Posts by baloothecat

Ultra processed Cats

Raw food is a natural diet for all cats. Most pet foods are ultra processed,  and cooked at high temperatures. Cooking meat degrades the nutrients in the meat.  It reduces vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. This is a fact.  Almost all dry and canned pet foods are cooked. Other ingredients are added back in to supplement what was lost during the cooking, but often, these ingredients are plant-based. A cats  body cannot adjust to breakdown and utilise ingredients from most non-meat sources.
Sugars are also usually added for cosmetic, preservative, and flavour enhancing properties, even though its nutritional benefit for animals is nonexistent. Sugars can cause obesity, cavities, overload the pancreas and cause diabetes.
Cat originate in Africa and do not have a strong drive to drink. They get most of their fluids from their food. Cats fed their whole life on dry cat food are at an increased risk of developing kidney disease because it is so low in moisture
Cats, known for their stoicism, do not show signs of illness until it is too late. As a result, the effects of low-grade dehydration can silently damage a cat’s body for years before becoming apparent. Dehydration can ultimately lead to kidney failure and cystitis in cats.

So should I feed Raw?

 

Two Bengal cat eating out of a bowl

The worse diet to feed your cat is an unbalanced raw diet. You can negatively impact your cat’s health if you don’t feed raw correctly.  While the best food is properly balanced raw, the worst food is improperly balanced raw. The easiest way to feed raw is to purchase raw cat food that is pre-made and already nutritionally balanced.
If you would like to learn more about feeding raw a fellow breeder Megan Walls in the USA has written a good book on the subject. You can view and purchase the book HERE.

Quick Click Links

Here are some recommendations for balanced raw food in the UK

Honeys

Michies Of Cornwall

Luna and Me

Bella and Duke

Our recommendations for balanced raw food in the USA

Viva raw pets

Simply Rawsome

Darwin’s Natural Cat Food

Small Batch Pets

 

What do we feed ours cats?

 

We feed raw ground chicken and beef from Honeys

Honeys is marketed towards dogs but their ‘working dog no veg’ range is perfect for cats too. We love Honeys and so do our cats. Their raw ranges are made using only fresh, free range, pasture fed, wild or organic meat – all of which has been sourced from British farmers. They are a small artisan company, maybe not the cheapest but after years of using many other brands we definitely think they are the best, with ethics that match our own.

We also feed day old chicks which come frozen. These activate the hunt prey mode in the cats and they love to toss them around before eating them There are many suppliers online or you can source them from pet stores. We buy ours from Trusty Pet Supplies
You can also buy them directly from Keizebrink but Trusty pets has super quick and free delivery (minimum order).

Along with your balanced complete raw food, you can try many other  protein sources, chicks, rats, mice, quail , chicken hearts , chicken legs and many more.

Dental Health

Meaty bones are good for dental health. You can offer a small chicken cut into 4 pieces.  Adult cats can eat the whole thing, bone and all.  Kittens will not eat the larger bones until they are nearing adulthood but have fun working around them and testing their jaw strength. This also helps kittens grow their adult teeth, giving them something firm and satisfying to work on.
A varied and interesting diet is healthier  and can stop your cat becoming too fussy.

The Cats Natural Design

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they are obliged to eat meat. They are opportunistic feeders- they hunt, eat, sleep, repeat . Cats  do not save prey for later. When a cat tries to bury his food, this instinctual behaviour is evidence of this. The uneaten food presents a risk to invite unwanted animals who could threaten him.

The Cats Digestive Tract

The cats digestive tract of a cat when eating the raw food it was designed to eat has a digestive duration is 12-18 hours from point A (mouth) to point B (waste). That is very fast,  especially when compared to other mammals. In nature, the proper moisture content (approximately 70%) comes from animal flesh.  Think about it, most mammals have a body content of 70% water). Dry food has a moisture content of about 10%. THAT’s why manufacturers make a

point to remind cat owners to have water
It is VERY rare that a cat fed a raw diet has any urinary tract issues, cysts, crystals or anything else of that nature. Raw and canned food is approximately 70-80% moisture.

Because the cat’s digestive process is so quick, it naturally protects the cat from potential toxins that may be present in what they ingest (food/by-products are not in their system long enough to cause problems).
When raw (or canned wet) is mixed with dry food (or fed together so it mixes in cat’s stomach), the dry food takes moisture from the raw or canned food, SLOWING DOWN the digestive process.

Conceptually, the longer the food is in the cat, the more time it has to (potentially) cause issues.

Don’t mix dry and wet food. Leave a period of time between feeding wet and dry food if  you must feed dry.

 

Silver Bengal cat eating a dead mouse

Usable and Digestible

There are no “fillers” or ‘additives” so to speak, in a raw diet. Practically 100% of the diet is used as a building block and energy source for the cat. The result being that a raw-fed cat eliminates less frequently, the stools have no odour,  and the cat never strains with dry, hard stools.  This is best for the cat’s small and large intestine. Loosely described, the purpose of the stomach is to break down food. The purpose of the small intestine is to extract nutrients and convert them to usable nutrition and energy to fuel the cat. The purpose of large intestine is to extract moisture after processing and prepare to eliminate any unusable content.


Raw Safety Tips

1. Keep all preparation areas clean, as well as utensils and hands. Stainless steel, glass or ceramic is less likely than plastic to promote bacteria. Wash all utensils, bowls, work surfaces and your hands with hot, soapy water whenever working with raw meat/s.

2. Promptly freeze raw foods and keep them frozen until ready to use.

3. When defrosting, defrost raw meat packages in the refrigerator. You can also use a quick-thaw method of defrosting, by placing a bag of the frozen raw diet into a bowl or the sink filled with cold water. This will accelerate defrosting in a safe manner.

4. After feeding, immediately refrigerate leftover food or discard it.

5. Feed your cat in stainless steel, glass or ceramic food dishes.

6. Wash your cat’s food dishes with hot, soapy water daily.

Silver Bengal cat looking in a fridge

 

Not everyone is comfortable feeding raw. If you don’t then try to use a wet food which has cooked,  real meat in it, instead of meat derivatives.

While we provide this information in this article with the best intention, we don’t guarantee its accuracy or assume any liability for it.

Melanistic Bengal cat

The Melanistic Bengal is black, sleek and shiny with a ghost panther pattern.

Melanistic Bengal cat

Silverstorm Melanistic kitten

The black, melanistic Bengal is not recognised by many registries as an acceptable colour. However that does not make it less desirable for many pet owners, or breeders wishing  to perpetuate and perfect this unique trait. At Silverstorm we have successfully bred many melanistic Bengals and can’t help but be captivated by their beauty!
Seeing this ghost panther pattern on a wild looking Bengal is very striking. It adds to the allure of this miniature black panther.

