Indiana woman runs hybrid cat rescue

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Few animal shelters will accept “Bengal cats” (i.e. Asian leopard cat-domestic cat hybrids) or any other wild cat-domestic hybrid. Read more at “What about hybrid cats?” (

‘Chatty’ Bengal cats seeking good homes
Published: November 29, 2009 3:00 a.m.

Devon Haynie
The Journal Gazette

Janet Saltzman runs a rescue for Bengal cats.

These are house cats, she makes clear. And though they’re not always the cuddliest felines, they’re in no way related to the much bigger Bengal tiger.

“They’re very active, very chatty cats,” she says of the brown and black animals. “But they’re not lap cats. They don’t like being held or confined.”

Saltzman started fostering Bengal cats back in 2004, after she bought her first Bengal.

“I loved the breed,” she said. “The cat was great; there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. I wanted more, but I couldn’t have more so I thought maybe there’s something I could do.”

Saltzman founded Great Lakes Bengal Rescue Inc. in 2007. The organization rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes Bengal and Bengal-mix cats from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Her group works with national Bengal foster groups to adopt about 100 cats a year. She has four foster cats for adoption in Fort Wayne.

All of her cats are spayed or neutered and immunized before placement.

Bengals are related to Asian Leopard Cat, a small, forest-dwelling cat from Southeast Asia and India. They’re typically several generations removed from the wild cat.

Saltzman keeps three cats of her own and keeps two foster cats.

“They’re inside cats,” she says. “They’re great fetchers, and they like water. Some take baths or showers with their owners.”

This holiday season, Saltzman is wishing for permanent homes for her rescued cats and donations to help with veterinary costs.


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