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What Is a Bengal Cat?

The Bengal cat is a domesticated cat breed created from pairing hybrids, such as the spotted Egyptian Mau, with the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). The breed’s name comes from the leopard cat's taxonomic name.

Bengals are gentle domestic cats, they have a wild appearance, especially in the Brown you can see their golden shimmer, this comes from their leopard cat ancestry, and their coats may show spots, rosettes, arrowhead markings, or marbling.

Breeders have then gone on to bringing even more colours and genetics into this breed, which now gives the public much more of a diverse choice in choosing their baby leopard looking Bengal cat, from the classic Brown, to Silver, Snow and Blue, even charcoal and solid Smoke versions of these too.

What Does SBT Mean?

SBT stands for Stud Book Tradition, a term chosen by The International Cat Association (TICA). SBT specifies that the Bengal is a pedigreed cat and must be at least 4 generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat. To be an SBT there must only be Bengal to Bengal breeding.

What are the Earlier Generation Bengals ?

There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst the general public as to what makes an F1, F2 or F3 as they are commonly known or referred to.

F1 stands for First Generation Bengal, this has now been corrected and the term G1 should be used, this means this 1G (F1) parents was a combination mating of an Asian Leopard Cat and a Domestic Cat, the kittens they produced would be known as G1 or as previously referred to, First Generation Bengal kittens.

Please see this wonderful diagram for a visual example.

Who Created The Bengal Cat?

A Lady called Jean Mill (May 11, 1926 – June 7, 2018) was cat breeder, and a conservationist who worked to protect the Asian leopard cat. Mill is best known as the founder of the modern Bengal cat breed. Jean successfully crossed the wild Asian leopard cat with a domestic cat, and then Backcrossing - backcrossed the offspring through five generations to create the domestic Bengal, the cats you see, and own today are due to her. Jean made contributions in two other cat breeds: the [Himalayan cat, Himalayan, and the standardized version of the Egyptian Mau. Jean and her first husband Robert Sugden were involved in a precedent-setting case about the United States government's power to monitor short wave radio communications. Jean Mill has also authored two books. Jean Mill was overly concerned about the hunting and poaching of the Asian Leopard cats to supply the fur trade. Mill has said that her desire to save the Asian Leopard cat led to the creation of the Bengal cat breed.

"I deliberately crossed Leopard cats with domestic cats for several important reasons. At this time, wild cats were being exploited for the fur market. Nursing female leopard cats defending their nests were shot for their pelts, and the cubs were shipped off to pet stores worldwide. Unsuspecting cat lovers bought them unaware of the danger, their unpleasant elimination habits, and the unsuitability of keeping wild cats as pets. I hoped that putting a leopard coat on a domestic cat the pet trade could be safely satisfied. If fashionable women could be dissuaded from wearing furs that look like their friend' pets the diminished demand would result in less poaching of wild species." Jean Mill.

Today many ethical registered breeders continue her work through breeding healthy high quality Bengal Cats to keep these beautiful felines for what they were meant to be, wild looking domestic cats! Thank you for reading, Jade @BengalLegacyCats. #BengalCatHistory #JeanMills #EarlyGenerationBengals #whatisaBengalCat #arebengalcatswild


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