the black smoky charcoal color was particularly seen in early generation F1 and F2 Bengal cats. This trait can be seen in different colour classes of Bengal cats: browns, silvers, snows and blues.

The Silver Charcoal Bengal has a background colour which is less rusty coloured i.e. with little to no rufous (reddish-brown) coloration and is very dark spotted or marbled patterned. These cats have a darker facemask and a thick dorsal stripe. This is referred to as the “Zorro cape and mask”. I’m told that the charcoal brown Bengal cats and charcoal silver Bengal cats can have a black body with ghost markings.

The Blue Bengal is a rare one, apparently. They have a powder blue/grey coat with some cream tones. The spotted pattern is a metal grey or dark blue colour which is a diluted black. The dilution gene is recessive and so both parents must carry the gene for blue to be manifested in the phenotype. The eyes are gold, green or hazel. The background colour is a steel blue.

The Black Bengal cat is described as a solid black with black patterns on a black background. This is a melanistic cat in which you have faint ghost markings against the dark charcoal background. You’ll see this coat type in the famous melanistic jaguar (black panther). The spots can be dark brown to black and you will see them more clearly in sunlight.

Below are some more pages on the Bengal cat.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Glittering mink Bengal cat with impressive donuts

Julia Sorokina, of Nizhni Novgorod, Russia, has created a mink Bengal cat with impressive donuts (‘doughnuts’ in UK English) and a glittering coat. Bengal cat breeders love glitter and in this Facebook video you can see it. This is a female and her name is Polly. She was born on February 17, 2021. Julia reports that the genetics test is Pra-b n/n,PKdef n/n, and I don’t know what that means at the moment! I’ll try and figure it out later. Please comment Julia.

Glittering mink Maine Coon made in Russia
Glittering mink Maine Coon made in Russia. Bred and photographed by Julia Sorokina.

As is the case for Maine Coons, Russian breeders do some fantastic things. I sense that sometimes they go a little bit further than the American breeders. They certainly apply their minds to cat breeding intelligently. That’s just a gut feeling. Sometimes, the American cat associations become a little bit entrenched in their ways and blind to what they are doing and I’m referring in this instance to the famous Persian with its extreme, flat-face, which breaks their own rules on health. But I don’t want to go on about that on this page.

Posted by Julia Sorokina on Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.


Intelligence needs to be applied to cat breeding because there is a heavy moral duty to do it responsibly. If the world is to have the artificial selective breeding of domestic cats let’s do it responsibly. In fact, it is the only way we can do it because there are too many unwanted cats, many of which are euthanised in shelters. Every time a purebred cat is created, they occupy the space of an unwanted cat in someone’s home.

Julia Sorokina
Julia Sorokina. Photo: herself.

Cat breeders have to look at the bigger picture but I don’t want to lecture I just want to mention from time to time the moral dimension. But in the meantime, let’s enjoy Polly’s beautiful appearance. The International Cat Association (TICA) allows the following colours for the Bengal cat: brown tabby, seal sepia tabby, seal mink tabby, seal lynx point, black silver tabby, seal silver sepia tabby, seal silver mink tabby, seal silver links point, spotted, marbled, charcoal spotted and charcoal marbled patterns. I’m not sure if Julia is registered with TICA or the World Cat Federation (WCF).

Europeans are sometimes registered with the WCF, as I understand it. Under WCF breed standard rules the following colours are recognised for the Bengal cat: brown spotted tabby, brown marble tabby, seal spotted lynx-point, seal marbled lynx-point, seal sepia spotted tabby, seal sepia marbled tabby, seal mink spotted tabby, seal mink marbled tabby.

I expect that Polly is the penultimate coat type listed by the WCF i.e. “Seal mink spotted tabby”. However, I would like Julia to comment on this page if she visits, which is unlikely!

Link to her FB page.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Melanistic, black Bengal cat

The Russian breeder, Лариса Десятова, of this very interesting-looking black purebred cat describes him as a: 🧚‍♀️ Bengali male 🧚‍♀️ melanistic, born 30/11/20/.

