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.
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”.
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.
Silverstorm Hera is a stunning girl we sent to SS Bengals in Hong Kong last year. You can find SS Bengals here. Hera is perfect example of a silver seal lynx Bengal cat and has a beautiful ice cool colour, patterned with delicately outlined snow leopard rosettes. Her glacial colour is what we aim to achieve when breeding silver lynx.
Silver lynx Bengals and Seal lynx Bengals are often unofficially called blue eyed snow Bengals and they are the only colour of Bengal to have those beautiful blue eyes.
There are three different types of snow Bengal. The seal-lynx, the mink and sepia. All of these can also be silver as well, and if so, their colouring will generally be cooler like Silverstorm Hera.
The seal-lynx Bengal has the palest markings, from grey in the silver seal-lynx to beige in the seal-lynx.
The colour was originally introduced into the Bengal breed from the domestic cats used in the beginning of the breed.
The three snow colours were accepted as registered colours by TICA so that breeders could produce cats that mimicked the Snow leopard. We think silver and silver seal-lynx Bengals look even more like Snow leopards as Snow leopards often show a silvery
patina. Compare the Snow leopards colouring in the photo to Silverstorm Hera.
Seal lynx Bengal
Seal-lynx Bengal kittens are normally born completely white (like Dalmatian puppies), and their markings gradually appear at about 3 weeks. Although lynx generally have the least contrast, this is not always the case. We have had well contrasted seal- lynx kittens at birth here at Silverstorm. So it can depend on the breeding.
The Mink colour occurs when a kitten has one sepia gene and one seal-lynx gene. Mink kittens are always born with a pattern that is visible. Their eyes are usually Aquamarine but can be gold.
As seal- lynx and sepia genes are both needed to produce the mink colour, there is no mink gene and therefore mink cannot be carried recessively.
Sepia appeared from the outcrossing to Burmese in the beginnings of the breed. Kittens are born with visible markings and can have green or gold eyes. As adults they have darker markings and can look almost brown.
You can see more of Silverstorm silver snows on my Information About the Bengal page
Silverstorm Trooper our stunning keeper boy for 2024. His name is a little play on words, can you guess I’m a Star Wars fan!), has the most stunning black on white colouring sprinkled with glitter. He is out of Snowstormuk Otto the Greta and Silverstorm Silver Lining.
He has a beautiful pattern of medium sized, well spaced rosettes, with good flow, and a wild convex profile. We are excited to watch his development.
You can see Troopers sire here
and his dam here
Congratulations to Daria and Silverstorm
His first TICA show was in Estonia February 2023, and he did so well! 8 finals including 2nd Best cat 🏆
Silverstorm Bob is a beautiful silver son of Otto and Jewel, he lives in Finland at Splendere Bengals.
Thank you so much for showing him Daria we are very proud of him.
We are thrilled to announce the arrival of our new silver kitten Titawine Star! She is from Griffes de Feu cattery in France. Star has such a clear white coat and contrasted pattern, with blotch’s and spots all the way down her legs. She also has a beautifully wild head and expression.
Stars great-grandmother is are very own Nahla!
Ocean is a silver female from Otto and Jewel’s last litter and certianly she is a silver beauty! She has left for her new home at Nikoletta Nemeth’s cattery ‘Praslin Bengals’ in the Netherlands.
Silverstorm Raiden has arrived in San Francisco! He is such an awesome kitten! Here he is posing beuatifully for the camara and looking very chilled in his new home. Raiden is a silver rosetted Bengal and his coat sparkles with glitter. He is out of Snowstormuk Otto the Great and Silverstorm Jungle JewelsHis grandfather is the iconic RW SGCH Silverstorm The Maharajahs Cat
Our kittens frequently fly to the USA. We have our own export team and dedicated courier who takes all the worry and stress out of transporting your pet. You can follow Silverstorm Raiden on his own Instagram page here
There is also a really sweet ‘story’ called ‘home at last’ saved on our Instagram page. It shows Ron picking Raiden up from the airport In San Fransisco, check it out here
I adore these little Christmas snow twins from Tundra and Blizzard. The little girl is on the left, and the little boy is on the right.
They are silver seal lynx Bengal kittens. Silver makes the seal lynx colour appear much cooler than a regular seal lynx. Ahthough just as silver kittens can have tarnish (warm tones) , so can silver lynx.
You can read about seal lynx and silver seal lynx here
Meet Silverstorm Northern Vows. He looks so proud and regal on his new bed. Northern vows lives in Canada with bis new faimnly. He is a silver rosetted Bengal and has the most vibrant gold eye colour.
Silverstorm Fantasia is an awesome silver Bengal girl staying here at Silverstorm. She is our keeper girl from Midnight Frosts last litter with Barnaby. She has inherited his strong look and chin, and has popping black and white contrast.
She reminds me so much of her Grandfather Jungletime Tribal design who came to us from the USA.