"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest".
The History of The Bengal Cat
The Bengal cat is a domesticated cat breed created from pairing hybrids such as, the spotted Egyptian Mau, with the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). The breed name comes from the leopard cat's taxonomic name.
Bengals have a wild appearance, especially in the Brown you can see their golden shimmer, this comes from their leopard cat ancestry, and their coats may show spots, rosettes, arrowhead markings, or marbling. Breeders have then gone on to bringing in to the breed more colours and genetics which now gives the public way more of a diverse choice in choosing their baby leopard looking Bengal cat, from Silver, Snow and Blue, to charcoal and solid Smoke versions of these too. They are a very energetic, and highly intelligent breed which needs much exercise and play, I personally like to advise people to think of the Bengal Cat as a dog.
Who started the Bengal Cat?
A Lady called Jean Mill (May 11, 1926 – June 7, 2018) was cat breeder, and a conservationist who worked to protect the Asian leopard cat. Mill is best known as the founder of the modern Bengal cat breed. Jean successfully crossed the wild Asian leopard cat with a domestic cat, and then Backcrossing - backcrossed the offspring through five generations to create the domestic Bengal, the cats you see and own today are due to her. Jean made contributions in two other cat breeds: the [Himalayan cat, Himalayan, and the standardized version of the Egyptian Mau. Jean and her first husband Robert Sugden were involved in a precedent-setting case about the United States government's power to monitor short wave radio communications. Jean Mill has also authored two books.
Jean Mill was overly concerned about the hunting and poaching of the Asian Leopard cats to supply the fur trade. Mill has said that her desire to save the Asian Leopard cat led to the creation of the Bengal cat breed.
"I deliberately crossed Leopard cats with domestic cats for several important reasons. At this time, wild cats were being exploited for the fur market. Nursing female leopard cats defending their nests were shot for their pelts, and the cubs were shipped off to pet stores worldwide. Unsuspecting cat lovers bought them unaware of the danger, their unpleasant elimination habits, and the unsuitability of keeping wild cats as pets. ...I hoped that putting a leopard coat on a domestic cat the pet trade could be safely satisfied. If fashionable women could be dissuaded from wearing furs that look like their friend' pets the diminished demand would result in less poaching of wild species." Jean Mill.
The Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wild cat native to continental South, Southeast, and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as it is widely distributed although threatened by habitat loss and hunting in parts of its range.
MY ADVICE BEFORE YOU BUY A BENGAL CAT/KITTEN.
When buying your Bengal kitten/cat please make sure you buy yours from registered breeders and who are Licenced by their local council Animal welfare department, holding a valid Animals Activity Licence means they are breeding lawfully and are inspected to meet the minimum legal requirements for the cats they keep. If the breeder is only registered it does not mean they are inspected. Sadly photos and videos only tell one side of the story, any breeder who is inspected is always making sure they are going above and beyond the scope of good practice to continue holding a licence.
They can present proof, also breeders who do not allow their kittens to leave before 13 weeks old, who do the basic screening of the parents for HCM,pk-deff and pra/b and can show you proof of these tests, any genetic lab testing will provide an email or letter with the results on, who neuter and spay their kittens before leaving you, this shows how committed they are to reducing the amount of Bengal Cats being used for breeding illegally and left in awful conditions.
What is HCM?
HCM stands for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. When a heart is afflicted with HCM, the walls of the left ventricle of the heart thicken, therefore, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently. HCM is the most common form of heart disease in all domestic cats, not just Bengal cats.
What is PRa/b?
Bengal PRA-b causes loss of photo-receptors in the eye and ultimately results in blindness, this may not be visible in a young kitten, but will develop with time.
What is pk-deff?
Pyruvate kinase deficiency is an inherited disease. Pyruvate kinase is a red blood cell enzyme important in red blood cell energy metabolism. Therefore, if this enzyme is lacking, a haematologic anaemia can result.
However, the anaemia may only be mild and intermittently detectable, or may not become evident until the cat is older. A rapid severe life-threatening anaemia can also develop. Carrier cats are clinically healthy but can pass the defective gene to their offspring.
Buying unregistered kitten from an unregistered Breeder does mean you are supporting this type of establishment and funding those who keep our Bengal babies in such poor conditions and bad health.
When to question why is a Bengal being sold so cheap?
This can be for many reasons, but a retired Queen is usually priced between £200-£400+ depending on how close she is to the breed standard, also her age, health etc.
Bengal kittens that are registered and come from a GOOD registered breeder are normally priced between £700-£1500 PET PRICE. A good breeding program could not survive if they sold their own kittens below this price range. Good breeders, believe it or not sometimes cover costs!
