Marble Bengal Cats – 3D or embossed?


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Marble Bengal cats are beautiful and amazing, and sometimes referred to as having a genetic disposition towards their pelt being 3D or embossed.  The first time I heard those terms I was a little confused,.  After all my ancestors, Asian Leopard Cat has never been marbled I wondered where my marbled cousins came from. And why are some of them called 3D or embossed? I’m going to tell you all about my marbled brethern!

Jean Mill, the developer of the Bengal cat breed,  wrote in articles about the first marble Bengal cat, which was introduced to the world in 1987.  Jean described her marbled coat color as “drizzled caramel.”  The Kitten, a girl was rust colored and had the Bengal cat pelt softness. She was the product of breeding between Millwood Silk n Cinders, a glittered, non ticked coat, large spotted Bengal and a Bengal male named Tourchbearer. I bet when they first saw the kitten they were sure surprised at her marbled markings.

At a large cat show in Madison Square Garden, the marbled kitten was the hit of the show and everyone wanted to see her, breeders, fans and judges alike.  Her fame grew from there. Although she had started the Bengal breed with the intent of keeping the wild Aisan Leopard cat look, she began to advocate that the marbled pattern be added to the Bengal breed standard. All Bengals deserve to be loved and appreciated for their amazing beauty and the marble Bengal is no different.  They do look so amazing!

The marble Bengal helps the Bengal breed continue to be able to breed kittens with amazing rosettes because they help provide the  “outlining” gene,  which gives Bengals  multi-colored types of rosetting to the spots, and helps to maintain lineage of Bengals having a horizontal flow to the overall pattern of the spots, rosettes or marbles, rather than the vertical flow common to traditional domestic cats.

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So what makes a marble cat merely marbled or 3D or embossed?  It’s the number of colors in the coat. When a marbled Bengal has three or more shades on it’s pelt: the background fur color, the marble markings, and another color outlining the markings then they are referred to as  “Tri-Colored Marbles” or “3D” or “embossed”  If you have ever seen a Bengal who is a marble also have chaining – it’s really spectacular. Not that I would trade in my spots for it, of course. Just like a spotted or rosettes Bengal the markings will appear random and will be asymmetrical, meaning the side patterns are different on the right and left sides of the cat’s body. A bulls-eye pattern to the marbling is a tabby trait and is not found on a Bengal. But since they don’t want to be completely left out of the spotted cat fun, they have spotted bellies!

So if you have ever seen a tri-color rossetted Bengal with a strong outline of the rosettes, guaranteed there is a marble Bengal in the lineage. And although it is possible to have a two color Bengal,which is very common on the silver marble Bengals, a marble with three colors and an outline can be refereed to as a  3D or embossed Bengal.  And now we both know what that means!

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