The history of the bengal cat
Bengal cats are the result of breeding a Domestic Cat (Egipcian Mau) with a Asian Leopard Cat (Felis Bengalensis). USA has been the pioneer of this fantastic bengal cat breed. The target was to create a cat that would look just like the leopard cat but with the character of a pet.
The experiments to achieve this new breed began in the 60's. During the next decade many investigations were made in the University of California about the bengal cat breed. The results proved that they were partially immune to the feline leukemia. The bengal cats that were born and tested in the University were acquired by Jean Mill, and in 1985 she showed them for first time in the world in an exposition. Great expectation was awaiting this event, and the public were amazed to see such wild beauty combined with such a tame character, the bengal cat was here.
The Asian Leopard Cat. Felis Bengalensis.
The Asian Leopard Cat (called Felis Bengalensis or Prionailuros Bengalensis), from which the bengal cats come from, weighs from 3 to 5 kg, being the males bigger than the females. The Felis Bengalensis can be found in the deep jungles and forests at the south of Asia, India, China, Korea, Singapur, Taiwan, Philipines, Borneo and Thailand. This species is very attractive and slender. The back legs are slightly longer that the front legs, its body is long and stylish. The head is small and the ears are rounded and black, they have a white triangular shaped spot on the back part of the ear, very typical in the Felis Bengalensis and nearly all wild felines.
The markings on the head are black or a reddish brown, and form lines along the same head, neck and shoulders. They have dark coloured spotting or also rosettes spread all over the body. The tail has rings along it, and the tale tip is black. The coat color can vary from a beige to an orange, even to a grey, depending on the area. The chin, tummy, and interior parts of the legs are white with black spots. The Felis Bengalensis was a perfect candidate to give birth to this new breed known as the Bengal.
The Felis Bengalensis is quite shy and unsociable. They live in trees, caves and under roots of huge trees. They are more of a night-cat, so they are very active during the evening. Their favourite habitat is the forest and the jungle, always close to the water. They hunt birds, squirrels and rats.
The litters can be of two or three kittens, and it's believed they live in couples. It is very difficult to tame their character in captivity, because they are very nervous and shy. For this reason, they are usually not very good pets, only accepting the person as the provider of food.
The bengal cats have inherited that passion for water, the typical awaiting-movements to and fro along the cage waiting for their food (for instance, you may have seen in movies or the zoo, when they bring food to the lions or tigers, that they impatiently walk from one end to the other and viceversa), the hunting postition when they see a bird flying down the ground or a little mouse, etc... All this behaviour is very typical from all the large felines, which is a vivid proof of their origin in a wild creature. But it is admirable how their loving and tame character contrasts with this wild look, it could only be the bengal cat.