Unlike the Ocicat, the Bengal has wild ancestry. The Bengal was produced by crossing the Asian Leopard Cat, a small wildcat with domestic shorthaired cats. The name Bengal was derived from the Asian Leopard Cats Latin name, Felis bengalensis. It took the original breeder Jean Mill, several generations to produce a beautiful cat with domestic and predictable personalities.
In 1985 Mill showed her cats for the first time. There was some controversy over the new cats. Some people felt it was unwise cross wild cats with domestics since many wildcats are threatened species. Most people, however, were very taken with the beautiful new cats. Mill was able to recreate a number of new Bengal breeders.
The modern Bengal is a wildly beautiful cat with an affectionate personality and great energy. Bengals form strong bonds with their owners and become faithful and affectionate companions for life. Bengals love to climb and will do so given any opportunity. You will routinely find them on top of bookcases, doors and dressers. They are very curious and will rearrange the contents of any drawer the find open. Bengals are playful well into old age and will pounce an anything that moves. From their Asian ancestors, these cats inherited a love of water. Some will even join you for a swim in the pool or hot tub.