Bengal cats truly stand out among other cat breeds. Not only are they larger and more muscular, but their coats look like those of the leopard cats from Asia.
But did you know that a Bengal cat’s personality is also different from other cat breeds?
If you’re considering adopting one as a pet, it’s important to know everything about the Bengal cat’s temperament, personality, and needs. They make great pets and can become an emotional support animal as long as they offer you comfort and support.
Keep reading to find out if the Bengal cat is the right feline family for you.
A Bengal is a large and athletic breed of pet cat. They’re the only domestic cats that have markings similar to leopards on their coats. Because of these markings, they can often look like wild cats instead of regular pet cats!
They weigh between 8 and 15 pounds and have long and muscular bodies. That’s because people bred this type of cat from a hybrid of domestic cats with Asian leopard cats. As a result, your typical Bengal is much larger than other breeds of house cats.
A leopard cat isn’t a domesticated house cat. They’re a small wild species of cat found across South, Southeast, and East Asia. Although they look similar to domesticated cats, they’re wild animals that shouldn’t be approached.
Bengals, on the other hand, are domesticated and tame — even if they look similar to their wild ancestors.
They have dense, short coats covering their entire body. You’ll recognize them from their stunning spotted or marbled patterns that can come in a variety of colors, like brown, silver, blue, black, and charcoal.
Some Bengals even have shimmery fur. That’s because of their translucent, hollow hair that catches and reflects light more effectively than regular cat hair.
Bengals love people, and when they bond with their owners, they do so deeply. That said, it can take time to win a Bengal over.
They’re playful and active, but they’re also intelligent. That means they can easily become responsive to your gestures or cues.
Like any other cat breed, each Bengal is unique, but according to a questionnaire for Bengal cat owners, here are some frequent behaviors that owners have noticed:
By knowing about these four common behaviors, you can prepare before adopting a Bengal. For example, you can provide a water fountain for water play or add plenty of climbing spots in your home.
Bengals aren’t the cuddliest breed of cat. They’re highly social and love their humans, but they prefer to stay active. These cats have high energy levels.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to hold your Bengal. But keep in mind that they’re not the best choice of pet for someone who prefers bonding with their cat by cuddling on a couch for hours on end.
Because Bengals are so intelligent, they need to be stimulated to prevent behavioral issues. For example, they can become aggressive when they experience frustration.
Like other pets, they may misbehave if they get bored, and they can get bored more easily than other cat breeds because of how smart they are.
For example, many Bengals will become highly vocal to communicate their boredom or frustration. They can also become destructive to their environment and start pushing items over.
That’s because they’re highly curious about how objects behave when they interact with them. How will this glass react when it falls on the ground? What’s inside this cabinet? What does this object taste like?
They can also get lonely easily. If you work from home, adopting a Bengal is a great way to spend plenty of time with a highly social pet.
A responsible pet owner can mitigate these issues by taking care of all a Bengal cat’s needs. For example, if you know you won’t be home often, consider adopting a second cat for your Bengal to play with.
You can also rotate your assortment of cat toys so that your Bengal doesn’t always have the same toys to choose from.
Like any cat, Bengals can bite if they get bored. Biting is part of any feline’s nature. But there are a few steps you can take to train a Bengal not to bite.
The first thing to note is that tiring out your Bengal will make them less likely to bite. You can play hunting games with them to mitigate this issue. The more energy they spend, the less bored they’ll be!
But if you want to train your Bengal to stop biting people, avoid shouting or hitting. Unlike dogs, cats can’t understand the correlation between their behavior and punishments.
Hitting or shouting will only make your Bengal fear you.
Instead, you can hiss or make a loud noise to show that biting isn’t okay. You can also train your Bengal to bite a toy instead of your hand. Keep toys around you or in your pocket so that you always have easy access.
Overstimulation can also cause your Bengal to bite. Watch their body language when petting a Bengal to notice any signs of overstimulation before the behavior begins.
