The Leopard Cat and its range.
The domestic Bengal cat derived from crossing a Leopard Cat (LC) with a domestic cat. Most subspecies of Leopard Cats are about ten pounds, and are extremely beautiful, wild, and not easily tamed. Many require special care, food, and permits in captivity.
The Leopard Cat (LC) comes in many sub-species that range from five pounds to twenty pounds in size. Being a small cat, they are a very shy animal and are as much predatorized as being a predator. They are known to eat small birds, rodents, insects, fish and vegetation in the wild.
The Leopard Cat is not an aggressive cat and will flee rather then fight. This instinct to flee is what makes them difficult to handle and is the same trait found in some of the early generation domestic Bengals if not socialized properly. If not properly socialized Bengals can retain some very strong instincts to spook and flee. This being the case many are not always suitable as pets with small children in the home or in the show hall. A small child will try to keep a kitten or cat from getting away and the spooked unsocialized cat or kitten will spook even more and will do what ever it must to get away, possibly unknowingly hurting the child, that other wise they would never do.
Early generation Bengals usually not aggressive toward another cat, person, or dog, unless to protect it's young. In fact we must be very careful who we house together with our EG Bengals, because they can be picked on by the domestic cats to the point of starvation. Any aggression other then for protecting their young is believed to come from the domestic bloodlines.
Hybrids of ALC and domestic cats have been documented for hundreds of years, including Jean Sugden's (now Mill's) female born in 1963 by an ALC female pet that bred by chance to a domestic male, but none of these had anything to do with the Bengal breed today.
The Bengal breed owes there beginnings to Dr. Willard Centerwall's Leukemia research at Loyola University. Since the ALC can not be inflected with feline Leukemia, researchers used them to seek a cure for Leukemia in felines and in other species as well as humans. Researchers crossed the ALC with the domestics to study the differences in the offspring. This research is still being done with the aid of early generation Bengals. We were just contacted recently for blood samples from our filial Bengals for this research. When Dr. Centerwall became ill, Jean Mill attained several F1 ALC hybrids from him. These were the first Bengals and most Bengals can be traced back to these cats.
Jean Mill said her reason for breeding these hybrid cats was to put a wild coat of the leopard type cats on a domestic cat, in an effort to stop the sales of fur coats. She felt this would make it hard to sell fur coats of skins that looked like pets and would help stop the trapping and killing of these animals.
It is unfortunate that many breeders with little or no practical early generation (Filial) experience offer inaccurate advice and opinions as to the breeding, temperament and care of these Bengals. This is why we are part of the Filial Bengal Cat Consultants (FBCC). The FBCC is a group of dedicated breeders who specialize in the breeding and care of early generation (filial) Bengals. Who have offered to share their expertise.
Some of the early generation domestic Bengals cats misinformation was rooted from breeders in the past not understanding the importance of early socialization and the hand raising of filial kittens. Many of the early filial kittens or cats were reclusive, distant, and did not display domestic personality traits or habits. Just like with all cats, the importance of early socialization is now more widely understood and practiced. But a buyer still must make sure that any generation of Bengal is well socialized.
The benefits of a hybrid are enormous. Bengals are one of the healthiest and most intelligent of all breeds of domestic cats and are very prolific. Many breeders that breed Bengals today, do so because of all the health and breeding problems they have had in the past with other breeds of cats. Bengals cause no genetic threats to other cat breeds, to the contrary, they may hold the key to the future health of all breeds of cats by contribution of new genes to other domestic cats if ever needed.
The first generation of an Asian Leopard Cat crossed with a domestic is known as an F1 (Filial 1st generation) domestic Bengal and has a very wild and beautiful appearance. All F1 and almost all F2 Bengal males are infertile, making it much more difficult to preserve these characteristics in further generations. Although the F2's and F3's are also very beautiful, they tend to have a more domestic cat look. Because some F3 males are fertile, there was no need to add any more domestic influence. Now with top quality Bengals available there is no need to bring in any other breeds of domestic cats.
The International Progressive Cat Breeder's Alliance (IPCBA) and The International Cat Association (TICA) allows the Championship showing of Bengals starting with the fourth generations because they require 3 generations of Bengal to Bengal breedings. The ACFA allows the showing of fifth generation, requiring 4 generations of Bengal to Bengal breedings. There are some people who confuse show eligibility with what a domestic Bengal cat is. Show eligibility has NOTHING to do with being a domestic Bengal cat, the trademark for a domestic Bengal cat was well established long before any registry ever recognized them.
