What is a Bengal Cat?
In the early 1960’s, a black domestic shorthair male cat was bred with a wild female Asian Leopard. The resulting F1 generation (which is 50% Asian Leopard Cat and 50% domestic cat). These resulting cats were named Bengal cats and the breed were also referred to as “toy leopards.” The original intention of the cross-breeding was to have a cat that had the tame character of a domesticated cat but with wild markings of the wild Asian Leopard.
These toy leopards’ were over the years bred among themselves strengthening the breed. The breeders however then added other lines of domesticated cats resulting in the pure’ breed that is known today as the Bengal Cat. The Bengals are now recognized as a true (pure) breed in the United States and the cats should be appropriately registered.
What Are the Characteristics of the Bengal?
The Bengals a variation of different colors, patterns and markings on their coats, eye colors and the size and the weight can vary significantly from one Bengal cat to another. It is this significant difference in one Bengal to another that adds to their mystique and make it very hard to properly identify them.
The beauty and most distinctive feature of a Bengal is the elegance of their markings and their variations of their coat. The beauty is in the combinations and mix of colors and markings of the coat, which include spots, rosette and marbling.
In a cat with rosette, the rosette appears 3-dimensional and have been described as looking more like doughnuts than dots.
The marbling is the horizontal striping on the coat looking like swirls and swishes along the cat’s backs and sides.
When the Bengal walks it is like beauty in motion.
The Bengal Colors
The colors are just asvaried. Bengals have a variety of different color combinations:
The Brown Bengal is mainly orange-brown with the markings consisting of spots or marbling that are black.
The Snow has a body that is cream in color with marbling or spots that are a dark tan.
The Silver Bengal is an almost majestic metallic silver with marbling or spots in black.
The Melanistic Bengal is a black cat with a with spots or marbling that’s darker in shade.
The Size of the Bengal
Although the Bengal is a small cat they are one of the bulkiest breeds and they differ from other cats by the overall mass of the muscles. The males have very thick and big muscles. The rippling muscles under their beautiful coats adds to the overall beauty of the Bengal cat.
Finally, How Do You Know If You Have A Bengal Cat?
Taken with the characteristics such as color, markings and size, the following should be considered.
Check for the spotted coat. All Bengals inherited the spots from their ancestors, the tiger.
Bengals can make many different sounds, exceeding that of the normal cat population.
A well-bred Bengal will move like a big cat, like its ancestor, the leopard.
But at the end of the day even some breeders or show judges have problems because of the many variations in the appearance of the magnificent breed, the Bengal cat. So, without registration papers, or the appropriate examination and tests done, a layperson will find it very hard to definitively identify the Bengal cat, from a Bengal mix or another.