Early Bengal History (by Jean Mill)

The following early Bengal history is copied directly from Jean’s website prior to it going off line. I have reformatted it slightly but it is unedited. Jean never wrote this to be seen as a historical reference, but rather as a simple coverall response for the questions she was most frequently asked. The pictures on the site are hard to find today and this is the only copy of the page in its entirety that I am aware off.

MILLWOOD Old Timers

Feel free to take these photos for your pedigree use.

photo from MillwoodThe original home of the Bengal Cat.

Many people have asked for photos of early Millwood Bengals. Alas, my photography skills are non-existant, and few photos were taken in the early days. Visitors took snapshots, but I rarely was sent copies. Also, an album of my best original photos was sent to the TICA genetics committee when I applied for NEW BREED AND COLOR status. But it has never surfaced again and is doubtless lost. Here are glimpses of some of the Millwood early contributors to the Bengal breed for your enjoyment:


photo from MILLWOODMILLWOOD TORY OF DELHI
“Delhi” was a domestic cat found running loose under the rhinoseros at the New Delhi zoo in 1984. He was better spotted (NO ribstripes!) and more glittery-rufous than I had ever seen in America. He was used mostly with F1 queens at first (after several frustrating years of vainly trying to breed them to F1 males), but also gave his robust blood to the inbred traditional Egyptian Mau breed to make what was subsequently called ‘Indian Maus’. In E. Mau pedigrees, he is TOBY and is registered by CFA and TICA as a Mau.


photo from MillwoodEARLIEST F1s at Millwood
Delhi on left with queens Millwood Praline, Millwood Pennybank, and Millwood Rorschach. All Millwood pedigrees go back to these cats.


photo from Millwood Millwood Pennybank
Penny was a torbie and produced O1 red males and a few torbie females, but this dominant gene was bred out of later generations. At that time, we had so few hybrids and so little was known about their requirements that we had to use what was produced, regardless of faults. I had a few hybrid queens (Favorite, Candy, Mild Miss, Raisin Sundae, etc.) but we could never get kittens from them, or they ate them, or other tragedy struck. The ‘common knowledge’ we all share now was hard won amid many tears. Pennybank and Praline are in most Millwood pedigrees for they were excellent producers. Pennybank gave us Torchbearer, Treasure Chest, Coin Drop, Cedar Chips, Wildfire and Penny Ante, among others.


photo from Millwood

Millwood Praline, Foundation queen
The mother of many of my prolific earlibirds, she gave us Rosetta Stone, Polyspot, Trademark, Destiny, Aries, Spot Check, and Sun Dapple. These were all by Millwood Tori of Delhi (India) whom she loved.


photo from MillwoodMillwood Showbiz
Showbiz is found in most Millwood pedigrees. He was friendly and a step ahead of his sire, Millwood Rave Review, in adding more color to the line. But he was more sorrel than this picture would indicate.



photo from MillwoodMillwood Silk ‘n Cinders

Cinders was the first Millwood kitten with a clear, rich, colorful coat; dark spots; and lots of glitter. To my joy, he proved to be both fertile and sweet natured. His son, Millwood Rajin Cajun, was the foundation stud for Gogees Cattery.


milpenny photo from millwoodMillwood Penny Ante (F2) b.1986
Penny Ante was my pride and joy. She was the first sweet-natured Bengal to really resemble a wild cat. She purred through shows all over the world, winning allocades in Paris, Germany, Canada, and at every TICA Incats show throughout USA. It was really Penny’s sweet temperament and sharply contrasted dark spots on her light orange coat that established the breed with the public and with the TICA judges. For six years she wowed people in Miami, Seattle, LA, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Washington DC, and twice at Madison Square Garden, winning the visitors’ “Favorite Cat” votes. Her photo was used in publicity for shows and on TV. It was Penny that convinced TICA that Bengals were truly a NEW BREED and she earned our welcome there, overcoming the advance prejudice spread by breeders of other spotted breeds. Some of those breeders read the future and joined our ranks by switching to Bengals; some spread fear of the ‘savage cats’; others jealously attacked and belittled the breed and me. It was an uphill and expensive climb to recognition, but Penny was as steadfast in her good nature as I had to be. If any one cat is to be hearlded as the queen of the Bengal breed, it is dear Penny Ante.

Penny never had a mate that could do her justice, for we were still using early, heavily-domestic males seeking fertility. But several of her F3 sons proved somewhat fertile and helped the breed, including Aces Wild, Jokers Wild and Caesar. Two of her daughters, Centavo and Petty Cash, are still producing and have current Millwood litters. She also produced (among others) Penny Candy, Penny Whistle, Copper Penny, and Pretty Penny that are in some pedigrees.


My Thai photo from MillwoodMillwood Mai Thai (F1)
Mother was an Egyptian Mau, sire was Kent’s ALC. Mai Thai was a rather gray-ticked queen with a menacing temperament, but she produced numerous lovely, friendly F2 daughters including Millwood Gold Medal (my white tummied line (Gold Nugget and Midas Touch)).
Alas, not too many of those F2 daughters ever produced kittens.


mirmir - photo from MillwoodmillwoodmirrormirrorMillwood Mirror Mirror (F1)
Mirror’s extreme contrast and black markings were passed down to many F2 daughters. One has founded a lovely line for Phil Morgan in England. Another is behind David Born’s winning SGC Millwood Shanara and her littermates Signature, Etching, and Lisa Arvay’s rosetted Chrystal Clear. Mirror’s photographs in magazines have attracted many people to the breed.


Millwood Razzmataz (F2)
Razz’s richly glittered coat and snowy underbelly brought OHs and Ahs from visitors to Millwood. Razz, a daughter of M. Patticake, never understood the birthing process, though, and ate all her kittens except two which I rescued, M. Razzel Dazzel and M. Candlelight, both still producing little beauties here at Millwood until into the 2000s.


millcrysMillwood Crystal Prism (F3)
This beautiful Kabuki line female was only able to produce one litter of seven show winners (which she died defending from marauding raccoons). She had an exquisitely soft, short dense coat that she gave to most of those babies.


skinnyCH Millwood Rumpled Spotskin SBT male