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A Domesticated Wild Cat

The Bengal cat looks like a leopard and although it has no leopard blood, it is a leopard in miniature. Of course it only looks like one, it doesn't behave like one.
Remember going to the zoo, or turning on the TV and seeing a big cat that just took your breath away...did you ever want to have one for yourself? There is a cat out there called the Bengal, this is a cat that was bred to look like the leopard and breeding has been very successful, and they are also domestic and perfectly legal to own! They do not have true leopard blood in them, in fact they are the descendants a small type of wild cat that can be found in the jungles of Asia.

Questions often come up as to the fact that so many wild cats are o the verge of extinction, they say that gene pools need to be kept pure and without any mixes...but if we stop and think about it, we will realize that many of the tings that we love and enjoy today are from direct deliberate crosses...have you ever eaten a tangerine???

The crossing of leopard cats began in 1963, it was an attempt top help bring down poaching and to stop the pet trade from bringing dangerous wild animals into unsuspecting people's homes...in so doing, public demand would be satisfied and the wild cats could really be left alone. A domestic cat could be produced that has all the flashy colors and style of a wild cat but none of the aggressiveness and nasty habits. The breeding attempt was successful.

Bengals, as the breed was called, are about the size of your typical American shorthair cat, they have wonderful spotted or marble coats and the ones that are properly bred do indeed look like their wild cousins! This is even a rare color called the snow leopard, and like I said, when proper breeding has taken place, the cat does indeed look like a small version of the highly endangered snow leopard that conservationist are racing to save.

The one thing that people need to be concerned about is the temperament of the Bengals, if there has been poor breeding, you might end up with a cat that is suspicious and hates to be handled...not to mention potentially dangerous. Where there has been proper breeding and a lot of care given to temperament, you will most likely end up with a kitten that is lovable and affectionate. It is preferred that there be three generations before any real selling of the breed is done because the first generation tend to be just as wild as their cousins, not to mention the fact that the males are not fertile. When the fertile females are bred as mentioned earlier, the generation that comes is able to reproduce, both male and female; these are then bred to produce the kittens that are ready and of a proper temperament to sell and show and all that. It is not desired that any more breeding be done back to domestic cats so as not to dilute the wild cat gene pool.

The Bengal cat is very intelligent and affectionate, they are not wild and scared if the right breeding was done. They love to run and explore and they use the litter box and are curious about every single thing...there have been reports that Bengals love water and can learn tricks.

Like any other type of domestic cat, the Bengal does come in a wide variety of colors and temperaments...the kittens can become ugly during the period of 2 and 6 months, they gray out and become fuzzy after that they become the beautiful Bengals that everybody knows and loves. The graying out stage is something that is probably inherited from their wild ancestors.

When looking for a Bengal kitten, try to get an up close and personal look at the kitten yourself, or at the very least get a hold of some pictures of the kitten to make sure that you are getting what you are paying for...it is best to also be able to see the kitten in person before you buy it to make sure that it has the gentle playful personality that a Bengal should...remember there are a lot of people out there that are in it only for the money and there is a risk of getting a cat that is either too wild to touch or a Bengal that looks like any other short hair and nothing like his wild cousins. Try to at least get a third generation cat...ask for pedigrees so that you can ensure that it is really a Bengal and not some clever copy.
By Claudia Miclaus
Bouquets and Brickbats
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