The Bengal is a domestic cat breed developed to look like exotic jungle cats such as leopards, ocelots, margays and clouded leopards. Bengal cats were developed by the selective breeding of domestic cats crossed then backcrossed and backcrossed once more with hybrids from the Asian leopard cat (ALC), Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis, and domestic cat, with the goal of creating a confident, healthy, and friendly cat with a highly contrasted and vividly marked coat. The name "Bengal cat" was derived from the taxonomic name of the Asian leopard cat (P. b. bengalensis). They have a "wild" appearance with large spots, rosettes, and a light/white belly, and a body structure reminiscent of the ALC. Bengal cats are generally a bright orange to light brown colour, although pale or off-white "snow" Bengals also exist, and are popular among owners. After three generations from the original crossing, the breed usually acquires a gentle domestic cat temperament; however, for the typical pet owner, a Bengal cat kept as a pet should be at least four generations (F4) removed from the leopard cat. The so-called foundation cats from the first three filial generations of breeding (F1–F3) are usually reserved for breeding purposes or the specialty pet home environment. Bengals are known for liking water, and require a large amount of attention to keep them happy. Bengals also enjoy playing, and have been recorded jumping over 4 feet from the ground.
Hugstory warmly thanks Cattery Khaleesy Bengal for the gift of photos Photographer: Mindy Morin