The International Bengal Breeders' Association Inc., Bengal Breed Standard states, "The Leopard Cat is the foundation cat for the Bengal Breed. The first and subsequent generations derived from the breeding of a Leopard Cat to a domestic cat or other Bengal cat is recognized as a domestic Bengal cat."
The name Bengal derives from the Asian Leopard Cat's scientific name Prionailurus (Felis) Bengalensis and has nothing to do with Bengal Tigers.
Several Leopard Cats have been used in Bengal cat breeding programs. Unfortunately, very few have ever been used in Leopard cat programs and their genes have been lost forever. Here is a list of known LC's in Bengal cat pedigree's, highlighted in red are four that reside at Bamboo Cattery.
CATS NAME SUBSPECIES SEX CATTERY OWNER Abu unknown M O'Bobtor Robert Torquato ALC Maximus of Bamboo p.b.chinensis M Bamboo Mike Bloodgood Apollo unknown M Sarez Esmond Gay Art Deco unknown M Lionsmountain Karin Donoyan Bhagara Khan / Sergura Khan unknown M Lotsaspots Drs. Greg & Elizabeth Kent Bonzai unknown F Centerwall / Maia Wild Heritage unknown M Loyola University Dr. Willard Centerwall Dundee NIH ALC unknown M Lotsaspots Drs. Greg & Elizabeth Kent Hatfield ALC / Lokie unknown M Everyglades Jean Hatfield Icon unknown M Stonehenge/Asaalah Sydney Welch/Cindy Cartwright Ido Naquit p.b.euptilura M Trendar/Razielreign Holly Burchard Juara of Eraser p.b.tingia M Eraser Muzaffar K Ishak Kabuki unknown M Millwood Jean Mill KiKi unknown M Millwood Jean Mill King of Asia p.b.euptilura M Nefertelli Chuck Brittelli Kubla Khan unknown M Catoninetail Kate Bynum Leopole unknown M Newhorizon Joyce Sroufe Leopard of Cheethatu p.b.euptilura M Cheethatu Jan Giacinto Little L unknown M Sarez Esmond Gay Magic of TexasStar unknown M TexasStarSafari Stacy L. Hansen Malaki of TexasStar unknown M TexasStarSafari Stacy L. Hansen Meredith unknown M N/A Gordon Meridith Phantom unknown M Aluren Pat Kilminer Pizzaz p.b.borneoensis M O'Bobtor Robert Torquato Queen Asianna of Bamboo unknown F Goldenglitz/Bamboo Sandra Roan/Mike Bloodgood Rajah Singh unknown M Junglesong Robert Mock Rolling Thunder unknown M Keppel Savior of Cocoaspride unknown M Cocoaspride Bob & Colette Griffiths Senor Romeo of Cheethatu p.b.euptilura M Cheethatu Jan Giacinto Simon of Cocoaspride unknown M Cocoaspride Bob & Colette Griffiths Sir Apollo unknown M SpotO'Luck Patty Bingham Taro unknown M Bundas Grace Lush Wild Huntsman unknown M SpotO'Luck Patty Bingham X-treme of Bundas unknown M Bundas Grace Lush Zarboo of Wildsafari unknown M Wildsafari Mario Z./Erik B. ZaRu of Bamboo p.b.euptilura M Goldenglitz/Bamboo Sandra Roan/Mike Bloodgood ZHaDum of Bamboo unknown M Goldenglitz/Bamboo Sandra Roan/Mike Bloodgood
Even the fourth or more generation domestic Bengals are very unique, beautiful cats that needs no special care or food. They are very loving, devoted pets, loving to play fetch or to take a bath with their owners. They get a long well with other cats, pets and also sensible children. Most people feel they have a personality more like a dog than a cat because they are very people oriented.
Most Bengal females are between 8-12 pounds and most males are between 12-18 pounds. They have short, silky hair and are very athletic (loving to jump high up at their toys). Many of the later and some of early generations have glitter which looks like someone sprinkled gold dust all over them. Glitter is at the tip of the hair and reflects light, giving this impression. Owning a Bengal is a cool experience that everyone should have at least once in their life.
For more on Bengal temperament's go to article:
Bengal Temperament & Behavior
by Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, PhD
Diplomat American College of Veterinary (animal) Behavior
For complete information on Leopard Cats, please go to the
Leopard Cat Foundation.
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