Basic Bengal Genetics

So this is a massive topic and there is a lot of information about feline genetics that you can get into.  What I would like to focus on is purely the most commonly asked information about Bengal Genetics.  I’m going to brush over all the complicated details of genetics and just say this at a high level.

One chromosome comes from the father and one from the mother.
The father’s chromosome can be dominate over the mother’s or vice versa.
If one is dominant then that is the trait that applies.  If they are the same, then you get that trait.
Dominant chromosomes are denoted with capital letters while recessive ones are lower case.

Coat

The coat contains a bunch of different genes:

Agouti: this gene controls whether the hair of the fur contains a single solid color or alternating banded hair.
A (meaning banded) is dominant and a (solid color) is recessive.

Charcoal is from the ALC agouti allele and is recessive to A and dominant to a.

Brown: this gene controls the color with B (Full Colour), b (brown), b(l) – Cinnamon and b(s) – Snow as the options.

Dilute: this gene controls color dilution with D being Full Colour and d being dilute.

Inhibitor: this gene inhibits the color and creates silver colours.  With I being inhibits and i being not.

Pattern: Sp is now thought to be the pattern gene and (T was previously thought to control pattern).  Sp is spotted and sp is marbled.

Glitter: this gene controls whether their coat has glitter (g) or not (G)

Example Bengal Colours

This shows you how changing one gene changes the colour of the Bengal.

Brown Spotted Bengals: They must be Brown Full Color (B), Full Colour (D), Not Inhibited (ii), Spotted: (SP)

Snow Spotted Bengals: They must be Brown Snow (bsbs), Full Colour (D), Not Inhibited (ii), Spotted: (SP)

Blue Spotted Bengals: They must be Brown Full Color (B), Dilute Colour (dd), Not Inhibited (ii), Spotted: (SP)

Silver Spotted Bengals: They must be Brown Full Color (B), Full Colour (D), Inhibited (I), Spotted: (SP)

Brown Marbled Bengals: They must be Brown Full Color (B), Full Colour (D), Not Inhibited (ii), Marbled: (sp)

Raw Feeding

Wait, did you say Raw?  As in uncooked?  That – Is – Disgusting!  Perhaps, but what do you think cats are eating in the wild?  Do they have a little campfire and cook their mouse, fish, or bird?  They do just fine on raw food.  Their digestive track is very different from ours and they simply don’t have the same problems we would.  Here’s a few pointers on how to get started feeding your cat as nature intended.

Do I just cut up a raw chicken and put it in a dish?

That sounds like a great snack; but, it’s a really poor diet.  Balanced diets are the number one reason people struggle with raw food and veterinarians don’t recommend it.

Where’s the Taurine?

Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is very important in the metabolism of fats.  If there is not enough Taurine in a cat’s diet, he or she may develop a taurine deficiency which could lead to heart or eye troubles. Taurine is highly concentrated in liver – not in breast or leg meat.  If you are making your own cat food, make sure that you include ingredients that are high in Taurine in your recipe.

If I feed raw food, do I need to spend hours in the kitchen?

Absolutely not!  There are many options available for owners who wish to provide the best nutrition for their loved ones.  You can buy Raw food from your local pet store!  Nature’s Variety is one example, there are many more.  It’s easy to store / serve.  There are lots of places that will make / deliver raw food too.

Where can I learn more?

Take a look at  http://www.catnutrition.org/ or http://www.catinfo.org both sites are great resources for raw cat food.  Take a look at http://www.cat-crap.com/ too.

If you must, used canned wet food.

I don’t recommend it; but, a quality canned wet food is way better than dry food.   It’s got high water content and is usually animal based protein with much lower carbohydrate content.

General Guidelines:  Try to feed Chicken, Turkey and Rabbit.  Avoid Fish as a part part of their diet as it’s highly addictive and frequently contains other chemicals harmful to cats.  Avoid Grains and Vegetables such as Corn, Rice, Peas, Wheat, Carrots – these may sound healthy to us, but we aren’t cats;  they are not species appropriate foods (but they are cheap!)  Ideally you want high protein foods – watch for high fat instead of high protein.

Why Choose a Bengal Cat?

Exotic Domesticated Cat

It’s an exotic domesticated cat – how cool is that?  You get all the look of a wild cat and all the affection of an adoring domestic cat.  A well bred Bengal will have all of the disposition of a loving house cat and the markings and pattern of a wild Leopard.  They are active, inquisitive and definitely each has their own personality.  Their look is such that it never fails to get attention, we can’t count the number of times people have stopped and marvelled at a Bengal Cat.