Some examples of overstimulated body language include:
As you get to know your Bengal more, you’ll learn to recognize these signs more easily. This’ll make it much easier to mitigate the biting and keep both you and your Bengal happy!
Curbing a Bengal’s bad behavior is great, but it’s also important to build a bond between you and your cat. Because Bengals love to be social, they can form deep bonds with their owners.
There are several ways you can bond with your Bengal. For example, when you first adopt your pet, remember that cats consider direct eye contact a challenge.
Instead of looking straight into your Bengal’s eyes at the beginning of your relationship, try slow blinking instead. You can look past them while you blink slowly.
Cats will blink slowly when they feel relaxed and at ease. They’re showing that they trust you enough to close their eyes and let down their guard. And when you do the slow blink in front of your Bengal, you’re showing them that you trust them and feel safe around them.
You don’t see them as a challenger — you see them as a friend.
In turn, your Bengal will learn to see you as a friend instead of a threat.
Next comes touch. Let them sniff your hands before you give them a scratch or pet. Even though Bengals prefer to be up and about, they still enjoy physical contact with their humans.
By letting your Bengal sniff your hand first, you’ll allow them to get to know you better. Start with small scratches before you pet their entire body.
You’ll also want to play with your Bengal often. Not only is it fun and entertaining, but your Bengal will have a blast, too!
Although you can’t understand a Bengal’s language, you can speak back to them to strengthen your bond. Choose a specific tone of voice that you use specifically to respond to your Bengal’s “talking.”
Of course, Bengals enjoy treats. Try several treat options to see which ones your Bengal prefers. You can also switch out the variety to keep it interesting.
Finally, grooming your Bengal is a great way to show your love. Even though Bengals have short hair, a regular combing will provide a great bonding session.
If your Bengal licks you, it means they’re grooming you back!
A Bengal cat needs plenty of love and care to thrive and live a healthy life in your home.
Firstly, Bengals need enough room to exercise and stay active. Because they’re on the larger side and need space to move, they’re not the best fit for tiny living spaces.
No matter the size of your space, it’s important to give enough climbing space for your Bengal. For example, cat trees work well, but you can also install ledges throughout your home to create an entire climbing path.
Bengals enjoy watching birds and small animals from windows. If your windows aren’t easily accessible by your Bengal, consider putting your cat tree or ledges close to the window. You can even find ledges that are designed specifically to stick on a window.
A Bengal’s hair is short and easy to care for. You won’t need to brush their coats more than once a week, but you can do it more often for bonding purposes.
While most cat owners don’t bathe their cats, Bengals are different. You can give them a bath from time to time since they enjoy playing in water.
Finally, provide regular nail clippings and tooth care like you would for any other cat. A Bengal’s nails and teeth don’t have any special considerations.
Keep the nails trimmed about every two to three weeks. If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your Bengal’s nails, consider going to a pet groomer instead. You can ask them to show you how to do it so that you become more comfortable with it over time.
Any pedigreed cat will have some potential health issues to watch for, and Bengals are no exception. That’s why you should watch out for these common diseases in Bengal cats and always have a direct conversation with your breeder.
One common issue includes eye diseases like progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause progressive blindness. They can also develop cataracts.
Heart diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are also common issues. Both this issue and progressive retinal atrophy are hereditary.
Finally, some Bengals can have anesthetic allergies. However, there’s no way to know unless your Bengal requires an anesthetic. You can ask your vet if you’re not sure about your Bengal’s health issues.
Be wary of a breeder that claims their Bengals are free from these issues. It’s impossible to guarantee. What they can do is test their kittens as early as possible to detect any diseases.
Now you know that Bengal cats have a high need for affection and stimulation. Although they can take longer to start trusting you, you’ll have a loyal friend for life once you win a Bengal cat over.
If you’re a resident of a rental property who has a pet (or wants to adopt one), consider talking to your landlord about PetScreening. When you create a digital pet profile with your property, you can easily keep all your pet’s information in one place. Reach out to your landlord and help us make the world a more pet-inclusive place!