Is mum with her kittens? Don't buy kittens who are kept in small cages, they come with all sorts of emotional and bad behavioural issues (no fault of their own), ask the breeder to show you around their cattery or during Covid19 can send videos, so you can see what type of start your new Bengal baby has had, a good breeder doing it for the right reasons to improve the breed wont mind at all.
Ask for proof of their vet checks as all good breeders will have or can attain detailed print outs from their vets with dates and the kittens/cats name for these checks on.
Back street breeders are becoming even more of a problem, they are becoming clever in selling these pretty but possibly very sick kittens/cats to people who have no idea about what can go wrong with their new baby Bengal in years to come, PLEASE HELP BY SHARING THIS PAGE/INFO ON ANY SOCIAL MEDIA, KNOWLEDGE IS EVERYTHING AND WE CAN HELP AVOID HEART ACHE FOR SOME POOR FAMILIES LOSS ALSO IT CAN HELP PREVENT THESE PEOPLE CONTINUING TO DO IT THE WRONG WAY.
Seeing kittens in cages may make you want to buy them, with an emotional reverse physiology effect that back street breeder has done on purpose to guilt trip you in to wanting to 'save' the sick kitten. Instead report them to RSPCA or their local Council (get their address first) so they can conduct an investigation. We are also now seeing more people buying Bengal Kittens, keeping them for a week and selling them on for a profit, but with less documentation due to them needing to hide the original breeder so you cannot make contact. Please do not fall for their excuses, there is never a reason why a decent ethical Bengal breeder cannot obtain all of the documents that comes with a kitten, and it should be a lot!
The Bengal cat is a strong and muscular cat, with this in mind, can you imagine owning one who has had an emotional and traumatic start to life which they will sadly take with them in to adult hood. It is not a good idea even for the most advanced cat owner!!
The Bengal cat, when it has been raised correctly, is a loving and wonderful addition to any family.
Get the RIGHT breeder and you will get the RIGHT cat!
IF WE DO NOT HAVE KITTENS AVAILABLE PLEASE STILL MESSAGE US AND I CAN DIRECT YOU TO ANOTHER TRUSTED BREEDER.
LIST OF 10 BASIC QUESTIONS TO ASK THE BREEDER
1- What age can your kittens leave? (good breeders don't allow them to leave before 13+ weeks).
2- Are you a registered breeder, can you provide proof?
3- Do you screen your Bengals for pk-def and pra/b and HCM? If so can you provide me with their results?
4- What parasitic control measures do you take?
5- May I have all vet history for my Bengal kitten once I come to collect?
6- Ask to see the kitten’s parents? If the breeder only has Queens and has used an open stud, ask for the mating contract to view for proof, also the other breeders contact details, make sure both parents names tally up with that are on the kittens TICA BREEDER SLIP.
7- Will the kitten be fully vaccinated? Do not buy a kitten that isn't vaccinated PLEASE!
8- Will the kitten come with insurance? Get the conformation of policy print out or email before you leave the breeder.
9- Is the kitten micro chipped? Make sure you get the transfer of ownership letter upon collection.
10- Will the kitten come with a contract? Contracts are very useful for yourself and the breeder, it gives you both legal conformation of what both parties duties and responsibilities are in regards to the Bengal kitten.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
Generally, as humans we tend to get a good/bad feeling when we meet or speak with people, this also applies to a breeder, just because they have beautiful Bengal kittens, doesn't mean they themselves are ethical or kind people who have your best intentions at heart
Upon your viewing, look at the kitten’s eyes, do they seem a little pink/red or have a watery discharge? Feel the silky fur, is it silky or dry? Are the kittens sneezing? whilst the odd sneeze from a kitten can be very normal, just observe how often that’s happening.
Does the kitten seem happy, healthy, running around, or maybe lethargic, thin or owns an overall unsound appearance? How clean is the environment the kitten is being placed in? I don't mean tidy, I mean clean as in hoovered, mopped and sanitised. What mental stimulation is there for the kittens? Cat trees, toys, and cat wheels, does the breeder work long hours without anyone else being home?
They need these things to develop their strong leg muscles and own a healthy functioning body just as they would naturally in the wild, a good breeder will try theyre very best to mimic this environment.
Is the Bengal Cat for you and your family?
The Bengal Cat isn't for everyone, and that's ok.
I have included some videos of Bengals being at their most inquisitive and naughty to attempt to put you off this amazing breed of feline. If after watching the videos and reading through this advise you still feel they are the right breed for you then lets do it!
Temperament of The Bengal Cat:
The Bengal cat’s temperament isn’t one of a standard moggy cat, it’s even better! This is not to say I don’t love my moggies because I do and own some.
