Western civilization first became aware of the crossbreeding of Asian Leopard Cats with domestic breeds near the turn of the twentieth century.
It was not, however, until the 1960's and 70's that these crosses were used to create an acceptable unique breed.
The Bengal cat is not named for the Asian tiger but is derived from the Latin name for the Asian Leopard cat, bengalensis, even though some Bengals do have tiger-like striped markings.
Most commonly the Bengal Cat has large spots and rosettes along its back and sides with some striping on the legs.
They usually have white underbellies and feature the black "mascara" lines across the eyes.
The acceptable coloration includes brown, mink, sepia, and silver and comes in both spotted and marbled patterns.
Temperamentally, the average cat owner should not get closer than three or four generations from the original cross as the aggressive nature of the Leopard Cat takes a while to breed out of subsequent generations.
Still, once achieved, the Bengal becomes a very intelligent, interactive, and happy pet to have.
They are constantly on the move and are as likely to be caught fishing in the aquarium as chasing other pets around the house or exploring the contents of a kitchen cupboard.
They are not for those who maintain a sedentary lifestyle.
They will still be happy to stretch out and nap with you for a while before resuming the exploration.
For best results in maintaining a happy and sociable Bengal Cat, it is recommended that you play with it daily and help it feel comfortably accepted in the family group where it draws its social acceptance and contentment from.