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The Bengal cat is a relatively recent breed; it is a cross between an Asian Leopard Cat and a short haired domestic cat breed (e.g. Egyptian Mau, Burmese, Ocicat).

Its’ wild progenitor is a small, mainly nocturnal feline, wide-spread in South-East Asia, from the Bengala Gulf right down to Borneo, it lives in the Rain Forest as well as the cultivated plains and prefers areas close to natural water courses.  It is the size of a domestic cat with a lithe body, long legs, short and thin nose, small round ears and is especially noticed for its’ beautiful coat which is spotted like a leopards’ and silky to the touch.

Its’ valuable coat has made it a hunting target to the skin traders for a long time.  Fortunately, this species is now legally protected by the convention of Washington or CITES and consequently, trading of these animals is regulated and controlled.

In Italy breeding this species was initially prohibited by the Ministry of Environment decree of 18th May 1992 and prohibition was officially declared with the publication of the list of “dangerous species” (Ministerial decree 19th April 1996) that generally includes all wild cats independently of their size, from tigers to small felines, precisely, Asian Leopard Cats.

The Bengal cat is a medium to large sized cat, it is big boned with an agile and muscled body, its’ hind legs are slightly longer than its’ fore legs, its’ thick round-tipped tail is of medium length and its’ head is slightly smaller than its’ body.  Its’ ears are from medium to small with a large base and rounded tips, its’ eyes are oval-shaped, nearly rounded, far apart and slightly turned upwards towards the ear base. Its chin is strong featured with a wide full face and  a large wide nose.  The curve of the forehead should gently merge with the curve of the nose with no detachment. The neck is long, solid and muscular, in proportion with the head and body.

Their coat is short and compacted, silky and soft to the touch with shiny reflexes, it can be either spotted or marbled.

For a complete description of the standard breed you may consult the official web site TICA (PUBLICATIONS – Standards) or FIFE

It is an extremely alert, curious and reactive cat, gifted with a vitality that makes it inadvisable for someone who is looking for a docile “living room” pet but is recommended to someone who is looking for a cat with whom they may interact, play and share everyday life with.

The Bengal Cat