The Bengal Cat
WHAT IS A BENGAL CAT?
There are so many false claims and beliefs out there! It's very important to us to make sure everything described on our website are facts that are backed by science and approved by USDA our accredited veterinarians.
The Bengal cat is a man-made cat, it does not exist in nature. Bengals are the world’s most famous and highly desired “Designer Cats”! Bengals are bred to “look like” miniature leopards, but they are not actually wild leopards. This should not come as a surprise to people, as we humans have "made" lots of animals and vegetation that we now see them as the norm or standards. Just think of all the the different breeds of dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, chickens, cattle, guppies, goldfish and koi. Apples, carrots, corns, roses, tulips, iris, orchids, etc. are also on the list…just to name a few.
Bengal Cats were originated by breeding the Asian Leopard Cat with domesticated short-hair back in 1963 by the creator of the Bengal Breed Jean Mill. Through proper breeding programs, today's Bengal Cats are recognized by The International Cat Association and The Cat Fanciers' Association as an official “domesticated breed” of cats back in 1986. Bengals are recognized by biologists as it’s own “specie” of cat, the scientific name for Bengals is Felis Bengalensis. Today's SBT Bengal Cats are not hybrids from wild Asian Leopards. Today’s Bengals are “designed” to have the wild and exotic looks of a leopard, but their temperaments are very much domesticated; not aggressive, not wild. Despite false beliefs, pure bred pedigreed SBT Bengals are NOT wild cats, they only "look" wild. Adult males are about 8-15 lbs. and adult females are about 7-10 lbs. I had the privilege to have met the creator of Bengals, Ms. Jean Mill before she passed away. I loved the conversation we had, and I’m so glad that she thought my cats were true to her vision of what Bengals should look like.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Today’s Bengals are bred to resemble wild leopards. A quality bengal will have the leopard markings all over it’s body. These markings are often called rosettes. There are basically two types of markings on Bengals. They are the spotted/rosetted and marbled Bengals, both types of markings appear in all colors of Bengals. Usually Marble Bengals are priced lower, because they have lost the “leopard print marking”, instead they are just large swirls of irregular coloring. At our cattery, we only breed Spotted/Rosetted Bengals. Huge irregular Spots/Rosettes are called Clouded Leopards, because they resemble the large markings of the wild Clouded Leopard without actually using a drop of actual Clouded Leopard blood. A well designed Clouded Leopard Bengal is highly prized because of the dramatic markings. Brown Bengals generally have green or golden yellow eyes, Snow Bengals have blue or aqua eyes, Silver and Charcoal Bengals usually have golden yellow or green eyes.
3. Clouded Leopard markings are huge irregular rosettes that resemble the wild Clouded Leopard. These markings are very dramatic looking. A quality Clouded Leopard many have huge rosettes, but they don’t loose the “leopard” markings of darker outer ring and lighter inside the ring. Marking too large will loose the leopard print and be considered “marble” markings. Marbles are less desirable quality, because the leopard look is lost.
Not all Bengals are equal! Not all Bengals have the same quality fur. The older generation Bengals have looser, coarse hair, and they lack the glitter or shine on their fur. Quality Bengals today have finer and tight/thick hair. They are soft and silky to the touch, and the shinny coat can be easily seen in direct light.
There are basically 4 color groups, they are all beautiful in their own way. Bengals comes in Brown, Snow, Silver, and Charcoal. Each color groups have color variations from light to dark. Bengals reaches their adult coloring about 10-12 months old.
White Bengals are usually called Snow Bengals or Snow Leopards. There are basically 2 types of Snow Bengals …
Like all Bengal colors, Silvers can be very light, almost like a Snow Bengal, but still have a Silver sheen or shine to their coat. They are called Silver Snows. They are much more rare to find. Most “Silvers” or “Gray” Bengals have a silver/gray background, and black or dark gray markings and rosettes. Quality Silvers are hard to find! Quality Silvers are not “tarnished” which means they do not have brown in their coloring. Lesser quality Silvers have a little bit to a lot of brown in the overall coloring, which makes them look “tarnished”. A quality Silver Bengal is basically a black and white or black and gray cat. Silver Bengals usually have golden yellow eyes, sometimes green eyes.
Charcoals or Black Bengals resembles the Black Jaguar, or Black Leopard. They have a black cape, or black back. Their bodies can be from gray to almost black background and the rosettes are black. Like Silver Bengals, a quality Charcoal Bengal should not have any “tarnish” or brownish coloring. Charcoal Bengals usually have golden yellow eyes, sometimes green eyes.