Writer and blogger Erika Sorocco
has written about small mam-
mals and cats for 10 years. A
Jeans ( cateyesandskinnyjeans.com), where
she waxes poetic about her favorite make-
up look (cat eyes, of course) and love for
cozy knit sweaters (which she unwillingly
shares with her cats Minky and Gypsy).
Follow Erika on Twitter at
Leopards and jaguars, and
ocelots, oh my!
Given the Bengal’s unique heritage,
it is the only domestic cat breed
that can be found with the type of
rosette markings typically seen dotting the lush coats of its true wild
counterparts — ocelots, leopards,
and jaguars. The rosettes appear as
vivid cocoa, chocolate brown, rust,
black, or charcoal spots or marbling
resting on a contrasting background,
such as buff, golden, sand, ivory, rust,
brown, or orange.
Not your ordinary tabby
Although the Bengal is most frequently seen in the brown tabby pattern and occasionally in the marbled
brown tabby pattern, it is a breed all
its own — complete with a one-of-a-kind personality that serves as a
throwback to its wild child blood.
A breed apart
The first Bengal appeared in 1963
quite by accident. Jean S. Mill,
a California breeder, crossed
an Asian leopard cat and a black
domestic shorthair. She began
working to develop a domestic cat
with the easygoing, loving nature
of a tabby and the exotic looks
of a leopard. By 1986, she had
accomplished her goal: The Bengal
was accepted as a breed by The
International Cat Association, quickly earning championship status.
I spy … a cat in water?
You spy correctly! Water play is
something that many Bengals enjoy
— whether it’s taking showers or
baths, playing in the sink, or swimming alongside their humans. And
trust us when we say that they will
find their own source (like your fish
tank) if you don’t provide them a
If Feline Olympics was a thing (and
it totally should be), the Bengal
would take gold in everything.
Bengals are athletes through and
through, being both highly active
and forever on the move. Toss a
ball, and the Bengal will chase it
down and bring it back. Going for
a run? Strap a leash and harness on
the Bengal, and he’ll accompany
you. There’s no physical challenge
that the Bengal will shy away from.
How wild is the Bengal?
You would think that being a hybrid
of a leopard would make the Bengal
huge and ferocious. Nope! The Asian
leopard cat is actually a small
wild cat weighing
between 5 and
It’s also a shy, timid creature. The Bengal, on the other hand,
is wildly outgoing and one of the
larger domestic breeds in the cat
world, ranging from, on average, 8 to
15 pounds. Bengals are now considered to be a part of the domestic cat
class; however, if you’re considering
adding one to your family, the cat
should be a minimum of four generations removed from wild bloodlines.
You know how Twilight’s Cullen
clan has that luminescent shimmering effect when they stand
in direct sunlight? Well, some
Bengals have that whole iridescent
thing going on all the time, and
there’s a name for it: glittering.
Glittering casts a luminous, iridescent sheen over the Bengal’s fur,
making it look as if the coat has
been dusted with pearl or gold
glitter. How’s that for magic?
Bengals are highly intelligent creatures and adore anything that gets
their brains working. Puzzle games
are huge for them, but they can also
be trained to do tricks by using the
Two words: Snow. Bengals.
You thought they were a unicorn-
esque myth, right? Snow Bengals
can, and do, exist (and they’re
spectacular). So what sets a stan-
dard Bengal apart from a Snow
cream or pale
and seal lynx,
Friends to the end
On a scale of 1 to 10, just how
family-friendly are Bengals? Easy
— an 11. Bengals are high-energy,
and love to play games, making
them a great companion for kids.
They thrive on human companionship, but they’re not lap cats —
sitting still isn’t really their thing.
Be prepared to shower them with
attention — on their terms!