The Bengal cat breed is best known for its exotic look. Regardless of their wild appearance, Bengal cats are among the most popular breeds of domestic cats and make wonderful pets.
Like all other cats, Bengals too can sport a variety of different coat colors and patterns. But the thing that sets Bengal cats from the rest of the felines is that their coats and markings are very similar to those seen in wild cats such as the Asian Leopard cat.
Besides seeming like a smaller version of their wild and larger cousin from the jungle, Bengal cats also come in a wide range of striking colors, shades, and patterns.
There are only a handful of officially recognized Bengal cat colors – brown, silver, and three snow colors (seal lynx, seal sepia, and seal mink point). At first glance, you may think that’s not a lot of colors. However, there are two accepted coat patterns –spotted and marble – within each color group which makes things a lot more colorful and interesting.
With so many coat colors, patterns, and variations, you may have a hard time deciding which one you like to most. And if you already have a favorite coat color and pattern, it can be useful to know more about it, before you actually welcome your new Bengal kitten home!
In this article, we’ll explore all Bengal cat colors and patterns so you can know what to look for when choosing a new Bengal kitten. Let’s dig into the colorful world of Bengal cats!
If you are thinking of purchasing a Bengal cat, then you might also like to read our in-depth guide on how much Bengal cats cost.
Bengal Cat Colors
Like all other cat breeds, Bengal cats can come in many different colors. The interesting thing about this breed is that they can sport standard and non-standard coat colors. Standard or basic colors are officially recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) and other feline organizations.
Non-standard colors, on the other hand, aren’t recognized by major feline organizations and aren’t according to the breed’s standard. But, just because they aren’t standard, doesn’t make them any less beautiful or interesting.
The standard Bengal cat colors are:
Not-recognized Bengal cat colors are:
- Melanistic (Black)
As mentioned previously, six colors may not seem like a lot. The beauty of Bengal cats doesn’t boil down to just six colors, but all the different shades of those colors.
Without further ado let’s check all Bengal cat colors!
Brown Bengal Cats
Brown color (C, C color genes) is the most popular Bengal cat color. Brown was also the first Bengal cat color recognized by TICA in 1983.
Although there are no official subcategories of the brown Bengal cats, the brown coat comes in the widest array of shades. To get a better idea of what this means, think of the brown color on a spectrum where gray is the coolest and orange is the hottest possible color variation.
A Bengal cat’s coat can be anywhere within that color spectrum, and as long as the tip of the cat’s tail is black, it’s considered a brown Bengal cat. Even though there isn’t an official classification of brown Bengal cats there are different names for different shades of brown color.
Traditionally, brown Bengal cats have green or golden eyes. Their coats can sport rosettes, spots, or marbles that can range in color from black, light brown, or dark or more reddish-brown.
Regardless of the exact shade of the brown color, you can easily identify a brown Bengal cat based on the following traits:
- A black tail tip
- Brown to completely black markings
- Red nose
- Brown, copper, green, golden, or hazel eyes
Grey-brown are the coldest colored brown Bengal cats. These felines technically have a grey coat with jet black markings. Most Bengals with grey-brown coats carry at least one copy of the Asian Leopard cat agouti gene called Apb.
Sandy brown Bengal cats come right after gray-brown cats. While these felines aren’t really grey, they are still very cold in color.
Even though there is no link between coat color and skeletal and muscular structure, sandy brown Bengal cats tend to be more athletically built and look rather nimble.
Unlike the grey-brown and sandy brown, the tawny brown is a slightly warmer coat coloring. Bengal cats with this coat color sport tawny or yellowish tones. This shade is probably best described as a middle brown shade that’s not too hot or too cold at the same time.
A simple brown color in Bengal cats is slightly warmer than tawny brown, but not as hot and vivid as sorrel. In fact, many Asian Leopard cats have exactly this coat color which may be the reason why brown Bengal cats are so popular.
The brown color spectrum of Bengal cats ends with hot-colored and rufoused cats. This means that the Bengal cat’s coat has orange or reddish tones that are very appealing to most people.
