How to Care for a Bengal Cat

Updated on September 23, 2016

The Domestic Bengal Cat is a Unique Breed

Do you own, or are you thinking about getting a domestic bengal cat?

This breed of house pet is both beautiful and unique. Caring for a Bengal cat is different in several respects than for ordinary domestic shorthair cats.

We have owned a Bengal, but its inherently wild nature, combined with our busy lives resulted in a cat that was bored and longed to be outside. Once Romeo got more freedom, it was hard to convince him to come back into the house. We would see him every few weeks, roaming around outside, but our pet just didn't want to be a cuddly member of the family.

The right owner/family can be a perfect fit for this breed.

First, they are quite smart and entertaining. Second, they are remarkably healthy and require little, if any grooming. Finally, they are actually more dog-like in nature than other domestic breeds. Bengals will walk on a leash, love to be trained, they love to take baths and play fetch!

The beauty of the domestic Bengal cat is simply undeniable. Keep reading to learn more about this breed and how to care for a Bengal cat.

A beautiful Bengal cat
A beautiful Bengal cat | Source
Our Bengal Cat, Romeo
Our Bengal Cat, Romeo | Source

Make Sure you Get a Bengal Cat from a Reputable Breeder

Bengal cats have such unique characteristics, both with regard to appearance and behavior, that you will want to ensure you get a Bengal from a reputable breeder.

When the coat of a Bengal cat does not come out at show quality, some Bengal kittens may be available at a much reduced price. If you are not going to show your cat, you can still enjoy the benefits of a Bengal's personality, provided that the breeding stock is of high quality. As you can see in the photo to the right, our Romeo's coat is not as rich and beautiful as the photo above. Yet, he has all the characteristics of a Bengal cat's personality and health.

Be sure to research ahead of time to purchase only from a reputable Bengal cat breeder. This person or organization will provide a written health guarantee, can demonstrate optimum cattery conditions, and should belong to professional associations. You can generally tell by the condition of the grounds and the breeder's personality whether they love cats and wish to ensure the highest quality kittens are available.

Better yet, check to see if there are Bengal cat rescue organizations in the area. Volunteers are usually quite knowledgeable about the breed. Take added pleasure in knowing that you adopted a rescue cat.

Bengal Cat Tricks

Bengal kitten - about 8 weeks old
Bengal kitten - about 8 weeks old | Source

About the Bengal Cat Breed

In a related hub, I set forth the following information about the Bengal Cat Breed, which has been recognized as a registered breed since 1984:

The Bengal breed is fully domesticated, although it was originally bred from a cross between an Asian Leopard Cat (a small, wild cat that lives in forests) and a "regular" domestic cat breed such as Abyssinian, American Shorthair, or Burmese. Now, only its markings are wild-looking. To be accepted for registration by the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), The International Cat Association (TICA) or the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), a Bengal Cat must be at least four generations (F-4) away from its Asian Leopard Cat ancestor. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) considers Bengals to be "wild," however, and will not accept them for showing or registration.

Despite their name, Bengal cats are not related to Bengal Tigers. They are not unusually large, wild or dangerous. Heritage is one aspect of Bengal cats. Not only do they generally have beautiful, velvet-soft coats, but they are more active, affectionate and engaged than other domesticated cats.

If you want the ease of cat ownership with the companionship of a dog, consider this breed.

Beautiful markings on a Bengal cat
Beautiful markings on a Bengal cat | Source

What Makes Bengal Cats Different?

Compared with ordinary domestic cats, Bengal cats differ in the following ways, which means that you must approach caring for this breed in a unique manner:

1. Physiology: Bengal cats are "made" differently than their other domestic cat cousins. The shape of their face and their ears have an exotic appearance. They are generally stronger and more athletic than other cat breeds, too.

2. Love of water: A cat that loves to play in water or even swim? Unbelievable, right? Yet, Bengal cats are renowned for their love of the water. They may even jump into the bathtub or shower with you!

3. Level of activity: These cats are high energy! Plus they are extremely bright and engaging. Forget what you might think about lazy cats, lounging around all day. If you are thinking about getting a Bengal cat, be sure to plan to engage them so they do not get bored and potentially destructive!

4. Loyalty: This is my favorite trait of the Bengal cat. They are very affectionate, friendly and loyal. Not your typical affective pet. A Bengal will greet you and interact with you much like a dog.

5. Trainability: Bengals are very trainable because they are smart, agile and loyal. Just watch the first video above. Can you believe a cat that can be trained to roll over, walk on hind legs and heel next to its owner?

5. Appearance: One look at a Bengal and you know you are seeing an exotic cat breed. Their amazingly soft coat is adorned with "wild markings" such as rosettes, sots and stripes.

