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Bengal Cat Info
Bengal Breed Seminar
by TICA Bengal Breed Seminar

Presented by the TICA Bengal Breed Committee (2015-2018) for the illustration and understanding of the Bengal Cats Standard, Bengal History.

Nov 07, 2022

Bengal Breed Seminar, 2016
Presented by the TICA Bengal Breed Committee (2015-2018) for the illustration and understanding of the Bengal Cat Standard, Bengal History, Bengal Cat Handling and Bengal Cat Genetic Inheritance


For Breeders, Enthusiasts, Exhibitors and Evaluators of the Bengal Cat

OCELOT-A Beautiful Unique Per

The devotees of the Bengal Cat have undertaken a consequential endeavor that has brought incredible joy, challenge, triumph and love to the world. Bengal Cat breeders are the most diverse and numerous of all feline enthusiasts - experience, geography and socio-economic background. Bengals are a mixture of all known feline possibilities - all colors, all patterns, hair lengths, body types and brand new non-Felis sylvestris derived genes. When Bengal Cats were accepted and developing no tests existed for any desireable or undesirable traits.

This breed was not found on an island nor a standard written for a few cats that already existed. The idea of the ideal Bengal Cat was an aspiration. The beauty of the Bengal Cat exists because of dedicated breeders.

Is the Bengal Cat breed distinctiveness valued enough by those seeking to appreciate, breed and evaluate Bengal Cats?
The world now has cats that seek human attention and affection wrapped in coats once caressed only through hunting or trapping. These cats have heads and bodies with exotic essence previously enjoyed in fantasies, by the very lucky or very rich. They are domestic cats in every sense of the word, that's amazing!



What makes the Bengal Cat a unique breed now?...in the future? Why Breed them?

Historical & Multi-Cultural Appeal of Leopard


  • Vogue Magazine Editor in Leopard Cat Coat NY Fashion Week 2014
  • King Faisal of Greater Syria & Iraq w/ pet leopard, 1925 Baghdad
  • Zulu Ritual in South Africa 2004
  • Pompeii Mural featuring spotted domestic cat 100 C. E.
  • Egyptian Tomb relief w/ pet leopard and leopard skins, Temple Beit el Wali, 1280 BCE
  • Kanye West in Leopard print jacket 2013
  • Vladimir Putin and Amur Leopard 2014

Future considerations for hybrid cat breeds?

  • Hybrid breeds are among the most popular cats in the world
  • Many breeders mixing multiple breeds (2-3 species)

How does this impact genetic testing and legal ownership?

William Murphy, PhD presented report at 2015 Tuft's Canine & Feline Genetics & Breeding Conference. What are the motivations and ramifications of "hybrid" breeds.
The reception to this idea and to these breeds was not positive by this group of mostly veterinarians - Hutcherson



Why the words "Asian Leopard Cat" are NOT in the Standard

Initial Goal- Which Asian Leopard Cat? The species is highly variable in pattern, color, size and proportions

Which ALC subspecies is the ideal?

Asian Leopard Cat is not in the standard because they are highly diverse in general appearance and some zoologists and feline taxonomists divide them into as many as four (4) separate species. Genetic analysis validates the idea. William Murphy PhD, Brian Davis PhD, Jay Bangle, Anthony Hutcherson 2016
Jean Mill sought to create a miniature leopard, harvesting only the pattern & contrast from the Asian Leopard Cat Other Early Breeders & Exhibitors wanted Asian Leopard Cat replicas
Could/Should law enforcement be able to easily distinguished between a domestic Bengal Cat and an Asian Leopard Cat (or other non-domestic species) with a glance?


Why the words "Asian Leopard Cat" are NOT in the Standard
Initial Goal-

  • Jean Mill sought to create a miniature leopard, harvesting only the pattern & contrast from the Asian Leopard Cat.
  • Other early breeders wanted an Asian Leopard Cat replica (Kent, Donoyan)
  • Gloria Stephens, Von Pilcher, Solvieg Pfluger and Jean Mill settled on writing the standard around the F1 (Asian Leopard Cat X Domestic Shorthair) as the ideal


Conservation - Asian Leopard Cats are classified as Endangered by the US.

Law- Would law enforcement/animal control/zoos/veterinarians tell them apart?

Politics -How do political bodies define "what is a domestic cat"?

Science -How is science and genetics affecting the determination of species and the ability to select and traits?



Who is responsible for the Bengal Cat breed now & into the future?


Personal preferences
What they can place/sell
What inspired them to breed in the first place What is appreciated by fellow breeders
What wins at shows brings them acclaim/3rd party appreciation Awareness, acceptance, validity and application of emerging insights


Definition of a breed
Rules for acceptance of new color/hair length/pattern/head structure
Value from publicity, registration, entries, volunteers
Competition from other registries for $, members, clubs, attention
What members, clubs, board of directors allow Awareness, acceptance, validity and application of emerging insights


What their personal preferences & history suggest
How they accept and apply registry rules to their choices Awareness, acceptance, validity and application of emerging insights
The 1987 Internationa Cat Shows

Their personal preference

How the breed is readily distinguished from variation of random bred populations (internationally) Depiction in popular culture (media, art, business)

• Cultural references •

Historical metaphors



Please DO NOT Call Bengal Cats a Hybrid Breed

Bengal Cats are a Category 1 (one) Breed in TICA -

Only Bengal Cats bred to Bengal Cats produce Bengal Cats

Asian Leopard Cats Prionailurus bengalensis is NOT an allowable outcross for Bengal Cats. ALC X domestic cats of any breed (including Bengal Cats creates an F1 Foundation Cat

TICA Registration Rules Define Bengal Cats as: 33.2.2 Domestic x Non-Domestic Source Species Hybrid Breed - A breed being developed by means of deliberate foundation crosses between domestic cats and a single non-domestic source species. The domestic cats used must not have a structural mutation.


Please DO Call Bengal Cats

• a domestic breed developed from Domestic X Non-Domestic Cat Hybrids
• Hybrid incorrectly infers Wild Cat (Asian Leopard Cat) X domestic = Bengal Cat

Some municipal, US State and national laws restrict or prohibit hybrids. Incorrect use of terminology when judging, on websites etc. can result in confusion of what a Bengal Cat is to the law, science and public. That confusion can lead to domestic Bengal Cats being prohibited and made illegal.