Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Breed of the Day: Bengal
Loved by those who appreciate it's inquisitive and loving nature, the Bengal is a medium to large cat renowned for its richly colored, highly contrasted coat of vivid spots, rosettes or marbling. Originally developed from crosses the domestic cat and Asian Leopard cat, the Bengal is the only domestic cat that can have rosettes like the markings on leopards, jaguars and ocelots. Today's domestic Bengal cat comes only from breeding Bengals to other Bengals and requires no specialized care. Since their beginnings in 1986, the Bengal's regal beauty and alluring charm have quickly made it one of the most popular and sought-after breeds. Employing scientific insights and a cooperative spirit, Bengal breeders continue to develop these stunning cats with careful selection for temperament, health and beauty.
Throughout history there are indications of a profound human fascination with the large and small wild felines that inhabit the jungles and forests of the world. In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a fire-side tabby and the striking look associated with wild felines. The modern Bengal breed traces back to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980s. The breed's name is a reference to the scientific name of the Asian Leopard cat, Prionailurus bengalensis. The hybrid crosses are registered as Foundation (F1, F2 and F3) Bengals, and are not eligible to compete in the International Cat Association's (TICA) conformation rings, with only the females used for breeding. Accepted as a new breed in TICA in 1986, Bengals gained championship status in 1991. They are now one of the most exhibited breeds in TICA.
While you can train a Bengal to have good manners, they are an active, inquisitive cat that loves to be up high. If you don't like cats that climb all over the place, a Bengal probably isn't for you. Bengals are busy bodies by nature. They are very affectionate and can be a "lap cat" whenever THEY want to be, but in general their idea of fun is playing, chasing, climbing and investigating. They'll often save cuddle time for when they want to sleep. Many Bengals enjoy water and may join you in brushing your teeth or even in the shower. Some Bengals are more vocal while others are quiet. For families or individuals who enjoy a rambunctious, funny, beautiful and dynamic feline companionship, consider the Bengal.