Have you ever noticed a domestic cat that closely resembles a beautiful spotted leopard? Chances are you’ve met a Bengal. The International Cat Association (TICA) describes the Bengal as a medium to large cat renowned for its coat of vivid spots or distinct marbling.
According to TICA, in 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a spotted 5-12 pound wild cat species from Asia. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a tabby and the striking look associated with Leopards, Ocelots and Jaguars. The modern Bengal breed traces to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980's. The breed's name is a reference to the scientific name of the Asian Leopard Cat, Prionailurus bengalensis.
The Bengal cat is a medium- or large-sized cat that is long and muscular. Its head and muzzle are broad and cheekbones high with pronounced whisker pads. You’ll notice large, round and wide eyes and small ears. What really stands out about the Bengal is its lush, very soft coat featuring a distinctive leopard-like pattern of spots.
The typical colors of a Bengal are black or brown spotted, black or brown marbled or even snow spotted or snow marbled.
If you’re looking to add a lap cat to your home, usually Bengals aren’t the first breed that comes to mind. While it enjoys human company, the Bengal cat remains true to its wild instincts and enjoys being busy, hunting and even swimming! It has plenty of energy and will need lots of time to play and jump and be active.