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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Reader Comments

katy    duluth, MN

3/27/2015 5:58:53 PM

Ive taught my male bengal to huff at his attack target, he is affectionate very needy for attention meows stand up for a fight unless he knows i am angry for he knows what fighting with other cat

karen johnson    duluth, MN

3/27/2015 5:50:58 PM

My bengal gets bored easily,needs my regular attention, is my protector from the other cat and meows alot,i think its boredom.anybody think that being vocal is just regular behaviour. Anyways i need to find a home for him someone that has time and energy to play with him

Josie    International

2/25/2015 7:18:30 PM

I am the proud owner of a Bengal cat for just on 9 years. He can be loud, obnoxious, demanding but cute and funny as well. Eats like a tiger, digs his way to china in his litter "bin". Loves to carry his teddy bear around and climbs inside the shopping bag for "swings". Yes, he has leapt at me, can get an expression on his face that would scare a novice and loves to bite. He HATES cats. Being an indoor cat who is only let outside when I am home, heaven help any cat that comes into his yard. He has had only one major fight and spent half hour hiding under the bed after. Some mornings when I am ready to leave for work, I get attacked and it is not play, he is angry. I just put him in a room, close the door and give his a time out for 5 mins. then he is ok. Not a cat for everyone.

amanda    canyon, TX

2/13/2015 10:42:46 AM

The only thing my bengal listens to when I dont want him doing whayever it is he is getting in to at that moment is hissing at him. telling him no and squirting with water just amplifies his bad behavior, hope this helps someone with the same problem

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