Frosted Bengal kittens

Frosted Bengal kittens

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 


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