Bengal Cats the Lap Leopards of Today to the Legend Of The Marble Cat
By Jody Hewitt
Bengalâ€™s are Beautiful and exotic cats that are loved by so many people around the world. With their graceful movements and unusual intricate markings its like having part of the wild in your own living room. Staring up at you with their green or golden eyes as they are true Lap Leopards to be enjoyed by everyone of any age. In my findings these beautiful cats are every bit the same in behavior as your average house cat with normal litter box habits. They are inquisitive, curious, and explorative and adapt well to other household pets. They have the same nutritional and immunization requirements as regular domestic cats. Bengalâ€™s are relatively large cats with a short haired coat. Males can range from 18-25 pounds and females 7-15 pounds. The face has a feral look with small rounded ears and exotic facial features. with colors ranging from Snow which are varying shade of white cream background with light brown pattern, to the Brown which is various degrees of Rufus, Golden, Light Brown to Black-Brown Carmel colors, and the new accepted color the Silver which is a white back ground with a black pattern. There are various other degrees of colors not recognized yet which are Blues, Chocolates.
The Bengal Cat is a wonderful cat to own and love. They have wonderful temperaments while retaining beautiful exotics feral patterns and characteristic that is unique to only the Bengal Cats. These beautiful creatures have a few unique qualities for instance they love water and donâ€™t have a problem jumping right into the shower with you. And they love to go on long walks on a leash or car rides to go shopping. Mainly they love to be with people they are very social and like most cats they are very entertaining.
Bengal Cats range from highly exotic being closer in generation to their hybrid ancestors The Asian Leopard Cat all the way to being domesticated with exotic markings.
The Bengal Cat is a cross from the Asian Leopard Cat and the domestic cat. The most commonly used domestic crosses were the Abyssinian, Egyptian Mau and the Ocicat. This was done to preserve the effort of retaining the stunning beauty of the Asian Leopard Cat. The first three generations are called foundation cats. By the time they reach the fourth generation they are considered SBT which is the domestic cat resembling characteristics of the Asian Leopard Cat. The first documented cross between the Asian Leopard Cat and the domestic cat in the United States is recorded in 1963 by Jean Mill.
The Asian Leopard Cat is a small wild spotted cat, weighing about twenty pounds. The general build of the Asian Leopard Cat (Felis Bengalensis) is similar to a normal domestic cat, but with somewhat longer legs and a longer back. They have a fairly small head with a short narrow muzzle, large eyes and a thick tail. Body length varies between 25-32 inches, and they weigh between 7-25 pounds. There are around ten sub-species all showing different variations in body color and can be found in southern Asia, across India, threw China, Korea and the Soviet Far East. It can be also found on islands such a Sumatra, Philippines, Taiwan, Borneo, Bali and Java. Since the Asian Leopard cat dwells in so many regions they have acquired many different names such as the Javan cat, Wagati cat, Chinese cat or “money cat”, because of the so called spots resembling Chinese coins.
Here is a short Fictional story to explain where the Bengal Cat received its markings – enjoy.
Legend Of The Marble Cat
The Legend of the Marble Cat … Deep, deep in the rainforest, a very long time ago, a jungle mother gave birth to six, perfect little kittens and the Spirit of the Forest was pleased. Four of them looked just like their mother, soft and gold and spotted all over, like tiny leopards, a pattern designed by nature to hide them in the deep forest from ancient and fearful enemies who liked kittens for lunch. The other two, however, were different. They, too, had coats as soft as velvet, but one of them was all gold, as bright as the sun and the other was as white as the full moon! Mother named them Sunlight and Moonbeam. She named her other kittens more traditional names, names that had been passed from mother cat to daughter cat, on and on, down through the generations: Panthera, Tiger Lily, Orchid and Raven.
Deep in the nest, hidden in the secret glen behind the waterfall, in the thickest part of the rainforest where the trailing orchids bloomed in a wild and colorful profusion, Mother cared for her kittens and worried. She knew that her son Moonbeam and her daughter Sunshine would soon be exposed to a very dangerous world and with their beautiful, bright coats, they would stand out like lights on the jungle floor, easy for enemies to see. As the kittens grew and the day approached when they would be venturing from the safety of the den, Mother began to council them in the ways of concealment: To Sunshine and Moonbeam she said: “Now, remember, until you are grown and can run very fast, you must stay under leaves and vines so you will be hidden from above. Never venture into the open jungle unless you can sit in a spot of bright sun or a beam of the full moon, for that is what you look like.
To her spotted children she said: “You must also be cautious, but you may use the pattern of the forest floor as your camouflage. When stalking your prey, move only when they look away and when you freeze in place, your spots will help you to disappear into the sun dappled jungle. And so it was that the two kittens learned to hide their special beauty, venturing out from beneath the leaves and vines only rarely, while their spotted brothers and sisters came and went as they pleased, carrying their concealment with them. The Spirit of the Forest was pleased.
