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The Joys and Hazards of Living with a Bengal Cat

Updated on October 03, 2012
A standard spotted male Bengal (Howl) at ten months of age.
A standard spotted male Bengal (Howl) at ten months of age.

Beginning Note

Although there are lots of sites that just fawn over the Bengal breed there doesn't tend to be too many that describe just what life is like with these cats. In this article I hope to both educate the audience to basic Bengal facts and allow anyone to learn what a charming handful these sprightly balls of fur are.

What is a Bengal?

Bengals are a breed of cat that originated from cross breeding domestic cats with Asian Leopard Cats (a type of small wild cat.) The purpose of these breedings were to obtain a cat with the disposition of a domesticated cat but with the wild and crazy markings of the Asian Leopard Cat. These hybrids (called F1's to denote they were the first generation) were bred together through numerous generations with some more domestic lines occasionally finding themselves thrown in. The result was a stunningly beautiful, fiercely intelligent, and often quirky cat that could be kept in the household as a pet. Now Bengals are a recognized breed and can be shown at cat shows and sold legally in all 50 states.

Adult Female Marbled Snow Bengal (Sophra)
Adult Female Marbled Snow Bengal (Sophra)

Bengal Appearances

Bengal cats are a varied breed. They come in several colors, coat patterns, eye colors, and even their weight can vary greatly from individual to individual. Still they maintain a certain distinction in the cat world for being probably the bulkiest of the cat breeds in terms of pure muscle mass. The males in particular have thick enormous muscles that ripple underneath their shimmering coats.

Their most unique feature of course is their elegant coats. Most people think of spots when they think of a Bengal but they do also come in marbled and rosetted. Rosetting is what causes some individuals to have spots which look more like doughnuts than dots. Marbling is a form of horizontal striping, a fascinating variety of swishes and swirls on their sides and back. Swirls that look like cinnamon buns are actually a default if you're showing but they are still gorgeous.

Bengal colors include Brown (an orangey-brown with black spots or marbling), Snow (a cream colored body with dark tan spots or marbling), Silver (a startling metallic silver with black spots or marbling), and Melanistic (black with darker black spots or marbling.) Melanistic and colors like blue are occasionally seen but are not recognized by cat clubs. Blues are actually almost always (if not always) crosses.

Eye color can be anything from a deep copper gold, to a startling minty green, to brilliant yellow, to ice blue depending on the breeds used in their original ancestry and whether or not the breeders in their lines have decided to concentrate on improving eye color or not.

Regular Brown Spotted (Howl) showing off his lovely coat.
Regular Brown Spotted (Howl) showing off his lovely coat.

Bengal Behavior

Bengals are probably the most intelligent cats I've come across, even occasionally outwitting the cunning Siamese. Because of their intense intelligence and wild ancestry they tend to have some pretty strange behavioral quirks. Asian Leopard Cats adore the water and so do the Bengals that descend from them. Almost every Bengal will have some sort of overriding obsession with water. They often drink by dipping their paw into the water bowl and licking it off rather then just drinking straight from the dish like a normal cat. They've also been known to play in water whenever they can, splashing water out of their bowl, interrupting their human while they're showering or bathing, and displaying an almost painful delight at playing with running fountains and faucets. One Bengal I had for awhile even learned how to drain a five gallon watercooler so she could watch the bubbles pop up in the jug. Imagine my surprise to find the room flooded! People with fish should also beware as some Bengals do enjoy pawing around the tank and catching goldfish.

Because of their wild heritage they aren't only phenomenal fishers but also efficient hunters. The only way to curb them from this particular tendency is to raise them from kittenhood very carefully with small animals constantly in their presence. This being said it's still advised only to train them with the strictest precautions as accidents are always capable of happening. They are animals after all. Owners of small animals should not allow them out with a Bengal present without supervision.

Bengals are a very active breed. Add their high IQ to this and you generally have a recipe for a troublemaker. No amount of toys will ever keep a Bengal happy. They'll always get bored one day and venture off to find something to get into. They're known for stealing random objects and running off with them, destroying anything they think is expensive or precious, and staring down the other animals just for giggles.

