Bengal Cat Lingo

Bengal Cat Lingo

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!


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 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




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.




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.


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.


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




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.


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



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 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


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




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