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 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.
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.
About Bengal Face
The Eyes Have It!
by Les Hall
Sitting down to write this article, my mind wanders back through the years to the numerous beautiful headed Bengals I've had the pleasure of seeing. Some contributed heavily to our breed while others, through no lack of trying, were not destined to be prolific breeders. Many years ago I remember my first encounter with two F-2 sisters at Jean Mill's home. What beauties they were. One had a coat of gold with dark spots, the other with a more tawny coat and medium brown spots. Jean beamed with pride as she showed me the golden colored kitten. It was beautiful, so why was my attention drawn to her sister? The sister turned to face me and the rest was history! Her face echoed all of the uniqueness of her wild heritage and this is the main reason I breed Bengals today. I immediately requested to be put on a waiting list for a female from the same parents. This "head factor" has been the driving force in my breeding program over the years.
Looking straight on, I would have to say, "The Eyes Have It!" A large, open eye is intriguing and quite frankly irresistible. A well-known TICA judge labeled this sort of eye correctly in my opinion. She called them nocturnal-looking eyes. For me, that was a word I had been searching for to describe this unique Bengal feature. Eye color seems more of a preferential issue. Personally, I prefer a dark intenseness, regardless of the color. Again, a dark eye is a nocturnal eye and appears to have a large pupil to see its prey at night.
Ears add or detract, depending on placement and shape, rounded versus pointed, picket-fence look is preferred. Nose width is important, too. In most cases, a wide nose from top to bottom helps to keep those nocturnal eyes set back onto the face and well separated. Tapering nose width seems to be a more domestic looking trait.
Whisker pads that are puffed and pronounced have always been the frosting on the cake. Generally, cats with puffy whisker pads have good strong chins as well, but not always. Cats in the wild could not survive very long with weak receding (sometimes undershot) chins. Staying fit and healthy in the wild depends on how well the cat can bite, hold, and chew its food. In nature, the process of natural culling of undernourished animals would not carry on this fault.
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.
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.
You can train a Bengal to have "good manners", they are an active, inquisitive cat that loves to be up high. If you don't like a cat to leave the floor, a Bengal is probably not the right cat for you. Bengals are busy by nature. They are very affectionate and can be a "lap cat" whenever THEY want to be, but in general their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing and investigating. When a Bengal is in full play mode, it's rather like trying to hold on to running water! They'll often save the cuddle time for when they want to sleep. Many Bengals enjoy water and may join you in brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Some Bengals are vocal while others are more quiet and selective about using their voice.
Bengals will also, in general, ALWAYS want to be where you are. After all, that's where the action is! And Bengals are all about "The Action". When given the choice of a static toy, and one that does wild, unpredictable things, Bengals will always choose the "wild" one! For individuals or families who enjoy rambunctious, funny, beautiful and dynamic feline companionship, consider the Bengal.
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.
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