There are many examples of melanism among felines.
Melanism is caused by changes in the agouti gene which controls banding of black and light areas around the hair shaft. Leopards and Jaguars affected by this condition are commonly known as black panthers.

Black panther

Melanistic Jaguar – Black Panther

A black Bengal cat is also known as a melanistic Bengal. Melanistic which means ‘ having very dark skin or hair’. This is because it contains a higher than normal level of pigment.
This is the same term used to describe melanism in black panthers or any other animal with a dark, solid coat.

What makes a Black Bengal ?

Coat colour is regulated by the agouti gene in many species of animals and imparts red and yellow pigments into the coat. The agouti gene allele (A) is dominant, meaning that the red and yellow pigments will be expressed even when there is just one copy of this allele present. Such as the beautiful brown Bengals.

Sometimes, the non-agouti allele (a) can be expressed, resulting in a black or melanistic coat and skin color in cats. In order for a cat to have a black coat, it must have two copies of the non-agouti gene allele. This gene is recessive, meaning that both male and female cats must carry the allele (a) for any kittens to be born with a black, melanistic coat. When the non-agouti gene is present, the agouti signaling is suppressed, allowing for the production of eumelanin (black pigment) to be evenly distributed across the coat.

Where did these Black Bengals come from?

Jean Mill (Jean was one of the creators  of the Bengal breed) was the first to record a crossing of a domestic cat to an Asian Leopard cat. This was an accidental crossing between a black domestic tom cat and a leopard cat. This means that the requisite genetics for black coat colour were present in the Bengal line very early on.

The Smoke or Silver-Melanistic

With the pattern being black on black it is often difficult to capture the phenomena with a camera, but generally easily noted with the naked eye. One can note here that the same is true of the black panthers. How ever there is another type of Melanistic Bengal in which the pattern can be easily captured on camera, the Smoke Bengal .

When a Melanistic Bengal has the silver inhibitor gene, it is genetically a ‘smoke’. The smoke is technically a silver  Melanistic, although this is not the official term used . A smoke Bengal is black just like a Melanistic, but the hair at the roots is white. These combined make the pattern much more apparent and give a ‘smoky’ effect.

The Ultimate Black Cat

Only two types of big cats are scientifically recognized as legitimate black panthers, the black leopard and the black jaguar. Both are members of the genus panthera, but occupy different parts of the world.

 

Melanistic black Bengal cat

Silverstorm Bagheera is a Melanistic Bengal

 

Black panther

Black Panther

Like melanistic Bengals, the “black panther” is a colour variant of the “normal” coat coloration with rosettes. The principal difference between a “normal” and melanistic member of the genus panthera is that the melanistic leopard or jaguar’s coat is a dark shade of brown to black. If you look closely at them, you can see the rosettes against the dark, melanistic coat. Melanism in leopards is caused by rosettes ar recessive genes. Melanistic leopards are usually part of a larger litter of “normally” pigmented littermates. They are the most common form of black panther in captivity,  and have been selectively bred for decades in the zoo and exotic pet trades.
In jaguars, the melanism is dominant. Consequently, black jaguars can produce black or spotted cubs, but a pair of spotted jaguars will only produce spotted cubs. In the Americas, the black jaguar was sufficiently common that the indigenous peoples considered it a separate species.

Melanism is an Advantage

It is thought that melanism may confer a selective advantage for the nocturnal hunter since it is more common in regions of dense forest, where light levels are lower. Black leopards and black jaguars occur most frequently in forests and jungle areas, which are heavily shaded or dark. Studies also suggest that melanism might be linked to beneficial mutations in the immune system.
Leopards and jaguars are similar in appearance, size, and longevity. The most visible difference is that the leopard’s rosettes are normally the colour of the background coat.

The jaguar’s rosettes have a black spot in the center. The two species occupy separate continents. The similarity suggests that the jaguar evolved from leopards that crossed the land bridge that existed during the past ice ages between Siberia and Alaska across the Bering Sea.

If you find yourself under the spell of the magnificent black panthers and the idea of a miniature, domestic version appeals to you , then the magic of the black Bengal cat will appeal to you.

 

Panther cub

Panther cub

Black Melanistic kitten

Silverstorm cub

 

Want to learn some Bengal cat lingo? Do terms like SBT or ALC leave you feeling confused? What about fuzzies or glitter?

Don’t worry, I’m here to decode some of this crazy Bengal lingo for you!

ALC

The Asian Leopard Cat (felis bengalensis),  also called prionaluris bengalensis, is the small wild cat ancestor of the Bengal breed, weighing between 6 to 13 pounds. The ALC ranges from Siberia in the northern end of its range through China, India, Southeast Asia and into Malaysia. A subspecies of the ALC is found on Iriomote Island. The breed name, Bengal, is derived from the ALC’s Latin species name.

Asian Leopard cat lying down

Asian Leopard Cat

GLITTER

 

Glitter causes the hair to sparkle. Air bubbles encircling the individual hairs and reflect the light, are responsible for the sparkling effect. The glitter appears crystal clear on a silver or lynx (snow) Bengal and gold on a brown Bengal. This  hereditary trait was introduced into the Bengal breed by Tory of Dehli, a street cat from India that was later registered as an Indian Mau.

 

Silver Bengal pattern showing glitter

Glitter on a silver Bengal

Glitter on a seal lynx (snow) Bengal

Glitter in a brown Bengal

Glitter on a brown Bengal

 

RIB BAR

 

One or more vertical markings on the body,  often found directly behind the front legs at the ribs. Rib bars can also be rosetted. They are undesirable in a Bengal.

 

FUZZIES

 

The ‘fuzzies’ is a stage most Bengal kittens experience, generally from approximately four to five weeks of age to around eleven to sixteen weeks.

The coat changes color and texture with guard hairs more prominent. The grayish “fuzzy” coat obscures the pattern. This is thought to be inherited from the ALC as a type of protective camouflage.

Silver Bengal kitten showing fuzzy coat

Silver Bengal kitten in the ‘fuzzies’

Silver Bengal kitten

The same silver kitten, the ‘fuzzies’ have cleared

Female Cheetah and cubs

Cheetah cubs showing the ‘fuzzies’

You can read more about the fuzzies Here

 

SBT = Stud Book Tradition

 

When looking for a Bengal, you will typically find SBT Bengals. The letters “SBT” are found at the front of your Bengal’s registration number if registered with TICA. SBT Bengals are the result of breeding Bengals with other Bengals, and they are at least four generations removed from an ALC. Your average Bengal has only a small percentage of Asian leopard cat, but they possess the desirable looks and temperament that everyone loves.

ROSETTE

Rosettes are highly desirable markings with more than one shade of color. There are several types of rosettes distinctive to the Bengal.

