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The marble pattern is the result of a recessive gene. Two marble cats will always produce marble kittens. Two marbles bred together cannot produce spotted kittens. Spotted cats can carry the marble gene recessively though. This means that two spotted cats can sometimes produce marble kittens. To do this though, both spotted parents must carry one marble gene.
You cannot usually tell if a spotted cat carries recessively for marble. One way to tell for sure is if the spotted cat has one marble parent. Because a marble can only pass the marble gene, you know for a certainty that it's spotted kitten has one copy of the marble gene and one copy of the spotted gene. Another way to tell is if you breed a spotted cat either to a marble or another spotted, if marble kittens result, you know that your spotted carries for marble.
Remember, if you want all marble kittens all of the time, breed two marbles together.
The marble pattern goes through an amazing transformation from birth through the first year. When a marble kitten is born, the pattern is very closed up. As the kitten matures, the pattern slowly opens to reveal the hidden prize! The pictures below show an example of a marble kitten at birth and the same marble cat at adulthood. Notice the rich color and open pattern on the adult compared to the kitten picture.
"Leo" as a kitten (photo courtesy of Nicole Hansen, Bellagio Bengals
"Leo" as an adult (Photo courtesy of Niclose Hansen, Bellagio Bengals)
Interestingly, there are bengals that are popping up that seem to fit neither the spotted category or the marble category because they have such a funky pattern that contains blotches that are somewhat swirled. These cats are genetically a marble (the majority) OR a spotted, but they are very hard to classify because they LOOK like a combo of both, even though they are genetically NOT a combo of both. (see pictures below). Breeders are unofficially calling these cats "Sparble" which is a combination of the word spotted and the word marble.
"Indian Paintbrush" a sparble bengal, bred and owned by Sarah Childers of AJA Bengals
"Indian Paintbrush" this marble could be confused for a spotted.
"Indian Paintbrush" has a funky marble pattern that is hard to classify.
There are two types of marbles. The is the regular two toned marble that has the background color and the pattern color. Then there is the tri-colored marble. Tri colored marbles have rosetting to their pattern. In the tri-color the third color outlines the pattern.Look at the pictures below to see examples of a tri-colored marble.
Some marbles also display some rosetted like that of the spotted. Usually the rosetted spots will be located near the cat's hindquarters where the pattern has broken away from the marble pattern into large rosetted spots (see photo example below). Even though these cats have some rosetted spots, they are still genetically marbles.
"Stormy", Tri- colored marble
Rosettes on the hindquarters of a marble bengal. (Photo courtesy on Nicole Hansen, Bellagio Bengals)
Like the spotted, the pattern of a marble should be horizontally aligned. The pattern should stretch and swirl across the cat, making it look like an ocelot or a clouded leopard. To me it should look like lighting or a maze the starts from the front of the cat and moves to the back of the cat. This makes the marble pattern look truly wild. In the first picture below, this cat has some vertical pattern right behind the front leg but the rest of the pattern is horizontally aligned.
The domestic cat carries the "classic" tabby pattern which looks like a bullseye or a jelly roll. In a bengal, the bullseye pattern is not desirable. A vertical pattern in a bengal is also not desirable. The cat in the first picture below has no bullseye. The second cat is a classic tabby (not bengal) and has the very domestic "bullseye" pattern. By looking at the pictures, you can see a clear difference between a good marble pattern on a bengal and a non- bengal classic tabby pattern. Because some of the bengal pattern is influenced by the domestic cat, sometimes marble bengals will not have the best marble pattern, but when you get a marble with a lot of the wild horizontally flowing influence to the pattern, you will get a truly spectacular cat!
horozontally flowing pattern with no "bullseye"
Classic Tabby Pattern. This cat is not a marble bengal
Even though the marble gene in bengals originated in domestic cats, it is not unheard of for the marble pattern to be see on wild cats. The picture below shows a rare cheetah that has the recessive marble type of gene.
These cheetah are very rare. There are only 10 in captivity and 60 in the wild.
rare cheeth with a recessive marble type pattern
Marble bengal patterns are starting to look more and more like thier wild cousins!
We can see how the marble bengal can look wild and exotic. Many people think that only the spotted bengal can look wild, until they see a really nice marble bengal. I get just as many compliments on my marble bengals as I do on my spotted ones. People are amazed at what marble bengals look like.
At one point, I was focusing only on the spotted bengal. But thanks to some bengal breeders who are breeding truly amazing, cutting edge marbles, I think that marbles are just as beautiful as the spotted and have changed my focus. The marble pattern is rather new to our cattery but we are very pleased to be breeding them now.
We plan on documenting the changing pattern of our marbles from birth to hopefully adulthood. If you buy a marble bengal from us, please be sure to update us with pictures so we can be aware of how our marble program is progressing.
(PLEASE NOTE: Te easiest and fastest way to get in contact with me is either through email, or through texting my cell phone, or both. I don't answer my phone very often so if you call and I don't answer or call you back, please try emailing me or texting me. You can also contact me on my facebook business page at www.facebook.com/pocketleopardsbengals )
Sacramento CA, 95835
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