Bengal Savannah Mix
Developed in the 1980s by crossing Serval cats (a wild African cat with large ears and striking markings) with domestic cats. The Savannah Cat is only recognised by the TICA (The International Cat Association) and the permitted domestic breeds for crossbreeding with Servals are the Egyptian Mau, the Ocicat, the Oriental Shorthair, and the Domestic Shorthair. Some breeders have been known to use Bengals for stronger spotting, and Maine Coon for a longer coat.
The size and appearance of even the first cross can be variable, in subsequent generations, size tends to drop and markings become even more variable.
The first crosses are bred again to one another and the second generation can then be considered a domestic cat.
The Bengal is a relatively modern cat, developed in the 1990s in the USA by crossing the Asian Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis; a small, strikingly marked wild cat from South West Asia) with the domestic tabby cats and other short haired breeds such as the Abyssinian, Burmese, and Egyptian Mau. The original objective was to produce a pet cat with a sweet nature and resembling miniature leopard, as an alternative to dissuade people from keeping wild cats as pets. Prospective owners of Bengal kittens should note the ‘F number’, which indicates how many generations the kittens are away from the first cross. Be aware that a F1 (first cross between the wild cat and the domestic cat) requires a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence in the UK, however F2 onwards does not.