Love thy Bengal

The pairing of wild cat breeds with domesticated indoor cats, most well-known example is the Bengal, which resulted from crossing a tame black domestic cat with a wild Asian leopard cat.

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Fascinating and modern

The Bengal cat is a truly modern breed. This wild cat hybrid breed originates in the USA, where in 1963 the geneticist Jean Mill carried out the first crossing experiments with a domestic cat and the Asian Leopard Cat Prionailurus Bengalensis native to South Asia. Her aim was to create a tame domestic cat who would stand out thanks to the wild primordial looks of her wild cat ancestors. However, the idea wasn’t entirely new. In 1889, the British artist and journalist Harrison William Weir had already mentioned an Asian leopard and domestic cat cross-breed. In 1934 and 1941, similar crossings were spoken of in Belgian and Japanese publications. Nevertheless, the main influence on the Bengal and the official breed founder is Jean Mill, then still known as Jean Sudgen.

Appearance which glitters

As a hybrid breed, Bengal cats are often larger than domestic cats. These supple but athletic cats weigh up to 7kg and can reach up to 70cm in height. The Bengal’s strong bodies are supported by long, muscular legs, whilst the head proves relatively small and is dominated by high cheekbones and large almond-shaped eyes, which are usually green or blue. The ears are small with rounded tips but have a wide base. The Bengal’s ‘wild’ markings prove most striking of all. With large spots, rosettes, a lighter stomach and striped front legs, they look very similar to their wild ancestors. The Bengal’s looks have won it many fans! Bengals exist in the basic colours-orange, gold, dark yellow and sand, often with ‘glitter’ too. The markings marbled and spotted are acknowledged.

Born to learn

According to the breed standard, Bengals are “trustful, attentive, curious and friendly cats! The Bengal cats are certainly lots of fun! They are clever and docile, therefore need lots of attention to point their urge for activity in the right direction. Lovers of Bengal cats often claim that mere cuddles and play aren’t enough to keep a hybrid cat entertained. Target-training and work with the clicker also form part of a cat-appropriate environment with no risk of boredom.

Health care

The Bengal is exceptionally healthy as a young, primordial cat breed. Nevertheless, a genetic disease was identified in 2011 that can lead to blindness during the first year of life through degeneration of the retina. The best healthcare provision for Bengal cats is a species-appropriate food and annual vet check-ups. Many hybrid pet parents give raw food, since numerous Savannahs and Bengals appear to be sensitive to industrial cat food and bacteria in the diet. In principle, high-quality prepared food in cans or trays provides your Bengal cat with everything she needs for a long, healthy life!

Global recognition

The Bengal has found many fans by now, with over 60,000 pure-breed animals registered with TICA. Despite this, not all breeding associations are fans of hybrid breeds. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), for instance, does not accept any cat breeds descending from wild cat types.

(Abdul Mannan owns a Cattery named Deccan Pride Cattery from India. He owns almost 30-40 import lineage Bengals & Exotic Short Hair breed cats. Deccan Pride Cattery is a heaven for Cats which provides 1500 sq ft’s Cattery on their terrace & 1000 sft Cats space on ground floor with all necessary requirements for cats. His aim is to promote ethical Cat Hobby in India by educating People with knowledge about how to adopt and maintain the Cats in the best way and works closely with many NGo’s).

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