Bengal cat patterns are inspired by wildcats from around the world.

When Jean Mill created the Bengal she hoped that by creating this breed, it would help decrease the number of wildcats being killed for their beautiful fur. Her reasoning was that people would be less inclined to wear real fur that resembled their own domesticated pet.


ARROW HEAD ROSETTES

The coats and patterns of Asian Leopard cats can vary widely. One of wildest looking rosettes  is the arrow head. The arrowhead  shape of the rosettes give a horizontal flow and feeling of movement to the pattern even when the cat is still. This is the first type of rosette that was developed in the early examples of the Bengal breed.

Silver Bengal cat showing arrow head rosettes

QGCH Silverstorm Raindance showing arrowhead rosetting

Asian leopard cat

Asian Leopard Cat

 

CLOUDED LEOPARD ROSETTES

 

One the other end of the scale are clouded leopard rosettes. Bengals with this pattern have  huge rosettes all the way over the shoulders to the tail, reminiscent of the clouded leopard.

 

Clouded Leopard

Clouded Leopard

Silver Bengal cat showing clouded rosettes

RW SGCH Silverstorm The Maharajas Cat showing Clouded rosetting

You can read about other types of rosettes including ‘paw print rosettes’ and ‘doughnut rosettes’ on my Bengal Pattern page.


TYPE

A Bengal with a good “type”  shares many physical traits and has a similar body structure to the wild Asian Leopard Cat.

 

F1, F2, F3 – THE LEVEL OF GENERATION

This describes how closely a cat is related to an individual Asian Leopard Cat. For example, an F1 cat would be the immediate offspring of an ALC and another cat.

The International Cat Association (TICA) allows Bengals to be registered as domestic Bengal cats once they have been bred for four generations away from the Asian Leopard cat. This means that only Bengal cats are used in breeding after the initial cross with the Asian Leopard cat. As a result, there are three generations separating the Asian Leopard cat from the Bengal in the breeding process.

The first three generations are considered by TICA to be a Bengal/ALC cross.  These first three generations are called foundation cats, filials, or early generation cats.
The generation of a cat is determined by the closest relative to an Asian Leopard cat.  Websites will often mark their  generation marked as F1, F2 and F3.

. F1 is 1 generation removed from the ALC. The resulting offspring would be 50% or more Asian leopard cat.
. F2 is the 2 generations from an Asian Leopard Cat
. F3 is 3 generations from an Asian leopard cat

These Bengals are all referred to as Early Generation Bengals, or EG’s.

 

MARBLE

Marble is a Bengal pattern. The marble Bengal displays the influence of the Asian Leopard cat on the classic tabby pattern.
The first marble Bengals appeared in 1987 in Millwood F2’s. Compared to King Cheetahs and Clouded Leopards, there gorgeous patterns became a big hit at TICS cat shows when accepted to show at championship level in 1994.

Genetically  it is a classic tabby, but a good marble should look far from a classic tabby. The classic ‘bulls eye’ should be stretched and elongated so it no longer resembles a bulls eye. Full of swirls and ripples,  a good marble pattern  gives the appearance of a boa snakes pattern. The pattern should be random with a horizontal flow like marble. Marbles often have tri-colour patterns which is desirable . Many boasting rosetting within the pattern and shoulders.

 

Marble Bengal cat

Adventure Beach marbles, bred by Debbie Garcia.

When a Bengal with small rosettes and lots of acreage (space around the rosettes) produces a marble, the marble will have an ‘open’ pattern with plenty of background colour showing. Conversely a Bengal with large rosettes with little acreage will produce ‘sheeted’ marbles. A sheeted marble will have hardly any background colour showing, but has beautiful swirls and tessellation’s that develop over some time.
Mother Nature transforms the classic tabby pattern into a beautiful design that aids a cat’s survival in the leopard cat’s forest habitat, so it blends in.

Silver marble Bengal

Silverstorm Stream is a sheeted marble

SPARBLE

As the interplay of genes, both domestic and non-domestic and the interplay of pattern flow coming from the mackerel, classic and non-domestic, unique patterns are being created that will not easily be defined as marble or spotted.
Enter the Sparble’! Sparble is a term used by breeders. The expression was first coined by Les Hall of the Iconic Junglebook cattery back in 1997. Les made up the term to describe one of the first sparbles ‘KitznKatz Ain’t she Amazing’, at a show hall (she was actually genetically a marble). If you can’t determine whether the Bengal cat is spotted or marble then the description of ‘sparble’ is generally given. A ‘Sparble’ is where spots and marble come together in a beautiful collision of patterns! They boast funky and one-of-a-kind patterns, and normally turn out to be genetically spotted.

Below is a female I bred showing a beautiful combination of marbling rosettes and spots,  flowing towards her tail . It reminds me of a lava lamp in motion somehow, thus her name!

Nature is modifying the ALC genes and mixing them up with the domestic to create this amazing camouflage pattens that looks like it would look perfect in the jungle. A chaotic, asymmetrical pattern that gives  camouflage in the dappled light of the forest. Just amazing!

Silver Bengal cat

Silverstorm Psychedelic Baby showing ‘sparble’ pattern

 

 

The Bengal Cat – A Unique Evolutionary Experiment

 

The creation of the Bengal Cat breed brought six and a half million years of distinct genetic evolution crashing together when two cats, from two distinct lineages produced a viable new offspring. This human engineered experiment in evolution has resulted in a distinct new breed of cat with its own unique characteristics. Many of which have not been seen or recreated for millions of years.For instance, domestic cats inherit classic tabby genes which, when combined with the ALC pattern genes, create the Bengal’s distinctive marbled pattern. This makes  it unique among domestic cats.

 

A silver classic tabby American shorthair cat

Silver American shorthair classic tabby

 

Asian Leopard cat lying down

Asian Leopard Cat

 

SilverstormSilver marble Bengal

Silver marble Bengal

The pattern is similar to the pattern of the  wild Marbled Cat species. This species  is distinct from both the domestic cat and leopard cat linages, splitting off more than nine million years ago from the rest of the cat family tree.

 

Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata)

Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata)

 

Some of the ancient genes  inherited from the ALC side of the family have resulted in clear differences between Bengal cats and other domestic breeds. The Bengal also has inherited many traits from the different domestic cat breeds used to produce the Bengal breed. Notably  the Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Abyssinian, as well as the Burmese and Siamese used to create the”snow’ variety of Bengals. In the remainder of this article I examine some of the most unique features of the Bengal.

Pattern and Appearance

As I mentioned earlier, Bengals possess a unique marble pattern that sets them apart from all other domestic cats.
One can easily overlook the significance of this, as the Bengal breed re-invented a nine million-year-old cat family trait.
In addition to the marble pattern, some Bengals also have glitter on their fur. This isn’t as unique as the marble pattern, but is rare among cats. Glitter was introduced into the gene pool from a single cat that was registered as an Indian Mau, Tory of Delhi. Jean Mill found Tory on the streets of India and introduced him into her breeding program.