In fact, sorrel-colored Bengal cats are the most popular when it comes to the brown spectrum of colors. In most cases, the pattern of sorrel Bengal cats usually becomes less defined with age since the colors tend to blend in together.
Silver Bengal Cats
Silver (I, I or I, I inhibitor genes) is the most recently accepted color in the Bengal cat breed. This coloration is more a lack of color as the inhibitor genes prevent any warmer colors and create an almost white base color. The pure silvery-white coat is contrasted by jet black markings.
Like brown Bengal cats, silver Bengals can also come in several shades of silver, ranging from almost white to dark steel color. Silver Bengals can also be found in many other color combinations including silver snow, silver charcoal, blue silver, and so on.
The inclusion of silver color into the Bengal cat breed standard was a subject of much debate and controversy since silver coloration isn’t found in any wild cat species. However, silver Bengals soon became popular with breeders, cat lovers, and buyers, which ultimately resulted in the inclusion of this coloration in the breed standard.
Sometimes, silver Bengal cats have brown tips on their silver coats. This trait isn’t desirable in this color and breeders refer to it as tarnish.
Generally speaking, the main traits of silver Bengal cats are:
- Dark grey to pitch black markings
- A reddish nose
- A black tail tip
- Green or golden eyes
Snow Bengal Cats
The term snow refers to a group of colors that can come in three distinctive genetic variations. Regardless of their name, snow Bengal cats aren’t actually pure white and their coats come in various shades of cream and ivory colors. These colors were introduced to the Bengal cat breed through Siamese and Burmese cats.
There are three distinctive snow colors – seal lynx point, seal mink, and seal sepia. Although most Bengal cat breeders can guess a snow color, the best way to accurately predict the color is through genetic testing.
Seal Lynx Point
The seal lynx point (cs, cs) is the lightest color in the snow group and is the result of outcrossing Bengals to Siamese cats. Seal lynx point kittens are usually born completely white or with very faint markings. Their true pattern becomes apparent as they get older and usually starts developing from the points.
Seal lynx point Bengal cats can have brownish-gray, or tan spotted marble, or charcoal pattern on a white or cream coat. The thing that makes seal lynx Bengals so popular though are their blue eyes, as they are the only Bengals with vivid blue eyes.
The seal mink coloring (cb, cs) occurs when a Bengal cat is born with one seal lynx gene and one seal sepia gene. Seal mink Bengal kittens are born with a visible pattern that will become darker as they grow.
The base color of the seal mink Bengal cats is usually in ivory and cream color and can have a spotted, marbled, or charcoal pattern. Seal mink Bengals generally have aqua green eyes, but they can also be gold.
Seal sepia coloring (cb, cb) comes from outcrossing Bengals to Burmese cats. From all snow Bengals, the seal sepia Bengal cats are usually the darkest and are born with a distinctive pattern. Seal sepia Bengals can have a seal brown to dark seal brown or deep chocolate spotted, marble, or charcoal pattern.
Some sepia Bengals look almost yellow-brown, while others have a clear snow-like color with distinctive sepia markings.
In most cases, sepia-colored felines have coats that most closely resemble the coats of snow leopards. Their eyes range in color from gold to green and they have a dark seal brown tail tip.
Non-Standard Bengal Cat Colors
Besides the three standard or recognized coat colors, Bengal cats come in three additional, non-standard colors. There is nothing wrong with these cats, however, they often can’t be shown at cat shows as they don’t meet the breed standard. If you’re looking for a pet Bengal kitten to be a loyal and faithful family member, a non-standard coat color might be just the thing you are looking for!
Charcoal (APb, a) is not an actual color, but a pattern that goes over all colors and patterns seen within this breed. A charcoal Bengal cat will be much darker than its normal color due to the addition of the charcoal color to its basic pattern.
Bengal cats with charcoal color have dark masks on their face, and cats with a spotted pattern have a thick stripe that runs the length of their backs. This stripe is also known as a “cape”.