Bengals are a fiercely territorial breed, which means if you want to have more then one you should get at least a pair (or have other cats already living in the home) the first time around. Otherwise introductions can be hard. Because of this they do not generally like big changes in their environment and should always have a box, cat tree, or kennel that they can retreat to to hide when they feel stressed out. They should also be kept as house cats due to the dangers the outdoors present to them and the dangers they present to local wildlife.

This all being said Bengals are an affectionate breed if they're raised properly. They tend to love their humans and act rather dog-like playing games like fetch and following their owners around watching their every movement. Careful though, they are constantly learning and can pick up "tricks" from watching their humans like learning how to turn door knobs, turn on faucets, and flush the toilet repeatedly to watch the swirling water.

New owners should also note one of the Bengal's most adorable characteristics, a pathetic little kitten meow they never grow out of. They're a verbal breed and do love to meep, mew, and meow at their humans for any reason at all.

Sophra trying to pet Oscar (Note: Do not try this at home! Most Bengals would eat the bird, Sophra's been conditioned not to.)
Sophra trying to pet Oscar (Note: Do not try this at home! Most Bengals would eat the bird, Sophra's been conditioned not to.)

Bengal Anectdotes

So you still think you want a Bengal? They certainly are special. Once you go Bengal you tend never to go back. They're just that unique. However they are like having a wrecking ball with a warped sense of humor in your home. Now it's time you hear some of stories of my little furry rabble-rousers.

Sophra I got as soon as she was weaned but even before I brought her home she started to show her true colors. She was out running around the breeder's house getting some exercise when we suddenly heard a horrible thump. There Sophra was, a tiny little kitten, at the bottom of the stairs. She fell off the banister and hit the hardwood floor with her nose, not her feet. It broke. Since then her nose has always been dented.

Right after I brought her home she started manipulating me. She would only eat if I was standing there watching her and since I didn't want her to starve I caved for this cunning little game of hers. When she grew older I was starting to believe my house had a poltergeist. Random objects would disappear never to be seen again. Children's plush toys, bottles, hair ties, cough drops, hard candy, elastics, yarn, and anything that was light enough to lug off. Occasionally I'd find them stashed in bizarre places. My pet sitter once had a nasty surprise when she was staying over to take care of the animals. She pulled up the covers on the bed only to find that Sophra had plucked a pincushion dry and spread pins and sewing needles all throughout the blankets and sheets. It's my personal belief that she did it to hear the pet sitter scream. She's funny like that.

Howl as a kitten and as an adult continuously gets trapped in garbage cans, empty small animal and bird cages, his cat carrier, and even closets, cupboards, and cabinets. Now he's bigger he can usually find his way out but when he was a kitten there was almost a daily rescue mission. Currently he likes draining his bowl while Sophra repeatedly flushes the toilet.

Once I was foolhardy enough to baby-sit for a small Bengal cattery. I brought the cats to my home and let them run around one room. They consisted of two tomcats who had to be separated from each other (as they did not grow up together and you know how tomcats usually are!) four adult females and two six month old kittens. These were cattery raised cats that did not know the comforts of a home and you could tell. They were wild! I may as well brought in a troupe of rabid badgers.

I let one of the males run around and stuffed the other one in a large cage so they wouldn't kill each other. Little was I to know that this angry 25 pound cat would find a way to break out of an impenetrable cage within hours of being put in it. I ran into the room when I heard the most horrendous screams that I have ever heard. It sounded like the screams were emanating from the bowels of Hell. There the two tomcats were beating the piss out of each other. Fur was flying everywhere and I knew these cats didn't like me when they were in a good mood. I couldn't just grab without one without myself being mortally wounded, so I reached for whatever was nearest to me, a broom, and started to beat them into separate corners. After that I was stuck with the problem of getting the giant male back in the cage.

This male was enormous. He was a pit bull in cat fur. His neck was so thick with muscles I couldn't grab his scruff (he had none!) though desperately I tried. This resulted in 25 pounds of writhing angry muscle dangling from my arm by the teeth. When he finally let go I had to pin him to the floor by sitting on him but this too failed and he ran off. I had to chase him with a broom to get him back into the cage. He escaped unscathed but I ended up with a nasty scar.

