What is a Bengal?
The Bengal is a relatively new breed of cat which was first bred in the USA and was originally created by crossing an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat such as an egyptian mau, a burmese or an abyssinian.
The goal in developing the domestic Bengal cat breed was to preserve a strong physical resemblance to its beautiful wild ancestor and, at the same time, the new domestic breed was designed to be a pleasant and trustworthy family companion.
The bengal breed allows those of us who love and admire wild cats to live with and enjoy their beauty and uniqueness in our own homes, while also benefiting from the domestic bengals loving, friendly and playful disposition.
INFORMATION UPDATE - Cashmere Bengals
A Cashmere Bengal is a long haired bengal which has such an amazingly soft and silky coat. The long haired bengal has not historically been bred for intentionally but has occurred since the beginning of the bengal breed. Until recently Cashmere Bengals were not kept in breeding programmes.
There is now a now a group of Cashmere bengal breeders who hope that enough long hair bengals will be placed in Cashmere breeding programmes to both create a Longhair Bengal with all of the traits of the Asian Leopard Cat and the added bonus of a sleek , soft coat that does not shed like the longhaired breeds we currently have today
Until 2011, we had not bred a Cashmere Bengal in our programme. Imagine our surprise when cashmere kittens appeared in 2 of our recent litters. These kittens are just gorgeous and have such beauty. We wanted to share with you some photos of our 2011 surprise arrivals and introduce you to the Cashmere Bengal kittens of Supernova.
The Asian Leopard Cat
In the wild, the ALC is not an aggressive cat. Infact they are slightly shy and highly intelligent.
The general build of an Asian Leopard Cat is similar to a normal domestic cat but with somewhat longer legs and a longer back. They have a relatively small head with a short narrow muzzle, large eyes (because of their nocturnal habits and a thick tail of about 11 to 14 inches length. Body length varies between 25 to 32 inches and they weigh between 7 to 15 pounds. Size and weight vary between sub-species in different geographical regions but the males are generally heavier than the females.
All sub-species have a spotted or ringed tail, with a black tail tip, four black bands running from the forehead to the back of the neck, breaking up into elongated spots on the neck and shoulders, often forming a "broken necklace". The round black ears have a white spot on the back called ocelli, and all cats have a white underside, throat and cheek-flashes. The under parts are spotted on the white background. The body markings can be solid or rosetted and sometimes show marbling.
Early Generation or Foundation Cats
The earlier generations are referred to as F1, F2 and F3 to show how far removed they are from the original cross, the 'F' simply denoting 'Foundation'. A first generation cross is called an F1. An F2 is the progeny of one F1 parent and one domestic parent (usually a Bengal these days) and an F3 has one F2 parent and one domestic parent. The fourth generation removed from the wild and beyond can be considered a domestic animal and is officially a Bengal (SBT) rather than an early generation (foundation) cat. F1 males are usually sterile and F2 and F3 males also often have fertility problems.
There has been for sometime a debate amongst certain bengal breeders as to whether these earlier generation cats make suitable pets. In our experience certain early generation cats with excellent socialisation from their breeder and good ‘upbringings’ will make fantastic pets. Our F1 girl Gayzette Aphrodite is a fantastic example of this and indeed is more social and loving in her behaviour than many ‘domestic’ cats we have met!
Our advice to anyone interested in having an early generation cat is to ensure you purchase from a reputable breeder who is able to understand and cater for the needs of these kittens. By doing so you should have an absolutely fabulous pet that is willing to join in the hustle and bustle of your family home and indeed a friend for life. These beautiful cats need to be raised in the right hands and given the love, time and attention they deserve!
The Bengal Personality
Bengals are very active, vocal, intelligent, alert and agile. They will watch humans do certain things and then copy them. It's not unusual for these beautiful cats to learn how to open doors, cupboards and windows. Many love water and some enjoy playing in water dishes, bathtubs and paddling pools. Some also enjoy being taken for walks on a harness, once they've got used to it.
Bengals have self-assurance and confidence whilst acquiring an affectionate disposition and an extremely energetic, playful nature. The overall impression is of a miniature leopard with a loving dependable temperament. They are extremely sociable and interact well with other pets including dogs.
Colours and Pattern
Bengals come in a variety of colours and 2 patterns. The TICA recognised colours include brown, snow and silver, however there are also melanistics, smokes and blues which are currently classified as 'new traits'. The 2 patterns are spotted and marbled.
The Spotted Bengals should display a sharper contrast of colour than other spotted breeds and they have often have larger spots. The spotting pattern on the Bengals tends to flow horizontally and rosettes often occur which is highly desired amongst many bengal breeders.
Marbled Bengals have a unique pattern of random horizontally aligned swirls which is not found in any other breeds of cat. It is thought to have its origins in the combination of the wild genes of the Asian Leopard Cat and the domestic tabby genes.
There is no other breed of cat which displays the gold or pearl dusting effect (glitter) of the Bengal. In recent years, as the breed has moved further away from its origins, breeders have been able to develop more distinctive rosetted patterns. This rosetting has enhanced the uniqueness of the breed, as has also the recent appearance of Bengals with almost white undersides.
Here at Supernova we are focused on producing both brown and snow colours in spotted and marbled patterns from F2 onwards. If you have any questions relating to what you have read here please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to provide further information.