The journey of the Bengal's began when small wild Leopards of Asia mated with cats such as Abyssinian and Burmese (domestic breeds). This is how Bengals acquired their beautiful, distinctive spots that create their stunning exotic appearance. The first recorded cross of these two animals' dates back to the early 1960's but it wasn't until 1985 that the first cat was exhibited in a show. Since then, Bengal cats have continued to increase in popularity and are desired by cat fanciers all over the world.
The Asian Leopard's are known in Latin as Feline Bengalensis, hence where the name 'Bengal' came from. These cats are small leopards and look very much like domestic cats except they have bigger eyes, longer legs and unique patterned coats. Their temperaments however are much different to that of a domestic cat because they are wild animals.
The creation of the first Bengal cat is quite a unique story and happened by mistake rather than intentionally; during 1963 and American lady wanted a unique looking animal so she acquired a female Asian leopard and kept is as a pet. A few years later she bought a male domestic cat. The cats were allowed to interact with each other because she had assumed they wouldn't breed! However, they did and the leopard gave birth to a litter of kittens. Unfortunately, only one of the kittens survived and she was named Kin-Kin. Kin-Kin mated with her father and produced two more kittens, one had the temperament of the Asian wildcat but the other inherited his father's gentle character. The personality of these cats however was rather unpredictable and it wasn't until the kittens were several generations away from the Asian leopard that they became a little easier to predict. For this reason, the Bengal cat has a temperament standard it must meet to be classed as pure bread.
Bengal's are clever cats with friendly temperaments and exotic appearances. The breed has been an inspiration to cat enthusiasts all over the world and has encouraged other similar cross breeding to take place. The Bengal remains the only spotty breed that is an immediate relation of the Asian Leopard Wildcat, which is why it is one of the most unique, sort-over breeds of the domestic cat.
Bengal cats have unique spotty markings all over and can come in a variety of beautiful colours; snow spotted, snow marbled, brown/black spotted and brown/black marbled, blue (can be registered and shown with TICA) or silver (eligible for GCCF registration and TICA registration and showing). The first type of pattern marking (spotted) can range from small spots dotted all around the body to much larger ones that are separated a lot more by their skin colour, the spots are aligned horizontally. The second type of marking is the marbled effect; patterns are symmetrical on each side and should create a marble appearance by swirling colours around the body.
Bengal's are quite large for a domestic cat with extremely short fur, which is shiny and velvety. They are quite muscular and their bodies tend to be long which sometimes makes them look bigger than they actually are. Their ears are relatively small and rounded and they have large eyes that are set wide apart. Brown Bengal's usually have almond, gold and sometimes green eyes, Snow Bengal's commonly have blue eyes but other colours are possible. Bengal's faces have high cheekbones, large noses and accentuated whisker pads. Their legs are long and muscular with large paws and their tails are thick at both base and end and have a rounded tip.
Bengal Character and Personality
These cats are playful, fun and quite boisterous but also sweet, affectionate characters that love company and humans. Bengal's are extremely active and always after a game, they are one of the only domestic cats who enjoy playing with water, bathing in it and chasing a hosepipe round the garden! You can train most Bengal's the way you can train a dog! If you teach them they will learn to play games like 'fetch' and will even walk on a lead, they also have the tendency to follow their owner around and be at the door waiting for them when they arrive home.
They are very loving and adapt to their environment, being able to mix with adults, children, other cats, dogs and lots of other animals as well (although their compatibility with children and other pets is low-medium). Bengal's are vocal animals and will speak to you on a regular basis, they are loyal and friendly and will remain a companion to you forever. Most owners will agree, Bengal's make adorable, fantastic pets. In order for a Bengal to be shown they must be at least four generations away from their wild leopard ancestor, however cats that are only two or three generations away can be sold as pets.
9 - 15 years
Bengal Average Litter Size
Their average litter size is usually between 4 and 6 kittens.