Quite a few cat breeds boast a wild feline look: Norwegian Forest cats resemble huge arctic feline predators; Pixie Bobcats look a lot like American Bobcats; Abyssinian cats wear the wild agouti coat pattern with pride. In fact, one of the reasons we love cats so much is the distinct uncultivated touch in their appearance and character.
However, not many breeds possess a documented wild heritage like the Bengal does. The Bengal cat is a beautiful cat that is a cross between a domestic cat and the Asian leopard cat. It has beautiful markings that are similar to those of the wild Asian leopard, with stripes and other marks adding to their appearance. In terms of size, the Bengal cat is similar in size to a domestic cat and they range from 7 to 10 pounds for females and 9 and 12 pounds for males. Males may grow to reach close to 20 pounds.
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The markings on the Bengal cat vary based on body part. The face has horizontal stripes that almost make it look like the cat is wearing mascara. The sides of the body have spots similar to those of a leopard or jaguar. The back of the body has symmetrical stripes. They have two distinct coat patterns, either marble or spotted. Unlike any other breed, some Bengals appear as if they were dipped in gold or silver glitter. Its distinctive leopard spotted or marbled coat enhances its wild appearance as it roams the house.
Brief History – As the story goes, Jean Sugden Mills, around 1982 bred a domestic cat with a feral Indian Mau. At about the same time, Greg and Elizabeth Kent started their own breed of Bengal Cats using an Egyptian Mau. Both Jean Mills the Kents worked hard to popularize the breed, and in 1986, The International Cat Association adopted the first written breed standard. Today Bengal Cats are the most popular registered cat breed. Bengal breeders and breeding programs now outnumber most other breeds.
So what made the Bengal such an instant hit in the cat fanciers’ world?