 

Bengal cats fur showing glitter

Glitter

 

The differences between Bengals and other domestic cats are more than skin deep, as they also have a very well-defined muscular structure, generally most apparent in their muscular hind legs that allow them to jump higher than most other domestic cats.

Water

 

Perhaps one of the most interesting behavioural differences between Bengals and almost all other domestic breeds is their love of water.

While many other domestic cat breeds fear and avoid water (especially running water), Bengals have a unique evolutionary predisposition to it.

This is a direct result of the genetics inherited from the Asian Leopard Cat.

Asian Leopard Cats must frequently drink from stale ponds with floating plant debris.  Subsequently they have evolved an instinct to brush the water’s surface clear prior to drinking. This is  something the Bengal cat instinctively does too, even when drinking from a clean water bowl at home. However, for an Asian Leopard Cat the safest, cleanest and easiest water is running water. Running water simply has no floating debris. This love for drinking from running water streams has been inherited by our beloved Bengals as well.

 

Intelligence and Behaviour

Bengal owners will be quick to tell you that their Bengal cat’s behavior distinctly differs from that of other domestic cats.

Bengals tend to be very intelligent and also very curious. They are often more courageous and bold than other breeds. They love to go on walks and hikes. One of my grown kittens, lives in New York and loves to romp with dogs in the park. I have owned Bengals who loved the vacuum cleaner and liked to wrestle with it. India one of my first Bengals, even enjoyed having  her fur hoovered!
Bengal cats also appear to be one of the most easily trained cat breeds in existence. Generally, cats are more difficult to train than dogs. Bengals are the exception to this rule.

 

DNA

 

Based on mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome, fossil,

and other evidence we now know exactly how the 37 different living feline species fit together.

They fall into eight distinct feline lineages that evolved between six and eleven million years ago, with the final two lineages appearing being that of the leopard cat and domestic cat, which split about six and a half million years ago. This was the final split in the cat family tree, as no new lineages have arisen since that time.
Thus, the last common ancestor of the cats mated to make an F1 Bengal (one ALC and one domestic cat) existed six and a half million years ago, about the same time as the last common ancestor of humans and the ancestors of chimpanzees existed.

The domestic cat and leopard cat lineages share 99% DNA (for comparison, humans and our closes relatives, the chimpanzees, share 96%).

Conclusion

 

The Bengal is a unique breed that bridged an evolutionary gap that had existed for six and a half million years between the Asian Leopard Cat and the domestic cat. The result has been the development of a breed of cat with its own unique characteristics, not only in appearance but also in behaviour.

Silver Bengal cat

RW SGCH Silverstorm The Maharajahs Cat

 


Reference: Professor Russell S.Sobel, P.H.D. Warren E. Johnson, Eduardo Eizirik, Jill Pecon-Slattery, William J. Murphy, Agostinho Antunes, Emma Teeling, and Stephen J. O’Brien, “The Late Miocene Radiation of Modern Felidae: A Genetic Assessment. ” Science, Volume 311, 6 January 2006. 

Pets can teach unconditional love like no other. They never find fault, shout or are critical. They are always forgiving and their mere presence can teach children self-acceptance.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these shots are priceless.

Child holding cat

Young boy kissing a Bengal kitten

Child sitting in bath and holding silver Bengal cat

A sleeping boy hugs a silver Bengal cat who is hugging a teddy

A girl sits on the sofa cuddling two Bengal cats

Bengal cats are smart, they love to interact with their humans. Children can easily teach Bengals tricks like playing fetch, for instance. Bengals possess a high level of intelligence, curiosity, and confidence, and they naturally connect with kids.

They love getting involved and being in the centre of the action, which makes them the perfect companion for a child!

Owning a pet is a fundamental part of childhood. Many of us have fond memories of our first cat. We remember those days with a great amount of love. But, did you know that in addition to the companionship and love that a child receives from a pet, pets can offer a lot more to aid in a child’s development – socially, cognitively, physically, and emotionally?

Socially

Pets are conversation starters that break down inhabitations. Most children are naturally attracted to and curious about animals.

Children are more likely to engage in conversation when the topic is about a pet. Plus, because our beloved cat accepts us just as we are, a child’s self-esteem can grow and develop.
Cat shows are a great avenue to developing better social skills via the child’s  purebred Bengal (or household pet, as many registries allow household pets to be shown in competition).  Moreover, cat shows provide social stimulation with like-minded people and kids.

 

Cognitively

Cats can spark a child’s desire to learn. Curiosity about the cat’s origins and breed can stimulate a desire to research and read more on the topic. Bengal cats in particular offer an interesting story for anyone and especially for a child. As the child cares for their cat, they are presented with the opportunity to learn about proper care and nutrition. Attending veterinary appointments with their cat will foster further education as they are allowed to ask the veterinarian questions. If age appropriate, the internet provides a great resource toward furthering a child’s learning.

Physically

Bengal cats are easily leash and harness trained. Taking the cat out for a walk provides a great motivation to exercise and makes exercising fun. Teaching the cat to fetch will require a fair amount of exercise, too, until the cat picks up on the trick. But, Bengals are smart, so once one trick is learned, they are ready to be taught the next!

Emotional

A pet can foster love , empathy and compassion any many more emotions  in a child. A beloved pet shares our secrets, our fears and our joys. They build our self-confidence,  as they see no wrong in not getting our homework done, forgetting to pick up our dirty laundry or leaving the dishes on the table (hey, they may even appreciate these shortcomings). They don’t yell at us or give us a look of disapproval – unless perhaps we have left the food dish empty. More often than not, our pets are extremely happy to see us – boosting our ego and our desire to reciprocate the feeling.

Pets have been able to cross barriers of deep hurt and emotional scarring because the child was willing to trust a pet more easily than another person. Studies have shown that pets relieve stress. A pet in the home can help to reduce the effects of separation anxiety for a child. Additionally, for the child who is afraid of the dark, it’s nice to have someone (your cat) share your bed with you assuring you that all is good.

Young boy asleep in bed cuddling a silver Bengal cat who is cuddling a teddy

 

Trouble Proofing Kids and Cats

Pets can bring out the best in a child.
Bengals are absolutely the most wonderful pet for children to grow up with.
They love children; although with smaller children it is important that the child understands how to properly interact with the cat to avoid injury to either the cat or the child.