One bright, sunny day, Mother took her four tiny leopards on a hunting lesson, warning Sunlight and Moonbeam to stay hidden until they returned. “I don’t want to stay here all day.” complained Sunshine, “Me either. I want to watch Mother.” replied Moonbeam. “Why don’t we just creep from plant to plant and keep hidden. She will never know we’re there.” suggested Sunshine. Off they went, excited to be on an adventure, and, being the good kittens they were, preceding cautiously as well, remembering all the lessons their mother had taught them. They could smell the scent of their family and followed it. They scampered on, always under the leaves of low growing plants, while the sunlight painted beautiful, undulating patterns of deep shade on their bright coats.
Suddenly, the smell of danger raised the hairs on their backs and they froze like statues even before they saw the horrible sight. As their eyes adjusted to the pure sunlight, the kittens saw they were at the edge of a brightly lit clearing, filled with dry weeds and golden grasses. Up against a rock wall were their brothers and sisters, cringing in the presence of… Jackal! A very large Jackal! He was in between Mother and her kittens. Mother was crouched and snarling behind him. Everyone knew Jackals eat kittens! Glancing back and forth between the kittens and their mother, Jackal sneered and boasted to her, “You know I’m going to get at least one of them, maybe even two. Why, I’ll be out of here with my lunch before you can reach me. I just don’t know which one to take first. They are all so fat and yummy looking.”
Under the cover of a leaf, Sunshine and Moonbeam looked at each other and passed a single thought between them. “Mother’s lessons!” They silently circled the small clearing, keeping to the cover of the forest. Now they were on opposite sides of Jackal and entered the dry weeds. Softly. Quietly. Keeping as flat to the ground as the dry, dusty rocks, they inched toward their ancient enemy, each moving only when he turned his attention to gloat to Mother or frighten the kittens. As they neared the Jackal, Mother’s crouching posture changed just slightly, subtlety. She knew they were there! She couldn’t smell them because they had wisely placed themselves down wind of the enemy, but she could just barely see her bright and beautiful children in the bright sunlight of the field!
Intent on the kittens he had cornered, Jackal was oblivious; he never knew what hit him. Jackal took half a step toward the frightened kittens frozen against the rock face and Wham! The earth before him erupted in a squalling, screaming fury of knives and teeth! Stunned and frightened, Jackal felt Mother’s teeth sink deeply into his rear haunches and her claws rack his sides. Slashing, screaming demons were fastened to his head! Leaping madly about the clearing and crashing into trees and rocks, Jackal finally managed to dislodge his attackers and all he could see with the eye that was still open, was the tail end of Mother, as she disappeared into the jungle.
Panthera, Tiger Lily, Orchid and Raven had been stunned by the apparently sudden appearance of their brother and sister, but wasted no time streaking past the besieged Jackal, into the safety of the rainforest. They were followed shortly by Sun, Moon and Mother. Together, they ran swiftly through the jungle, to the safety of their hidden den, in the secret glen, behind the waterfall, in the thickest part of the rainforest where the trailing orchids bloomed. It had been a miracle. Nothing needed to be said. Mother cleaned her kittens and purred them to sleep. Sunlight and Moonbeam awoke at dusk, from a deep slumber of complete exhaustion. They crept out of the den, called by a silent summons. There! Under the big tree, or was it part of it? They thought they could see the faint form of the Spirit of the Forest. They knew it was she who had summoned them. Her voice was like the whisper of the leaves or maybe the passing breeze, but the kittens could hear her plainly in their heads.
This was strange, indeed. Not in the time of any ancestor they could remember, had anyone actually seen the Spirit of the Forest, but, oddly, they were not frightened. She spoke, “You are all my children and I love you. Even the Jackal is one of my children, but it was not his destiny to eat kitten for lunch today. You have performed a selfless act of incredible bravery and shall be rewarded. I give you something you have always wanted, the gift of concealment.” To Moonbeam she said: “You will be a cat of the night: I bless you with the misty shadows of the leaves and vines, falling across your back by the light of the full moon. You will be able to pass by unnoticed in the night jungle.” To Sunshine she said: “You are to be a cat of the day, wearing the deep shadows of the leaves and twisting creepers across your body, letting your glittering sunlit coat sparkle through in bits and swirls. You will be impossible to see in the jungle on a sunny day. Step forward now.”
The kittens stepped out from under the leaves they had instinctively stood under and were amazed to see that their coats now had the patterns of the vines and leaves. As her image and voice began to fade, The Spirit of the Forest said, “From now on, your names will be Secret Sun and Hiding Moon. All of your unspotted descendants will be blessed with these marking as well, to conceal them safely in either sun or moonlight. I am pleased.” To this day, marbled kittens carry with them the patterns of the leaves and vines of that long ago jungle, the reward of their ancestors’ uncommon courage: the shadows cast upon them through the trees, by the sun and the moonlight.
Thank You Susan Dunsworth for letting me share your story with everyone.
My name is Jody Hewitt I breed, raise, and show Bengal Cats I am located in Gilbert Arizona with a passion for all animals wild or domestic. Please come visit me anytime http://www.DreamersLegacy.com.
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