Growing up, my family was obsessed with high-maintenance fluffers. Now, they weren’t looking for those bound to keep everyone up at night or fight with unassuming neighborhood tabbies. Nope, they appreciated the odd and the mysterious ones a little too much. Turns out, that’s how you end up with a Silver Bengal cat on your hands!
And boy, do we have tales galore about the mischievous frolics these not-so-little munchkins are bound to put you through! Don’t get me wrong, Silver Bengals are some of the most affectionate, appreciative, and absolutely adorable breeds out there. Nonetheless, they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Trust me, caring for a Bengal (let alone a Silver Bengal) might have been the toughest, wildest, and most worthwhile thing we’ve ever done. Without a doubt, that boisterous beast was pretty much the epitome of a sledgehammer storming through our apartment, leaving us wanting more.
For reasons I’ll never know, we were delighted to become a construction (or destruction) site for the likes of such a curious creature. We wouldn’t have changed a thing regardless of how territorial, energetic, or demanding that shimmering, Liliputian leopard wanted us to believe she was.
If you’ve read this far, chances are you’re thinking of getting a Silver Bengal cat yourself and that’s why you’ve been torturing your search engine with questions such as “Are Silver Bengals better than regular Bengals?” and “Can Silver Bengals hurt you when you’re asleep?”
Oh, you’re lucky to have stumbled upon the article that’ll provide you with pretty much everything you need to know about these wild, rosette-patterned bundles of energy! And don’t worry, they’re much better than anything you might have painted them to be!
What are Silver Bengal cats?
Everybody knows what Bengal cats look like! They’re some of the most popular breeds among humans with deep pockets and a wish to house a kitty that never sleeps, lounges around, or does anything that doesn’t require running around like a headless chicken. They’re that crazy, but that’s why we love them!
But what makes a Silver Bengal cat different from a regular Bengal cat? Not much, as a matter of fact.
Now, you might have even stumbled upon a bunch of pictures of Bengal cats sporting silver coats with black rosette or spot markings while you were looking for a fluffy addition to your family. Turns out those were Silver Bengals!
It might come as a surprise, but these felines are a pretty novice addition to the Bengal breed. Starting from the beginning, Bengal cats were created around the 1960s when Jean Sudgen Mill crossed an Asian Leopard cat with a domestic cat (Egyptian Mau, Abyssinian, Burmese, or American Shorthair).
Now, some of the first Bengals to grace the feline world were chocolate, brown, and golden with the most mesmerizing yellow/green eyes. Turns out the world wasn’t ready for Silver Bengals the same way we weren’t ready for Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS Metallic Collection!
Nonetheless, Judy Sudgen decided to continue her mother’s legacy. She created Silver Bengal cats around the 1990s by crossing a Bengal cat and an American Shorthair. And, as luck would have it, these bad boys took the world by storm and became one of the most sought-after colors of the breed.
What makes a Silver Bengal cat silver?
But that silver color wasn’t really a color! When you discover that different color combinations and patterns adorn the coat of a Bengal cat, you might find yourself wondering how breeders achieve such a distinct appearance. And, truth be told, breeders have a way of making things happen.
What do we mean when we say that silver wasn’t (isn’t) a color? Turns out there’s a thing known as the silver inhibitor gene, which inhibits the genes that give the regular brown base to Bengal cats. And, to make things even better, this gene seems to be a dominant one.
So, when you cross a kitty possessing the silver inhibitor gene and another kitty with the normal brown gene, the resulting kittens would be Silver Bengal kittens. But, when you cross two kitties with normal brown genes (two regular Bengals), the kittens would never be Silver Bengal kittens.
But, that’s not to say that every time a breeder crosses cats with the silver inhibitor, pure Silver Bengals are born. In fact, this gene doesn’t always remove the brown and chocolate from the kitty’s coat (hence the word “inhibitor” in the title). When the gene malfunctions, you get kittens with tarnished coats!
What’s the best way to breed a Silver Bengal cat to ensure the silver parts stay as “shining, shimmering, splendid” as they can? Breeders resort to a three-rule procedure. Firstly, always cross silver with silver. Secondly, always choose better contrast colors. And thirdly, never breed with tarnished colors.
