Beware of "Fakes" or "All is not Gold that Glitters"!
Photo of: Amazongold Arnoldo owned by Nadezhda Yakusheva
Despite its youth - less than fifty years have passed since appearance of the very idea of creation of this breed - today the Bengal breed is perhaps one of the most popular ones throughout the world. The reason for this universal love lies, first of all, in unusual colour of these animals: there is no a single person in the world who will be indifferent to this amazingly beautiful, sparkling colour of Bengals. This is true beauty given to Bengals by nature and thoughtfully preserved by the best breeders.
However, like anything popular, the Bengal breed is often imitated. Immediately upon the release of a fashionable device, its "asian twins" appear; when a top fashion designer releases a clothes collection, almost on the same day the new designs appear on the shelves of shady stores... However, while one can immediately notice a defect on a gadget, a wrong stitch on a bag, or a low-quality print on the fabric, it is much more difficult to distinguish between a real Bengal and a "fake" one. Unfortunately, some people buy such mediocre representatives of the breed, just to do it "simpler or cheaper". And if they buy such kittens "for love", this is just a half of the disaster; a real disaster is when such an owner deems himself "a breeder" and starts to distribute descendants of such poor-quality animals. Alas, it does happen, and it can lead to blurring of breed qualities and overall deterioration of quality of Bengal cats. We should not allow it, therefore, choosing a kitten, remember: you cannot find a real Bengal cat "for three cents". They simply do not exist and this is an axiom.
|Amazongold Cameron owned by Nadezhda Kokorina|
Thus, how can you distinguish between a real "Bengal gold" and something that "simply glitters"? Let's begin from the very beginning. The Bengal breed was intended and created to copy the appearance of an Asian leopard cat, but add "domestic" temperament to it. Jean Mill, who is considered to be a founder of the breed, started to work with it on compassionate grounds. Being on a business trip in Bangkok, Jane who had her maiden name Sugden at that time, saw charming Felis Bengalensis, or ALC kittens, in the local market, that reminded an ordinary domestic cat in terms of their size, but were "wearing" so amazingly beautiful fur coats that Jane's heart died. Moreover, this spices of cats that were aboriginal in South-East Asia, was at the edge of total extinction at that time, and dishonest businessmen were selling kittens as living souvenirs to Europeans and Americans visiting their markets. Trying to preserve this incredible beauty for people, Jane bought a charming Asian leopard cat, called her Malaysia and mated it with a black domestic cat already at home, in the USA.
However, by virtue of some objective circumstances, the work on creation of the Bengal breed was interrupted for 20 long years and Jane Mill managed to resume the work on creation of a cat of her dream only at the beginning of the 80s of the last century. And finally, in 1991 incredible tender domestic cats of wild leopard colour appeared at a TICA show for the first time. And they won everybody's hearts. Following Mrs. Mill, other American breeders got engaged in creation of the breed, its unique appearence and temperament, and devoted not one decade to achieve the result which currently amazes the admirers of the Bengal cat. Because a true Bengal is a unique breed from a nasal planum to the tip of the tail!
Amazongold Arnoldo owned by Nadezhda Kokorina
Bright, fast, elegant, deft, strong, passionate, smart, active... One can endlessly enumerate these rapt descriptions of the Bengal cat. Having seen them someday, you will never be able to resist this breed. And it does not matter, whether you have only one Bengal cat, or you have unwittingly))) become an owner of such a number of these cats that will shock people around you. They immediately enter human hearts and occupy every corner there: love to a Bengal cat is love at first sight).
And what are these cats in terms of felinology? A true Bengal is a big cat with muscular body, moving and behaving like a real hunter. All the features of the Bengal cat demonstrate their belonging to wild ancestors: these are special structure of the head, love to water, amazing plastique and elegance which is characteristic only of wild Felidae, as well as fantastically beautiful colour.
It is the Bengal's colour that attracts many people, and no wonder! Its coat is soft and silky by touch, and it is rich in colour shades. Whether this be rosettes (like leopards or cheetahs have) or a "special" marble pattern, which is typical only for this breed, the coat colour is always characterized by unique saturation and glittering, and the pattern is clear and horizontally directed. It should be noted that there are no two Bengals in the world having an identical pattern: like human finger prints, the pattern on the hair of each animal is strictly individual.
|Moulinrouge Jordan owned by Leonid Mikhailov|
The most widespread colour is brown tabby. But this is not the "classical" brown tabby, which is typical for other breeds: the shades of the Bengal's brown tabby colour vary from cold grayish to amazing gold, bronze shades and even the elegant shade of a redwood.
