The Bengal Cat
A touch of nature's beauty with the loving disposition of the domestic cat
The Bengal is a medium to large domestic feline that originates from crossings of the small Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) to the domestic cat in an attempt to create a companion with an "exotic" look but a domestic temperament. After four to five generations of Bengal-to-Bengal breeding, the breed is recognized for championship competition by most international domestic cat associations including TICA, ACFA, GCCF, and AACE.
The Bengal's beautiful coat makes it stand out in a crowd. Numerous shades make up the background color of the Bengal, ranging from golden, rust, brown and orange, to sand, buff, or even ivory. Bengal spots also vary in color, from rust or cocoa and chocolate brown to charcoal or black. Some Bengal patterns have inherited striking rosettes or spots made up of more than one color, usually a secondary color forming a dark outlining to the spot.
The second Bengal pattern is called marble. This is created by the combination of rosettes from the Asian Leopard Cat and the domestic classic tabby pattern to produce a "marbleized" look, one or more colors swirled into the base colors. Ideally, both the spotted and marbled patterns should have a horizontal flow rather than a vertical appearance. Since the original purpose for breeding Bengal cats was to try to replicate the look of the exotic spotted Asian Leopard Cat, the dominant spotted pattern is most common.
The Bengal Cat has a happy, active, interactive and extremely intelligent personality. Every domestic cat breed has its unique features, and the exotic heritage of the Bengal cat can be seen in their every day activities. While Bengals will happily search out a lap or stretch out on the sofa next to you during naptime, they are very active during the rest of the day.
The energetic Bengal is not for people who just want a leopard print cat for decoration. Whether they are fishing in the aquarium or playing in their water-bowls, fetching balls for their families, taking walks on a leash or climbing to the top of the highest cupboards, Bengals are constantly on the move and are perfect for anyone who wants to interact and play with their cat daily. The Bengal cat, like many other pets, demands a good deal of attention and affection and enjoys being an integral part of the family.
The International Bengal Cat Society (TIBCS) is an all volunteer society of Bengal enthusiasts. TIBCS is proud to bring this exotic feline and its enthusiasts and breeders to the web. We hope you will share our excitement over this new, rapidly developing breed.
The Bengal cat makes a loving, intelligent housecat. Curious and entertaining, some even enjoy playing in water and bathing with their owners. They enjoy the companionship of both adults and children and usually adapt to other family pets. Some owners regularly walk their Bengals on leashes. Exercise, nutritional and immunization requirements are the same as for all domestic household cats. The domestic Bengal (four generations or more from the Asian Leopard Cat) has normal litter box habits, is recognized in several cat fancy registries and currently makes up the largest number of cats competing in The International Cat Association (TICA). Also recognized by registries such as AACE, ACF, ACFA, CCA, FIFE, GCCF, FIFE, NZCF and QICC, this entertaining and affectionate cat is finding its way into more and more living rooms.
Colors and Patterns
The first registry to recognize the Bengal, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes several colors (brown, seal lynx point, mink, sepia, silver) and patterns (spotted and marbled) for Championship competition. In the New Traits class, any other color may be shown, as well as longhair bengals.
Brown Spotted Tabby Bengals
The brown spotted tabby (leopard spotted) Bengals have dark spots on a lighter ground color ranging from gray or tawny to sorrel to golden, very rufused (bright orange) and to a rich mahogony. Note: The Asian Leopard Cat is considered a brown spotted tabby in the cat fancy and ranges somewhat in color.
Brown includes variations of tawny, sorrel, golden, hot rufus and mahogany.
Seal Lynx Point, Sepia and Mink Spotted Tabby Bengals
The seal lynx point (blue-eyed) and seal sepia (gold or green-eyed) spotted tabbies (fondly referred to by breeders as two of the "snow" leopard spotteds) have ivory backgrounds with contrasting spots. The seal mink (aqua or green-eyed) spotted is a combination of one each of the above pointed Siamese and the Burmese sepia genes. Extreme contrast between the markings and the ground color is desirable in each spotted color.
Spotted Seal Lynx Point Bengal
Spots of all colors and patterns vary in color, size, rosetting and intensity but preference is given to random and horizontal pattern alignment with wide spacing or "acreage".
The classic tabby gene creates the marbled Bengal and represents a change of pattern from spotted to swirled or marbleized. This dramatic pattern is comprised of swirls of brown spotted colors flowing in a horizontal fashion instead of traditional spots. Preference is given to the more horizontal, flowing and "ocelot-like" patterns. The "marbled" pattern can also occur in lynx, sepia and mink color/patterns (see above).
A Brown Marbled Tabby and a Seal Lynx Point Marbled Tabby
Other Colors & Characteristics
"Glitter," the high shine (usually on a clear, nonticked coat) that has been discovered and developed in the Bengal is a welcome addition to the breed.
"Rosettes," the dark outlining of coat markings (both in the spotted and marbled) that are around a third rich color, are found in many Asian Leopard Cats and other wild cat species. Rosettes showing two distinct colors or shades, such as paw print shaped, arrowhead shaped, doughnut or half-doughnut shaped or clustered are preferred to single spotting but not required.
Some Bengal kittens go through what is referred to as the "fuzzy uglies". A beautifully clear kitten at three weeks old may begin to acquire a ticked kitten coat at four to five weeks old. This coat begins to clear again to higher contrast at about 12 weeks and is again breathtaking by 6 months.
Please Note: There are a variety of other colors (such as blue, black, torbie, etc.) and characteristics (long hair, flat face, etc.) of the Bengal cat which are derived from the domestic genes that DO NOT meet the Bengal standard in TICA... but which may be quite beautiful and shown in UFO and other registries.
Bengals are relatively large-boned, shorthaired cats with males averaging from 10 to 15 pounds and females usually smaller. The face should have a distinctly non-domestic expression, with small, rounded ears and intense facial markings. Careful selection ensures Bengal cats that are friendly, loving domestic cats that bear a strong physical resemblance to their Asian Leopard Cat ancestors. Please click on face to read an article about the Bengal's head and face.
Kittens are categorized as to their quality when compared to the accepted TICA Bengal Standard The Standard for the Bengal cat describes the ideal. Kittens are sold either as pets to be altered, breeders and/or show quality cats. Show quality is the best of the best. Breeder quality is a good cat that has something lovely to offer the breed and no faults or perhaps one or two less desirable traits that can bred out in a generation. Pet quality is a cat that for some reason the breeder feels does not qualify to be offered as a breeder or show cat. This might be due to a visual undesirable trait such as a spot of white color on the throat or groin (referred to as a locket) or a genetic defect that might put offspring at risk for ill health.
Note: Bengal standards as accepted by other cat registries in other countries may vary somewhat.
This short video explains the bengal fairly well