Silver Bengal cat

Silver Bengal cat
Silver Bengal cat photo copyright Helmi Flick

Some people search for a White Bengal cat. What they mean in a Silver Bengal cat or a Snow Bengal cat. A silver Bengal is illustrated above and below.

As you know the classic Bengal cat has a yellow/brown spotted (or marbled) coat. In a Silver Bengal cat the yellow pigmentation in the hair is suppressed by the presence of a gene called the inhibitor gene. The gene is labelled "I" (capital I) by breeders and geneticists. The capital "I" indicates a dominant gene.

This gene as the name suggests inhibits the production of the yellow pigmentation (phaeomelanin) resulting in the silver color (a bit like hair going grey when you become older and its loses its color). A dominant gene will show its effects in terms of the appearance of the cat. It won't be carried by the cat and its effects not shown. The inhibitor gene works inconsistently. Sometimes its effect is incomplete. This leaves a "tarnished" appearance. I guess this term is meant to mean that the effect is tarnished rather than perfect.

silver Bengal cat
Spotted tabby Silver Bengal cat photo copyright Helmi Flick

Incomplete inhibition by the inhibitor gene can result in a variety coat "defects", such as:
  • a brown strip of fur
  • silver background and brown spots
  • silver spots and brown infill
This is not a complete list. This inconsistency is one example why breeding a silver Bengal cat is tricky. This is compounded by variation on contrast over the age of the cat. For example good contrast then poorer contrast and visa-versa.

Although I am not a cat breeder as far as I am aware the silver color was produced by crossing Bengal cats with silver spotted American Shorthair cats and Egyptian Maus (there is at least one silver Egyptian Mau on this page). You can see a couple of silver American Shorthair cats with marbled coats if you click on this link.

Also, as far as I am aware, the GCCF (the UK main cat association) does not recognize the Silver Bengal cat. So showing the Silver in the UK would have to be done under TICA. This may change as Silver Bengals are quite new in the UK although well established in the USA.

Breeders like to see good contrast between the spots or marble and the base color. They also like the wild look on the face combined with perfect temperaments.

Sources:
  • Various cat breeder websites including Wikipedia and this site: http://www.firemtbengals.com/silvergene.html
Silver Bengal cat to Bengal cats

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