Highly desirable in Bengals, but not all Bengals have it....
What is Bengal Glitter?
Not all Bengals are lucky enough to have this amazing phenomenon we call "Bengal glitter" but on the ones that are, it resembles golden or silvery shimmering flakes, and sometimes even copper or platinum. If you have never seen it in person it is AMAZING!!! The best way to describe it is that it looks a bit like sprinkling store bought metallic glitter dust on your cat, except it's built right into the hair! It's especially striking on cats with a shorter, velvetier coats or pelts where the light really gets in there and makes it shimmer. I tell my girls that our cats have been sprinkled with magic fairy dust by Tinker Bell!
When glittery Bengals were first shown some judges tried to rub the glitter off with a cloth, as they were convinced that it was an artificial add-on that some savvy breeder had applied to the cat to make it stand out!
Glitter makeup, body glitter, etc. is regularly used all over the body and face by young women on the way to a fun night at the club and that's why Bengals are always ready to party! They come pre-equipped with party glitter!
On some Snow Bengals the glitter effect appears well, but on others it's harder to see. Then there's a select few Snow Bengals that have it and it looks more like a pearly dust! Very elegant!
There are basically two different types of glitters:
Mica (Gold-Tipped): This glitter affects the tips of the hairs only and produces its effect in reflective hair-tips. If you look at this under a microscope, you'll see that embedded right inside the very tip of each Bengal hair are what you would swear are tiny flecks of a reflective silicate crystal called mica.
Satin (Hollow-Air): It looks just like mica, but in this case it affects the whole hair shaft, refracting light and giving the coat a pearly effect which is also known as "oyster." Satin hair shafts contain many little pockets of air along their length which not only refract light all the way through but also give the coat a smooth, soft silkiness unlike any other cat fur you've ever touched. These air pockets can become elongated which makes the fur even softer and silkier.
Much like the Snow or Marble Bengal gene, glitter was at first concluded to be a recessive gene. More recent evidence seems to point to the possibility that glitter is actually an accumulative gene. An accumulative gene is a very precious asset to the breeder, since if you breed two kitties which are well-glittered, then the offspring will have even more glitter than Mom and Dad! Breeders can continue this process until we arrive at a Bengal cat which glitters so much we'll have to hand out sunglasses to everyone who passes by!
Glitter is a highly sought-after feature as the glitter gene can also help to produce the clearer coats with less ticking in new generations which breeders strive for.
In my opinion the glitter that my Bengals have on their coats can only be described in one word..... magical!!!!
Where did Bengal glitter come from?
The information below was provided by Gene Ducote owner of Gogees:
"In an early breeding, we produced Gogees Warhawk, our first "Glittered" Bengal, and were suddenly awestruck. He was so spectacular, with his silky coat of golden glitter. To isolate and "lock in" that gene, we bred Warhawk to his sister, and the rest is history. Our bloodlines have become famous for producing and perpetuating the wonderful gold-tipped glitter that is so unique to the Bengals. There were times, when we were showing Warhawk, that judges were trying to wipe off the glitter, thinking we had sprayed his coat with something to make him sparkle."
....We are proud to say that all of our breeder cats at Belle Ami are highly glittered!!! Two of them actually coming from Gogees before Mrs. Gene retired!
Special thanks to Mrs. Gene Ducote of Gogees Cattery, who was instrumental in the development of the Bengal breed, for mentoring me and always giving me such good advice. It was an honor to have owned two Bengals from her cattery and I'm thrilled to be able to continue the Gogees bloodline that she worked so hard to achieve. I hope that with the knowledge I've acquired from her I can continue to produce Bengals as beautiful as hers were!
Pictures of Bengal glitter
Please note.....Bengal glitter is very difficult to capture in a picture and these pictures do not do them justice.