A new kitten in the home makes for an exciting experience for most children. Prior to acquiring a kitten though, children should be provided with basic information and instruction to eliminate and avoid any problems that might occur. Even very small children can learn basic safety rules. Depending on the child’s age, supervision should be structured to help keep both, the kitten and the child, safe.
It is important to discuss how to play with the kitten, even using a stuffed animal as an example for smaller children.
Children should be taught to be gentle and calm around the kitten. Children learn by observation and therefore parents should set the example.

Time Out

Once the kitten arrives, teach children that there are certain times when the kitten must be left alone. These rules will help keep them safe and make the kitten feel safe too.

. When it’s eating or drinking

. When sleeping unless to give soft and gentle strokes

. If the kitten is hiding

. If the kitten is hissing, has its ears back or is showing aggression.

How to Play

Providing children with safe toys that will assist in positive interactions, yet will not frighten the kitten, will help the kitten to trust the child. They will also help the child to release some of the excitement that may be building over the new pet. The Da bird wand toy is a great choice for fun all round (although you need to keep an eye out in the unlikely event that the string gets caught around the kittens neck). Another great option is the Cat Dancer
Parents should quickly step in when needed to intervene on behalf of the kitten and the child during any interactions.

Bengals are extremely tolerant and are not quick to bite or claw if a child is too rough with them. The same holds true with their demeanour towards other pets that may reside in the home. Quick to make pals, Bengal cats are known to have some of the most unlikely best friends, from birds to dogs and lizards to llamas!

All good reasons why kids need a Bengal cat in their life!

Please visit our ‘Available’ page to see if we have kittens for sale. 

Playing with Bengal  kittens

Toys are crucial in a Bengal cat’s life from early kitten hood straight through to adulthood . They stimulate the cat both mentally and physically. Owners should schedule playtime into their kittens day regularly.

Bengal kittens are especially active,  and a bored Bengal kitten is a kitten who is apt to get into trouble!

Brown Bengal cat sitting in front of some broken sunflowers in a vase

Silverstorm Neville up to no good!

Kittens develop social skills, coordination, running, pouncing and catching abilities through the aid of toys. A good variety of toys can help to provide a kitten with hours of fun, exercise and education! Without toys, rough play, which Bengal kittens are well known for, can become out of hand (or directed at the hand!). A kitten needs to be taught that toys are for biting and scratching, not hands. Toys can help prevent undesirable aggression directed toward family members or even other pets.

 

Silverstorm Bengal kitten

 

There are a great many toys out there, often the favourites are the simplest. Ours like  little plastic springs you can buy from pet stores, scrunchy foil balls and pen lids! Another favourite (although hard to find within the UK) are Zanies rabbit fur mice.

A box of toy fur mice

 

Feather  teasers, toys with balls or mice that the cat has to chase encourage the cat’s natural attraction to prey.
Keep in mind that your cat is naturally a hunter and imitate slow, creeping movements to promote interest in the toy. Allow your cat to be successful in the catch too, otherwise the play session only promotes frustration for your kitty. Toys that talk, squeak, rattle, etc are perfect for the ‘home alone cat’. The sound acts as a stimulus. Batting the toy produces a sound that peaks the cat’s curiosity!
Remember though,  no toy that your cat plays with on its own replaces the time spent with you and an interactive toy.

 

Fishing pole toys

Fishing pole wand toys are a great interactive toy and a must have for Bengal owners.  You should engage your Bengal in interactive play at least once a day; it is best to establish a routine.
Your Bengal is a hunting machine, and your job is to mimic the hunt two to five times a day.
Our favourite fishing pole  toy is the Go Cat ‘Da bird’. A little more expensive than some, but  they are durable and last, which is what you need with a Bengal! They come as a two piece rod or a single rod which we prefer. The feather attachments swivel and fly through the air , sounding and looking like a bird in flight. This toy never fails to entice even the shyest kitten or cat into crazy acrobats and a frenzy of excitement. There are many attachments for these rods.

Go Cat ‘Da bird’ Click on the photo to go to an online store to purchase

 

As a Bengal owner, you will buy more toy attachments than anything else!  Generally Bengals prefer natural fibre attachments. They  like rabbit fur attachments, (but these are harder to find) but most of all they LOVE feathers!
An exception to the natural material theme is the sparkle attachment which they go wild for!

 

 

The Cat Dancer

Another favourite here is the ‘Cat Dancer’.
This  innovative cat toy from America consists of spring steel wire, approx. 90cm long, and rolled cardboard at the one end. The Cat Dancer stimulates the natural playing instincts of your cat: lurking, chasing, and hunting. A simple principle with an irresistible effect!
When you hold the Cat Dancer between your thumb and index finger, the irratic movements of the dangler will awake your cat’s hunting and playing instincts: your pet will associate the toy with a bird, butterfly, or a lurking mouse.

 

Bengal kittens and the importance of toys. Photo of a wire cat toy

The Cat Dancer Click on the photo to go to an online store to purchase

Interactive toys make for wonderful exercise opportunities as well as great deal of fun for the kitten and the owner. Periodically rotating toys will help to assure that your kitten does not become bored with his or her toys and that the toys continue to stimulate even into adult-hood.

Of course toys do not need to be expensive and much fun can be had with a cardboard box with holes cut in the sides!

Providing a variety of entertaining toys and play areas for your kitten will help to insure a well balanced, well rounded and healthy mature feline.

 

Frosted Bengal kittens are a rare but magical occurrence.
I was blessed with a frosted litter many years ago from one of QGCH Silverstorm Raindances first litters. Raindance had five kittens, in brown, melanistic (black) and silver. However I could barely make out their colour and pattern , as both were camouflaged by a covering of silky, silvery white down. It was as if the fur was covered in frosted icing! Only their heads were normal, hinting at their true colour.
For a moment I wondered if Raindance had managed to get out and mate with a local tom cat!

 

frosted Bengal kittens. Five newborn Bengal kittens lying in a pile asleep.

Raindance’s Frosted Kittens

So, what causes this strange phenomena?


Many breeders in the cat fancy explain frosted Bengal kittens as a simple case of fever coat, while some Bengal breeders insist that there is more to frosted Bengal kittens than this simple explanation.

Published in the 1970 Cats Magazine, TICA Judge Don Shaw wrote an article regarding “fever coats.” From Don’s article we glean that:

A fever coat is the result of temperature elevation or decline that destroys the enzyme tyrosinase. Tyrosi-nase is necessary for normal production of melanin pigment. At normal body temperature, full melanin is produced. If the body temperature rises or falls, much of the enzyme is destroyed and will result in a “fever coat” in solid colored kittens (non-thermal). Fever coats are most often noted in Persian cats. The base cause of a fever coat is a change in the chemistry of the blood, usually the result of a medical or stress related concern. Fever coats have been linked to fevers, but there may be other causes such as medicine use or sudden climate changes due to moving. Kittens can develop a fever coat in response to changes in the mother’s milk (mastitis, eclampsia).

