GOGEES CONTRIBUTION TO THE BENGAL BREED
How bengal cats became so beautiful-
If you were to research "bengal cat history" you would find an enormous amount of information about Jean Mill being one of the first people to breed an ALC (asian leopard cat) to an Egyptian Mau to produce hybrid bengal cats.
What you won't find is information about the most popular bengal cat breeder ever, Mrs. Gene Ducote, owner of Gogees cattery. Her bengals were the most sought after and most beautiful bengal cats in the world. If you look through older pedigrees on ANY bengal cat you will see the name Gogees more than any other cattery name.
Mrs. Gene was instrumental in perfecting look of these beautiful cats. Not only is she credited with producing the first mink and sepia snows, she also was a major contributor to the development of the rosetted pattern, and she is the reason why we have glittered bengal cats today!
Mrs. Gene was also the first person to write a book about bengal cats. Her book "Getting to Know the Bengal Cat" was first published January 1, 1991. She attended the Supreme Cat Show in London in 2007 were she did a book signing. Her book was full of information for bengal breeders and owners alike.
Mrs. Gene retired from breeding bengal cats in 2011. And yes, of course she owns one as a pet! His name is Gator. So fitting for a Louisiana cat right?! She has many grandchildren to dote over and spend time with, her favorite hobby is quilting, and she is enjoying life with her husband and family.
Pictures of the earliest Gogees breeding bengal cats
Picture above is of Gogees Warhawk. One of the first bengal cats ever to display the glitter gene on its' coat. Keep in mind this was very early in the breed, when the standard called for a high degree of rufinism and rosettes were thought to be impossible (about 1988)
Millwood Rajun' Cajun of Gogees. This is the first male bengal that Mrs Gene purchased from Jean Mill. She also got two females from her Cajun Queen and were currently looking up the other ones name
First Seal Sepia bengal produced by Gogees. His name was Kotton Pickin.
Gogees French Kiss was one of Gene Ducote's first highly rosetted cats. At this time (Nov 2022) French Kiss is currently 19 years old and living with happily with her forever family.
Pictures of Gogees bengal cats at cat shows around the world
TICA show in Japan
More pictures of Gogees cats
Developement of the snow bengal
The foundation cats to look for in Bengal pedigrees for the seal mink and seal sepia snow Bengals, come from the late 1980’s, early 1990’s.
Two breeders, Gene Ducote (formerly Gene Johnson) owner of Gogees cattery and Bob Dundon owner of Nola cattery, did an experimental breeding, since their gene pool was dangerously small.
They introduced the Burmese domestic cat gene pool into their programs by breeding Warhawk of Flyingwfarms to a sable Burmese. The second generation from that cross gave them the first seal sepia “snow leopard” with green eyes, Kotton Pickin.
Kotton’s paternal grandfather was Millwood Silk’n Cinders, a Blue Mink/Seal Mink Spotted Tabby bred by Jean Mill. His maternal grandfather, Warhawk of Flyingwfarms, was the first glittered Bengal to be shown in the early days. And his father, Millwood Rajin Cajun, was the foundation stud for Gogees Cattery and one of the best known foundation Bengals in the breed.
Nola Kotton Pickin of Gogees, became the foundation sire for a whole new line of colors in the Bengal world: the Snow Bengal cats.
Today most mink and sepia snow Bengals trace their ancestry back to Kotton Pickin.
Gogees worked hard over the years to have the snows recognized, and they were instrumental in forming the standard for those colors.
In 1993, the Seal Lynx Point, Seal Mink and Seal Sepia colors were granted Championship with TICA.
Interview with Mrs. Gene Ducote about Gogees bengal cats
What type of cats did you breed first?
Like everyone else, Persians. Then Ocicats after I got tired of grooming all that long hair.
Where did u first see a bengal?
Jean Mill sent me photographs after I made my initial inquiry. I had never seen a bengal in person when I bought my first one.
When did you start breeding bengals?
Who did you buy your first cats from?
Did you ever breed the EG (early generation) bengals?
I had a couple of F2’s and F3's. Those first two females were F3's. They were crazy. I also bought one F2 from a guy on the West Coast, when it arrived I couldn't even get it out of the crate it was so wild. I sent it right back.
If you had to guess, how many other people were breeding bengals when you started?
It's complicated because there were two other breeders that did ALC breedings but they never pursued championship status like Jean did. Their lines weren't much used in breeding programs. But as far as other breeders like myself, there might've been two or three others. We were the very first and lines were extremely inbred.
Who was your favorite breeder once the cats became more how they look today?
