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Histroy of Bengal Cats

Updated on March 21, 2014
Bengal cat on the lawn.
Bengal cat on the lawn. | Source

Get your knowledge up one of the UK’s leading hybrid cat breeds.

What are Bengals?

The Bengal is hybrid breed of domestic cat and they are rather desirable for their wild appearance with large spots, rosettes and a body structure of a Feline and an Asian leopard (ALC). Along with this they have light white bellies that add to their unique appearance.

The Bengal cat has a very friendly temperament but this is providing there are three or more generations from the Asian leopard cat

The History of Bengal Cats:

The earliest mention recorded of an ‘ALC’ domestic cat was from Harrison Weir 1889, where following this he wrote ‘Our Cats and all About Them’:

‘There is a rich colored brown tabby cat that can be seen at the Zoological Society in London, Regent Park, between the wild cat and tabby she-cat. It is handsome but very wild. These hybrids, I have been told, will breed again with a tame variety, or of others.’

In 1927 a gentleman named Mr. Boden-Kloss wrote to a magazine called ‘Cat Gossip’ referring to the new Bengal breed. He stated that it was an unseen and unheard of breed and that once he’d seen a Malaya tribe mother domestic cats and kittens and said he was unsure on the surviving breeds.

There was then another confirmed mention in 1934 of an Asian leopard domestic cat from a scientific journalist.

The above sightings are very vague and there is little to back these up other than what has been stated. It isn’t until a few years later in 1941 where a Japanese cat publication printed an article on the up and coming breed on Bengal cats. ‘One kept as a pet’.

Jean Mill became a great influence in the future of this breed and the development of what is known as today’s Bengal cats.

Another couple who the breed owes to for the recognition they have today are Greg and Elizabeth Kent, a dedicated pair who established their own breeds of Bengals using the Asian leopard cat and Egyptian Maus. This became a successful breed and has influenced the modern line of Bengals.

The name ‘Bengal’ originated from the Asian leopard cat name ‘Bengalensis’ and more commonly known ‘Bengal Tiger’.

The Long Haired Bengal:

The long haired Bengal originated from for the original matings of Asian leopard cats and the Feline. The gene has been carried through the generations. Eventually creating a dominating gene for the long hair Bengal, however these are not recognised with any cat registries.

Where are Bengal Cats Today?

In the UK today there is over 60,000 Bengal Cats registered with TICA and they are a growing popular breed. Although not all registries will accept hybrid breeds such as the Bengal cat. However this is constantly developing.

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