Abyssinian to Egyptian Mau: The Recipe For A Bengal Cat

Mix Asian Leopard Cat With Lots Of Kitties & Get: Bengal!

Bengals began in the fertile imagination of Jean Mill when she crossed an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) with a domestic cat. Today's Bengal is a mix of several domestic breeds:

Egyptian Mau



American Shorthair

Some lines may even have Ocicat, Margay, Bristol or outright alley cat genes. By the way, I may be a lifelong Bengal fan, but I think that the Aby has the nicest face of anything in catdom! I'd love to duplicate the Aby face precisely on a Bengal. I know that the breed standard lynch mob might be mobilized against me, but I think it would be really a beautiful cat!

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The ALC: Granddaddy to them all!The various stages from ALC to SBT.AbyssinianBurmeseEgyptian MauAmerican Shorthair
The ALC: Granddaddy to them all!
The ALC: Granddaddy to them all!
The various stages from ALC to SBT.
The various stages from ALC to SBT.
Egyptian Mau
Egyptian Mau
American Shorthair
American Shorthair

F1: ALC parent and domestic Bengal parent

F2: F1 parent and domestic Bengal parent (has an ALC grandparent)

F3: F2 parent and domestic Bengal parent (has an ALC great-grandparent)

F4: F3 parent and domestic Bengal parent (has an ALC great-great-grandparent)

It is generally acknowledged that in order to be a StudBook Tradition (SBT) cat a Bengal needs to be an F4 or more. That is because F1 through F3 generally have sterile males. Therefore F1 through F3 are traditionally called Foundation cats.

ALC was given its species' Latin name of Bengalensis since the first European to spot a wild ALC saw the kitty swimming in the Bay of Bengal! Any Bengal owner who has enjoyed a bath with their cat will know that this is not just a common myth, but a characteristic that remains to this very day.

Interesting to note that the ALC will dispose of its excretions in water to keep the scent from attracting larger predators. If only we could train our Bengals to use the toilet! Think of the savings in kitty litter!

Foundation Bengals retain a goodly amount of the ALC's intelligence and caution. After all, the ALC thrives in habitats where it is hardly the top predator so it has to be careful and wary in order to survive. Those particular personality characteristics is what makes owning a Foundation cat such a particular challenge. Foundation Bengals are not really known to be excellent pets since they cannot handle much change or turmoil in their lives. They often resort to hiding when anything outside the expected happens, even if it's a loud noise or someone coming over to visit.

I once went to visit a Bengal breeder who lived in a small townhouse. The place was alive with Bengals, running up and down the stairs, and chasing each other up the velvet wallpaper (or the shreds that were left). She told me that she wanted to show me something very special and went to open a drawer from an old chest. An ALC sprang out and flashed across the room to another hiding place, hissing as he went.

They may also bond to one particular person, and if that bond is broken the cat will never recover. Foundation Bengals, like ALCs, consider any form of change traumatic. They are hardly the perfect cat for the month-to-month renter who will soon be moving across the country!

Fortunately SBTs are much closer to regular cats in tolerating change. I once had several SBTs that I moved by air (trauma!) on four separate occasions. In each case, the kitties got to their new digs, spent a couple of hours sniffing around and then just made themselves at home.

Anyone considering a Bengal for a pet should be sure to choose at the very least an F4 or better yet, F6 or more. Your life and your cat's will be much happier.

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Comments 6 comments

Deborah magano 9 years ago

Hi, I just happened upon your site because my partner and I just rescuded the most beautiful litter mates from a shelter. These kittens are not usual inmarkings and I would swear they have abby in them. As I am so curious of their roots because their markings are very unusualfor pound kitty's I have been doing a bit of research.  Your site has given me the final infor. They are a domestic short with Bengal and Abby mix. One has the golden red and black of the bengal full spotted belly, arm rings back stripes and somr spots but mostly rings on the coat. He has a wild abby head larg ears lover boy. His sister is a more grey balck brown with the beautiful abby head silky coat longand strong fast quick and smart. Jumps almost 3 feet in the air and their only 16 weeks! They are soi cute I cannot imagine anyone abandoning these precious babie!  Now that that they are here I am considering getting a full bengal abby mix to see the difference of the coat. In Washington DC any suggestions? 

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi. The kitties sure sound like they have Bengal in them, especially the jumping in the air bit. Bengals are absolute acrobats. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "getting a full bengal abby mix to see the difference of the coat" as I certainly don't encourage people mixing Bengals with other breeds and I don't know of too many places where you can go to just see a Bengal/Abyssinian hybrid. I would suggest that you call around to some DC area Bengal breeders and speak to them. You can find a list of breeders in your area from the Breeder Directory on the TIBCS site at bengalcat.com. Good luck to you and your kitties!

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trakker14 9 years ago from franklin

very good information thank you, you certainly have done your homework.


check out my hub..thanks

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author


Silver Lake Savannahs 6 years ago

Hi There!

My husband and I are in the process of breeding our F3 Savannah Queen (Kali) and F5 Savannah Stud (Juma).

We got the pair when they were about 10 weeks old in September of 08 from Select Exotics. Needless to say… both cats are very inexperienced and Juma is taking his sweet time figuring things out! Meanwhile, I found someone close by that breeds their male Aby and female Bengal. They breed them together and sell their kittens for about 500 each.

My question for you is – what would happen if we put Juma with an aby? How would that turn out… would we still have Savannah kittens? And what price range would we be looking at?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much and here is our website (still being working on but up and running) if you’re interested. Silverlakesavannahs.com


Eric and Jeanie Stefanik

Silver Lake Savannahs

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi Eric and Jeanie:

Juma is an amazing looking stud. Great cat! Congratulations!

About the Aby question... That's a tough one. TICA's standard states:


Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Oriental Shorthair,

domestic shorthair not a member of a

recognized breed.

so it would seem to rule out Abys, although I think that cross would be an amazing cat. The actual definition of whether that cross would be officially a Savannah or not would really have to be put to TICA. My guess would be that they would rule it's not a Savannah. If you could get the OK, I would think that you should be able to get at least a thousand from a connoisseur! :) Good luck with your program. Keep me posted!

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