A. No, Bengal cats are bred from Asian leopards. Asian leopards have recently come off the endangered species list. So what of the Bengal Cat? Well, it's name come from the Asian leopard's scientific name, Felis Bengalensis, (some even speculate that the late Mr. Bill Engle, B. Engle, had some thing to do with the name), so no, it's not a tiger by any stretch. Bengals carry some of their ancestor's (the Asian leopard's) wild nature true, such as a love for water.
Q. What's a Bengal cat's personality like?
A. No one word can sum it up. Confident, outgoing, friendly, the list goes on. What is important is what a Bengal is not. They are not aloof, not skittish, not "to themselves". I've maintained that a Bengal is a man's pet because a Bengal is more like a dog than a cat. Really. For instance, because of their heritage, Bengals are not afraid of water. Most like to play in it. Leave the shower door open and soon your Bengal will wander in. Bengals will fetch with the right tactic. Once you find a favorite toy, toss it. Then reward with a kind repetitious word and treat. Bengals use their paws like hands quite often. They cradle their toys on their chests and hide them from other pets. Needless to say, Bengals are intelligent. Both male and female Bengals become even better pets once fixed. Don't fear that the operation will impact your Bengals personality, other than for the better. It's also a mistake if you don't, especially with the boys. At maturity, a boy Bengal will mark his territory if not fixed. Bengals are great climbers and love heights. A cat tree is a good idea for any household with cats but a real must if you own a Bengal.
Q. What percent Asian Leopard is my Bengal?
A. Here at Defiant Breeders our Bengals are both SBT's (stud book tradition) and filials (F3's and F4's). SBT indicates 4 generations of Bengal to Bengal breeding. At one time Bengals were permitted to be bred with other breeds with similar markings, such as Egyptian mau's and ocicats. This practice is no longer condoned by most parts of the Bengal breeding community. In fact it's divided. For instance, Dr. Gregory Kent, is a rogue breeder that firmly believes in utilizing Mau's for breeding. He believes this helps make a Bengal "pure". He's pretty much isolated in this practice, but is he wrong? Who really can say? He's a bit aloof, but you can learn a lot from him. His cattery is Lotsa Spots Cattery and his web site has since disappeared from the web. So how much Asian leopard is your Bengal? A lot, and not much. There is somewhere between 8 and 12% wild blood in SBT's. If you desire a look that is closer to the Asian leopard cat, a Foundation Bengal can be acquired from us.
If you purchase an SBT Bengal it will be no less than 4 generations removed from the wild Asian leopard. If you purchase a Filial Bengal it will be 3 or 4 generations removed from the ALC. Our Bengals are bred Bengal to Bengal at all times. Originally Bengals were created by cross breeding between domestic cats and Asian leopard cats. The breed is now accepted by TICA in the US.
Q. How large does a Bengal get?
A. Male Bengals are often very large, and can easily weigh over 15 pounds. The females are usually a lot smaller and lighter, weighing about 8 to 10 pounds. Bengals from the first two generations after the hybridization can be a lot heavier still, females as well as males. These first few generations are defined as F-1's, F-2's, and F-3's. F-1 males are usually sterile. The odds go down as you get to the F-3's.
Q. What does a Bengal cost?
A. A pet kitten costs from approximately $650 to $800. These prices are on average. Bengals sold as pets are the most inexpensive, and top show quality Bengals are the most expensive, which can cost about $2000. In some countries or catteries, prices may be much higher than this. Our Bengal's will average $700 for dynamite kitten pet quality Bengals. Our recent litters have been fantastic and demand does not decrease and our price has been stable at $800.
Q. Is the breed recognized?
A. TICA has recognized the Bengal, and there are many Champion Bengals. Our Breeding program has Bengals of champion blood. Only recently, the summer of 1997, has ACFA once again allowed Bengals show status. Years back some unscrupulous breeders passed off foundation cats as Bengals. At one of CFA's shows a foundation cat was unruly and Bengals were yanked from the shows. Everyone paid the price, and only now has the wrong been righted.
Q. What colors can a Bengal have?
A. Primarily there are (dark) traditional Bengals and snows. In these two catagories you will find leopards and marbles. However when referring to leopards and marbles you are speaking of markings. There are in fact various colors with various markings. There are accepted colors, new colors (being introduced to T.I.C.A.) and non-accepted colors. Non accepted colors are black, known as melanistic and blue (essentially a grey coat). A new color being introduced soon will be the silver. glossary for a comprehensive breakdown. The silver is somewhat light in ground color resembling a snow. The foreground color of silver is actually quite striking. See Pat Killmaiers's silvers at aluren.com. As for the most widely recognized color traditional Bengal leopard will have an essentially brown ground color and may have glitter in the coat. The brown ground color can vary from tan to an orange hue. These color descriptions vary. See the Many variations of the brown spotted tabby, including sorrel and tawny. However, a high degree of rufinism yielding a yellow, buff, tan, golden or orange ground color is preferred by many breeders. The pattern may be black or dark seal brown on leopards and blacks, or brown- tan- or various shades of chocolate or cinnamon on sorrels. The other widely known color is the Snow Bengal. Snows are sepia's or seal points. They too will be marbled or spotted. Defiant specializes in traditional leopards known as brown spotted tabby's in T.I.C.A terms. For more on colors visit the colors & markings page.
Q. Where can I buy a Bengal?
A. It is best to buy from a reputable breeder. Defiant is TICA registered. Ask a lot of questions. Be certain your breeder is willing to put in writing an agreement that will provide you with options that allow your greatest confidence. Defiant provides you with a written agreement assuring you of your purchase rights, and Delaware's laws governing the sale of animals sold in this state.
Q. Are there many Breeders?
A. In the U.S., there are countless (actually about 333 world-wide and climbing), from registered breeders to cat factories, to individuals that breed for a second income. Again, be certain you ask many questions of your breeder. I cannot emphasize enough the need for a written agreement.
Q. Can Bengals live with other cats, dogs, children, etc.?
A. Very well, Bengals adapt quickly to all family members and their playful nature makes them excellent companions for children.
Here is my son Declan (when he was 2 1/2) with a 10 week old male blue marble. Declan does what most children do, grabs, pulls, and squeezes. And our Bengals just deal with it. Bengals are more tame than most pets if you choose the right breeder.
Q. What do Bengals look like?
A. Bengals are usually short-haired (although there are long-haired Bengals). They come in two colors, for lack of better terms. Tabby's more or less considered traditional and snows as seen above. The traditional and snows will be either spotted or marbled. For a closer look you should visit the Defiant gallery.
Q. What are the primary characteristics of a Bengal?
A. First and most important, Bengals are fun! How lucky we all are to have pets like these! Are we too enthusiastic? Nah, Bengals really are charming as well as great to look at. From traits such as playing in water and playing fetch, Bengals are a step above other felines when it comes to playtime. Bengals do bond with their owners. Male and female alike are affectionate. If you have more than one cat, they will not depend on you as much. If you have only one Bengal, be prepared for a sleeping buddy, and a lap cat. When you come home, they greet you with a need for love. I have a 3-year-old son and they even cuddle with him, never exposing their claws. When you decide to make the move to a Bengal cat, it is a refreshing change.