The Bengal is one of the first new breeds to have been created by deliberately crossing domestic cats with wild cats. The result is a stunningly beautiful cat with a wild-looking tabby coat, sometimes featuring actual leopard-like rosettes. The Bengal breed is slowly gaining recognition with different breed associations. In 2016, the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) accepted the Bengal breed under the miscellaneous category. These cats, however, have quickly become very popular among cat lovers. While not many of us can afford to buy a purebred Bengal cat, we can all appreciate the beauty of the breed.
Bengal Cats - Breed History
The first documented crosses between domestic cats and Asian Leopard cats took place during the 1960s. At the beginning of the 1980s, a breeder from Arizona started a formal breeding program based on descendants of these hybrids. The emphasis in her program was mainly on coat pattern and color in an attempt to preserve the wild leopard look. Later, as the breed gained recognition with The International Cat Association (TICA), breed standards were established and the Bengal began to gain in popularity.
Bengal Cats - Breed Description
The Bengal is a medium-sized cat with a well-proportioned body type and head. Its most prominent feature is its wild-looking coat, which resembles the coat of the Asian leopard. The coat pattern can be either spotted tabby or marble (classic) tabby. A wild look is desirable, preferably with prominent rosettes in the tabby markings.
Most Bengal cats are brown tabbies, with different shades of red, sand, and yellow. A white coat, with the spotted or marble pattern, also exists. White Bengals are called "snow Bengals," and some have blue eyes to match.
Some Bengals have a special "glitter" effect all over their coat. This golden shimmer is unique to Bengal cats and is encouraged in breeding programs.
Bengals are social, active cats. They are completely domesticated, being at least four generations apart from their wild ancestors. They are curious and playful and require ample human attention.
The Bengal cat must be at least four generations away from wild leopard cats. This ensures that the cat has the temperament and behavior patterns of a domestic cat and can be a social and affectionate pet in any household.
Bengal Cats - Special Needs
The Bengal needs only basic grooming. Its smooth rich coat looks best with a regular brush once a week. These are healthy and robust cats and they need lots of activity to keep their muscular bodies in shape.
How about you? Do you have or have you had a Bengal cat in your life?
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