From the moment Judy Sudgen created Silver Bengals onward, a bunch of different colors that come under the umbrella of Silver Bengal appeared. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular ones – with many we haven’t mentioned waiting to be officially approved.
1. Silver Snow
Let’s talk science once more! A regular Silver Bengal (as we mentioned) is a brown cat with the silver inhibitor gene inhibiting the warm colors, making them appear silver.
But a Snow Bengal with the silver inhibitor gene makes for the most adorable Silver Snow Bengal kittens. And they can appear with different colored coats, too!
What do we mean by that? Well, the Snow Bengal can actually possess a couple of color combinations and patterns herself – seal-lynx, mink, and sepia.
Depending on the type of Snow Bengal that holds the silver inhibitor gene, her kittens can appear as silver seal-lynx, silver-mink, and silver-sepia.
Whatever color combination or pattern you get your hands on, Silver Snow Bengals are as pretty as a picture! Trust me, there’s no going wrong with any of them. Other than the hefty price you might have to pay, depending on the rareness level of these beauties, of course!
2. Silver Charcoal
Now, we’re moving on to the dark side of things, with Silver Charcoal being a lot darker than Silver Snow! Silver Charcoal, as you might have guessed, looks like Brown Charcoal with a lighter undercoat because of the silver inhibitor gene.
The gene lightens the undercoat, the stomach, and part of the face, creating what’s known as Zorro markings.
Silver Charcoal Bengal cats are as mysterious as you might think! With Zorro markings covering the face and the darker-than-night rosette pattern scattered over the body, these beauties are a sight for sore eyes. They’re also often mistaken for our next color combination – the Silver Smoke.
3. Silver Smoke
On the off-chance you catch a glimpse of a Silver Smoke Bengal cat roaming around your neighborhood, don’t panic! She might look like a Black Panther. But she’s an affectionate, appreciative kitty that’s probably only looking for cuddles and snuggles.
That’s right, a Silver Smoke (often referred to as “melanistic”) looks like a solid-color cat because of the black undercoat and black rosette markings. The only way you can notice the slight shade difference is to come closer and “ruffle her feathers” – at your own risk, of course.
To tell the truth, the “ghost markings” are slightly different than the undercoat because of the inhibitor gene that’s making the undercoat lighter. However, to the untrained eye, Silver Smoke Bengal cats will always look like pocket-sized panthers.
4. Silver Blue
Last but not least, we come to the most miscellaneous of colors – Silver Blue! But before you start looking for the nearest rainbow Bengal breeders, Silver Blue Bengals aren’t blue. In the animal kingdom, blue refers to the shade that appears when the color black gets genetically diluted.
And, when you combine that shade with the silver inhibitor gene, you get a Bengal that’s light bluish-gray with dark bluish-gray markings.
What makes Silver Blue Bengals even more appealing is the fact that they’re pretty much never tarnished. While Blue Bengals tend to have peach undertones, the silver inhibitor gene takes care of that.
What to expect when getting a Silver Bengal cat
“Umm, how do you get your hands on a Silver Bengal cat, though?” might be going through your head right meow. And there’s nothing wrong with that because the silver color seems to have made these frisky felines unattainable.
If you manage to cross paths with a reputable breeder, you might not even be able to afford the breed’s lavish lifestyle.
Oh, Silver Bengals are rarer than Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty! But you’re not going to catch them at your local Sephora. Sure, you might end up paying around $200 to $400 to adopt them from a shelter. However, you might not be able to find the color you’re looking for.
And buying them from a reputable breeder means you’re going to end up paying anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for a kitten. However, an older kitty (or even an elderly kitty) might not cost you more than $1,000.
Make sure you do your research before spending every penny you have for the pleasure of hanging out with the colorblind version of the Bengals, though.
With that thought out of the way, you have to agree that nothing beats cuddling with a dwarfish leopard without having to lose a limb! Throw a glance at some of the most prominent characteristics you can look forward to!
Right off the bat, Silver Bengal cats don’t look like they should be running around your apartment and munching on your food! As you might have noticed, we keep referring to them as pocket-sized leopards. And for a good reason – they’re a combination of an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat!