Information on the Bengal Cat Breed

Caring for a Bengal Cat

You are probably familiar with the different needs of various breeds of dogs. For example, Labs need to run, Terriers are excitable and like to bark and dig, Beagles tend to howl and may be neurotic.

Now, apply that thinking to various breeds of cats. Granted, there is not quite as pronounced a difference among domestic cat breeds. Yet, with a cat as unique as a Bengal, you will want to consider the following tips when integrating them into your home:

  • Bengals need plenty of exercise, but its not necessarily safe to let them roam free outdoors. Fortunately, they walk well on a leash and harness. As you would with a dog, walk your Bengal cat for 10-20 minutes morning and night.
  • Consider the high activity level and intelligence of a Bengal cat, and purchase interactive toys, such as a laser light. You will need to play with your cat, even after walking it, for at least 1/2 hour morning and night.
  • Engage the cat with water. Bengals love to get into sinks, showers and tubs.
  • Train your Bengal cat either by yourself, or with professional instruction. This will also help meet their activity and intelligence needs
  • A Bengal cat does not need special food, grooming or veterinary care. In fact, experts say that they are generally healthier than other domestic cats and are not susceptible to feline leukemia

Adorable Bengal kittens
Adorable Bengal kittens | Source

Would you Own a Bengal Cat?

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Bengal cats can be talkative too
Bengal cats can be talkative too | Source


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    • profile image

      bengalcatlover101 3 weeks ago

      I just got a Bengal cat kitten and they are like dogs on the inside. It is also the only cat that my dad is not allergic to because this type of cat is the only hypo-allergenic type of cat. Hypo-allergenic means that it doesn't shed meaning it doesn't have any dander that a lot of people are allergic to.

    • profile image

      Aemilia 9 months ago

      I don't support exotic breeding or even breeding of pets, but my mom had a Bengal for a few years and my aunt is rehoming her second Bengal to me since her first and him don't get along. This breed is certainly different from house cats and need a totally different touch but they are incredibly affectionate if raised with compassion and patience. I look forward to introducing him to my domestic short hair and showing him the wonders of (safe for kitties) camping/hiking!

    • profile image

      dots 23 months ago

      Shelly: We started our cat out with frequent car rides as soon as we adopted her and she does great.

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      Shellybean7 3 years ago

      I am a Marine Corps Veteran with PTSD and my five year old son is allergic to dogs. I also work with other Veterans with PTSD and so I would have my Bengal at work as well (requiring a car ride to work which I am not sure will fare well).

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 3 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Excellent question! I would imagine yes, but the ease of training may not be as high as with a dog. Let me see if I can find an answer to that question. Best, Steph

    • profile image

      Shellybean7 3 years ago

      Can Bengal cats be trained as a therapy cat for someone with PTSD, instead of a therapy dog?

    • W1totalk profile image

      W1totalk 4 years ago

      This is an interesting domestic cat. It is wild and intense. Great article.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Aren't they a great pet? How many bengal cats do you have?

      Best to you, Steph

    • ryanjhoe profile image

      ryanjhoe 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Yup! I have bengal cats and I love them all. It's a domestic cat and I think it's easy to take care depend on how we understand to treat them. Thanks for giving more insight through this article, very helpful!

    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 5 years ago from USA

      They are so beautiful - what a lovely article. Voted up -

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Yes, Bengals are very unique, beautiful and different from other domesticated cats. Best, Steph

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Such a unique cat, helpful information for cat lovers thanks

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Ruchira,

      Thank you! Definitely make sure your child is responsible before getting them a pet. All the best, Steph

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Your cat is adorable. My kid has been pestering me for a pet, but this will be on the bottom list once he is more responsible ;)

      Voted up as interesting

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi innerspin - that video is unbelievable, isn't it? Love to share experience and tips on caring for a Bengal cat. All the best, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Wordscribe, I understand that they are a better fit for families with allergies. You should look into a Bengal rescue! Good look - thanks, Steph

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      What a wonderful video of Moogly. I've never seen a cat behave like that before. Bengals are beautiful, I didn't know a lot of the information you provided, so thanks for that.

    • wordscribe43 profile image

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      I soooo want a Bengal, but they're a bit pricey, right? Aren't they fairly hypoallergenic, too? I seem to remember my sister looking into getting one since her husband and son have major allergy issues. Anyway, they are just gorgeous cats, in my opinion.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      That's right! They are not wild tigers, but a very engaging domestic cat breed!

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 5 years ago

      Being a cat liker, didn't know much about Bengali cats. Heard, but thought they were just super tame versions and "genetically modified" Bengali tigers!

      They don't look dissimilar to other felines. Must get one soon. Thanks!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hahahaha! What is it about women and cats? (BTW, Bev... call me!) ;-)

      Have a great week too, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      They are a beautiful cat but there is no way we are getting another cat....and I hope Bev reads my comment. LOL Good job Steph! Have a great week.