God made the cat
in order to give man the pleasure of
caressing the tiger.
Origin of the Bengal Cat
The Bengal Cat breed
originated from the hybridization or
crossing of the wild Asian Leopard Catand
the domestic cat. The breed derives its
name from the Latin name for the Leopard
Cat, Felis or Prionailurus
bengalensis.* The result is a
"tame toy leopard cat", in the
words of Jean Mill, who registered the
first Bengal Cat with The International
Cat Association (TICA) in 1983.
The first three
generations of cats produced after the
original leopard cat/domestic cat cross
are foundation Bengals and
are referred to as F1's, F2's, and F3's. "F" stands for
filial. This is a genetic term applied to any
hybridization, including pea plants. Bengals, four generations and beyond from
the Asian Leopard Cat, are
registered as SBT Bengals. SBT stands for
"Stud Book Tradition". It is at this generation that Bengals may be shown in cat shows.
The first generation
hybrid is called a F1. The F1 cat
has an Asian Leopard Cat parent and a domestic parent.
It is one generation from the Asian Leopard Cat. The F2
has a F1 mother and a SBT Bengal sire.
It is two generations from the Asian Leopard Cat. The F3 has a F2 mother and a SBT Bengal
sire. It is three generations from the Asian Leopard
Cat. Fourth generation and beyond SBT
Bengal sires are used because F1 to F3
males are usually infertile. In
fact, only about fifty percent of F4 or SBT males are
This is an F2 Bengal.
Patterns and Color
Bengal Cats may be leopard spotted,
or marbled. A cat is registered as a "spotted tabby",
even if it has rosettes.
This is a brown leopard spotted
female in front,
and a brown rosetted male behind her.
This is a brown marble female
Accepted Bengal colors are: brown
tabby, snow, silver, and silver snow. The snow Bengal
colors are seal lynx point, seal sepia tabby, and
This is a seal mink spotted
female pushing the baby buggy.
This is a silver spotted Bengal.
There are also melanistic Bengals. These
cats appear black, like a black leopard. In the right
light, however, you can see their spots, just like those
on a black panther. Although beautiful, melanistic
Bengals are not eligible for Championship status in the
show hall. There are a few blue Bengals, but
this is not an officially accepted color for Bengals
The fur, when
exceptionally soft to touch, is often referred
to as pelted. Bengals may be
glittered, meaning, when in the sunlight, it looks like the cat
was sprinkled with golden sparkly glitter. I like
to say that my cat, Miss Tinker Belle,
was sprinkled with golden pixie dust.
Bengal kittens are born
with their full markings, but like their
wild ancestor in the jungle, may go
through a camouflage stage at about three
to twelve weeks when the markings fade.
We affectionately call this stage the fuzzy uglies! Kittens can take five months to a year to
develop their full color and pattern. Visit my Kitten to Cat pages to see a spotted, rosetted, and marble kitten
See my Links page
for the TICA Bengal Breed Standards.
Bengal cats are
about the same size as most domestic cats. Male Bengal
cats are typically larger than the females. A mature
male typically weighs between 12 to 15 pounds. I did
have a Bengal male who weighs 20 pounds! He is the
exception though. Females typically weigh between 8 and 12
This is EnchantedTails Buster.
Not even full grown yet, he is looking like quite a big
What I find so desirable
about Bengal Cats, in addition to their
exotic wild look, is their wonderful
temperament. Bengals are affectionate, attentive,
outgoing, playful, quick, intelligent, confident, and
inquisitive about everything..............even airline
My Bengals meet me at the
door when I come home. They follow me
around the house, anxious to participate
in whatever I am doing. They are eager to
create games and are quick to train me to
play the game of the moment with them.
The Bengals are extremely curious about
anything new I bring home, whether it's
the groceries, the grocery bags, a new
plant, or even a picture.
Bengal cats get
along wonderfully with regular domestic cats and dogs.
This is a young female Bengal
with my pet, Peter Pan.
You can see that the cats curl
right up with the dog.
The only problem is.........where is the person supposed
My Bengals love little toy mice,
a new mouse in a bag from the pet store
before I have time to unpack the bag.
My Bengals also love to chase
teaser toys. They are fast, fast, fast! Some of my
Bengals jump at least three feet high trying to catch a
teaser toy! When they catch the teaser, many will hold
onto it and have a tug 'o war game with you like a dog.
You will probably get tired of moving the teaser toy
around before a Bengal will get tired of playing with
Holding onto the teaser toy like
a dog does!
Ambush, stalking, escape,
and pursuit are skills young cats perfect
during play. A cat in the wild, would
later use these skills to hunt for prey.
Many breeds of cats tend to play less as
they grow older. Bengals continue to play
the games of young cats into their
Turn up the volume on your
computer and enjoy watching Boulder play with a mouse!
Thank you Cole and Jules for sharing your videos of
The Asian Leopard Cat is
an accomplished swimmer. Therefore,
Bengal Cats tend to be infatuated with
My Bengals love to watch the water coming
from the faucet and going down the drain, sometimes
sticking their heads right under the running faucet.
Most Bengals will splash around in any
bowl of water, especially the toilet
bowl, if the seat is left up! Some Bengals LOVE jump in the
shower or the bathtub with you. My Aurora once took a 20
minute shower with me. She was soaking wet and loving
every minute of it!
You've got to see this video of
Boulder in the bathtub!
Bengal Cats tend to have
an extensive vocabulary. In addition to a
cat's meow, my Bengals use a variety of
chirps, peeps, and bleats, as well as the
usual growls and hisses. When I say hello
to Miss Tinkerbelle, or ask her a
question, more times than not, she will
respond vocally, (especially if I ask her
if she wants to have dinner!). Alice
Through the Looking Glass always responds
with a series of chirps and bleats when I
pet her. Perhaps Bengal Cats have such as
extensive vocabulary due to their wild
ancestry and the need for effective
communication in the wild.
by Holly Erickson -
* According to The Cat Survival
Trust, Leopard Cats are usually
classified in the genus Felis, but
in a 1993 review of cat taxonomy,
Wozencraft put them in the genus Prionailurus.