The first thing you need to know about Bengal cat coat patterns is that they come in two distinct types: Spotted and Marbled
But don’t be fooled by the simple distinction between two types of Bengal cat coats; there are many patterns and colours to choose from, as we will see in a moment.
The most popular Bengal cat coat is a spotted one. If you’ve ever seen a Bengal cat or are familiar with the breed, the chances are good that you’ve seen one with spots.
Championship status (TICA) for the brown spotted tabby cat was granted in 1991.
The spots on the spotted Bengal’s coat range in size from small to medium. Particularly sought after are large, irregular, two-tone rosette markings. Also known as “little leopard cats,” they are the felines who live in your home.
This pattern type was born when breeders believed that larger and sparser spots were more desired. Selective breeding has altered the original spotted tabby pattern in domestic cats.
The coat’s body, tummy, and legs are covered in random, diagonally or horizontally aligned spots. Generally, a bright background with large dark dots is desirable.
A single Bengal cat can have a wide variety of spots, as there are many sorts of sports in the spotted group.
Monochrome spots are referred to as “Single-Spotted.” Like wild cats like Cheetahs or non-hybrid spotted cats, it has solid spots scattered in droplets on a dark background.
Tica Cat shows allow these types to compete, but they are not favoured. Some breeders believe they should not be allowed to compete because of the wide difference.
The “Rosetted Bengal” is the most prevalent pattern on a Bengal cat’s coat. Rosettes are two-toned contrasting hues separate from the backdrop colour, which is why spots are termed rosettes. Bengals are the only domestic cat with rosette spots!
When some breeders bred shadow spots to shadow spots in the early 2000s, rosettes began to occur in Bengals. As time went on, the rosette grew in size and complexity.
As the breed has evolved, it’s remarkable to see how far certain breeders have come with rosetting in just a few decades.
Rosettes can be classified into three main categories: Arrow-head, Donut and Paw-print
Multiple types of single-spotted arrowheads exist, including either solid and monochrome or rosette with different colours that fade into the background. Bengal cat breeders and owners prize well-defined arrowhead rosettes.
It’s not the most common rosette, but it’s the easiest to spot if you see one. There are three triangular rosettes on the cat’s backside that look like arrowheads or drops, pointing backward.
The arrowhead pattern is one of the most striking on the coats of Asian Leopard Cats, which come in diverse colours and patterns. Arrowhead-shaped patches provide excellent concealment in woodland environments. It’s difficult to see a cat among the trees or on the ground with a coat like that.
Instead of vertically aligned spots, Bengal cats have horizontally oriented spots, according to the breed standard. Felines are known for their fluid horizontal appearance, enhanced by the cat’s arrow-shaped markings on its coat.
An even deeper colour highlights what we call ‘donut rosettes’, which are spots darker than the coat’s hue.
The donut rosette earned its name from the nearly entire dark outline surrounding a brighter coloured centre, inspired by the Jaguar’s coat.
Doughnut-shaped rosettes took years of selective breeding, but they are now one of the most popular rosette varieties.
These rosettes can also be distinguished by their outline and overall size, which some individuals prefer to do. There are pancake rosettes with large rosettes and small outlining, called pancake rosettes. Donut spots have a thicker rim than pancakes’ rims.
Rosettes with Paw Prints
Smaller and darker patches on the edge of paw-print rosettes are the distinguishing feature of this pattern. The surrounding colour never completely encloses a paw-print rosette.
Paw-print rosettes got their name because they typically resemble tiny paw prints travelling across a cat’s coat, inspired by the leopard’s coat.
Jigsaw Square Rosettes
Rosettes that appear to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle with very little space (acreage) between them are known as clouded rosettes.
This reticulated spotting is based on the Clouded Leopard’s coat and has a snake-like look.
The Chain Rosettes
Chain rosetting is the term used to describe a row of donut rosettes that run parallel to the cat’s spine and are joined together horizontally.
Ocelots and other wildcats can also be spotted with chain-rosetting.
Rose Centres In The Cluster
Rosettes that form clusters around the centre colour are called cluster rosette patterns.
The rosette design is what you’re searching for if you’re going for the Jaguar, Leopard, or Ocelot look.
The Marbled Coat
Because of its swirling pattern of tabby stripes, the marbled cat results from this process. Swirls of two or more colours run horizontally across the perfect marble Bengal cat’s coat.
Reduced horizontal flow, horizontal flow pattern, chaotic pattern, and sheet marble patterns are the four official varieties of marble patterns in the Bengal cat.
A marbled Bengal kitten, Millwood Painted Desert, was born by Jean Mill (Millwood cattery) in 1987.
She was a stunning young lady with a strange cream-coloured coat and a design that resembled dripped caramel. She was nothing short of magnificent. Furthermore, she was a sensation at the In cats event in Madison Square Garden and across the country!
Jean Mill didn’t plan to add anything other than spots in her original Bengal breed standard. Painted Desert was an instant hit with judges and the public, leading to the marbles being added to the Bengal record.
The first ‘rosette’ spots appeared in the 2000s due to the progeny of these early marbled Bengals.
It was in 1993 that the marbled Bengal became a TICA champion breed.
The Spared Coat
Did you believe that spotted and marble designs couldn’t come together? The sparkle pattern is a collision of spots and marble. For the most part, “sparbling” isn’t a recognized pattern category, but breeders use it to describe Bengals with rosettes and marble-like patterns!
The sparkle is not a marbled Bengal, but rather a spotted/rosetted Bengal. Bengal cat coat patterns are amazing!