About Bengal Cats
_The Bengal is a relatively new breed of cat which was first bred in the U.S.A and was originally created by crossing an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) with a domestic cat. The domestic Bengal derives its name from the Latin name of its wild ancestor, Felis Bengalensis (Asian Leopard Cat). Whilst the domestic Bengal is similar in appearance to the Asian Leopard cat and its genetic makeup contains a contribution from that wild cat species, its temperament is however purely domestic. 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. Therefore, the conformation of the Bengal is definitely reminiscent of its ancestors.
Bengals come in two basic patterns - spotted and marbled.
There are many different variations within these patterns, but the most important thing is that the markings should be very clear and sharp in appearance with strong contrast with the base colour of the coat. Spotted/rosetted Bengals should have random markings with no stripes or bars and marble Bengals should have a horizontally aligned flowing pattern.
Bengals can also come in Charcoal and Blue. These colours, along with the Melanistic, are not currently recognised on the show bench although select breeders around the world are now concentrating on these unusual colours and working to get them recognised with the leading cat registries.
Glitter - what is all the fuss about?
This is a trait unique to the Bengal breed that causes the pelt to sparkle and create a distinct "glitter" effect. In brown Bengals it is as if the hair were dipped in gold dust and in snows or silvers the glitter appears like ice.
It is most easily seen in bright natural sunlight. Some glitter comes from the hair shaft being hollow at the ends and some comes from actual flakes of the mineral "mica" being encased in the hair shaft.
Not all Bengals are glittered and it is not part of the breed standard but this remarkable characteristic is considered highly desirable.
_The fuzzies are a trait believed to have come from the ALC and usually start to appear when the kitten is about four weeks of age; their coats will change in colour and texture and become grayish and fuzzy, obscuring the pattern.
This happens in the wild because the kittens begin to explore and this helps camouflage them from predators. The fuzzies will usually start to clear up about 16 weeks of age. When the kitten finally sheds the last of these little white fuzzy hairs you will fully appreciate the beauty and striking appearance of your Bengal kitten. Bengal fuzzies generally are not completely clear until they reach 8 months old.
While you are looking for your kitten and visiting breeders, you will see many different kittens of different ages, and you may notice that the older kittens appear to be more fuzzy with less clear markings than the very young kittens. Unfortunately, the fuzzies are at their worst at about ten weeks old, when kittens are almost ready to go their new homes. This is quite normal. It is best to see the kittens first (or at least a photograph of the kittens) at an earlier age, between two to six weeks old. This way you can see what the adult markings will be like, and that the kitten does not have a ticked coat or long hair, which are both faults.
A really good place to find more information about Bengal colours and patterns can be found here.
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