I thought that room was empty but every day I'd go in there and find something else broken on the floor. Bowls, unidentifiable glass objects (which I still haven't a clue where they came from) light bulbs, lamps, toys were all in the middle of the floor in shards. The cage the giant male was in was totalled in the time he was here. The curtains were turned into shreads and the only cat that actually liked me was also the same one who thought it'd be hilarious to drain the 5 gallon water cooler out onto the floor. After a month I was more then ready to send the hellions home! Never again will I take on caring for an adult cattery or cage raised Bengal!

Still I adore the two I have which were raised from kittens here. They keep me on my toes. Sophra can usually be seen darting full speed through the house with cough drops and hard candy dangling from her mouth. We haven't had candy dishes out for more then a year, likely two. She either has a stash somewhere or she's picked up magic. When she gets bored of that she likes to jump up on the furniture in the wee morning hours and push everything she can off like a little bulldozer. It doesn't matter If its paperwork or knickknacks, she'll still watch it fall with amazement. So what do you think? Are Bengals too much personality for you?

Sophra Singing
Sophra Singing

Tips on Keeping a Bengal

  • If the Bengal is not going to be used for breeding purposes it should be fixed before it reaches sexual maturity. This should prevent them from marking their territory by spraying your home (once this behavior starts it's a hard habit to kick in both males and females.)
  • Keep lots of cat toys out and put anything precious and destructible away!
  • Keep the lid to the toilet down so they don't have an excuse to start flushing.
  • Put their water dish on a Linolium or tile floor if possible to make for easier cleanup.
  • Socialize the kitten early on with as many people as you possibly can to prevent the cat becoming a one-person cat (and believe me once they bond in this manner they're usually petrified of everyone else for no reason at all.)
  • If you're going to have other pets make sure you get the cat used to them when it's still a kitten.
  • Never expect a lap cat or perfectly behaved pet. They're going to start trouble sooner or later you just don't know how or when.
  • If you want a weird hobby try agility training your Bengal - yes, there's tournaments for cat agility now and Bengals take the place of border collies as the most popular breed there.
  • Please keep all cats, not just Bengals, inside at all times. It's a big bad world out there and everyone's better off in the house. if you want to bring them outside Bengals are easily harness trained.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Fascinating and unique hub! Your pictures are simply fantastic, especially cat and bird friends and singing cat.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great Hub. Is Oscar an amazon? Just trying to judge the size of your cat...nice pictures too.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 8 years ago from New England

      No, Oscar is a dusky headed Conure. Sophra's very small for a Bengal... The males can get over 20 pounds sometimes of pure muscle. Females tend to be smaller, 8 pounds or so is probably average for them.

    • Christopher 8 years ago

      Wonderful photos! My cats LOVE playing with straws. We always pick up extras when we get fast food, so we can bring home "presents" for the cats.

    • Jennifer 8 years ago

      Your post had me absolutely crying with laughter! Or maybe relief...I have 2 male silver Bengals, and it's so nice to know there are others who have the joy/pain of living with these wonderful monsters! I wouldn't trade them for the world, although I would like a night of solid sleep, without fear of something crashing on my head...

    • gracen/wolfie399 8 years ago

      i know the joy/pain of owning wild cat mixes....i have a bobcat/domestic shorthair...she is a handful,but i wouldn't trade her for the world...also the pictures on this site were pretty cool..i think i might get one to add joy to my exotic life with exotic animals.

    • Trisha's Artworks profile image

      Trisha's Artworks 7 years ago

      Wow!! nice hub, great pictures, ok,.... some part of me is sayin you should keep one just look at their magnificent fur..and the other part of pls. your mom's vase is gonna be in trouble...,love your hub..i'm gonna show this to my dad,..:-D

    • Grundge Hedgehog profile image

      Grundge Hedgehog 7 years ago from Durban

      hahaha!i enjoyed this immensely! I do not have a Bengal cat, I have 2 normal domestic short haired. Your story of the 2 bengals in your home sounds almost similar to what's its like trying to convince my small cat into the cage for a vet visit! Nicely Done - Love this hub!

