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Silver Bengal Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

silver bengal cat lying

The Silver Bengal is an intelligent, active type of Bengal cat¹ that’s highly sought after for its boldly patterned coat. This hybrid cat¹ is a striking animal with its steel-colored fur contrasted against jet-black markings. At first glance, a Silver Bengal may remind you of a wild jungle cat, but it’s anything but wild, as it has a loving and affectionate personality.

Whether you’re thinking of getting a Silver Bengal or are simply interested in learning more about this beautiful cat, we’ve got the information you need. Continue reading to learn more about this cat, starting with its history.

The Earliest Records of the Silver Bengal Cat in History

All Bengal cats, including Silver Bengals, came about from crossing domestic cats with wild Asian Leopard Cats in the 1960s. It was an American breeder by the name of Jean Mill who worked diligently at crossbreeding to create the Bengal that looks like a mini version of a jungle cat. By the early 1990s, the Bengal cat had exploded in popularity and was thus accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) as a recognized breed.

The Silver Bengal came about by breeding a Bengal and an American Shorthair¹ in the 1990s. More specifically, a breeder by the name of Judy Sugden is credited for breeding the first litter of Silver Bengal kittens. It didn’t take long after that for Silver Bengals to surge in popularity among breeders and cat owners alike. Many people who first see a Silver Bengal cat are stunned by how gorgeous this feline is and how much it looks like a small version of a wild jungle cat.

silver bengal kitten sitting
Image Credit: TheCats, Shutterstock

How the Silver Bengal Gained Popularity

The dark-colored Bengal cat has always been popular because of its wild look and playful and friendly nature. Since its development in the 1990s, the lighter-colored Silver Bengal quickly garnered attention near and far from cat lovers who wanted an exotic-looking domestic cat considered rarer than the brown Bengals.

The eye-catching sheen of the Silver Bengal’s coat is a physical trait that makes this cat popular all over the world. A Silver Bengal almost seems to shimmer and shine, especially in the right lighting. Today, the silver variety is considered one of the rarest types of Bengal cats, making it a feline many people want to own.

silver spotted bengal cat lying
Image Credit: Valeri Pavljuk,Shutterstock

Formal Recognition of the Silver Bengal Cat

In the years following the development of the Silver Bengal by US-based breeder Judy Sugden, other breeders in the US and elsewhere were working behind the scenes breeding and selling Silver Bengals. As more people discovered the lighter-colored Bengal cats, there was a growing demand for these drop-dead gorgeous felines.

In 2004, The International Cat Association accepted the Silver Bengal as a hybrid cat breed. Nowadays, Silver Bengals are considered rare. It’s not easy to get your hands on a Silver Bengal kitten since many breeders have waiting lists filled with interested buyers.

Top 3 Unique Facts About Silver Bengal Cats

1. Many Silver Bengals Have Coats That Shimmer

Along with their intense colors, many Silver Bengals have what’s referred to as “glitter” on their coats. This so-called glitter makes the cats look like they’re sprinkled with some sort of shimmering dust that shines beautifully in the light. This glitter actually consists of golden-colored flecks that can be seen on the hair shafts if you look closely enough.

2. A True Silver Bengal Must Be Free of “Tarnish”

A Silver Bengal can be spotted, marbled, or have rosettes of dark color on its silvery-colored base coat. While having lots of contrast on their coats is very desirable, true Silver Bengals should not have any yellowish or brownish coloration of the pattern or coat, which is referred to as “tarnish”. The reason this tarnish is an unwanted coloring is that it takes away from the striking contrast of the Silver Bengal’s coat.

3. They’re Costly to Buy

Because the silver color is so coveted, Silver Bengals are considered quite rare. This makes this cat a costly pet to buy as you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500–$5,000 for a Silver Bengal, depending on a few favors like the cat’s age, health, pedigree, and coat type.


Does a Silver Bengal Cat Make a Good Pet?

A Silver Bengal can make a great pet for the right individual or family. By nature, all Bengal cats, including Silver Bengals, are active and athletic. A Silver Bengal does best when living in a home where it’s allowed to roam free and explore. This cat isn’t the best choice for someone living in a small apartment and who’s not home often since Silver Bengals need space and social interaction.

If you are not away from home a lot and live in a place with plenty of space, a Silver Bengal can make a wonderful addition to your family. This is an intelligent and friendly cat with lots of energy that needs regular exercise and playtime.  It’s a good idea to give a Silver Bengal lots of toys to play with and even a challenging cat puzzle¹ to keep their mind sharp.

It’s important to know that Silver Bengals are chatty cats that meow often. If you own a Silver Bengal, you’ll quickly learn that your cat won’t hesitate to tell you to fill their food bowl, clean the litter box, or give them some TLC!


The Silver Bengal is a gorgeous animal that looks a lot like a wild cat, only in a smaller format. While the Silver Bengal hasn’t been around a long time, today it’s one of the most highly sought-after domestic cats due to its stunning beauty. If you’re fortunate enough to come face to face with a Silver Bengal, you’ll quickly learn why this is a highly coveted feline across the globe.


Featured Image Credit: MaryBog, Shutterstock

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