I believe that she means “Bengal male”. There is no breed called the ‘Bengali’ to the best of my knowledge or at least I have never heard of such a breed. It is strange, therefore that she uses this terminology. She is a breeder of Bengal cats, as far as I can tell, as well as dwarf hairless cats and non-dwarf hairless catssuch as the Elf.

Melanistic Bengal cat
Melanistic Bengal cat. Photo: Лариса Десятова

Russian cat breeders do some extraordinary things. They do take matters to the extreme. If this cat is a black Bengal cat then it is a melanistic cat as she mentions. This, as you might know, is a genetic mutation which occurs in the wild in which causes the normal coat turns to a dark charcoal or near-black with ghost spots and markings. It is quite common in servals in the wild, for example.

Years ago, when I visited A1 Savannahs near Ponca city in Oklahoma, USA, I photographed a melanistic F4 Savannah cat which you can see below. I believe, therefore, that the cat on this page described as a ‘Bengali male melanistic’ is indeed a melanistic Bengal cat. He certainly caught my eye. I have never seen a cat like him except, as mentioned, the Savannah cat I photographed all those years ago.

Melanistic Savannah cat
Melanistic Savannah cat. Photo: MikeB

It surprises me, actually, why breeders have not selectively bred black Bengal cats before. No doubt this was an accident but I wonder whether through selective breeding they might be able to control it? Perhaps they feel that there is an insufficient market for black cats because in general they are unpopular.

But there is a popularity for black panthers in the wild. These are very popular animals creating an interest which might be tapped into, to create an interest in black, melanistic Bengal cats. Perhaps the problem is that the coat of the Bengal cat is so stunning it would be counterproductive to cover it all up with black!

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

What is Bengal cat glitter?

I wrote about Bengal cat glitter in 2008. More is known about this phenomenon nowadays. I thought, therefore, that I would revisit the subject. In simple terms, it refers to a coat which appears to glitter in the light as if somebody has sprinkled some stardust over it.

Belle Ami Bengals provides a nice explanation. Firstly, not all Bengal cats are fortunate enough to benefit from Bengal glitter. Astonishingly, when show cats having this characteristic were first shown at cat shows, some judges tried to rub off what they thought was some sort of fairy dust sprinkled over a breeder’s cat to make them more attractive. It was that mysterious at the time. I can believe it because when I was at a cat show in Oklahoma I remember a white Persian cat being covered in white powder which settled onto the table top platform when the cat was being photographed.



There appears to be two types of glitter. In one type, the glitter effect is in the tip of the hair. Looked at under a microscope it appears that tiny flecks of a “reflective silicate crystal called mica” is present inside the hair shaft. This type of glitter is called “Mica (gold-tipped)“. In the other type it appears that the mica is present throughout the entire hair shaft which refracts light to produce a “pearly effect”. This is known apparently as “oyster”. This type of glitter is called “Satin (hollow-air)“. The “hollow-air” reference is to pockets of air along the entire length of the hair shaft which refracts light and also gives the coat a smooth silky appearance. They can become elongated making the coat even softer and silkier.

It used to be thought that this phenomenon on is due to a recessive gene. It is now believe that it is due to an “accumulative gene”. The phrase appears to mean that the effect accumulates and becomes more pronounced in offspring if you breed to cats both of whom benefit from Bengal cat glitter.

Bengal cat glitter
Bengal cat glitter. Photo: Belle Ami Bengals.

As expected, glitter is a very highly sought after feature. It appears that the phenomenon first appeared in a cattery run by Gene Ducote called Gogees. Gene said:

Our bloodlines have become famous for producing and perpetuating the wonderful gold-tipped glitter that is so unique to the Bengals. There were times, when we were showing Warhawk [their first glittered cat],that judges were trying to wipe off the glitter, thinking we had sprayed his coat with something to make him sparkle.

Link to Belle Ami Bengals

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