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♥ ♥ about Bengal Cats, from The Scratching Post, June 2015 ♥ ♥ .
Ivana and Dexter, her Bengal cat, piqued my kitty care’s interest in finding out about Bengal Cats…
The Bengal breed originated from a cross between a domestic cat and the shy, wild Asian Leopard Cat.
This species of small wild cat, comparable to the Ocelot or Margay, weighs about 10-15 pounds.
Early History (from Wikipedia)
The earliest mention of an ALC/domestic cross was in 1889, when Harrison Weir wrote in Our Cats and All About Them. However in 1927, Mr 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 of 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.
A Little History
In 1963 I deliberately crossed leopard cats with domestic cats for several important reasons. At that time, wild cats were being exploited for the fur market.
♥ ♥ (continued from about Bengal Cats post) ♥ ♥
Nursing female leopard cats defending their nests were shot for their pelts, and the cubs were shipped off to pet stores worldwide. Unsuspecting cat lovers bought them, unaware of the danger, their unpleasant elimination habits and the unsuitability of keeping wild cats as pets.
Most of the wild kittens from this era ended up in zoos or escaped onto city streets. I hoped that by putting a leopard coat on a domestic cat, the pet trade could be safely satisfied. If fashionable women could be dissuaded from wearing furs that look like friends’ pets, the diminished demand would result in less poaching of wild species.
Well-bred Bengals are affectionate, purr enthusiastically and are exceedingly intelligent, a trait probably inherited from the wild cat’s natural selection for jungle survival. They use the litter box, like to climb and run, and are quick and curious about everything. Bengal owners report that their cats retrieve, learn parlor tricks and love water, sometimes coming right into the tub to play with human toes.
Even as adults, Bengals are entertaining and playful, but as in other breeds of domestic cats, they vary greatly in appearance and behavior. For example, most Abyssinians are loving and calm, but a few are independent and aloof. Some Abys are born with the perfect agouti coat, while others show tabby markings. So it is with Bengals. In general, skittish, fearful kittens seldom become affectionate pets, but they may bond to certain family members.
Bengal kittens often go through an ugly stage of grayness between 2 and 6 months of age in which the clearly contrasted markings are spoiled and blurry. This muting is probably nature’s way of protecting the young; baby cheetahs go through a similar fuzzy stage. Then, depending on the seasons, the gray ticked coat falls out and the rufous coloration returns, unless, of course, the kitten was gray (tawny) at birth. All Bengals must have a black tail tip, regardless of body color. Blue, red and dilute colors are not recognized Bengal colors, although Bengals with Ocicat blood often produce them.
In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat…this was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a favored tabby and the striking look associated with Leopards, Ocelots and Jaguars. The modern Bengal breed traces to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980’s. The breed’s name is a reference to the scientific name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Prionailurus bengalensis. The hybrid crosses are registered as Foundation (F1, F2 & F3) Bengals that are not eligible for show and only the females are used for breeding.
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.
Accepted as a new breed in TICA in 1986, Bengals gained championship status in 1991. They are now one of the most frequently exhibited breeds in TICA. An enthusiastic group of breeders around the world have successfully fulfilled the goal of creating a docile, civilized house cat that wears the richly patterned coat of the jungle cats and has some of the arresting features that have inspired and aroused humanity for centuries.
The ears should have a “thumbprint” – a patch where the fur is very short, in the shape of a thumb. Many tabby cats also have this thumbprint. The other thing in common with most tabby cats, Bengals have a clear “W” on the forehead.
Bengal cats’ fur (bengalcatworld.com)
The fur of a regular tabby cat is often “ticked” whereas this should not occur in Bengals –
ticking is where each strand of hair is broken up into different bands of colors.
The Bengal cat introduced glitter into the cat fancy; glitter is where air encircles the hair shaft and refracts light, giving the hair an iridescent shimmer (glitter). Many Bengals appear to have been dusted with “glitter,” causing the entire coat to sparkle.
Only the Bengal breed has this ” glitter ” characteristic.
There are other aspects of the Bengal fur that are also unique – it’s often said that you can tell a Bengal by touching it when blindfolded. Some find the best way of describing it is that it’s more like a pelt than fur with its feel of satin or silk, being short and plush.
Bengal cats have a longer body than a domesticated cat with muscular hind legs that contribute to the pear shaped body. This is much more evident in the females as the males larger rib cage and shoulders mask it to a degree. Those large hind legs do not make a Bengal perceptually faster, but do give it the ability to accelerate very quickly….and they also seem to jump higher, and with less effort, than most breeds.
They have a longer tail which they use like a rudder giving them the ability to turn very quickly. This combined with their bursts of speed makes them seem effortlessly athletic at times.
The Bengal has a personality that is different then any normal pet. A personality that elevates it to the level of a personal companion. In order for the full potential of that personality to be realized the Bengal needs to be correctly socialized from a very young age.
