About Bengal Cats
The Bengal Cat originated as a crossbreed between an Asian Leopard Cat and a Domestic cat. The first ever recorded crossing took place in 1963 in Arizona, USA.
The Asian Leopard Cat is immune to Feline Leukaemia, so one of the aims was to make the Bengal Cat immune as well; unfortunately this did not happen, but what a stunning breed they created!
In the following years more crossings took place and more bloodlines were introduced.
The main breeds used in the crossings were: Abyssinian, British Shortair, Bombay, Egyptian Mau and Orientals (Burmese, Siamese).
In 1985 The International Cat Association (TICA) allowed the breed to participate in a show and this caused a lot of interest about these wild looking cats among the people.
In 1992 TICA admitted the Bengal Cat (from the 4th generation onward) into Championship status.
Having a Bengal Cat today is like having a miniature leopard with a loving nature; the breed keeps the self-assurance and confidence of the Asian Leopard Cat in conjunction with the traits and affectivity of the domestic cat.
Personality and Look
The Bengal Cat is a shorthaired cat, medium to large in size: males vary between 5kg and 7,5kg while females are slightly smaller and vary between 3,5kg to 5,5kg.
They are very muscular and have long bodies; they have long legs which allow them to jump very high.
Bengals are very energetic and playful, as well as very intelligent; they can be easily trained to go on a leash and after a few times they will start acting as a dog, standing in front of the door and asking you to take them out for a walk.
They can be vocal and talk a lot, but they can also be quiet and talk only when they have to say something to you, it depends a lot on their genes.
Some Bengals also love and enjoy water.
They are very affectionate and loyal to their humans and they can follow them around the house to monitor their activities; sometimes they also want to be involved!
The life expectancy is between 12 and 16 years old, but some might live longer.
They are great with other animals (other cats and dogs), although supervision is required at the beginning (basically as you would do with any other new pet).
They are also great with children and with toddlers (these last ones need to be supervised).
The Bengal Cat has very little undercoat and requires little grooming; the shedding is minimal, so it can be a good choice for someone who has a mild allergy to cats.
Their fur is as soft as silk and their coat glitters.
It takes up to 2 years for the fur to develop its definitive tonalities; the same applies for the growth of the cat.
During the first 6 months the cat's fur will be darker and not so soft: this is a sort of camouflage which takes place in wild animals.
The eyes can be green, gold, hazel and blue.
The coat of the Bengal Cat can either be Brown, Snow (White) or Silver.
The Brown variety can have various tonalities, from a darker brown to a very bright sand background colour.
The Snow variety is divided into three different tonalities:
-Seal Lynx Points: they are born completely white and develop the markings later during their growth. The background colour is white and they have blue eyes.
-Seal Mink: they are born with visible markings and are darker than the Lynx Points. Their eyes can be blue, green, gold or copper.
-Seal Sepia: they are darker than the Mink, displaying a nutmeg colour. Their eyes are usually green, gold or copper.
The Silver variety is a newer addition to the Bengal breed recognized colours. The background colour is silver.
There are also other tonalities, but they are not internationally recognized yet.
It is desirable to have a high degree contrast between the background colour and the markings.
The markings can be of different types: spots, arrows, rosettes and pawprints.
The marbled Bengals has a coat with a pattern of black swirls and can display a single or multiple colours.
Bengals can also have what is known as glitter: litterally it is like as they are sprinkled with gold dust on their coat. It is very different from the usual sheen that a healthy cat has on its coat. On the Snow Bengal the glitter is crystal coloured.
It is quite beautiful to admire it in the Sun!
We at Bloupunt Bengals specialize in stunning rosetted Brown and Snow (Seal Lynx Point, Seal Mink and Seal Sepia) Bengals, as well as Charcoal Bengals.
The Bengal Cat tends to be very healthy and has a strong constitution thanks to its muscolar body.
As in basically every breed, however, there are some genetic diseases in the Bengal breed:
-PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) is a genetic disease which causes loss of photoreceptors in the eyes and ultimately results in blindness. Clinical signs usually appear between 8 and 20 weeks of age.
-PK def (Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency) is a genetic disease in which a red blood cell enzyme (PK) is lacking, therefore the red blood cell energy metabolism does not happen correctly. The result is a haemolytic anaemia, that can either be mild and detectable or not evident until the cat is grown up.
-HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) is a form of hearth disease in which the hearth walls will slowly become thicker, so there will be less space available and less blood will be pumped. This can lead to an altered heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in walking and hearth failure.
All of our Studs and Queens are negative to PRA and PK deficiency.
We also test them annually for HCM.
Food and Nutrition
The Bengal Cat is an active and energetic cat, with a more muscular structure than the average domestic cat.
It is important to give them a quality diet with a good amount of proteins, to make sure that they stay healthy and develop well during their growth.
We feed our Bengals with home made food twice a day (morning and evening) supplemented with Hill's kibbles during the other times of the day.
We also sometimes feed them with Hill's wet food.
We also feed them with appropriate raw meat.
Our home made food consists of: chicken, chicken livers and hearts, salmon, canned tuna and sardines (the ones appositely made for cat consumption). We usually add a very small amount of cooked vegetables (butternut/sweet potato/carrot/baby marrow/) and rice which are processed together, a small amount of gelatine (home made from broth or cooking water) and a little sunflower oil (if necessary).
It is very important to start feeding them with this type of diet when they are kittens in order to get them accustomed to diet.
If you cannot give them home made food, it is important to feed them with a high quality pet food. The cheap supermarket pet food will not work, as it is full of sugars with very little proteins.
We recommend Hill's Pet Nutrition.
A proper diet is really important for your pet's health.
Many breeders and owners like to feed their Bengals with a raw diet. We are not against this, but it is important for you to understand a few things:
-Not all the Bengals can digest properly raw food; if your cat is vomiting after eating it, you must stop feeding with raw food.
-If you want to feed your Bengal with raw food, you must start early (same principle as with other diets).
-It is best not to mix a raw food diet with kibbles and a cooked food one. The reason for this is that the PH in the stomach (which will be more acidic with a raw food diet) will be altered towards a basic one, with the result of improper digestion.
-Always make sure about the source of the raw food. It is best to buy raw food which is made specifically for cats.
Note on Charcoal Bengals
Charcoal is not really a colour, but rather a pattern.
Charcoal Bengals occur in the three recognized Bengal colours: brown, snow and silver; they are usually darker than a normal Bengal cat.
Charcoal Bengals have two distinctive markings: a dark face mask, also named "Zorro markings" and a dark thick dorsal stripe, named "Cape".
Some of them are already born with these markings, while others (especially the Snow ones) will develop them only with age.
Usually Charcoal Brown Bengals have a grey background colour, while Charcoal Snow Bengals have a white or cream one, sometimes covered by a smokey touch.
Charcoal is definitely a great and exciting addition to our breeding program!
Find out more on Charcoal Bengal cats and their genetics at www.charcoalbengalcats.info