The Origin of Bengal Cats: A Complicated History of Domestic Mini Leopards
Its name, as well as genes, the modern elite breed of Bengal domestic cats is obliged to the wild leopard Asian cat Prionailurus (Felis) bengalensis from the subfamily of small cats. The natural habitat is very wide: forests and the plains of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia. It is found spotted wild in Indonesia, China, found in the Ussuri taiga in Russia. The ancestor of modern bengals is a wild, shy, cautious forest animal, which has a magnificent bright color and a unique radiance of luxurious wool. As a result of targeted selection, the species acquired the features of an affectionate pet. An amazing history of origin, the entire short pedigree of this breed deserves special attention.
the origin of bengal cats
How the idea came about and the story of the appearance of Bengal domestic cats began
Full of dead ends and a few returns to the roots, the story began in 1961, when a young qualified American geneticist, breeder and enthusiastic felinologist, American Jane Sagden, acquired a small kitty of Asian wild leopard breed during her trip to Bangkok. These beautiful small animals, the size of a domestic cat, were destroyed mercilessly by hunters in Southeast Asia – and all for the sake of their thick magnificent fur. Found kittens were sold as live souvenirs to tourists. But few of the kids survived – cats were wild, freedom-loving, did not make contact with humans, quickly died in captivity.
It was believed that it was simply impossible to tame a mini leopard. Jane, deciding to try it all the same, began to raise her cat Malaysia at home.
She not only tamed a wild Asian, but also, thanks to her professional knowledge, received hybrid offspring from her and her black Abyssinian cat. A unique case was the impetus for the birth of the idea, as a result of which an exotic new breed was born, similar in appearance to close ancestors – forest spotted cats, but in character – to ordinary pets.
The fate of the first project Jane
The KinKin kitten, which descended from Malaysia, inherited an exotic maternal color, but grew up in a litter of a Himalayan cat. She was definitely different from other kittens: she slept at a distance, rarely joined the games of the other kittens, always ate separately, protecting her food with a growl. Cornell University specialists were not sure that Kin-Kin would be capable of reproduction. However, the hybrid cat gave birth during the crossbreeding (Jane simply had no other contender) with her father, the black cat Panteretta (so named after the panther) with a very wild character and a spotty charming affectionate cat. The breeder was jubilant and saw in his dreams dozens of “small leopardics” who outwardly repeat the appearance of their father, inheriting his loving disposition. But the cat died, having crashed during the fall, before the scientist could make sure that the males of the second hybrid generation F2, as a rule, are barren. Kin-Kin, like Panteretta, once in the zoo, died of pneumonia. So ended, without having time to bring practical results, the first project to breed a domestic cat similar to a leopard.