Bengal Cat - Review Under the Gun of Experts
Bengal Cat Review. Expert Stephanie Serra has been working with Bengal cats for more than ten years and is chairman of the Breed Council at FIFe. She is well aware of new trends in the breed and knows exactly how her ideal representative should look.
So far, only foreign cats and cats have been able to judge by Mrs. Serrai, but this year the expert promised to attend one of the Moscow FIFe exhibitions.
Why did you choose the Bengal cats?
“For several years I worked in the puma protection fund, so when I was looking for a breed, I wanted its representatives to look like wild cats, but they had a pleasant temper. Bengals responded to my requests the most.
I was captivated by their wild beauty and cheerfulness, but I also wanted something more refined and exotic. When I saw the snow Bengal, I immediately understood that they were exactly what I was looking for.
Having experience in dealing with wild animals, you probably immediately found a common language with cats, in whose ancestors ALK (Asian leopard cat)?
- Yes, it was easy for me to understand and accept them for what they are. But I know that many do not like the restlessness and constant activity of these animals. Bengals have nothing to do with cats who sleep all day on the chair.
They are constantly on the move. Many of them are very stubborn, can snap and show their discontent if something is not to their liking. These are animal leaders, therefore cats and cats leave their tags. Sometimes breeders do not like this natural behavior.
But I know for myself: if you understand the subtleties of the nature of these cats, give them due attention and not keep them in small apartments, then communication with them is a real pleasure.
What mistakes do you think breeders make?
- Many believe that the main advantage of these animals is the correct pattern and good contrast of wool. They concentrate only on "sockets" (less often - marble) and completely forget about the type.
Although it is indisputable that the results are high as a picture, and there are still problems in the type: a flat skull, wrong ears, and underdeveloped busts. In addition, young breeders are trying to work with all colors and designs at once.
I think that if you do not concentrate on one thing, then it will be very difficult to achieve impressive results. And I would advise breeders to carefully read the standards of the system by which they decided to exhibit their animals.
After all, an animal that wins in one felinological system may not be very successful in another. And this is not at all the fault and prejudice of the judges.
-At FIFe shows, you can most often see Bengals of classic colors with a spotty pattern. Tell me, do you like new colors? Is it possible that they will be accepted in FIFe?
- I love snow Bengal very much, and marble Bengals of classic colors also live in my kennel. If we talk about colors that are not accepted in FIFe, then the only melanism is interesting to me.
I honestly do not understand why they do not find recognition, because with their appearance these cats resemble black panthers. In Sweden, there are nurseries engaged in silver Bengal, but I can not explain why while breeders do not seek recognition of the color in the FIFe.
But blue and coal colors in Northern Europe are practically not interested. Also, breeders do not plan to work with Bengali SLHs.
- Does the breed need the flow of an Asian leopard cat?
- In my opinion, no. Bengal cats and without matings with wild relatives meet the standards and no longer lose their type. And to get new lines, you need to look for manufacturers for the nursery, not only in your own country, but throughout the world, and not to resort to mating with wild animals.
- I know that you took part in the popularization of the breed in Sweden. Tell me how it was?
- I can say that Swedish breeders were among the first to seriously think about the temperament of these cats and began to strictly discard individuals with a difficult temper, and now Bengal is taking part in almost every exhibition. There is no decline in interest in this breed and, I think, in the coming years there will be no.
In the felinological world of America, Svetlana Ponomareva is an absolute value, she is known and all serious breeders listen to her assessments. Svetlana Borisovna expresses her own judgment directly, without hiding behind streamlined formulations, but, perhaps, it is thanks to directness and vast experience that they value her opinion.
She has been in felinology for more than 20 years; in the past, she is a WCF judge, and now an ICU expert and leading Bengal cat breeder.
- What difficulties did you encounter while working with the breed?
“Many animals I imported turned out to be sick — viruses, protozoa, genetic defects. But this, apparently, could not be avoided: after all, as soon as the breed comes into fashion, some breeders put sales issues in the first place, considering that profit is more important than health.
- What problems in the breed do you see?
- Breeders are divided into two clans: some breed animals of wild type, with the appearance and expression of the beast, while others are interested only in “beautiful skins” that are selling well. Of course, the second approach to breeding needs to be eradicated.
We must promote the correct way of working with Bengal cats and show our breeding results at shows. If we talk about the breed, the main problem is hereditary anomalies. Animals with such anomalies need to be neutered or spayed, but due to fashion and high prices for Bengal cats, breeders often do not.
- In the social network, you created a group that deals with one of the genetic problems of Bengal cats - flat chest syndrome (FCK). Tell us how the work goes?
- FCK kittens - one of the most serious problems of Bengal today. It goes back to the American lines, and, most likely, its cause is a hormonal failure due to the use of representatives of other wild species, such as servals, inbreeding.
The most important thing is that it is not possible to find out about such a mix by looking at the animals' pedigrees - many people will not openly write which relatives of a cat or a cat really are.
Our group is more than a year old, during this time we have developed methods of resuscitation and rescue of kittens with FCK. In addition, after reading materials collected in the group about genetic problems, breeders began to take a more serious approach to the selection of animals for breeding.
I would like to note that if a kitten with a flat breast was born in a litter, then it is imperative to seek advice from a knowledgeable breeder, and he will already advise the doctor. The fact,
- Some visitors to exhibitions believe that Bengals are wild cats with a bad temper. Why initially formed exactly such an opinion about the breed?
- The press that wrote about the first Bengal cat, which appeared in our country at the exhibition in 1997, is to blame. It was a hybrid specimen of Bengal and ALA, which was brought by doctor Philip Pennie from France.
The cat was very restless and a little wild, and journalists, prone to exaggeration, painted her awful temper in bright colors. Since then, so behaved. Now breeders show on the show socialized animals with excellent temperament.
In 2008, the author of the breed - Gene Mill - was our guest. When asked about her work on the character of the breed, she replied: “If I enter the aviary and the Bengals do not run to me, to greet and walk away, but from me, then I will sterilize it immediately”. We also follow this rule.
- You are passionate about new colors Bengal. And which are the most popular now?
- Little-known people adore the classic color, so we have 90% of these familiar Bengals. But in Europe now is the fashion for silver colors and marble pattern, in America it is for coal color.
In my cattery now there are red Bengals, of which there are literally a few in the world. In general, if you make a new color, then several generations have to work idly, without any profit, because animals of unrecognized colors are 2-3 times cheaper because they can not compete at shows for champion titles.
- Please, give advice to beginner breeders.
- You need to be prepared for the fact that neither the American nor the Russian breeders will give you anything just like that - you will need to pull it out literally with ticks.
This is an experience that is paid for with your money and nerves. In America, there is a group of breeders who are working on a common breeding program, and if a beginner has a desire to engage in a selection, he will find who to turn to.
Bengal Cat Review