Bengal Cat History
Bengal Cats, as we know them today began in the 1960’s by researchers such as Jean Mill of Covina, California. Jean bred an Asian Leopard Cat to a domestic black cat. The result was a litter of both solid and spotted kittens.
One of the spotted female offspring was bred back to the domestic cat and resulted in a litter of all spotted kittens. Research by the University of California and others such as Jean Mill continued the crossing of the breeds in an effort to determine if wild cats, such as the Asian Leopard Cat, might possess an improved immune system against feline leukemia and other cancer diseases.
The first three generations of the cross breeding’s results in F1s and F3s respectively. All males that are F1s and F2s are infertile so it is necessary to breed the female F1s and F2s to domestic cats, typically an Abyssinian, Burmese or Egyptian Mau male to continue the lineage. Once the Bengals have been bred to an F4 level, they can be registered with the International Cat Fanciers Association (TICA) and then as an F5, they can be registered with the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA).
It was not until the mid 1980s that Bengals were accepted for registration by these associations. The first registered Bengal cats were spotted. It should be noted that the Bengal is the only spotted breed which is directly descended from a wild ancestor. The result of this breeding, gives us the cat which has the wild exotic look of the Asian Leopard Cat, but the loving and affectionate demeanor of the pampered house pet.