Leopard cat is a small non-agressive cat indigenous to Asia. History
shows that the Leopard Cat is the only true foundation cat for the domestic
Bengal cat breed. The first and subsequent generations derived from
the breeding of a Leopard Cat to a domestic cat or other Bengal cat is
recognized as a domestic Bengal cat.
socialized Bengal cats, as with any other well socialized breed of cat,
are very suitable as pets with small children in the home and/or for showing
in the Show Hall. Properly raised and socialized, Bengal cats of all generations
can make wonderful, loving, affectionate, and well behaved house pets.
name Bengal derives from the leopard cat's scientific name ( Felis Bengalensis
) and has nothing to do with Bengal Tigers.
of leopard cat and domestic cats have been documented for hundreds of years,
including Jean Sugden's (now Mill's) female born in 1963 by a leopard cat
female pet that bred by chance to a domestic male cat, but none of these
had anything to do with the Bengal breed today.
breed owes their beginnings to the late Dr. Willard Centerwall's and his
Leukemia research at Loyola University. Since the leopard cat can
not be infected with feline Leukemia, researchers used them to seek a cure
for Leukemia in felines and in other species as well as humans. Researchers
crossed the leopard cat with the domestics to study the differences in
the offspring. The National Institution of Health (NIH) has been
and still are utilizing the early generation Bengal cats in their feline
genome mapping project and the work done in the feline genome project has
been of a tremendous help in the human genome mapping project, in which
new gene manipulation techniques are being devised to 'cure' diseases at
the genetic level. Many breeders are still contributing blood samples
from their early generation Bengal cats for this research.
early 1980's when Dr. Centerwall became ill, Jean Mill acquired several
F1 leopard cat hybrids from him. These were some of the first domestic
Bengal cats and most Bengal cats today can be traced back to these cats.
Mill said her reason for breeding these hybrid cats was to put a wild coat
of the leopard type cats on a domestic cat, in an effort to stop the sales
of fur coats. She felt this would make it hard to sell fur coats
of skins that looked like pets and would help stop the trapping and killing
of these animals in the wild.
the same time as Dr. Centerwall's Leukemia research, Doctors Greg and Elizabeth
Kent of Kansas were making some of the first Bengal cats by crossing their
Egyptian Mau's with their leopard cat, Baghara Khan. Later Jean Mill
also bred two female cats to Baghara Khan of Kent. The Kent lines
are still a very sought after line and considered by some as the "Pure
unfortunate that many breeders with little or no practical early generation
(Filial) Bengal cat experience offer inaccurate advice and opinions as
to the breeding, temperament and care of these Bengal cats. Some
of the early generation domestic Bengals cats' misinformation was rooted
from breeders in the past not understanding the importance of early socialization
and the hand raising of early generation kittens. Many of the early
generation kittens or cats were reclusive, distant, and did not display
domestic personality traits or habits. Just like with all cats, the
importance of early socialization is now more widely understood and practiced.
of a hybrid are enormous. Bengal cats are one of the healthiest and
most intelligent of all breeds of domestic cats and are very prolific.
Many breeders that breed Bengal cats today, do so because of all the health
and breeding problems they have had in the past with other breeds of cats.
Bengal cats are not a genetic threats to other breeds of cats, to the contrary,
they may hold the key to the future health of all breeds of cats by contribution
of new genes to other domestic cats if ever needed.
first generation of a leopard cat crossed with a domestic cat is known
as an F1 (Filial 1st generation) domestic Bengal cat and has a very wild
and beautiful appearance. To date, all male F1 and almost all F2
male Bengal cats are infertile, making it much more difficult to preserve
these characteristics in further generations. Although the F2's and
F3's are also very beautiful, they tend to have a more domestic cat appearance.
Now with top quality Bengal cats available there is no need to bring in
any other breeds of domestic cats.
Progressive Cat Breeders' Alliance (IPCBA) allows the showing of Bengal
cats starting with the fourth generation, because they require 3 generations
of Bengal to Bengal breedings.
the fourth or more generation domestic Bengal cats are very unique, beautiful
cats that needs no special care or food. They are very loving, devoted
pets, many loving to play fetch or to take a bath with their owners.
Bengal cats usually get along well with other cats, pets and also sensible
children. Most people feel they have a personality more like a dog
than a cat because they are very people oriented.
female Bengal cats weigh between 6-12 pounds and male Bengal cats weigh
between 10-18 pounds. Most Bengal cats have short, silky hair and
are very athletic (loving to jump high up at their toys). Some Bengal
cats have glitter which looks like someone sprinkled gold dust all over
their coat. Glitter is actually the reflection of light that is absorbed
at the hollow tip of the hair shaft giving this impression. Owning
a Bengal cat is a wonderful experience that everyone should have at least
once in their life.