My husband (Tim) and I have lived in Chuluota, Florida for over 25 years! Living in the country, has enabled my family of animal lovers (which includes a son and daughter), to be raised in the presence of many different kind of pets. Horses, alligators, pot bellied pigs, turtles, hamsters, rats,rabbits, Chinchillas, guinea pigs, cats, dogs- you name it, and we’ve probably had it as a member of our household.
These days, we’ve tapered it down to, 2 Scottish Terriers (Peabody & Annie), a Cairn terrier (Tink), a rescue cat named “Devo” and our 3 Bengals: Dragonfly, Darkstar and Yves. I have also included pictures of our 9 year old Great Dane, Keishla …for though recently deceased, she remains very much alive in our hearts.
My involvement with the Bengal breed began relatively recently. Being semi retired, with our kids grown and gone, I suddenly began to feel a little void in my life … the empty nest syndrome? I missed having a sense of purpose and the opportunity to nurture. I began revisiting the idea of breeding. I had always wanted to, but hadn’t … perhaps either too busy or hesitant, reflecting on all the homeless animals in our local shelters.
My first acquaintance with the Bengal breed began with arranging an adoption for one. I was asked to rescue a lovely, but very malnourished female named “Tatty”. I’d seen her on numerous occasions, running through the neighborhood, usually in the company of an amorous Tom! I jumped at the opportunity to find this girl a great home. A trip to our vet for a checkup, vaccinations and spay, revealed that Ms. Tatty was FeLV positive. As the search began for Tatty’s “special needs” home, she ate well and rested comfortably in our back guest room. A phone call to my friend Rosie, at the Cat Protection Society, enabled us to find Tatty’s perfect match. Within weeks, she was adopted by a nurse educator and her four elderly dogs (all trained as Visiting Canine Companions). Within a month, Tatty had not only reached her perfect weight, but was happy and secure in the certainty, that she was “Canine Compadre #5”.
Looking better by the day…
My “Tatty intervention” ignited a spark of interest in this remarkable breed. I was captivated by their exotic looks; coats sleek as silk, combined with a mindset very similar to a dog’s! The more I studied, the more I realized that a Bengal seemed to represent just what I had been searching for.
After going to the TICA website, and studying their section on the Bengal Standards, I began researching their list of nationally registered breeders. I visited those websites, found great information, scrutinized parents, and kittens, in order to recognize what actually constituted a quality Bengal. I found one cattery that was located relatively close to me. I picked up the phone, to see if I could possibly pitch in and assist them, and in return, acquire the knowledge to confidently breed my first litter. My “preceptorship”, started after that first phone call and continued for about a year. In that time I was indoctrinated into the good, the bad and the ugly that accompanies caring for a large number of cats. My mentor, Rosaida Carini of Bearbrook Bengals was extremely knowledgeable, and one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever known. From Aida, I also acquired my first beloved silver pet Bengal, “Dragonfly” and later, my beautiful queen “BEARBROOK DARK STAR of LEOPARDKIND”. With her expert guidance, and encouragement to show, I have been introduced to other wonderful Bengal breeders. This has not only enabled me to continue learning, but make new friends, share great times, and even find exceptional sires for Darkstar’s litters.
We hope you enjoy our developing Leopardkind kitten pages, but also, please make sure to visit the sites of my aforementioned breeder buddies. I can attest to the time, work and pride they personally place in showing and producing beautiful kittens.
Dragonfly and Darkstar