The Bengal is a relatively new breed developed by cross-breeding of a domestic cat with an Asian Leopard Cat in the 1960's by American geneticist Jean Sugden (Mill) of Millwood Cattery, California, USA. A number of different domestic cats have been used to produce the Bengal breed namely the Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Abyssinian, Burmese, and Siamese (the latter two of which are responsible for the 'snow' variety of Bengals). Glitter was introduced into the gene pool from a single cat of the Egyptian Mau breed that Jean Mill found on the streets of India and introduced into her breeding program.
The aim of the Bengal cat breed was to preserve a strong physical resemblance to its beautiful wild ancestor and at the same time produce a friendly and trustworthy family companion. The domestic Bengal gets its name from the Latin name Felis Bengalensis or Asian Leopard Cat. By the time they are four generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat, they are legally and genetically considered to be domestic cats and therefore have identical needs.
The Bengal is a large, sleek and very muscular cat with its hindquarters slightly higher than its shoulders. The different coat patterns are either leopard spotted or marbled, on a background colour of brown or white, most commonly patterned with the distinctive leopard pattern of spots arranged horizontally and forming rosettes.
Bengals are unique in that they have a thick, luxurious and very soft coat, more like a pelt, with the rich, smooth feel of satin or silk. It is the only breed to display the gold glitter effect which makes their pelt shimmer in sunlight. Bengals seem to be more easily tolerated by people suffering from allergies compared to other domestic cats. Even the voice of the Bengal is different from that of other domestic cats. They can coo and chirp and can even growl when they do not want to share their food with a litter mate.
Bengal cats are excellent family pets and they love to play and sleep in your bed if allowed! The Bengal is easy to train to fetch or walk on a leash, is very active, loves to jump and climb and is considered to be highly intelligent. They also love to play with water, often joining their owner in the shower and can even be trained to use the normal toilet! (View 'Goron' in Gallery images)
Bengal cats are addictive! It's hard to stop at just one!