Bengals cats take 18 months or more to reach their full size and weight.
Adult Bengal males weight 14-20 pounds, and the females weight 8-12 pounds.
TICA (The International Cat Association) says:
While you can train a Bengal to have “good manners”, they are an active, inquisitive cat that loves to be up high. If you don’t like a cat to leave the floor, a Bengal is probably not the right cat for you. Bengals are busy by nature. They are very affectionate and can be a “lap cat” whenever THEY want to be, but in general their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing and investigating. When a Bengal is in full play mode, it’s rather like trying to hold on to running water! They’ll often save the cuddle time for when they want to sleep. Many Bengals enjoy water and may join you in brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Some Bengals are vocal while others are more quiet and selective about using their voice.
Bengals will also, in general, ALWAYS want to be where you are. After all, that’s where the action is! And Bengals are all about “The Action”. When given the choice of a static toy, and one that does wild, unpredictable things, Bengals will always choose the “wild” one! For individuals or families who enjoy rambunctious, funny, beautiful and dynamic feline companionship, consider the Bengal.
Bengals are confident, curious, loving, devoted and intelligent cats that make exceptional pets.
Bengals are also very vocal and loud – they will always tell you when they want something such as food or the litter box to be cleaned out (did I mention they can be fussy over these things?). The Bengal miaow is not easily ignored!
Although Bengals can be naughty and loud, they are also great fun and love to play with their humans. They are affectionate and it’s not unusual for them to form a great loyalty to a single member of the household.
Their intelligence means they are easy to train and many react well to clicker training. It’s not uncommon for Bengal owners to train their cats to go for a walk on a harness and leash (we have safe and strong harness jackets for sale in our store).
They love water and many will drink straight from the tap (faucet) and watch their humans in the shower or bath tub!
If you want an active, affectionate, naughty cat who will make you smile and even laugh every single day then a Bengal is for you!
June 2015 –
Anne-Marie says, “My other cats seem to enjoy his company as well.” She added that Louis enjoys watching bird and squirrel videos on YouTube, looking at himself in the mirror and eating… actually, Anne-Marie emphasized, “EATING.” Louis is loving the wet food.
It’s a wonderful ending to Louis’ search for a family and we couldn’t be happier or more grateful to the amazing Maguire family, furred and furless alike. Anne-Marie summed up the cat’s journey perfectly:
“Yes, it was a long plane ride for him, but we say one day of flying [heck] is worth a lifetime of happiness where he is a member of our feline family!”
And we just couldn’t talk about Louis without mentioning Peter and Suzie Baker, who adopted him “in place” for years. Their sponsorship of Louis Lanai at the sanctuary helped pay for food, medical care and more. Mahalo!
Lanai Animal Rescue Center,
PO Box 631577,
Lanai City, HI 96763
Here are some of our and your favorite cats, some are featured in the video Love Your Cat: cats and their people
Joan’s napping cat
Joan? Joan? Are you napping too?
She has one blue eye and one green eye.
Beautiful cats, Singapore zoo
love my cat – Helen Gil’s cats Newman and Piper hanging out –
with their beloved pal Bailey
About an orange cat, sent in by Joan Heller:
Several years ago a very adorable orange tabby cat…
lived at the Duane Reade on 22nd Street & Park Avenue South. I used to stop in there everyday on my way home from work & visit her. Then one day I heard they were looking for a new home for her because that store was closing for renovation. Several people wanted her, but I was the lucky one who got to adopt her. Her name was Danette which I immediately changed to Lucy, after the famous redhair comedianne. I did some research & found out that she was a rare girl indeed, orange females are pretty rare. Approximatley 80% of orange tabby’s are male. She was a wonderful cat & I had several good years with her. I think about her often & I’m so happy for the time we had together. It was the start of a long line of cats that have come to live with me.
submitted by Joan H.
By special request, here is Mister, the beloved cat who resided at Fort Pond Nursery, Montauk,
New York, and made customers and staff alike happy. RIP, Mister.
Nancy & Bernard – Love my cat: the handsome Mr. Pussy…
Zorro the cat; Costa Rica
Kerriann’s Love My Cat cutie: Gizmo
Amy’s cat Angus, but everyone calls him Angey.
If you want paintings of cats, contact:
Dorothy De Matteis, cat paintings 856 428 8725
Jenny Belin, cat portraits www.jennybelin.com
as seen in Tica Cat Show, Love Your Cat, chapter 4:
Download (from Amazon) Don Loprieno’s much loved book: The Stony Point Whisker Club
catteries: look at these breeds of cats
Ragdolls, Pat Doss www.dollheaven.net
Mikkat Cattery, Kathleen DePietro www.Mikkatpersians.com
MetaStar Bengals, Becky Mullins www.metastarbengals.com