Oh gosh, there were several who had the same goals that I had, and had bloodlines that I wanted to work with. You have to realize in the development of the breed it could’ve gone in several directions as the few breeders each had their own ideas about how a Bengal should look. Jill Orman and I had very similar goals and our lines worked well together, but there were others too. It was a continual process of trying to work towards traits that we were striving for a new.
What was your favorite part about breeding?
I loved the babies, of course, who doesn’t? But I loved the competition and the showing and the challenge of trying to achieve that ultimate Bengal.
What part did you dislike the most?
The ugliness of rumors spread by jealousy.
Which cat from your lines won the most awards?
My SGC Gogees Nitro Glistening became very famous in Japan, (you’re really working my brain here) plus one of my cats made Best Cat for the year in Canada (I forgot that cats name, but I could probably get it for you if you want it)
When did you start to become really well known?
Because there were so few breeders, maybe just 1/2 dozen, we were all well known in the Bengal world, when Bengals first came on the scene.
When did you first produce a "glittered" bengal cat?
My fist glittered bengal was Warhawk. Jean Mill had one or two before that, but Hawk was the first that was shown and became well known. Jean's were early generation cats.
Were you in shock when you saw the glitter on the coat?
Yes, and of course it was strangely unticked and wonderfully soft. Not normally found in domestic cats.
What part did you cattery play in producing snow bengals?
I didn't introduce the snows, I bred and introduced the first mink/sepia snows. My first sepia was Kotton Pickin.
Did your kids help with the kittens?
Of course, and my grandkids!!!
What did your husband think of your profession when you met?
He was very proud of me, I have to admit. And he jumped right in helping, cleaning, playing with kittens, etc..
Who was your main competition or catteries that you thought produced high quality bengals?
I would say initially Jean Mill was my main competition, but we were both working towards the same goals and so it was a friendly competition. There was Leslie Hall at jungle book, Robert Mock, , Jill Orman, Pat Killmyer, and others.
How did you advertise about the cats back then?
Marketing was very difficult. We advertised in a cat magazine. I couldn’t advertise locally because people here wanted Bengal tigers. There was no Internet, so I was on the phone every night, all night, explaining to people what a Bengal was. Then we had to take photos, have the film developed, and mail the photos to prospective buyers. It was quite a process. We started showing in experimental breeds, so we would make up pamphlets with photos of our cats and distribute those at shows. But yes my first few litters I sold locally pretty cheap because the kittens were not very impressive looking. It took awhile of selective breeding to get a few good kittens and establish a breeding program.
I’m glad you are documenting all this, the new breeders have no idea what we went through, the litters we had to go through just to get one kitten good enough to keep.
Which is your favorite color bengal?
Easy answer here—-BST (brown spotted tabby)
What are the five different bloodlines you were working with?
Millwood, Belltown, Legacie, Stonehenge, Calcutta, and Nairobi
What important clubs were you associated with?
TICA and the Red Stick Cat Club.
Any other interesting information that you can think of?
There’s a lot of interesting information on how I introduced the Bristol bloodlines into the Bengal world. There were articles written, and ill if I can find one because that I think had a big influence on the development of the rosetting. That’s a whole story in itself lol.
Pictures of some of the cats on Gogees website right before Mrs. Gene retired
Gogees bengals info circa 2010
Gogees Cattery has been actively breeding and showing cats with TICA since 1985, when we had Persians and Ocicats. In fact we produced many national award winning Ocicats. When we discovered the Bengal breed, we knew that was the breed for us, and gave up the others. We got our original Bengals from Jean Mill, the first was Millwood Rajin Cajun of Gogees, and he has become one of the best known foundation Bengals in the breed.
In an early breeding, we produced Gogees Warhawk, our first "Glittered" Bengal, and we 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.
Along came Gogees Nitro Glistening, son of Rajun Cajun, who was an awesome cat with wonderful coat, color and conformation. We showed Nitro all over the US while trying to get the breed known and recognized with The International Cat Association. Nitro won many Best In Show NBC awards, and was televised several times, including being on NBC's Today show and on ESPN.
About this time, we did an experimental breeding, since our gene pool was dangerously small. We bred Warhawk to a black Bombay, and the second generation from that cross gave us the first "green-eyed" sepia snow leopard, Kotton Pickin. That started a whole new line for us, and for the Bengal world. Today most mink and sepia snow Bengals trace their ancestry back to Kotton Pickin.
After the brown spotted Bengals gained recognition with TICA, we continued showing Kotton in the New Breed and Color Class. We spearheaded the effort to have the snows and marbles recognized, and we're instrumental in forming the standard for those colors. Meanwhile, we were continually striving to produce Bengals that looked less like their domestic ancestors, and more like the wild. We concentrated on coats with color and silky texture, on patterns to get the marvelous rosettes, and on heads with full whisker pads and small ears. We like the large size of Bengals, and have kept breeders that produce robust bone and heavy musculature.
