Kittens and the dreaded fuzzies

The kittens are well into the fuzzy stage. The enlarged  inset shows the black guard hairs.

These kittens are well into the fuzzy stage. They are still very pretty but their colors are quite muted. The enlarged inset shows the black guard hairs.

It seems fitting the most beautiful domestic cat in existence should have a homely period. Actually the fuzzies occur with all the small cats but,  perhaps due to the wild blood, it is very pronounced with the Bengal.

I don’t consider it that bad but it is tough on folks trying to pick out their first Bengal. Often they will wonder if the kitten they had originally picked out is the same kitten they brought home or if it will ever live up to the breeders claims.

The fuzzies are a period in a Bengals life where they grow a form of camouflage that mutes their markings. Its part of their wild heritage and its natures way of giving them an edge over predators during the first eight months of their life.

When first born their markings are beautiful, clear and crisp. This lasts about three weeks which is approximately the time they would have been hidden in their mothers den. At the end of the first 3 weeks they start wandering out and exploring a bit and so mother nature helps hide them. What happens is they grow these little white tipped hairs that effectively put a hazy cloud over their entire body. This starts around three weeks and can last until they are approximately six to eight months old.

That is part of the charm of raising a Bengal. They are beautiful at all ages but as they grow they literally evolve right before your eyes. Around the six to eight month mark they complete the process and lose the last of their guard hairs and their coat suddenly becomes more defined and the colors intensify.

If you are interested in owning a Bengal do not judge a breeders kittens by the colors you see during the fuzzies. In fact if the fuzzies are hard on anyone it is probably the breeder as it makes it more difficult to place kittens. Novice buyers tend to compare the kittens they are looking at to the adult cats they have seen and they will very rarely compare well.

If you are considering a Bengal kitten you need to know that you have no options here. You will have to live though the fuzzies but the cool part is its like watching a fine fruit ripen. It just gets better and better until it reaches perfection.

Actually, when you think about it, the fuzzies are just one more thing on a long list that make the Bengal special and that’s kind of cool.