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      Oh don't get me started on crating the little buggars and bringing them to the vet! I have to bring Howl in soon and I am dreading it. He needs a blood test but I am more than willing to bet he'll probably have to be anestatized to get it! He doesn't trust anyone but me and tweaks in a new situation or location... and has no scruff to hang onto. Oh that should be fun... ;) Thanks for the comment! This article and my The Evil Scheming of a Vicious Cockatoo ( ) story has to be my favorite animal hubs to write and to share!

    • Ebony 7 years ago

      hi there. do you have to cage these cats?

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 7 years ago from New England

      No more so than a regular cat, Ebony. These guys are domesticated, they're just a lot smarter and little wilder looking. :) 'Course there are times when a cage can be used as a tool for any cat, as I have written about in one of my other articles ( )but Bengals don't require them any more than a regular cat.

    • David Fallon profile image

      David Fallon 7 years ago from Pomona, CA

      great stuff

    • Julie Chitwood 7 years ago

      Loved your description of the Bengels. We have George - all 18 lbs of him. He LOVES doing pushups on my husband's legs in the middle of the night (mine he leaves alone, of course I can sleep through anything and Bill can't). He also has a "thing" about getting up on the bar and trying to hang on the mirror. No matter how many times he gets in trouble about it he just keeps doing it. Are pressently trying time outs when he does it - but as you can tell - he keeps doing it. Our house looks like a pet store of toys, plus he adds things to his treasurers (we have to bring him back a present when we go away - he immediately checks the suitcase). He loves people - runs to the door to greet them. You are right on about the IQ - I just wish he would use it to quit doing the things that get him in trouble.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      What a great hub! Absolutely love the stories!

      I am adding a link to your hub on my blog about cats (A Cat's Tail - the 'Purr'fect Blog) on

      Thanks for a great read!

    • Alfie 6 years ago

      How sad that you insist they should be kept in the house. Against all of theor natural desires. We have a Bengal and he cames and goes as he pleases. He loves nothing more than climbing trees and racing around chasing flies. I cant see the pleasure in keeping a Bengal if you are only going to keep it 'safe'

    • Erin 6 years ago

      I loved reading your post. I have two male Bengals, one spotted and one marble. They are both wonderful babies. We just celebrated their first birthday. They are not as wild as your cats. The most annoying thing that Oliver does is cry during the night, which frustrates me. I am trying to find a way to get some sleep but it seems that punishing him does not work. Do you have any ideas?

      Thanks! :O)

    • austin 6 years ago

      Erin, there is nothing you can do. They will howl their entire life. these cats are not cats, but rather half/breed wild animals. they are still so early in their breeds bloodlines that they have not worked out the charactersitics of a more wild animal. I have had many, and they are not for a new cat owner. Some of mine had to be put down, just couldn't deal with not sleeping. BTW, if you get bit by one you could be in for thousands of dollars of medical bills. My last bengal bite was by my beloved Max, three puncture wounds that neded stiches. Was Max's last bite.

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Love, love this Cat!

    • sherry 5 years ago

      This was a great read. I adopted a free kitten about a year ago now, and ended up with the most delightful cat I've ever met.

      She is most certainly part Bengal, part silver Bengal to be more precise. I was pretty sure because of her markings, however, reading the personality traits and characteristics of the Bengals solidified my guess.

      She is a treasure of a kitten. I named her Benny (before I knew she was a Bengal - in fact before I even brought a new cat home, I knew that was going to be her name)

    • Michael Stevens 5 years ago


      I have a 6 month old female bengal who is getting spayed this week. She seems to urinate on the bed all the time so now i dont let her in the bedroom. I want her to learn not to so she can sleep with me and partner. Can anyone help and advise me if this is normal for bengals and how to train them not to urinate? p.s. it is only on the bed....


    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      This is a great hub. While I don't have Bengals, my kitten exhibits many of the traits you mentioned. I LOL at the antics you described. To know a cat is to love one.

