Are Bengal Cats Prone to Certain Behavior Issues?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, explains why Bengals have the same cat behavior concerns as other cat breeds.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC

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Q: I want to adopt/rescue a Bengal Cat, mainly because of their fabulous look. I am hesitating and am confused because of information I recently read on the internet. At least one internet source states that all Bengals have litterbox issues and that they bite all of the time; other sources say Bengal Cats are loving and sweet cats with no behavior problems.

In my research about Bengal Cats, I saw that in addition to your being a cat behaviorist, you are one of the coordinators for Bengal Cat Rescue. Can you set the record straight?

A: The popularity of the Bengal Cat breed has increased dramatically in the last few years, probably owing to the Bengal Cat’s beautiful and wild look, its ancestry and its vivacious personalities. The Bengal Cat breed was developed originally by crossing a domestic cat with a wild cat. The majority of pet Bengals are at least four generations away from the Asian Leopard Cat, their wild ancestor. Unfortunately, due to their ancestry, there is a lot of inaccurate information published about them.

Bengal Cats are no more prone to behavior problems then other cat breeds or moggies. They have no more or fewer litterbox issues than any other cat breed, nor are they more or less aggressive then other cats. The same triggers that cause other purebred cats and non-breed cats to have behavior problems can trigger a Bengal Cat to have challenges.

Even though Bengal Cats do not have more behavior challenges then other cats, they are not the cat for everyone. Like all breeds of cats, they have special characteristics that may or may not fit into your lifestyle. Before adopting cats, do your homework.

Don’t base the decision to adopt a Bengal solely on its stunning looks. Bengals are very active and extremely intelligent. Many enjoy playing in water and they need high places to hang out. As a breed, Bengals are affectionate, but usually aren’t lap cats, although there are exceptions. They love to be with their people and they enjoy playing. Bengals are attention seekers. They will go to great lengths to encourage their favorite people to interact with them. Bengal Cats do not do well left all alone for hours every day without a companion to keep them company. Like all cats, they do need lots of environmental stimulation. One can never have too many toys or tall places when living with Bengal Cats.

If you do decide that a Bengal is the cat for you, check out the Bengal Rescue Network to find a rescue coordinator near you. There are many wonderful Bengal Cats of all ages up for adoption throughout the United States and Canada.
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Are Bengal Cats Prone to Certain Behavior Issues?

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Reader Comments

Robin    International

8/30/2016 6:22:50 AM

You shouldn't be allowing your cat (of ANY breed) to 'free roam' - this is irresponsible pet ownership and you should not own a cat at all if you plan to let them 'roam free' outside.

Tim    International

1/8/2016 12:43:33 AM

Beware - These cats need VERY special handling. They under no circumstances should be allowed to roam free as they actively terrorise neighbourhood animals (and sometimes people). Due to awful things that happened in my own household, I have started some research in the real world in conjunction to free roaming Bengals and their impact on neighbourhoods. Quite simply, free roaming Bengals have a devastating effect on other neighbourhood cats and sometimes dogs too, reflected by distressed households. Can often be attributed to owners who don't understand the breed and how much 'environmental stimulation' (as breeders put it) they need - these animals are irresponsibly left to wreak havoc. Rescue homes are sick of them. There needs to be a much greater responsibility placed on the owners of these beautiful creatures to contain them. We were terrorised to such an extent (and the owners didn't want to believe it) that we took legal action. No-one should have to resort to this. BE WARNED; I have not found ONE free roaming Bengal in a neighbourhood that leaves neighbours in peace!

Nicole    International

12/9/2015 6:40:11 AM

I completely 100% agree to the answer on this post. Bengals are very beautiful cats forsure! In fact all cats no matter breed are beautiful! I have a 3 year old male Bengal that I got from a breeder. He is an awesome kitty & we just love him to pieces! Very loving and affectionate, always trying to grab your attention. He loves to be in the spotlight & have it be all about him kinda like a small child is lol. Super smart, ketches on to everythinggg, gets into everything wants to know what everything is and does & will also try to steal it if its small enough for him too. He just loves messing with my 6 year old. Sneaking up on him to steal his little toys and taking off with them lol. He teases our dog all the time for play. I know all this seems so negative, but honestly it's really not! These quarks are the exact reason why we love him SO much! Yes he's a BIG trouble maker & can be a handful sometimes, but we love it & it does give us a laugh as well! They are kittys with a big personality & TONS of energy smarts & curiosity to go along with it. They definitely will leave a paw print on your heart! My guy is laying on me as I type this! Though they do not like to be picked up and carried around they will cuddle up with you if they choose you as their person. From what I've noticed with cats & this is just my opinion but they do seems to typically choose one (maybe) two as their person & that is who they will seek out for love affection attention & cuddle on.

Faith    International

10/19/2015 1:25:27 PM

I have two Bengal house cats that are brother and sister... Lately the male one has been breaking things, doing his business right outside of the cat litter box, playing in the water dish, digging food out of the food dish, howling in the middle of the night, and constantly picking fights with the other cats... He has also been VERY clingy but also distant. Any ideas about what's going on?

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