 

Bengal Frosting- Is this a fever coat or is it something more?

Frosted Bengal kittens are born “frosted”. Unlike a fever coat the frosted fur is feathery and down soft. The frosted coat often has a longish, fluffy, fly-away appearance that disappears as the coat sheds. Frosted kittens are silvery gray/white in colour with very light ghost markings to no markings at all. Facial markings are very vivid. The silvery/gray coat sheds heavily and, as the kittens matures, there is a noticeable amount of the down shed.

The last place for the frosted coat to shed is over the back and the back of the neck area. Generally the frosted coat is completely shed out between three to four months, although remnants of the “frosted” coat may be seen as the cat matures (typically across the back).

 

Frosted Bengal kitten. A black Bengal kitten showing a frosted coat

Raindance’s Frosted Melanistic (black) kitten

 

The frosted kittens mature into stunning adults with a coat texture that is incredibly soft throughout their entire lives. They have an extremely clear and very defined coat. Frosted kittens are also all heavily glittered. Frosting does not affect the pattern of the cat, only the definition/clarity and texture.

Bengal breeders, who compared notes regarding frosted kittens, note that their queens were healthy throughout their entire pregnancy. Additionally, these queens had not experienced changes in their environment that could have created stress. None of them had been vaccinated or medicated during pregnancy either.

Chemotherapy patients comment on changes to their hair after Chemo treatments, straight to curly, etc.. So, could a fever coat create the changes to the kitten’s coat that Bengal breeders describe because of exposure to something?

If this is the case then why has no other breed group reported these same phenomenal changes in their fever coated kittens?

 

Frosting is likely the influence of hybridisation

 

With the vast number of differences between that of a fever coat and those of a frosted kitten’s coat, Bengal breeders speculate that this may indeed be the influence of hybridization. Frosting has certainly been found in wild cats, most notably in Cheetahs.
(I have also seen a photo of a frosted Asian Leopard cub in the past) .

 

Two cheetah cubs sitting close to their mother

Cheetah cubs showing frosting

 

Cheetah kittens are born “frosted” (accurate terminology). They are born a grayish/white, lacking body mark-ings, with longish, wooly fur (especially across the neck and back). The characteristic facial markings are vivid and unaffected by the frosting. The kittens lose the frosted coloration and longish fur between three to four months. However  there is documentation of two year olds displaying a ruff/mantle and remnants of the frosting. Interestingly, the back of the neck and back is the last place for the frosting on a Bengal kitten to shed out, too.

 

 

Brown frosted Bengal kitten

Raindance’s brown frosted kitten

 

Brown frosted kitten

In South Africa, two litters of Cheetah kittens were born (Cheetah’s don’t have cubs, they have kittens. A Cheetah is not classed as one of the true “Big” cats because of its inability to roar. Cheetahs purr.). Interestingly, one of the Cheetah litters was born in captivity at a wildlife facility and the other in the wild on the African plains. The litter in captivity was hand raised from birth because the mother rejected them. The ones in the wild were brought to the wildlife facility after the mother had been shot by a farmer. It was noted that the hand raised kittens (now weeks old) did not have the typical frosted Cheetah kitten coat, yet the wild mother raised kittens did.

 

In Conclusion

Having learnt about frosted coats, and coming to the realisation that Raindance had not been mismated, i was very excited to watch my exceptional frosted kittens grow! Compare her silver frosted kitten pictured below , to the third photo of him aged 12 weeks. His frosting has been shed to reveal a crystal clear coat and beautifully defined pattern.

Silver Bengal kitten showing frosted coat

Raindance’s silver frosted kitten

Silver Bengal kitten showing frosted coat

 

Silver spotted Bengal kitten

Raindance’s silver kitten showing a clear coat

 

Check here to see if we have any  Available silver Bengal kittens 


Bengal Cat books for you to enjoy. Nothing beats a good book!
Here  are some we can recommend.

Click on the photos of any of the books to go to an online store where you can purchase them.

 

 

Raw Feeding by Meghan Walls

The next two books on raw feeding are both written by a fellow Bengal breeder ‘Megan Walls’.
Meghan lives in the USA and holds a degree in Psychobiology, Pre-Veterinary with a minor in Evolutionary Studies. She has taken extra courses in Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, Microbiology and holds certifications in Pet Psychology, Pet Nutrition and is a Raw Food Nutritionist.

Raw feeding can sometimes feel daunting to those new to it. Therefore we would suggest using a pre-made raw food to start with, and in the meantime do some research into how best to raw feed.

We feed our Bengal cats a raw species appropriate diet and we encourage our customers to do the same.

These  books can be shipped to most countries including the UK.

Bengal books. A book on raw feeding for cats.

Bengal books. A book on raw feeding for cats

 

Cat Walk by Jackie Morris

‘Author, illustrator and photographer Jackie Morris explores her native Pembrokeshire in the company of her feline friends. Or rather, they explore the countryside while she tags along taking pictures. Over 100 images with accompanying text tell the story of many walks with many cats. Challenging perceptions and rearranging priorities, Jackie’s insightful poetry and prose allows a glimpse of a world in which cat is king and nature its subject.‘
Graffeg.
Quite a few beautiful Silverstorm kittens have lived with Jackie. You can see beautiful images of them and others as they walk together in the stunning Pembrokeshire countryside. This is a very special book.

‘She seemed to be crafted from the very rock and lichen on which she sat and yet she moves with the grace and fluidity of water. Bright eyed, silver dappled, a miniature leopard cat.’ Jackie Morris

 

Silverstorm Spitifer. A silver spotted Bengal cat sitting on a rock.

Silverstorm Spitifer is a gorgeous silver girl from Hot Frost and Snow Queen

 

Total Cat Mojo by Jackson Galaxy

‘This book is his most comprehensive guide yet to cat behaviour and basic cat care, rooted in understanding cats better. From getting kittens off to the right start socially, to taking care of cats in their senior years, and everything in between, this book addresses the head-to-toe physical and emotional needs of cats—whether related to grooming, nutrition, play, or stress-free trips to the vet’ Jackson Galaxy.

The ultimate guide to life with your cat.

 

Bengal books. A man holding a cat on a book cover.

 

Guide To Owning a Bengal Cat by Jean Mill

I had to include this older book written by Jean Mill the founder of the Bengal breed. It’s very interesting to see photos of some of the older cats used in the beginnings of the Bengal breed.
This book will explain how to care for your Bengal, including feeding, grooming, health, and seleting. You’ll also learn about the history and breed standard.

Guide to owning a Bengal cat book

 

On Cats by Doris Lessing

Not Bengal cats but a wonderful collection of charming and celebrated writings about cats, from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 

Cat shows a spectators guide.