One can now meet the so called "snow" Bengals at shows, namely cats of the point and the burmese colours, which result from a certain form of albinism. If a cat is of these colors, its hair has an ivory shade or is "slightly tanned", and the bright pattern (rosette or marble) covers the body, which pattern is of light-brown to bitter chocolate colour. At the same time the cat's eyes can be of the blue colour, which is typical for the point cats, or of the aquamarine colour, which is typical for mink colours.
As to silver Bengals, they have a white undercoat, which s characteristic of "silver" Bengals, and the pattern is of the dark-gray or the coal-black tint. Distinct lightening of inner parts (belly and pawns), with a bright and a clear pattern on the body and the face, is characteristic of the Bengals and is valued by breeders.
Recently there have appeared Bengals of new and rare colours, which will perhaps be recognized in international systems.
The standard of this breed varies in different international systems, but since TICA was the founder of this breed, its standard should serve as a basic one. As a whole, the work of breeders should be aimed at creation of a unique "individuality" of the Bengal breed - a domestic cat, the appearence and physical parameters of which remind these of a wildcat.
So "beware of fakes", or "all is not gold that glitters", as the title of this article says.
– Dear beginners wishing to acquire a Bengal cat! Apply only to reputable catteries of the Bengal breed and be not seduced by low prices on sites with "wild" announcements about sale of kittens. Use only reliable services.
– Dear breeders! Read standards, attend seminars, communicate with other breeders. Exhibit your cats at shows more often to understand the trends of the breed development. Otherwise you can turn from a breeder into a fraud and lose the original deep sense of creation of the Bengal breed!
– Dear experts! Learn to understand and see the breed, read standards not only of your own system. Communicate with breeders and visit their catteries, if possible.
If all the above persons move in one direction, we will necessarily achieve a due result!
To crown it all, I'll tell a little about the Bengals' character. Telling about the character and the behavior and the temperament of Bengals, I should note that this breed is not))!! for those people who want to see a cat tenderly lying on their lap. Bengals are for active, even for reactive optimists! They are active, curious and very intellectually developed; they will prefer a walk on a leash to lying on a sofa and will run in a wheel with pleasure rather than sleep on a pillow near a radiator. Bengals are ideal agility cats: they learn with pleasure and overcome all the obstacles together with their owners. But you should not be frightened of active temperament of these cats: being very active, they are so intelligent that they quickly understand their owner. So, adopting a Bengal cat, you will hardly have to worry about safety of your furniture and curtains: a single reprimand will be enough to make it know what you approve and what you don't.
Amazongold Victoria owned by Natalia Petrova
They are very sociable and try to be, so to say, a "heart of a company". Coming back home, be sure: The Bengal will necessarily meet you near the doorstep and tell you all the news of itself and other family members, which happened while you were absent. You will like to listen to it, because the Bengal cat has a really unique voice, it can change its timbre and intonation depending on emotions which it wishes to express. And then it will sit down near you to watch TV, will go to look if nothing has happened to children in their room, and even will let your kids to snuggle it.
By the way, be sure: the Bengal will never – you hear, never! – protract its claws to a child: in spite of the fact that it originates from wild ancestors, this breed is extremely friendly. So, if you have children, the decision to adopt a kitten of this breed will make them happy: junior family members will find both an excellent partner for games and a careful "nanny" in the Bengal cat. And they will have the excellent reason to boast to the friends, because they have a magnificent small predator whom you may easily snuggle and flatter, and the rating of your children in eyes of their classmates will immediately rise to the sky)). And by the way, I've just remembered: if you have dogs – it is excellent too: Bengals get on well with them.
As to Bengal's relationships with its adult owner, there is no being in the world, which is more faithful and devoted to the man whom he sincerely loves. With whom it can even lie on a bed, when it is in a tender and gentle mood. Loudly purring and not letting sleep;-)).
With Bengals in LOVE!
Author: Kokorina Nadezhda