The idea of Matahari Bengals began early in the year 2000. On a quest to find a social, loving, doglike pet… that didn’t need to be fenced in, and could happily live indoors as an integral part of the household, I stumbled across the Bengal breed. Specifically, I stumbled across a photo of silver Bengal, Eeyaa Sterling Silver owned by Dr. Linda Evans of Silvergene Bengals… whose stark black and white contrast, captivating pattern, and style took my breath away! After completing some initial research on the breed, and finding that this feline breed in particular was bred not only for it’s leopard-like body style and pattern, but equally it’s incredibly outgoing, friendly personality, and equally matched intelligence… I fell in love!
Shortly thereafter I inquired on the purchase of a silver Bengal kitten from Silvergene Bengals in Southern California. Much to my dismay at the time, I found there was going to be at least a year wait! A year wait for a kitten – Why? And I couldn’t wait that long, of course… I was now far too excited about the Bengal breed to wait an entire year for a kitten! Upon asking more questions of Dr. Linda Evans, what I then found out was the silver colored Bengal cat had just been introduced or ‘created’ if you will… the color was not only new, but also not accepted at that time by TICA, the registration association for Bengal cats, and so there simply weren’t very many silver Bengal’s to go around… the color within the breed was still in its very beginning stages.
It so happened at that same time I had also decided to embark upon obtaining an MBA degree through Marylhurst College, in Oregon. As the school was supportive of creativity, and also catered it’s continuing education business program around what each individual student deemed of interest… their own business goal of sorts, I also found the perfect vehicle for my evergrowing interest in the Bengal breed, silver Bengal cats, and what all owning and operating a cattery entailed. I moved forward with the MBA program, focusing my course schedule around the creation of a business plan for the near future Matahari Bengal Cattery. That plan included not only learning about feline health, Bengal genetics, and the kittening (birthing) / rearing process… but also how I was going to get started. What was the goal of my breeding program? As it certainly couldn’t be to just create more playful kittens, but instead it had to be about improving upon the groundwork laid out by dedicated Bengal breeders who had already spent 10-15 years establishing the breed in the recent past. To do it right would mean to breed responsibly – by keeping health of all offspring top of mind, but also while striving for progression within the breed, the creation of a better Bengal. A Bengal with the wild type and vivid, unforgettable pattern of the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) from which it originally descended. But also a Bengal with the playful personality and social skills of ‘man’s best friend’ – the dog… or actually the cat, in this case.
And so began the journey that is really still evolving… but so far, we feel our accomplishments have already been quite great! From working with a select group of top breeders early on to have the silver color within the Bengal breed become a registered color under TICA (The International Cat Association), also then eligible for championship. To breeding our own silver Champion – CH Matahari Alaskan Tundra. From friendships developed along the way – a very special thank you to Sydney Welch of Stonehenge Bengals in Tennessee, who not only has become a most cherished friend, but was also instrumental in the original development and progression of Matahari Bengals throughout the years – the thinking behind our breeding focus of type (structure) first, then pattern (as you have to build the barn before you can paint it), in pursuit of the ‘complete package’ – and as the mentor who then also most helped to develop my own eye for what a Bengal should be and encompass, as well as the true goal of breeding – improvement, a better Bengal.
As a Bengal kitten or cat is never just a cat with a beautifully painted coat… but more so a blend of incredible pattern (which should be more so horizontal than vertical) in combination with a wild body structure (long and muscular, with lower to the ground carriage than other domestic breeds) and a head type resembling its wild ancestor, the ALC (a straight or more convex, than concave ‘dipped’ profile, puffy whisker pads, smaller rounded ears, with larger nocturnal looking eyes), all wrapped into a single package including a fantastically playful, sweet and endearing personality! See examples of Bengal’s with these attributes on our Queens page, as well as our Studs, and Available pages.
To all the wonderful people and families who have already given Matahari Bengal kittens and cats incredibly loving forever homes… we couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you so much! At Matahari Bengals we are always striving to breed a better Bengal as a whole… as well as finding the perfect family fit for each Bengal kitten/cat, to ensure best quality of life possible. Come visit us in Damascus, OR… we are located just outside of SE Portland and Multnomah County city limits!
We would like to thank the following people for their help, guidance and or great value they’ve provided the breed in some way:
Jean Mill – original founder of the Bengal breed
Les Hall – with her vision of what a ‘forest dwelling cat’ should look like. Amazing contributions in type & body of the breed
Suzanne Merrill – friend, and breeder of the first Bengal to be a part of Matahari Cattery – F2 Abundadots Amaze in Grace (aka Maizee)
Sydney Welch – friend, mentor, who has not only helped to progress the breed in so many ways over the years, but has always been willing to share her wealth of knowledge with others, in a desire to help the breed become the best it can be
Colette Griffiths – friend, mentor, who has always been there for me when I needed any additional help of any kind, also a vast resource of knowledge on the Asian Leopard Cat and best care protocol for newborns and kittens
Gene Decote, Pam Knowles, Judith Lindeman, Grace Lush, Karen Sausman, Anthony Hutchinson, Pat Killmaier, Janice Tyler – additional early pioneers still working towards perfecting the Bengal breed.
As well as all of our cherished NW breeder friends – including Don & Margie Heil, Wayne and Sharon Trnka, Eric & Pam Gretzinger, and Holly Erikson
– With love, from Matahari Bengal Cattery
Where the ‘eye of the day’… Belongs to a Bengal!