Going to a cat show can be very exciting. First decide on a show to attend. The International Cat Association’s (TICA) website www.TICA.org, has a show calendar listing all their shows around the world and where they are located. A Bengal congress is always a favourite choice for Bengal enthusiasts. Hopefully you will also be able to meet silver Bengal breeders. So find a show near you or a place where you would like to visit!
Here I will discuss TICA cat shows.

Once you’re at the show

Once you are there feel free to browse the show hall and look at the cats. Please don’t touch the cats without the owners permission though.

Judging rings

There are typically four to twelve rings, depending on the show. If there is a congress, find out when the congress will be judged to avoid missing it. Behind the judging table you will find the cats that are currently being judged in that ring. In front of the judging rings there are chairs for spectators and exhibitors to watch the judging.
Some judges will address the crowd and even allow questions, but others will not. Let the exhibitors and judge guide you before asking questions during the judging.

Each cat is judged according to the written breed standard. Each judge has learnt the standard in order to make the best evaluation of the cat presented. The standard is worth a total of 100 points. It is broken down into sections and a set number of points is allocated to each section.
How well the cat meets the breed standard determines how well the cat does in the judging ring. TICA’s points allocations are as follows:

HEAD                                               35 

Shape                 6

Ears                    6

Eyes                    5

Chin                    3

Muzzle               4

Nose                   2

Profile                6

Neck                   3

BODY                                              30

Torso                   5

Legs                     4

Feet                      4

Tail                       5

Boning                 6

Musculature       6

COAT/COLOUR/PATTERN

Texture                 10

Pattern                  15

Colour                   10

The judge will assign points based on how closely the cat meets the written description for each section.

TICA BENGAL BREED STANDARD

COLOURS

Brown Tabby, Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, Seal Lynx Point, Black Silver Tabby, Seal Silver Sepia Tabby, Seal Silver Mink Tabby, Seal Silver Lynx Point, Spotted, marbled, charcoal spotted and charcoal marbled patterns ONLY.

PERMISSIBLE OUTCROSSES

None

HEAD

Broad modified wedge with rounded contours. Longer than it is wide. Slightly small in proportion to body, but not to be taken to extreme. The skull behind the ears makes a gentle curve and flows into the neck. Allowance to be made for jowls in adult males. Overall look of the head should be as distinct from the domestic cat as possible.

EARS

Medium to small, relatively short, with wide base and rounded tops. Set as much on side as top of head, following the contour of the face in the front view, and pointing forward in the profile view. Light horizontal furnishings acceptable; lynx tipping undesirable.

EYES

Oval, almost round. Large, but not bugged. Set wide apart, back into face, and on slight bias toward base of ear. Eye colour independent of coat colour except in the lynx points. The more richness and depth of colour the better.

CHIN

Strong chin, aligns with tip of nose in profile.

MUZZLE

Full and broad, with large prominent whisker pads and high, pronounced cheekbones. Slight muzzle break at the whisker pads.

NOSE

Large and wide; slightly puffed nose leather.

PROFILE

Curve of the forehead should flow into the bridge of the nose with no break. Bridge of nose extends above the eyes; the line of the bridge extends to the nose tip, making a very slight, to nearly straight, concave curve.

NECK

Long substantial, muscular; in proportion to the head and body.

BODY

TORSO

Long and substantial, not oriental or foreign. Medium to large (but not quite as large as the largest domestic breed).

LEGS

Medium length, slightly longer in the back than in the front.

FEET

Large, round, with prominent knuckles.

TAIL

Medium length, thick, tapered at the end with a rounded tip.

BONING

Sturdy, firm; never delicate.

MUSCULATURE

Very muscular, especially in the males, one of the most distinguishing features.

COAT/COLOUR/PATTERN

LENGTH

Short to medium. Allowance for slightly longer coat in kittens.

TEXTURE

Dense and luxurious, close lying, unusually soft and silky to the touch.

PATTERNS

Spotted, Marbled, Charcoal Spotted, Charcoal Marbled Spotted. Charcoal spotted/marbled

SPOTTED:
Spots shall be random or aligned
horizontally. Rosettes showing two distinct colours or shades, such as paw print shaped, arrowhead shaped, doughnut or half-doughnut shaped or clustered are preferred to single spotting, but not required.

Contrast with ground colour must be extreme, giving distinct pattern and sharp edges. Strong bold chin strap and mascara markings desirable. Virtually white undersides and belly desirable. Blotchy horizontal should streaks, spotted legs, and spotted or rosetted tail are desirable. Belly must be spotted.

MARBLED: See TICA Uniform Colour Description (74.1.1.2.1).
CHARCOAL SPOTTED/MARBLE: See TICA Uniform Colour Description (71.8.3).

COLOURS

Brown Tabby: All variations of brown are allowed. Markings various shades of brown to black. Light spectacles encircling the eyes and a virtually white ground color on the whisker pads, chin, chest, belly and inner legs are desirable.

Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, and Seal Lynx Point Tabby:

Pattern can be various shades of brown. There should be very little difference inbetween the color of the body (pattern) markings and point color.

GENERAL: The goal of the Bengal breeding program is to create a domestic cat which has physical features distinctive to the small forest dwelling wildcats, and with the loving, dependable temperament of the domestic cat.
Keeping this goal in mind, judges shall give special merit to those characteristics in the appearance of the Bengal which are distinct from those found in other domestic cat breeds. A Bengal cat is an athletic animal, alert to its surroundings; a friendly, curious, confident cat with strength, agility, balance and grace. It is a medium to large which exhibits a very muscular and solid build.

Its wide nose with prominent whisker pads and large oval, almost round eyes in a slightly small head enhance the wild appearance and expressive nocturnal look. Its very slight, to nearly straight, concave profile and relatively short ears with wide base and rounded tips add to the Bengal’s distinctive and unique appearance.

The short, dense coat has a uniquely soft and silky feel. The coat may be glittered or not glittered, with neither type to be given preference. A thick, low-set, medium-length tail adds balance to the cat.

ALLOWANCES: Smaller size, in balanced proportion of females. Slightly longer coat in kittens. Jowls in adult males. Eyes slightly almond shaped. Mousy undercoat. Paw pads not consistent with color group description.

PENALIZE: Spots on body running together vertically forming a mackerel tabby pattern on spotted cats; circular bulls-eye pattern on marbled cats; substantially darker point color (as compared to color of body markings) in Seal Sepia, Seal Mink, or Seal Lynx Point cats EXCEPT in the case of any Charcoal Sepia, Charcoal Mink or Charcoal Lynx Point cats. Any distinct locket on the neck, chest, abdomen or any other area.

