Bengal cat is mistaken for a jaguar and causes confusion in Belo Horizonte

 Bengal cat is mistaken for a jaguar and causes confusion in Belo Horizonte

Tracy Wilkins

Have you ever seen a wild cat up close? There are cat breeds, such as the Bengal, that are very reminiscent of a jaguar or ocelot cub. This is the case of Massinha, a specimen of the cat breed that looks like a jaguar that got lost and, when mistaken for a wild animal, was sent by the Fire Department to a forest in Belo Horizonte. The case gained national repercussions and, fortunately, ended well: Massinha was recovered.found and returned to their guardians.

Cat that looks like a jaguar: residents called the Fire Department to rescue the "menacing" feline

Massinha's story took a twist when residents of a condominium in Belvedere asked firefighters to rescue a jaguar cub at the site. The military, in turn, mistook the pedigree kitten - valued at R$7mil - for a bobcat.

Massinha was captured with a net and sent to a nearby forest. Her definitive rescue only happened after hours of searches carried out by her guardian Rodrigo Calil, accompanied by family members and some members of the NGO Grupo de Resgate Animal.

Besides the appearance of a big cat, another reason for the confusion was the kitten's behavior, which was not at all different from what is expected for a lost domestic cat: she was scared and a bit skittish.

The mistake could also have happened with a Savannah cat, a cross between an African cat (Serval) and a domestic cat. Long and lean, the Savannah is part of the giant cat breed group. With large, pointed, forward-facing ears and clear, round, well-marked eyes, this cat also has an unusual beauty.

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Wild cat: Bengal breed retains characteristics of big cats

A big cat that looks like a jaguar: this is how the Bengal breed can be described. The result of crossing a wild leopard with a domestic cat, the Bengal can have up to 4 levels of proximity to large felines, so that the Bengal F1 is the most similar to a leopard, especially in temperament. This means that, without proper socialization, this is a type of cat thatmay be more risky.

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Nowadays, it is harder to find such a pure Bengal cat, as there are unfortunately very few leopards. In Cambodia, the number of leopards has fallen by 72% in five years, and the animal is at the lowest concentration ever recorded in Asia.

The F2 Bengal is the result of a cross between two F1 Bengal cats, while the F3 Bengal can be the result of a cross between two F2 cats or between an F1 and an F2 cat. Finally, the F4 Bengal is the result of an F3 and an F3 cat. As you can imagine, the wild characteristics get milder the further away the kitten is from the leopard.

In the case of Massinha and most Bengal cats, the detail that draws the most attention is the coat, which mixes stripes similar to those of tigers with rounded spots, characteristic of animals such as the ocelot, the jaguar and the leopard, their true ancestor.

Massa wore a microchip for identification See other ways to make rescuing a lost cat easier

All cats have an exploratory instinct, and the Bengal is no different. Anyone who wants to raise a Bengal cat needs to ensure that it has a large space where it can roam freely, but that it is protected by screens so that the cat does not escape. Massinha has an implanted microchip that contains all the data of the guardian, but this has not been checked by the team of specialists.It was an unusual situation, but the lesson is: you can't be too careful! Cats can - and should - wear a collar and an identification tag. Whether it's a Bengal, a Savannah or any other breed of cat, the best thing to do is to make it as easy as possible to recognize the pet.

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.