Bengals however add a little more, shall we say... Spice!
I want you to imagine a cat with a wildly profiled face, sporting a leopard exterior, equipped with incredible intelligence, agility, speed and extreme inquisitiveness, that I call naughtiness.
They can be demanding of your time, enjoy going on walks using a Bengal harness and are beautiful loving bundles of energy. Some Bengals are fond of playing in the water, you may find yours jumping in the kitchen sink, fishing out of the aquarium or jumping in the shower with you!
This is a happy, entertaining cat who wants lots of attention. They do their best with humans who can spend time at home and who will enjoy playing and interacting with them, or if they have other cats to play with whilst your at work. Some like to steal your belongings and hide them for fun, take over your bed and generally your life, but reward it with loyalty, love and a bond I cannot put in to words.
There’s never a dull day when you have a Bengal cat in your life.
In my personal opinion and from what I have experienced as a breeder and owner of Bengal cats, they can be single cats and do fine if you have enough time to spend with them, but I feel they do so much better in pairs of, female & female, female & male, also male & male if they are a bonded pair from the same litter. Neutered males are possibly the cuddliest creatures on the planet, I have been told from some Bengal owners they prefer the neutered females, but again in my own personal experience, and watching my children handle both sexes, my neutered boys have been the most loving and needy of snuggles out of the two.
Bengals are a medium to large domestic cat, they have been created by crossing an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) with a domesticated cat. They come in all different colours and patterns. Colours vary from, snows, blues, silvers, browns and charcoals also solid/smoke versions. Patterns come in either rosettes, marbled or spotted. Breeders have worked endlessly to achieve such a beautiful variety for you to choose from. Choosing a respected, reputable breeder is paramount, this is possibly the most important factor when choosing your Bengal cat.
Please do not help aid unregistered, unethical breeders by purchasing Bengal kittens from them, they have normally bought the parents as kittens with a PET ONLY contract, therefore they are breeding them illegally and they do not have the breeds best interest at heart, nor do they screen the parents for certain hereditary diseases, there would have been a reason the original breeder didn't sell the Bengal cat these are using as an Active Bengal instead of a pet, they don’t feed them the correct diets needed for the breed and the majority are kept in awful conditions just so they can make a profit from them. Myself and many other good breeders are now opting for early neutering for PETS ONLY to help avoid people abusing these beautiful cats any further.
Bengals And Children:
I am a mother of seven children, their ages range from 5-18. My eldest has a cat allergy and thank goodness The Bengal Cat hardly sheds and is the only breed of cat who doesn’t cause any allergic reaction to her, in fact many people have decided to go with the Bengal cat breed for this reason, its not promised your child won't have an allergic reaction to a Bengal, but it is less likely.
My children all play safely with our Bengals, yes kittens can get overly excited especially when they are on what we call, energetic (hypo Bengal play) moments, during these moments my children always use a cat feather stick or toy to play with them, never hands! No, the Bengal cat doesn’t eat hands, but they will see you as one of them and if you’ve ever watched two kittens playing you will see it’s a little like WWF Wrestling. Using the ‘no hands rule’, help avoid any accidental scratches, which could leave your child scared of your Bengal, speaking of scratches always trim your kittens claws weekly using human nail clippers is fine, and I personally find this to be easily done when they are sleeping, creep up on them 'Bengal style' and trim those razor blades!
It is imperative you teach your child to respect your Bengal as this is still an animal who also needs playing with, but in a safe manner for both child and Bengal, just as you would with any other animal.
If your Bengal starts to bite ankles or hands this can be both stressful and concerning, even if they mean it in a playful manner it can start to get out of control especially when in a single cat household.
As breeders we do not ever allow this type of behaviour to be encouraged, believe it or not your Bengal will need discipline but not harsh disciplined, more training is required as he/she grows and try's to take ownership of your life, he/she needs to understand its their home and family but there are boundaries they must respect. I will advise create training for such behaviour, we have successfully done this numerous times and it has always worked relatively quickly, the sooner you start the training the faster it will be successful.
if your kitten is still Yonge you can use a medium cat carrier for this task, if they are an adult maybe use a small dog crate for it.
Start off by placing the kitten in the carrier for 10 minuets every time he/she bites you, when letting them out, praise them and offer play with a feather stick. The key is being consistent!
Never use water in spray bottles, or hit back, this will only worsen things.
BENGALS ARE GREAT FUN, JUST BE COMMITTED TO THEIR NEEDS AND THEY WILL RETURN THE FAVOUR WITH CUDDLES, LOVE, ENTERTAINMENT AND LOYALTY!
Thank you for taking the time to read through my advice, I wish you all the best on your Bengal journey.
Bengal Legacy xx