WITHHOLD ALL AWARDS (WW)

Belly not patterned. Temperament must be unchallenging; any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify. The cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain
aloud but may not threaten to harm. In accordance with Show Rules,

Belly not patterned. Temperament must be unchallenging; any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify. The cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain aloud but may not threaten to harm.

The Judge will often check the confirmation of the cat and be sure that the cat is structurally sound. Cats that are not structurally sound will be disqualified and the owner will be asked to see the judge after judging has been completed to discuss any problems noted.

 

A silver cat being held out by a judge at a cat show. The judge is smiling.

Silverstorm Wild boy being judged by US TICA judge Francine Hicks.

 

The judge will confirm  that the cat is not cow-hocked (knock-kneed and make sure that the cat is in optimal condition and well groomed.

The tail must be free from any structural faults, for example kinks, as well as meet the standards description.

Cat shows. A judge is feeling a silver bengals tail for kinky, at a cat show.

Judge Francesca Gagern checking RW SGCH Silverstorm The Maharajahs Cat’s tail.

 

If we read through the breed standard above, it is easier to understand exactly what the judge is looking for while judging each cat. It becomes clearer what the criteria is for the cat to place in a certain order and possibly go on to receive a ribbon or be disqualified.

Not every judge will see things the same way , despite the fact that the standard is the same for each cat of the breed. Each person may interpret things a bit differently. Perception comes into play as well as personal definitions of words and phrases, and personal preferences.

A judge will use teasers and wands in order to relax and also to place the cat in a desired position to evaluate him or her. There is also a tall pole on the table for the cats to stretch out on, making the experience a fun one. A show cat is generally complacent to the components of judging and a good temperament is a must for a show cat.

Bengals are also judged according to divisions (colour and pattern). Therefore, all brown spotted tabbies are judged against each other. All brown marbled tabbies are judged against each other. All seal spotted lynx points are judged against each other, etc. After the divisions  are all judged and the cats have received their placements, then the judge once again goes over his or her notes and determines which cat was the best over all divisions.

Once the points are tallied, the judge calls the “finals”. This is where all the cats in the show with the highest scores from his or her ring, including cats of all other breeds, come back to the ring for their overall show placements according to this judge. the finals will typically have cats of various breeds, unless it was a Bengal congress . In a Bengal congress all the finals would go to the top scoring Bengals in order of their placement scores.

Ribbons (rosettes) will then be awarded to each cat in the final starting from 10th position 10th Best cat, to 1st position, 1st Best cat.

I have shown many of my cats with TICA including RW Supreme Grand Champion Silverstorm the Maharajahs Cat.

Rajah achieved 17th Best shorthair cat of the year and Best silver spotted Bengal in Western Europe region in 2013


He was also 3rd Best black silver spotted Bengal in the world in 2012 and 2013.

 

cat shows. A silver Bengal standing in front of a wall hung with different coloured rosettes which he won at cat shows.

Rajah showing off some of his rosettes!

 

 

 

 

 

The silver Bengal with rosettes walking

The Silver Bengal – A Monochromatic Beauty.

The silver Bengal was recognised in 2004 for championship titles with The International Cat Association (TICA).

As beautiful as the silver colour is , it is not actually a colour; it is a lack of colour. It is the product of the inhibitor gene “I”. A silver Bengal is actually a brown cat with an inhibitor gene. The “l” gene inhibits the yellow/red pigmentation from showing, creating a silver cat. If a “snow” Bengal has this “I” inhibitor gene, then the cat will be a silver-snow. A melanistic with an “I” gene is a silver-melanistic but is correctly referred to as a smoke.

Silver Bengals can have virtually white to grey undercoat with black markings. They can either be spotted, rosetted or marble. Whatever the pattern, a high degree of contrast is always desirable. A clear white/silver background with vivid black markings is what most breeders strive to produce.

The First Silver Bengal

Promoted and advanced by Jean Mills daughter, Judy Sugden, via outrossing Bengals to a silver American shorthair (ASH). Today almost all silver Bengals descend from one female, Eeyaa Silver Salt. Since these original crosses there have been other silver breeds introduced into the Bengal silver lines. Breeds such as the Egyptian Mau and the British Shorthair.

Bengals Illustrated magazine Volume 7

The silver Bengal – A monochromatic Beauty is the title of an article i wrote for the Bengals illustrated magazine, an award winning publication, back in 2013.

You can read parts of the article here. If you would like to read the full article, and other excellent articles by silver Bengal breeders, you can purchase the publication here

The American shorthairs were used not only to lend their silver colour to the Bengal breed, but also to obtain a luminescent, clear, coat quality. This is the product of generations to generations of selective breeding. It is also due to differences in pigment banding on the hair,  to be replaced with a single band of black pigment. This works in tandem with the inhibitor gene which removes all warm pigment to create a pure, sparkling white. For breeders working with silvers, it is important to select for this banding trait in order to continue producing vivid contrast. Contrast is a defining feature of the Bengal breed, otherwise it is lost , colour becomes muted thus losing much of the wild essence a Bengal is known for.

Tarnished Silver

Occasionally we see silvers with warm tones, a slight brown or red pigment in the silver coat. We refer to this as tarnish. This presence of tarnish is undesirable because it “dirties” or “muddies” the silver colour.
Moreover, tarnish can vary from silver to silver.
Strangely , it can seemingly disappear or reappear at any stage of the cat’s life. This phenomena may be triggered by hormones, or changes in the seasons similar to how cats in the wild would lose their vibrant hues in the colder months.
When the  silver inhibitor gene is not able to completely block all warm pigment/tones from showing through, then tarnish will develop.

Rufous polythenes (which are what cause our brown Bengals to have those fiery red tones) also play a role in producing tarnish. For this reason, it is advised when a silver is bred to a brown it is better to use a brown with cooler colours/tones as they lack the high amounts of rufinism.
Abbyssinian breeders , for example, found it very hard to eliminate tarnish in their silver cats , because of the high number of rufous polygenes in the breed.
Contrariwisr, brown tabbies used in the American Shorthair breed, are much cooler coloured cats than the red Abyssinian, thus tarnish is not commonly seen within the ASH breed. Many breeders who add silver to their breeding programs find it difficult to integrate into a predominantly brown program, and they are soon discouraged by the tarnish that ensues.
Tarnish is more likely to present in silver cats that have one silver parent and one non-silver parent. For the best results toward eliminating tarnish , breed silver to silver to lock in silver purity (homozygosity). Homozygous silvers have two inhibitor genes “II”.

Silver Outcross

Some silver Bengal breeders have started their own outcross programmes to American Shorthair (ASH)  and Egyptian Mau, to improve the silver colour and to widen the gene pool.
I have also used Silver ASH in my breeding programme.
The following silver Bengal is a third generation outcross from my British shorthair line. Note the coat clarity and lack of tarnish.