    • derins 5 years ago

      i really want to know is bengal cats good with babies and i would to have 3 reasons why and yes you should have a bengal cat !!!!

    • Melissa 5 years ago

      Just Put a deposit on a kitten and loving it...I'll c here on Mother's Day. What a gift. Her name is Rahza, she is a brown spotted and her mother is stunning.

    • Chanda 5 years ago

      I have been owned and loved by a few Bengals in my day! My first was a little Brown Spotted darling named Takarra. She was as wild as wild could be. Her first day home at just over 7 weeks, she stole my husband's dinner, a chunk of roast bigger than her! Josh tried taking it back and darn near lost a finger! She growled over food and would help herself to what she wanted. At 7 months old, she passed away. We have no proof, but we believe the catfood recall of 2007 was the cause of her death since she had eaten one of the brands recalled since we had gotten her. She dies 3 weeks before the recall. Heartbroken, we turned back to our breeder, who by then was a good trusted friend. She responded by sending her pregnant brown marble, Targa home with us. We got to raise a litter and take our pick. Josh fell in love with a silver marble who we named Kianna while the runt of the litter, a brown marble boy named Kaidyn stole my heart. Because he was sickly at birth, he was totally bottle fed and raised. He was so cute about it that we bottle fed until he was 6 months old! Kaidyn was harness trained and even rode in his own baby stroller! He went everywhere with me and became very well known around town. he even did Halloween pet costume shows and beat out all the dogs one year to win the contest at the dog shelter! Kianna was never happy in a home with other cats and after her first birthday, I placed her with a friend of mine whom she adored! She is happy and healthy and has even adjusted to other cats with time. Kaidyn passed away last year on Christmas day from HCM. He is dearly missed and thought of every day. Kimiko is my first Snow Bengal, a Snow Mink, we call her the Princess and she demands being treated as such! She never harness trained and doesn't like leaving her house at all. She does give kisses though and loves both her Siamese cats! She will yell at you for no reason other than to say, look at me! I'm cute! The one thing she hates though is our other Bengal cat, Mayayna, a brown spotted kitten. Mayayna is Bengal in every sense of the word! She loves water and she can open doors as well as turn on light switches. She also has the food aggression and will steal it as you go to take a bite! Bengals are the best cats and I love each and every Bengal I have ever met!

      After Kaidyn's passing, we found out I am pregnant. I found this out exactly 2 months to the day he left us. Both my husband and I agree that the baby is a gift from our beloved boy! We are due Oct 23rd, right before Kaidyn's favorite time of year. We believe that Kaidyn didn't want us to be lonely and that he wanted something to fill the new baby stroller that we gave him for Christmas morning. We are having a girl and have decided we will honor Kaidyn in her name. She will be named Savannah Rayne. Savannah for another breed of cat we both dearly love and Rayne in honor of Kaidyn's sister's middle name.

    • Vanessa 5 years ago

      Bengals are wonderful. I have one that swims in the bath, & i certainly am not allowed to ever have a shower without him. He also stalks toddlers & large dogs down the street reguarly. [And he's dead serious about it!]So serious that one lady picked up her dog & ran....

      It always concerns me that some people get bengals without realizing how high maintenance they are though. They're so smart & so social that if you leave them alone all day in a house they'll go nuts. Life would be very traumatic if i didn't let mine outside at the crack of dawn each day. They are not designed to be inside cats

    • tiggy2006 5 years ago

      We have 3 Bengals all brown spotted, here in the UK Bengals are still on the dangerous animal list therefore we cannot let them out. We have converted the garden and the house with two huge cages with trees and waterfalls in them, they love this and the one off the patio includes sleeping bags and pots that they curl up in and they just love our two german shepherds and our new arrival white oriental cat called Holly !!

    • rachealomack profile image

      rachealomack 5 years ago from levittown, NY

      I enjoyed this article! I also learned a lot from it :)! Voted up!

