THE BENGAL CAT

At this time in the 70's important research was being conducted into the Asian leopard cats' apparent partial immunity to feline Leukaemia. The research involved breeding Asian Leopard Cats to domestic cats in the hope that this immunity was genetically transferable to the resulting hybrids. Jean took these Asian Leopard Cat/Domestic hybrids to form the basis of the Bengal breed which we know today.  Early generations are notoriously difficult to breed and raise, among many problems, males of the first two generation of outcrosses are infertile and early generation females are extremely unpredictable both in their fertility and their parental instincts. However, thanks to the skill and determination of the pioneer breeders in the USA, we now have a breed which, from the fourth generation cats onwards, displays the exotic look and coat patterns derived from the wild which are so desirable, but combines them with the dependable temperament of a normal domestic cat. 

 

Bengals Are Domestic Cats!

Bengals are advertised as little leopards or leopard

look-alikes but this isn’t true of their temperament! They are exceptionally beautiful domestic cats which have borrowed their exotic looks and coat patterns from their wild ancestors. Unfortunately just a few years ago some Bengals were occasionally seized by local authorities because of this reference to leopards under the mistaken impression that Bengals were wild animals! Now the UK is much better informed careful use of this term is OK once again, after all, their main appeal is their stunning "wild" looks!

 

 

 

There is occasionally a misconception that these lower generation cats are more striking or beautiful and people actively seek them out - however this simply isn't true.  The full Bengals (F4s and beyond) that we see today often have far better markings than many lower generation cats. 

We would strongly advise anyone other than an experienced breeder with suitable specialist accommodation not to consider a foundation cat, even then the breeder needs to question exactly what specific genetic trait they are hoping to add to their breeding programme by using a particular foundation cat - and also to consider whether that trait is available to them via another route. 

 

Their History

The idea of  a domestic pedigree cat which resembled an exotic wild cat is nothing new to the dreams of cat lovers throughout the world.  For many years people have kept wild cats as pets with varying degrees of success. A number of spotted breeds of domestic cat already exist and indeed, many non pedigree cats display spotted patterns.  However despite their obvious appeal  the fact remained that they didn't portray the exotic look which people dreamed of. Then came Jean Mill In the mid 1970s. Jean embarked on a breeding programme crossing Asian leopard cats and domestic cats in the USA. (She had achieved some initial success some 10 years previous to this in the 60's)   

If you want a cat which behaves with the unpredictability of a wild animal then apply for a wild animal license and buy a wild animal! If you want  a pet which borrows its exotic appearance from the wild but is a normal domestic pet cat - then buy a Bengal!

Their success since entering the UK in the early 90's has been phenomenal. When we were invited to take a litter of Bengal kittens and their mom to the BBC for an episode of the children's' show "Blue Peter" based around cats in 1999 there were around 4 thousand registered in the UK - now there have been more than 40 thousand registered! They have literally taken the country by storm and, as more and more of the public become aware of them, their popularity continues to grow.

Originally in the very early days  prices were literally astronomical,  however they have now settled to around a more reasonable £450 upwards for pets (which compares well with other pedigree breed prices) however breeding cats and rare colours sell for considerably more (£1000 upwards). 

It is occasionally possible to buy Bengals cheaper than £400 however, as the saying goes, you  "get what you pay for" and there is still a very wide difference in quality available. 

 

Temperament and Behaviour

The Bengal Cat really does have a wonderful temperament and is perfectly suited to join families with children and animals such as other cats or dogs.  Equally, they are at home in situations where they are the sole companion providing they are given the love and attention they deserve. 

Bengals are affectionate and quite happy to snooze on the laps of their contented owners and actively seek attention and fuss.  At other times they can be very agile and playful and are generally intelligent cats.  They are of course litter trained and are fully domestic cats.  In fact because of their ancestry Bengals have been selectively bred for an even temperament as well as looks. We now have a breed which allows us the privilege of having a domestic cat with the beautiful coat patterns associated with the wild animal kingdom in our own homes.

Generations

The kittens we sell are all at least 4 generations away from the Asian Leopard Cat. They are fully domestic cats and can be called Bengals. Any cats which are not 4th generation or beyond are NOT Bengals. they are called foundation cats or Bengal variants.

The closeness to the original Asian leopard Cats (ALC)  is denoted using the "F" numbers.

An F1 is a cat with an ALC parent

An F2 is cat with an ALC grandparent

An F3 is a cat with an ALC great grandparent

An F4 is a cat with an ALC great great grandparent

Only F4 cats and beyond may be shown at TICA or GCCF cat shows. We would not advise anyone to buy a lower generation Bengal as a pet as these are NOT always domesticated and are generally unsuitable to be kept in the average home. They may be far more shy and retiring than a normal domestic cat and often their litter tray habits can be variable!  There are exceptions but it is generally accepted that F1, F2, and F3 cats (which are in effect Bengal variants NOT full Bengals) should not be regarded as normal domestic pets. To keep F1 & F2 cats you require a Wild Animal License.

From the fourth generation on Bengals  are accepted as normal domestic cats  and really do make the most beautiful, lovable and entertaining pets.  

 

Peter& Christine Edwards       

E-mail Peter@bramblewood.co.uk

Telephone 07815 993590

01746 710498

Breeding The Highest Quality Pedigree Cats since 1989

BRAMBLEWOOD & SILVERSAFARI BENGALS

The “Leopard” In Your Living Room

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Home

Kittens Available

The Bengal Cat

Colours & Patterns

Choosing a Kitten

Our Queens

Our Studs

Contact Us

Retired Cats

Marbella the HP