A History of Cats: Bengal

August 23rd, 2018



The Bengal cat was first created by Jean Sugden Mill. Jean acquired a leopard cat and allowed her to keep company with a black tom cat, surprisingly resulting in kittens. Meanwhile, Dr. Willard Centerwall was breeding two Asian Leopard Cats to domestic levels to help his studies. In the 1980’s Jean took on the care of these kittens. She took on the ones with the desired spotted coat similar to the leopards, but with a domestic temperament.

William Engler bred Bengal kittens, from a male Leopard Cat along with female house cats, aiming to preserve the exotic cats’ genes. By 1975, Engler had produced 60 Bengals, covering more than two generations. None of today’s Bengal lines originate from these cats. However, Engler made the breed’s name official by presenting the cats under the name “Bengal” to the domestic registries. The name was derived from the scientific name for a leopard cat – Prionailurus Bengalensis.

Sugden Mill successfully got the Bengal cat recognized by The International Cat Association in 1983. She pushed fellow breeders to breed these hybrids further generations down to establish the Bengal as a domestic breed. She spent hundreds and thousands of dollars to promote Bengal’s as a breed across the world. This drove the Bengal cat to become a recognized domestic breed.

The glittery coat was a result of the 90’s Millwood Bengal Breeding program. Tory was a domestic street cat from India who was bred to add to the Bengal breeding, due to its rich colouring. This produced the glittery coat which we see today.

Bengals Today

Bengals are intelligent cats with exceptional memory. They are sensitive to their owner’s mood and will behave accordingly. Their ability to get along well with people and other pets makes them a joy to be around. Bengals love to chat, with meows that range in tone. They also love water! Bengals are full of energy, making them very active and enjoy climbing to high places.

Having hind legs longer than the front makes them extremely agile. Their short coat is traditionally brown, with either spotted or marble patterns. They are medium to large size with long, muscular bodies, weighing around 4-8 kg’s. Bengals usually live until their early teens.


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One Response to “A History of Cats: Bengal”

  1. Joann Moody says:

    Interesting history on the bengal cats. This truly informed my mind and was surely worth the read!