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Written by the Founder of TCA, Inc.
AUTHENTIC BENGAL CAT
by Karin Donoyan (10-19-98)
ORIGIN: The Bengal breed is a relatively new breed. It was developed by
crossing Leopard cats, or Asian Leopard Cats, Lat. Prionailurus bengalensis
(or Felis bengalensis) with domestic cats, to arrive at the first
generation of Bengal cats who are often referred to as F1 Bengals. F1 male
Bengals proved to be infertile, but the fertile females could be bred to
domestic male cats, such as E.Mau, Domestic Shorthair, Abyssinian, Ocicat, and
unpedigreed cats, as well as later generation Bengal males. The second
generation Bengals were named F2 Bengals, their offspring was called F3 Bengals,
and so on. Normal fertility in males occurs in the F4 generation, while only in
a relatively small percentage in the F3 generation, and is almost non-existent
in the F2 generation. The terms: F1, F2, F3, etc. were coined by Bengal breeders
and are not to be confused with the scientific terms F1, F2,
F3, etc., denoting filial generations. Several people were involved
at different times in hybridizing leopard cats and domestic cats. Jean Mill is
credited with paving the way to the Bengals’ immense popularity by taking her
early Bengals to cat shows and bringing them to the attention of the Cat Fancy.
When talking of Bengal cats, breeders make a distinction between the early
generations, e.g. F1 through F3, by calling those Bengals "Foundation
Bengals", and the three-generation Bengal to Bengal offspring, who is
considered to be the truly domestic Bengal and is the only kind admitted in the show rings
of most associations. The breed standards describe the latter kind.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: In conformation, the Bengal should closely resemble the
leopard cat. The body is medium large, elegant, yet muscular. The head is
somewhat small in relation to the body, ears are small, rounded, and set far
back. The tail is medium long and substantial, but not bushy. The coat is
shorthair and silky soft with a luxurious feel to it, preferably.
COLORS AND PATTERNS: The leopard spotted Bengal has black or dark
brown spots and rosettes on a yellowish, orange, tan or light brown background.
The sorrel spotted Bengal has medium brown spots and rosettes on beige or
tan background. Both are based on the brown spotted tabby genotype.. Snow
leopard is the popular name for light brown or gray spots and rosettes on an
off-white background. The term also includes black spots and rosettes on a
silvery background and is based on three different genetic make-ups. Instead of
spotted or rosetted, the above color combinations may also occur in a marbled
pattern. Regardless of details in color and pattern, what is most coveted by
breeders is the "wild look". The Bengal is the domestic cat with an
exotic flair. For a more thorough description, please obtain the Authentic
Bengal breed standard from TCA, Inc.
TEMPERAMENT: Bengals are people cats. They bond strongly to their human
companions and like to be involved in all activities. They are friendly,
curious, and active, but not hyper, cats. They are also very intelligent and
playful. Bengal cats are a lot of fun. They first attract people with their
looks, but they captivate them with their personalities. It has been said:
"Warning! Bengals are addictive - one can never have just one!!"
BREEDING: Same as other domestic breeds. Gestation averages 63 days and
litter size could be 1 to 9 kittens, average 4 to 5. F1 queens tend to have
MAINTENANCE: Same as other domestic breeds. Bengals eat cat food and use the
SPECIAL NOTE: Bengals may be registered and shown in the New Breed and Color
Class in TCA, Inc. since April 1994. They may also be registered with TICA
(since 1985), ACFA, CFF, UFO, CCA (Canadian), and in various European
associations. The breed standard varies with each association, but all agree
that Bengals should be striking in appearance and spectacular in color and