The blue color (d, d dilute genes) is caused by recessive genes, which means that both parents need to carry this gene in order for a Bengal kitten to have a blue coat. Blue Bengal cats have a powder blue-gray coat with come cream tones. They can come in spotted or marbled patterns which are always of dark blue or metallic grey.
Blue color has been present in the breed from the very start and can be traced back to hybrids Jean Mill got from Dr. Centerwall. While not officially recognized by major feline organizations, blue is the most commonly found non-standard color and some breeders are working on getting it officially recognized.
To identify a blue Bengal cat, look for:
- Peachy undertones
- A dark-gray tail tip
- A steely blue base color
- Blue markings that never turn black
- Green, hazel, or golden eyes
Melanistic (Solid Black)
Melanistic or solid black Bengal cats (a, a agouti genes) have black patterns on a black base color. These cats look a lot like miniature leopards or jaguars.
The base color and the color of the pattern are the same in melanistic Bengal cats. Their patterns are called ghost markings or ghost spots because they are barely visible. However, you can see a faint outline of a pattern in the daylight.
Black color Bengal cats aren’t as popular as other colors since they aren’t officially recognized or approved by associations for showing. However, they still make excellent pets and are no less exotic or wild-looking than all other Bengal cats.
When it comes to their spots, they are usually faint brown to black and can only be seen in sunlight. Whether you are looking for a pet Bengal cat or a miniature version of a black panther, the melanistic Bengal cat is a fantastic choice!
Bengal Cat Coat Patterns
In addition to different colors, the coat of Bengal cats comes in two distinctive patterns – spotted and marbled. But the story doesn’t end here! There are many unique varieties of each pattern and several coat colors to keep things interesting.
Without further due, here’s everything you need to know about Bengal cat patterns!
Spotted Coat Pattern
If you’ve ever seen a Bengal cat, chances are that you have seen a cat with a spotted coat. The spotted coat pattern is in fact the most popular type of coat pattern in Bengal cats.
Bengal cats with spotted coats have small to medium-sized spots all over their coats. Large and random two-tone rosette markings are very popular since they give the cat the appearance of a mini wild leopard.
This type of pattern emerged when breeders started to breed for larger and sparser spots, modifying the original tabby pattern found in domestic cats.
The coat of cats with a spotted pattern is covered in random diagonally or horizontally positioned spots on the torso, stomach, and legs. Large and dark spots on a light base color are preferred.
However, that’s not all! There are several variations to the spotted pattern and Bengal cats can have several types of different spots on their coats at the same time.
Bengal cats with a single spotted coat have solid-colored spots splattered like droplets on a base color. This type of pattern is similar to those spots seen in wild cats like Cheetahs, or domestic spotted cats like Egyptian Mau, Ocicat, Australian Mist, and spotted Shorthair.
While single spotted Bengal cats can compete in cat shows, they aren’t favored by breeders or judges. In fact, some breeders believe that single spotted cats should be ineligible for competition.
The rosette color pattern is also a variation of a spotted coat pattern and the most desirable marking for Bengal cats. Rosette spots aren’t monochrome and have two contrasting colors distinct from the base color. At first look, a rosette may appear like a spot that fades in color towards the middle of the spot. However, that’s not the case!
Most Bengal cats with rosette coat patterns will exhibit a range of styles within a single coat pattern. There are no requirements for Bengal cats to have a single style of rosettes within a single coat pattern. In fact, the combination of different styles of rosettes creates a rather unique look of the Bengal cats.
A rosette pattern has a distinct color that is different from the coat’s base color and is then outlined by a different, usually darker color. Listed below are the most popular types of rosettes seen in Bengal cats.
Arrowhead rosettes can be solid in the single coat group or they can be rosettes and have different colors that blend with the base color. Bengal cats with properly shaped and well-defined arrowhead rosettes are fairly rare and sought after by breeders and potential Bengal cat owners.
While the arrowhead rosette isn’t the most common style of rosettes, it’s probably the easiest type of rosette to identify. Arrowhead rosettes are triangularly shaped and resemble the tip of an arrow, pointing towards the back of a cat’s body.
