History of the breed

The history of the Bengal cat begins in the United States in 1961. The author of the breed was Jean Mill (then Sugden). Jean was a genetic biologist. As a student, she was interested in the question of breeding cats. The subject of one of Jean's last projects was the possibility of crossbreeding Siamese and Persian cats. After graduation, Jean continued her breeding work with Persian cats. She was one of the first to support the breeding of Himalayan cats. In 1961, Jean Mill was on a business trip to Bangkok, Southeast Asia. The nature of this region represented the natural habitat of Felis Bengalensis, a wild cat similar in size to domestic cats. At the time, the species was on the verge of extinction due to poaching, adult animals were exterminated because of the value of their skins, and small kittens were sold to tourists at the local market as living souvenirs. Jean bought a kitten and brought it back to the United States, giving the cat the name Malaysia. Raised in a domestic environment, Malaysia had the temperament of a wild animal. She was untrusting, cautious, didn't feel attached and didn't make contact, preferring solitude, although she didn't show aggression. Malaya would go up somewhere higher to sleep, to be out of reach. Nevertheless, during the cycle, Malaysia received courtship from a black house cat who lived with Jean. This interbreeding resulted, to everyone's surprise, in 1963 in a viable healthy hybrid kitten with spotted markings inherited from her mother, named Kin Kin. Jean decided to breed cats that looked like exotic woodland predators but had the temperament of pets. So when Kin-Kin grew up, in the absence of other candidates, she was crossed with the same black house cat. This work by Jean to create a special cat was abandoned due to the death of her first husband. Malaysia was admitted to the zoo, and Kin-Kin died after failing to cope with pneumonia. Fifteen years later, Jean (now Mill) learned of a comparative study of the immunity of wild and domestic cats in a laboratory at the University of California, USA. In the study, scientists found that some wild cats were immune to the feline leukemia virus. It remained to be determined whether this immunity was innate or acquired during the cat's life in the wild. To do this, interspecies crosses were made between wild leopard cats and domestic cats of different breeds. Jean Mill asked the head of the research group, Willard Central, to give her some female first generation (F1) hybrids and received 9 females. Since then, she began the serious work of creating a domestic, in the full sense of the word, Bengal cat. In the process of developing the breed, F1 hybrid females were mated with domestic cats of various breeds, including Burma and Mau. In 1982, Jean successfully acquired a small feral cat with a spotted golden-orange color that had never been seen in domestic cats. She met him at a zoo in New Delhi, India. Truth be told, the kitten was without a tail - rhinos had crushed it. When Jean brought the cat home, she gave him the nickname Delhi and registered him with the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) as an experimental Mau. After growing up, Deli became the most suitable groom for Jean's cats. All of the kittens born from him had an amazing sheen to their coat, the so-called glitter, which has been attributed to the Bengal breed. Jean continued to work hard to create the cat of her dreams. The difficulty was that the males of the first three hybrid generations were 70-80% sterile. In addition, not all kittens had beautiful leopard rosettes. Jean recruited wild Bengal cats from India for her breeding work. In 1991, Bengal cats competed in the TICA championship for the first time. Jean Mill showed the world a gentle contact creature encased in a wild coat. Today, the Bengal breed is recognized by almost all felinological organizations. The whimsical coloring for a domestic cat attracts representatives of this breed, each of which tries to choose a Bengal cat with the best natural characteristics. Saturated spots of black or chocolate color on a golden-orange background attract the eye. The coat of Bengal cats feels like valuable fur - dense, short and soft. The body is muscular, strong, elongated, with strong bones, small eyes on a large head, powerful legs (hind legs are longer than the front ones). The short thick tail resembles a fluffy tube with a black tip. Cats are more slender and elegant, cats are stronger and more muscular. The movements of the Bengalis are full of grace. They resemble leopards in every way. As in any breeding work, at the very beginning of the development of the Bengal breed, cats of different breeds were used in the hybridization process. So, in the future, Bengal blood carried in its genes some of the characteristics inherent in other breeds of cats. Many of them were destroyed, but some made themselves felt. Such a sign, for example, is the long hair of the Bengalis. Initially, such animals were selected from breeding work. However, for several years now, such wool has attracted growing interest from breeders and admired by cat lovers. Long-haired Bengalis are now referred to as cashmere or silk Bengal.