Since then, we have produced kittens that have become the foundation of many breeding programs, here in the US and in Europe and Asia. We exported our top quality cats to help establish bloodlines abroad, and now we have International Grand Champions and Champions.
And last, but not least, we wrote THE book on Bengals. (Originally written by Gene Johnson, who is now Gene Ducote). At a time when nothing was known about the breed, barely no one had heard of them, we published a book to help familiarize the public with this wonderful breed of cat. Being a new breed, there were lots of rumors and false information being spread, so we thought there should be a source of truth, and a guide to those seeking information. Our book was a tremendous success, especially at a time when the breed was just becoming known. The book is still popular throughout the world, as it offers advice on selection of a kitten, health, care, training, breeding, and many other aspects of Bengal ownership.
We pride ourselves on our reputation, on our quality cats, and our honest evaluation of kittens. It is very important for us to find the perfect kitten for interested buyers. We maintain pure Bengal lines, doing no outcrossing to other domestic breeds. We are working with bloodlines from 5 different Leopard Cat lines. From precious pets, to spectacular show prospects, we strive to place kittens that display the awesome appearance of little living room leopards, but with the personality of the most loving pussycats.
Gogees Bengals are well-known for their spectacular plush coats, displaying the unique "bengal glitter". All of our breeders have the ultra-soft coats, and produce this consistently. We breed for intense black markings on bright gold backgrounds, and all of our breeder are totally rosetted, so that all our kittens are too. We believe that in order for rosetting to be a factor, it must be dramatic. That is, the rosettes must be vivid, not faded, and must be produced on coats with little or no ticking to obscure them. So we are producing large vivid rosettes, on clear bright backgrounds.
Our kittens are raised indoors and are thoroughly socialized. They are used to being handled, and loved and cuddled. They are guaranteed healthy, and we have minimal problems since ours is a closed cattery. The kittens are vaccinated, wormed, and vet-checked before going into their new homes.
We rely on repeat business, and on word of mouth advertising. We have satisfied customers all over the world, who can testify as to the quality and temperament of our Bengals. So it is most important to us to protect our reputation, and ensure that each and every new kitten owner is delighted with their new bengal from Gogees.
If you are looking for a special bengal kitten, let us know what you want. If we have a kitten that we think you might like, we will send photographs and pedigrees. A deposit from you will then hold the kitten till it is ready to go (at about 10 weeks). If air shipping is necessary, we will make arrangements that meet with your schedule. Average domestic airfare can range from $175-250 plus shipping preparation charges ($50--vet certificate, shipping crate). Because of the huge demand for quality kittens, it may be necessary to be on our waiting list for a short while.
Let us reassure you, that we have shipped kittens worldwide and have been very satisfied with the service. Never have we had a kitten mistreated, and all arrive safe and sound. New owners tell us the kittens don't seem to be affected by the flight, that they just march right out of their pet taxis and start exploring their new home.
Lately, we've had to rethink our policy on allowing visitors, so we no longer conduct casual tours of our home and cattery. We can send references from former customers, and there is a wealth of information including many photos here on this website. We also must respect the privacy of both our pregnant girls and those with new babies, as they find intrusion into their safe areas quit upsetting. Mothers with newborn babies feel very threatened having strangers come in, and in some cases can be so upset they will hurt or even abandon their babies.
It may seem like a good idea to come visit young kittens to see which one might "fit" you best, but kittens aren't like puppies. Until they are weaned, they focus on their mother and littermates, and they don't readily go to strangers. Cats are much more wary than dogs, and need time to get to know someone before they totally accept them.
Besides that, please understand that we at Gogees are totally responsible for the health and well-being of these little lives. By allowing visitors to come into our nursery area, we are potentially exposing these young babies to disease or bacteria that may be carried on the hands or clothing of well-meaning visitors. Once you've selected a kitten and it is past the risky stage, their immune system is no longer in jeopardy and the first immunizations are giving the kitten necessary protection. You will then be able to make an appointment to come visit your kitten.
Please understand that we feel this policy is necessary in order to protect our very young and vulnerable babies. We will not risk their health just to make a "sale".
BREAKING NEWS!!! We are retiring!!!
It's been exciting watch the breed develop over the years, and we're thrilled to have been a part of the development. It's just now time for us to enjoy some personal family time. Thanks to all who have been a part of our cat family for so many years. We've met so many nice people along the way and we will certainly miss our special friends.
Gene & Ken