Like Bengal cats, the Asian Leopard cats have many different types of coats, but the arrowhead pattern is by far, the most striking one to behold. Besides giving a cat a gorgeous appearance, the arrowhead rosettes are also great for camouflage in a forest environment.
According to the Bengal cat breed standard, the spots must be aligned horizontally instead of vertically. The horizontally positioned arrowhead rosettes on the coat, elongate the cat giving it an even more magnificent appearance.
Cluster rosettes is a style of spotted pattern in which small spots form clusters around the second inner color that is different from the coat’s base color. Generally, the second color is a shade or two darker than the base color and the tiny spots that surround it are even darker.
Doughnut rosettes are spots that are darker than the coat’s basic color. These spots are also outlined by an even darker color, usually black or very dark brown. This style of rosettes got its name from their lighter-colored center and a nearly completely black outline that resembles a doughnut.
Doughnut rosettes were created after years of selective breeding and are now one of the most popular and sought-after types of rosettes. This pattern was inspired by the Jaguar’s coat and gives Bengal cats a wild and exotic appearance.
Paw Print Rosettes
Inspired by Leopard’s coat, paw print rosettes got their name because they look like small paw imprints were left on a cat’s coat. Paw print rosettes are open on one side and contain a second color which is edged by spots on the other side. This style of the rosette is never completely closed by the darker edging color.
Inspired by the Clouded Leopard’s coat, the clouded rosettes are large full rosettes that have a little space between them and fit together like puzzles. Due to the minimal spacing between individual rosettes, this net-like pattern creates a snake-like pattern on a cat’s coat.
Chain rosettes are in fact a row of doughnut rosettes that are linked together horizontally. This style of rosettes runs parallel on either side of a Bengal cat’s spine. Chain rosettes can also be seen in wild cats like Ocelots.
Marbled Bengal Cat Coat Pattern
Marbled coat pattern was obtained from blotched tabby stripes that swirl. Ideally, a marble Bengal cat should have a horizontally flowing, asymmetrical, and random pattern that is created of swirls of two or more colors.
While marble Bengal cats are also beautiful to behold, the marble coat pattern is not as popular as spotted coat pattern, regardless of the style. In fact, even Jean Mill didn’t want to include anything else except spots in the breed’s first standard.
However, in 1987, Jean Mill produced the first-ever marbled Bengal kitten. The kitten named Millwood Painted Desert had an odd soft cream-colored coat and strange pattern that looked like drizzled caramel.
Despite Jean Mill’s intentions, the Millwood Painted Desert became an instant sensation at the Incats show at Madison Square Garden and the rest of the country.
Since Painted Desert was such a success, Mill decided to include a marbled pattern within the breed’s first standard. The rest is history!
Descendants of these early marbled Bengals carried the outlining gene and horizontal flow which were essential for creating the first-ever rosette spots in the 2000s. Similar to the spotted coat pattern, the marble pattern also comes in several distinctive variations.
The most common types of marble pattern seen in Bengal cats are:
Horizontal flow is a style of marbled pattern used to describe when the marbled pattern is flowing from a cat’s upper shoulder along the body, all the way to the back of the cat in a horizontal manner.
This type of markings is similar to the markings on boa constrictor and is one of the most popular styles of marbled pattern. This means that this style of marbling is sought after by breeders and Bengal cat owners.
Reduced Horizontal Flow
Also known as the high acreage pattern, the reduced horizontal flow is a highly favored style of marble pattern. Bengal cats with reduced horizontal flow pattern have a high level of background color showing behind and between the marbled pattern.
Many breeders and Bengal cat lovers believe that these markings more closely mimic the overall appearance of wild cats such as King Cheetah, Marbled Cat, and Margay.
A sheeted or closed pattern is a style of marbled pattern that has a higher ratio of a pattern when compared to the background color. Bengal kittens born with a high percentage of sheeted pattern can take up to two years to finish opening up the top layer of the pattern to the real pattern underneath.
