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


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.


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Bengal cats are one of the most popular cat breeds in the US. At cat shows, people line up just to catch a glimpse of their wild personalities and striking coat colors and patterns. The Snow Bengal is one of them, with icy blue, cool green or golden eyes, ivory coats, and contrasting patterns.

Whether you’re considering buying a Snow Bengal or you already own one, it helps to know a little about their past, and that’s exactly what we’re learning about today! Let’s dive in.

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The Earliest Records of the Snow Bengal in History

We can thank famed cat breeder Jean Mill for giving us the Bengal breed in the first place.

Jean Mill was a conservationist for the Asian Leopard Cat. The Asian Leopard Cat is a small wild cat. During Jean Mill’s time, this beautiful wild cat’s population dwindled because of poaching. Jean Mill wanted to help. So, in 1963, she crossed an Asian Leopard Cat with a domestic cat.

Mill continued crossing Asian Leopard Cats with other domestic cats, creating all kinds of patterns and colors. Ultimately, she wanted a tame cat so people would be more willing to purchase a Bengal. The result was a strikingly gorgeous domestic cat with the coat and temperament of an Asian Leopard Cat.

All of this took some time, so it wasn’t until the early 1980s that Mill established the breed responsible for all of the modern Bengals we know and love.

Snow Bengal Cat Kitten
Image Credit: Martin Carlsson, Shutterstock

How the Snow Bengal Gained Popularity

After 1986, breeders started experimenting more with the Bengal breed, creating new patterns and colors.

It’s hard to say when the Snow Bengal appeared, but we know that by the 1990s, breeders were crossing Bengals with Siamese cats to create the Snow Lynx Bengal—a white spotted Bengal with a brown-tipped tail and blue eyes. Since then, two more Snow Bengal colors have appeared.

Formal Recognition of Snow Bengal

The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the Bengal cat as a breed in 1986 as an experimental breed. By 1991, Bengals had gained championship status. They continue to be one of the most popular breeds at any TICA event.

snow bengal cat in black background
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

Top 3 Unique Facts About the Snow Bengal

1. Snow Bengals like water.

Most cats want nothing to do with a few drops of water, but the Snow Bengal loves it. This probably comes from their leopard cat and Siamese backgrounds since both of these cats are notorious for liking the water.


2. Jean Mill wanted the Bengal coat to discourage women from buying exotic fur.

Everyone loves the Bengal’s beautiful colors and spots, and Jean Mill took this into consideration. One of the reasons she wanted to breed an exotic cat with a domestic cat was to discourage women of fashion from buying exotic furs. If women associated the fur with a beloved pet, they might not buy other furs.


3. Snow Bengals have three colors.

Bengals come in a few different colors and patterns, but the Snow Bengal has three different colors of its own. The Snow Lynx Bengal has the lightest colored coat of all the Snow Bengals. It has a white or cream-colored coat with light or dark seal markings. The tip of the tail is dark brown and the eyes are an icy blue.

The Snow Minx Bengal has a cream, ivory, or slightly off-white color with dark seal markings. Their tail is also dark, but their eyes are more green or aqua.

Finally, the Snow Sepia Bengal has the greatest contrast in coat color and markings. Their coats have a rich, warm cream color that can appear pale or dark. Unlike the Snow Lynx Bengal, the eyes are green or gold.

SNOW Bengal cat playing with catnip ball
Image Credit: OlgaOzik, Shutterstock

Does the Snow Bengal Make a Good Pet?

Bengals are independent compared to other cat breeds. They’re not exactly lap cats, but they love their owners, nonetheless.

Newer Bengals are more calm compared to their ancestors from the 60s and 80s. New Bengals are several generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat, so you can count on having a cat suitable for indoor life.

Regardless, Bengals are not for the faint of heart. As descendants of the Asian Leopard Cat, Bengals still require exercise and mental stimulation far above other cat breeds. They’re highly active with a fiery passion for hunting, exploring, and climbing.

Without a way to satisfy this need, Bengal cats can become unruly. But if you can provide them with several cat trees, toys, and perhaps a walk once in a while, they can be fantastic animals to have as pets.

snow bengal cat sitting on cat tree
Image Credit: darko m, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Snow Bengals are one of the most exotic-looking cats of all the Bengals. Maybe you noticed that the Snow Bengal’s history isn’t too different from other Bengals. It all started with Jean Mill. She worked hard in the 60s to give the world a cat very much like the Asian Leopard Cat. Now, 50 years later, we can enjoy all kinds of patterns and colors!


Featured Image Credit: OlgaOzik, Shutterstock



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