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Leopards made to roam the home!
by Lorre Smith
Thank you for your inquiry about our beautiful Bengal Cats. For many years I dreamed of having a full size Leopard or Lion of my own to love. I went a far as going to a small zoo known for selling them. After holding a 40 pound twelve-week-old cub that was all teeth and claws, I knew I could never keep one in my home; not to mention a king size litter box, a gigantic food bill and continually fighting city ordinances to keep an oversized pet. So when I first heard of the miniature leopards I called immediately for an appointment to see some. Within a week I was the proud owner of a snow leopard and an golden spotted leopard. Six months later I purchased two more and since then several more, always upgrading the breeding stock to better match the "Bengal Standard"
The goal of the Bengal breeding program is to as closely as possible replicate the appearance of the wild leopard cat while maintaining the loving temperament of the domestic cat. The "Bengal Standard" is a description of the ideal Bengal and therefore is used to define the quality of each cat. A "pet quality" cat or kitten doesn't merely mean that the cat will be a pet, but how the kitten or cat compares to the standard. Show quality cats are the cats that come closest to the ideal standard. Of course, quality effects the price of the kitten. Pricing on a pet quality kitten starts around $500, with excellent pets averaging $700 to $1200.
In the 1970s, the domestic cat population was seriously threatened by Feline Leukemia. At the time, there was no vaccine and no cure. It was discovered that the Asian Leopard Cat (Click for Photo) did not get the disease, and a study was started to discover if this immunity would be passed on to the kittens if the Leopard Cat was bred to domestics. The first female domestic cats used in the study were obtained from animal shelters. Because of the mixed heritage of these ancestral mothers, the first Bengals were a pretty mixed lot. Much time, effort and study resulted in the beautiful cats we have today. After much time and effort the Bengal Cat was first registered with T.I.C.A.-The International Cat Association-in 1983. Now the Bengal is available for all exotic cat and animal lovers to enjoy.
The Bengal Cat is large and very muscular. Males can weigh from fifteen to twenty pounds, and females ten to twelve pounds. The head is characterized by the "wild-look." The whisker pads should be full and the ears small and rounded. The coat of the Bengal cat is short with a thick, soft texture. The spots should be aligned horizontally or in a random manner along the sides and back and sometimes on the legs. The color of the spots, ranging from black to tan should contrast with the undercoat colors which range from a brownish orange to a tawny brown. The tail tip and paw pads must be black. The underside which is a lighter color than the rest of the cat must also be spotted. Two colors are recognized, Brown Tabby and Snow. Within each color , two patterns are recognized, Spotted and Marble.
The Bengal cat is registered with T.I.C.A. and the registration system uses numbers and letters to describe the pedigree of the cat. This may sound a little confusing, but it simply explains the generations of Bengal breeding in a cats pedigree. This is explained in the article on registration codes.
What is it like to own a Bengal?
It seems hard to find the words to describe their elegant and truly wild looking appearance. Kittens as well as adult cats absolutely love human companionship, but be well warned they are very demanding when it comes to wanting your complete devotion and attention. Their acrobatic and gymnastic feats will keep you and any company you may ever have amused for many years to come. Bengals are active, curious and domestic in every sense of the word.
If you want to see more of our cats, click this link: Winners from Tejas
Jim and Lorre Smith