Waiting to see a Bengal cat’s real color underneath the sheeted pattern can be exciting and daunting at the same time.
Also a style of marbled pattern, the chaos pattern consists of dramatic and random swirls and splashes. These swirls come in different shapes and sizes of marbling that flows horizontally over a Bengal cat’s body.
Most commonly referred to as the classical tabby pattern, the bull’s eye is not desired within the Bengal cat breed. This style of marbled pattern is made of whorls and swirls that create a shape resembling a target on the side of a cat’s body. The swirls are usually of a darker color on a light-colored base.
Sparbled Coat Pattern
The sparbled pattern is where spotted and marbled patterns meet. The sparbled pattern isn’t officially recognized by any feline organizations as an actual coat pattern. However, breeders use it to describe Bengal cats who possess both marbled and rosette markings with marble-ish patterns.
Additional Bengal Cat Coat Characteristics
Besides coming in an array of different colors and patterns, the Bengal cat’s coat also possesses some unique characteristics. If you are looking to get a Bengal cat, you’ll be interested to know what kind of special traits your new kitty should exhibit.
On top of their colorful and exotic-looking markings, some Bengal cats also have a glittering or sparkling effect on their coats. The shiny or glittering appearance of the coat is the result of translucent and hollow hair shafts that catch the light and reflect it. Best of all the glittering effect is present throughout the coat, not just located in the single area of your Bengal cat’s body.
Although Bengal cats are the first domestic felines that possess this trait, not all Bengals have a glittering coat. The sparkling effect is so pronounced that you can easily spot it even in low light conditions.
Patina and Ticking
Patina and ticking are two additional traits a Bengal cat can have, though they are completely different. First off, the patina is used to describe black or dark-tipped hairs that obscure the Bengal cat’s actual pattern. This blurring will be present up from the shoulders all the way down the back of the cat.
Ticking, on the other hand, is when the cat’s entire coat appears faded due to the lack of contrast in the coat. Ticking is caused by multi-colored hair shafts that give the coat a fainter appearance.
Lack of White Fur
Unlike most other cat breeds, Bengal cats have almost no white on their bodies, except maybe a small white mark under their chin or on the belly. Also, a purebred Bengal cat will have no white on its paws either.
If you see a Bengal cat with white paws, or white markings on some other part of its body you might be dealing with a crossbreed – learn more here about how to tell if your cat is a Bengal mix. Furthermore, there is also a chance that the cat you’re looking at is a completely different breed.
According to the breed standard, Bengal cats should have short to medium-long coats. Ideally, the coat needs to be very dense, extremely soft to the touch, and luxurious.
Having said that, some Bengal cats can inherit genes for long hair. Known as Cashmere Bengals, these cats aren’t officially recognized but some breeders are working on establishing this variety and getting it officially recognized.
Conclusion – Bengal Cat Colours & Patterns Guide
Known and beloved for their gorgeous appearance and amazing personalities, Bengal cats come in many different coat colors and patterns. With its unique appearance and exotic look, the Bengal cat is truly a miniature version of its wild ancestor, the Asian Leopard cat.
When it comes to coat colors, Bengal cats come in three standard and three non-standard colors. The standard colors include brown, silver, and three snow colors (seal lynx, seal mink, and seal sepia). While there are no official subcategories, Bengal cats can come in every possible shade of brown color, with grey-brown being the coldest and sorrel the warmest color in the spectrum.
Bengal cats do come in a few additional colors, though they don’t meet the breed standard and aren’t officially recognized. It’s worth noting that there isn’t anything wrong with these cats, and they make amazing pets and companions as well. When it comes to non-standard colors
Bengals can be blue, melanistic (solid black), and charcoal.
In addition to all of these colors, Bengal cats also come in two patterns – spotted and marbled. To make things even more interesting, there are several different styles and variations of each pattern which only reinforce the exotic and wild appearance of Bengal cats.
Do you own a Bengal cat? What coat color and pattern does your Bengal kitty have? Tell us and our readers in the comment section below!