Some humans might say, “looks can be deceiving.” But Silver Bengal cats appear to be the same as their aforementioned wild counterparts.
They’re long, lean, and muscular because of the active lifestyle they’re fans of. They sport silver undercoats with dark grey and black rosette markings, which set them apart from other cats.
And they have some of the most enchanting (and contrasting) eye colors out of the bunch – yellow, green, and gold! Don’t be alarmed when you notice two little dots staring at you while you’re trying to sleep. That’s probably your Silver Bengal checking whether you’re awake and ready to play!
On the whole, Silver Bengal cats are some of the most mysterious felines out there. Whether you prefer chocolate, brown, and golden Bengals, or you’ve never even heard of other types, you won’t be disappointed to cross paths with a Silver.
Now, we can’t say that the color combinations and patterns have anything to do with personality. But that’s not to say that the parent responsible for the silver color of the fluff doesn’t affect what a Silver Bengal’s temperament’s going to be like.
As a general rule, Bengal cats are brimming with energy! They’re fond of running around the apartment (or backyard). They love chasing after butterflies and knocking things down when they’re feeling stressed.
And they enjoy causing trouble when they notice you’re not paying enough attention to them. They’re a breeze, aren’t they!?
Bengals are also some of the most affectionate cat breeds! Now, you might think they’re going to be standoffish and detached because of their not-so-domesticated ancestry. But, they’re the opposite of what you’d expect them to be – they’re great with humans, cats, and dogs.
That’s right! They appreciate cuddling with you when resting from a day of antics. They don’t mind sleeping on your chest when they sense that’s what you need.
And they’re pretty sensitive. They can understand what you need from them. Not to mention you can train them to do whatever you want them to do!
3. What are a Silver Bengal’s living requirements?
Silver Bengals need the same things that regular Bengals need – proper nutrition, plenty of physical activity, and affection. Of course, there are a couple of other things you could throw in there to make them happier and healthier. But, these three are pawsitively necessary.
You might also be wondering whether a Bengal needs a bigger space (due to the wild ancestry they possess). Or you might be asking whether a Bengal needs to spend a lot of time outside. Or even whether a Bengals requires a specific diet.
To answer your (potential) questions – no! Bengals are happy as long as they spend a lot of time with you (whether that’s playing, lounging around, or following you to the bathroom).
Bengal cats don’t need that much space. And they definitely don’t need a diet that’s different from what most cats eat on a regular basis.
But Bengal cats DO need a lot of physical activity. Make sure you provide them with plenty of places to climb, a bunch of toys they can play with, and even a buddy to play with when you’re not around.
And, before we forget, Bengals adore watching birds and chattering at the window. Get them a carpeted perch and they will love you forever!
4. How do you care for a Silver Bengal?
Repeat after me: “Mental stimulation, mental stimulation, and a little more mental stimulation!”
When humans say that Bengal cats (Silver or otherwise) are high-maintenance, that’s what they mean. Bengal cats need to play with other cats, hang out with humans, and have something to do at all times.
Make sure they have toys galore because they prefer switching them around. Playing with the same toys day after day makes them bored and depressed – they need variety. And the same goes for other physical activities. As long as you make sure to switch things up now and then, you should be good to go.
On the other hand, Bengals don’t need much in the line of grooming, brushing, and bathing. Silver Bengals don’t need help taking care of themselves.
They’re capable of grooming themselves as much as they need to. And that means you don’t have to bathe them as long as they don’t get visibly dirty from frolicking outside. That’s great, right?
5. Health problems
Silver Bengal cats are healthy and hearty, for the most part! Of course, health problems they might deal with over time don’t stem from the fact that they’re silver. These might stem from one of the parents who are responsible for the gene that’s making them silver.
While we can’t predict the health niggles, we can be weary of diseases that tend to affect cats regardless of breed. Heart disease, kidney disease, and dental disease seem to be present among most cats as they grow older. And anesthetic allergies seem to be prevalent among cats that belong to the Bengal breed.
Proper nutrition, physical activity, and regular veterinarian checkups should ensure your Silver Bengal cat leads a happy and healthy life, though! That’s certainly something to keep an eye on while you’re looking for reputable breeders to get your hands on a silver beauty, right? Good luck!