Bengal Cat History

The Bengal is a hybrid breed of domestic cat. Bengals result from crossing a domestic feline with an Asian leopard cat.

Loved by those who appreciate its inquisitive and loving nature, the Bengal is a medium to large cat renowned for its richly colored, highly contrasted coat of vivid spots or distinctive marbling. Originally developed from crosses between the domestic cats and the 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 breeds. Employing scientific insights and a cooperative spirit, Bengal breeders continue to develop these stunning cats with careful selection for temperament, health and beauty. Bengals participate in TICA shows throughout the world and have a devoted following of happy pet owners who couldn’t imagine sharing their lives with anything other than these feline beauties.

Throughout history there are indications of a profound human fascination with the large and small wild felines that inhabit the jungles and forest of the world. In 1963, Jean S. Mill crossed the domestic cat with the Asian Leopard Cat, a spotted five to twelve pound shy wild cat species from Asia. This was the first effort to use hybrid offspring to create a breed of domestic cat with the loving nature of a favored fireside tabby and the striking look associated with Leopards, Ocelots and Jaguars. The modern Bengal breed traces to cats bred by Mrs. Mill beginning in the early 1980’s. 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 & F3) Bengals that are not eligible for show and only the females are 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 frequently exhibited breeds in TICA. An enthusiastic group of breeders around the world have successfully fulfilled the goal of creating a docile, civilized house cat that wears the richly patterned coat of the jungle cats and has some of the arresting features that have inspired and aroused humanity for centuries.