    • Anne 5 years ago

      I have ruru. A new Zealand Bengal. She is six months old lives with 2 bichons. Runs the house and the property. We live in the bush with lots if native birds. Hoping she won't go on a killing spree. Love her to bits. Bengals rock

    • Enzosmom 5 years ago

      Thoroughly enjoyed the article. So incredibly accurate: like Like a great film, I laughed, I cried, I cheered. We have Enzo, our adopted 6-year old, 17-lb amber furry ball o' love/terror. The first moment he came home, he was affectionately referred to as our Little Mike Tyson: all muscle, agile, active, definitely high maintenance, loving but definitely on his terms, EXTREMELY territorial, maddening, quirky, incredibly smart, so loud, and frankly, a little smarty pants(said with love, of course). Now, after a year together, we're convinced he is a lifetime member of the terrible two's club disguised as a Pit Bull in a Bengal Outfit. We've "adjusted" to each other, but we tend to make most of the consessions in his favor. We love him so much, we can't imagine life without him. But he is definitely a handful and like living on a roller-coaster, not for the faint of heart.

    • Enzosmom 5 years ago

      Thoroughly enjoyed the article. So incredibly accurate: similar to watching a great film, I laughed, I cried, I cheered. We have Enzo, our adopted 6-year old, 17-lb amber furry ball o' love/terror. The first moment he came home, he was affectionately referred to as our Little Mike Tyson: all muscle, agile, active, definitely high maintenance, loving - but on his terms, EXTREMELY territorial, maddening, quirky, incredibly smart, so loud, and frankly, a little smarty pants(said with love, of course). Now, after a year together, we're convinced he is a lifetime member of the Terrible Two's Club disguised as a Pit Bull in a Bengal Outfit. We've "adjusted" to each other, but we tend to make most of the concessions in his favor. We love him so much, we can't imagine life without him. But he is definitely a handful, and like living on a roller-coaster, being loved by a Bengal is not for the faint of heart.

    • Valerie 5 years ago

      I have a 9 month old F2 Bengal boy and he is all that you describe, purrs like a choo choo train even louder when you talk to home or pet him. Follows me everywhere, cries when I leave and is at the door when I get home. I think the most amazing thing he has done is jump from the floor to the top edge of an open door and walk around like he is on a tight rope.. He talks a lot and will only eat raw chicken, he loves it and everything else gives him diarrhea. At nine months he weighs 12 lbs, is 12inches high at the shoulder and 16 inches long from shoulder to base of his tail which is very thick. His papers say he is brown spotted but he has much contrast with a silvery brown background and milk chocolate spots. H has all the wild type characteristics to his appearance and I wish I had more just like him. I have a female Siamese that is his buddy, a Siamese/Bengal mix female and an American Tabby mix female all spade. I plan to get my boy neutered in the next couple of weeks. I used to honk Siamese was the martest breed until I got this Bengal and thy definitely are smarter than Siamese and much more active. They re fantastic pets and companions but hey re not the usual cat, you definitely have to love them more than your belongings.

    • fordgirl89 5 years ago

      i really enjoyed reading about your bengals! i have one and i swear he is my best friend some days! he is brillant! i came across a marble bengal at a shelter today that they had for adoption for only 60 dollars. i don't think they realized what they have on their hands. i was absolutely taken back by this little guy and felt horrible for leaving him behind. i came home only to sit and wonder how my six year old bengal would do with a year and a half year old. lets face it, the young one would be a snack for my 12 pounder. it breaks my heart and i am so tempted to at least try and see how the introduction would go, but i am worried i will end up with some battle wounds, and worse, i would have one less cat on my hands. my bengal actually got a pit bull puppy by the neck and refused to let go at a rather young age. i turned to your article for some advice, and after reading i think i have come to the conclusion that it would be a bad idea. it is so nice to see what other people have to say about these gorgeous pets! i love mine! i will never own anything but a bengal!

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 5 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Our three Bengal kittens be playing around the house, chasing each other and jumping over the back of the sofa, and in their inertia would be shooting like little furry cannon balls against the window. I was ever so afraid that they would one day go straight out of the first floor window and land outside. But they clung to the window grille with their tiny claws and dangled, making us laugh with relief. Very informative and yet personal Hub. Enjoyed reading it.