Athletic and Muscular

They are born athletics, very muscular; they are natural leapers and climbers.  They are able to climb higher and jump farther than most other domestic cats.  They love running, heights, climbing and jumping – so much so that Cat Wheels have become very popular just so that some Bengals have an opportunity to get more exercise.  Take a look at this great wheel that was developed for Bengals:  One Fast Cat.  (Yes, we own one!)

Their Amazing Coat

Their coat is extremely short and soft, it’s sleek and velvety (similar feel to a mink coat) with minimal shedding (yes Bengals still shed; but not nearly as much as a lot of other domestic cats).  They are sometimes referred to as Hypoallergenic (and this is true as some people who are allergic to cats are not allergic to Bengals, but not everyone!).  If you do have allergies to cats and want to see if you are allergic, we recommend a house visit to us or another Bengal only cattery.  It usually becomes obvious fairly quickly if you are or are not allergic.

All of our Bengals are brown spotted; however, Bengals come in all sorts of colours and patterns.  We find the brown spotted rosettes the most amazing colours, so that’s what we have; but take a look around for lots of different coats!

Family Oriented

Great for kids, dogs and other animals, they do very well with the whole family (I would probably avoid putting them together with a hamster though!).  They love to play and sleep with the children of the family and are naturally good at avoiding hurting children (that being said, if a child hugs too tight, they could get scratched!).  Our family spends hours playing and enjoying our Bengal cats, we are confident that you will too!

They are incredibly loving – following their owners around, greeting them at the door, communicating their needs and develop a strong bond with their owners.

Super Intelligent and Curious

Bengals are amazing intelligent cats.  They can be trained to do tricks, to play fetch, to walk on a leash.  They can learn how to open doors and drawers. We are constantly amazed at what our Bengals figure out.

If curiousity killed the cat, he got the Bengal first.  Bengals can entertain themselves for hours with a cardboard box, a straw or a piece of ice (well until it melts).

What is a Bengal Cat?

Cats could be considered nature’s perfect hunter; stealthy, agile, graceful, high jumps, fast movement, incredible athletes capable of performing amazing feats.

Bengal cats are everything you would imagine that cat to be. Athletic, muscular, agile, high jumper, fast movement. Bengal not only look like they belong in the jungle; they look like they would rule there. Bengals are, on average, better climbers, jumpers and generally more athletic than other breeds of domestic cats.

Coat

The first thing that most people notice about the Bengal Cat is their amazing coat. It’s beautiful, soft, sleek, it can glitter – it’s a wonder! They shed less than most other domestic cats and some people allergic to cats are not allergic to Bengals.

Like most cats they do not need to be bathed (though Bengals have been known to play in water!)

Hypo-Allergenic

Are they Hypo-Allergenic?  This term comes around a lot with Bengals and there are definitely people who might be allergic to cats in general but are not allergic to Bengals.  As a breed, Bengals do not shed much, they have a different style of coat which is soft and silky and are often compared to mink.  Since Hypo-Allergenic means that they cause fewer allergic reactions the answer is yes; however, that doesn’t mean that no one is allergic to a Bengal.  Your best bet is to go and visit a house with Bengals and spend some time there.  Most Catteries will welcome visitors so test out any allergies for yourself.

Size

Male Bengals average 12-14 pounds; however, they can get to 16 or even 18 pounds.
Female Bengals average 8-12 pounds; however, you can see smaller females as low as 6 pounds.

Personality

Bengals have a lot of personality and are lively, intelligent and interactive cats. They, typically, don’t ignore you nor are they dull cats. They will be an active part of your family.
Read more here: Bengal Personality

Common Genetic Diseases

Bengals are generally healthier than most pure breed cats. This is due to them being a relatively newer breed with lots of new blood from other breeds and the wild Asian Leopard Cat. That being said – watch out for the following diseases:

HCM: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. This is a genetic heart disease. while there is no genetic test for it, a lot of breeders do regular testing of their breeding cats to ensure that if they show signs of HCM they stop breeding those cats.

PRA: Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a degenerative eye disease which causes blindness. There is a genetic test for this disease – ensure your breeder has a clean bill of health.

PKD: Polycystic Kidney Disease, a progressive kidney disease which, also can be tested for – ensure your breeder has a clean bill of health.

PK Def: Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency, not to be confused with PKD, this impairs red blood cells and causes anemia. Once again this can be tested for – ensure your breeder has a clean bill of health.