Bengal Cat Key Facts

Seal Sepia Spotted Bengal Cat
Photo copyright Helmi Flick

Date of Origin: 1983 (Encyclopedia of the Cat) but Robinson's Genetics says that this cat breed started in 1963. The discrepancy is probably due to the fact that there was a false start by Jean Mill. In other words she created the breed, stopped and restarted. Hence the two dates.

Place of Origin: The United States of America. This is very definitely a USA invention. Americans like the wildcat but unfortunately they like to either own it or shoot it! That is too harsh but there are a lot of pet wildcats in the USA and it is largely unregulated. Massachusetts is a state that is a notable exception.

Ancestry: The wildcat parent is the Asian leopard cat. This is a small wildcat. Sometimes people tame and domesticate the Asian leopard cat but it is not advisable in my opinion. The original leopard cat parent for this breed was being used in medical research! Jean Mill got hold of it and mated it with a domestic cat. Bingo: the first Bengal cat. Since then there has been lots of selective cat breeding that some might argue has gone to far as there are some Bengal cat health issues. Also there are not enough foundation cats resulting in a small gene pool.

Outcross Breeds: None - should this be changed? Has it been changed?

Names: Once also called the Leopardette.

Weight Range: 5.5-10 kg or 12-22 lbs (note: weights of cat breeds are not that reliable).

Temperament: Active, interactive, intelligent and a desire to use his or her athleticism.

Cat Associations: TICA, GCCF and FiFĂ© (note: the CFA refuse to recognise wildcat hybrids).

Colors: This is a tabby cat. You will see brown, and silver backgrounds and rosettes, spots, twirls and blotches as forms of tabby cat coats. There are snow Bengals too. See Bengal Cat Coat for lots more detail.

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