News & Thoughts > Pet secrets for humans > The Bengal Cat: Spotted By Science

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03/31/2011 12:33:58 PM by KapitN   Send Message to KapitN  283121  views, category: Pet secrets for humans view all blogs

                

Genetically modified designer cats are popular amongst those who can afford them. Breeds like the Toyger and the Savannah use elaborate genetic maps to breed animals with the look of a wild cat but the size and demeanor of a domestic pet. But this kind of "wildesque" breeding started with the Bengal cat, and started with more noble intentions than making walking luxuries.

The Bengal's name refers to the wild half of its genetics, which come from Asian Leopard Cats. These are small wild cats found throughout Asia. Attempts to breed them with domestic cats were recorded as early as 1889, but the modern Bengal breed came about in the 1960s for research purposes. Scientists observed that wild cats were more resistant to viruses like feline leukemia, and started breeding them into the domestic population to see if these natural immunities could be replicated.

But the breed expanded beyond this purpose, and ended up becoming a beloved fixture of many cat shows. Bengal cats are striking creatures, with the wide eyes and strong posture of their wild ancestors. At the same time, they have the friendliness of domestic cats-- if not domestic dogs. Some owners have reported that their Bengals like being walked on a leash, and will even fetch sticks. It seems that those scientists unintentionally added a bit of the domestic dog to this breed's mix.


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About the author: A freelance writer/cartoonist living in LA, with my fiance' and our wonderful cat. You can see my work at www.rubysworldcomic.com and rubynation.smackjeeves.com more >>

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