    • arusho profile image

      arusho 4 years ago from University Place, Wa.

      Great hub, I love all cats. I've never seen a service cat, but I live in the Tacoma area and maybe I'll bump into Patty and her service cat!

    • Sushi Bengal Adoption 4 years ago

      I just adopted an F6 2 yr old male Bengal, He spends the majority of his time under our bed. Only coming out at night and then likes to get on the bed and watch cartoons with us! He has been eating so long as I put his food under the bed. He seems very fearful of just about everything! Will he get better eventually and be one of the fam?

    • hobe 4 years ago

      "BTW, if you get bit by one you could be in for thousands of dollars of medical bills,"

      Sure, if you don't have health insurance, or if you don't take care of it right away.

      I was recently bit by a friend's cat, who clamped her jaws onto my wrist. It was the singular most painful experience, worse than breaking my arm. In less than an hour, my wrist was completely swollen, and I had to enlist the help of said friend to cart me off to the hospital.

      It took two solid weeks before I was able to bend my wrist without pain. Imagine the looks of surprise on people's faces when I explained that my arm was not actually broken, but rather that I had suffered from a gnarly cat bite.

      Cat mouths are festering cesspools of nastyness, & deep puncture wounds are no joke. W/ kaiser insurance, I paid my usual co-op fees for two visits + shots + generic antibiotics. A whopping $80... of course, it depends on your provider+plan... but far from 'thousands of dollars.'

    • Tundraleigh 4 years ago

      I have two beautiful bengals, India and Sati. Liked hearing about your kitties but couldn't disagree more about forcing your cats to live indoors. Our cats live for their time in the forests and fields. They climb everything. They catch bugs and small fish in the stream behind the house. They roam all over the mountain. I would rather they live shorter, but more fulfilled lives than be cloistered away, never able to feel the wind ruffling their fur, never able to stalk prey, never allowed to melt away into a dappled wood to spend quiet time in nature. I hope you don't take any offense, but I would never want my little wildcats to live a life of sheltered domesticity. I can also tell you that during the winter months when it is too cold for them to spend time outdoors, they become much more destructive and fight more often. They are just so much healthier and happier, physically and mentally, when they have a natural and mentally stimulating outlet for their energy. I think a lot of the behavioral issues people have with bengals stem from them being cooped up indoors where they end up causing trouble to alleviate their boredom. Added bonus, we no longer have to fence our gardens since they have become incredible little hunters. I will agree with one thing you said - we will always have hybrid cats from now on, they are amazing and beautiful companions.

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 4 years ago from New England

      Sushi Bengal Adoption: Previously owned Bengals are a completely different thing. They are peculiar animals. I must say though if he climbs on your bed to watch cartoons with you there is hope he'll eventually start to feel safer in his environment and more amiable towards you. I have met a lot of these cats though that will never readjust, they end up holy terrors and bad biters. That's why I stress people really know what they're getting into when they take one of these guys home because it will be a lifelong commitment.

      To all those who feel keeping cats indoor is cruel: Please understand it's not just for the cat's safety it for everything within claw's reach. Bengals can be ferocious hunters and there's certain bird species that are being completely devastated by feral and outdoor cats. Also the possibility of your cat picking up a disease from another cat he encounters is MUCH greater when he's allowed outside and at least here in the United States more cats are killed by cars and wildlife than anything else. In fact the average age of death for an outdoor cat is a pitiful 2 years, compared to house cats who live well into their teens and beyond. Personally I am building a large outdoor pen for my beasties. It keeps them away from most dangers and allows them to play in the grass and feel the sunshine. That being said any animal which is raised 100% inside will not know what it's missing. Right now I am guessing Howl is going to be scared to death of the new pen as he's never been outside and tends to act this way in new environments. Sophra I am sad to say passed away and so this is really for my other kitties enjoyment but I'll probably make a hub on it one of these days.

    • Beverly 4 years ago

      I have a Bengal Cat and I was just wondering, do Bengals have different feet to other Cats? Her feet look like hands.

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 4 years ago from New England

      Your Bengal might have "double paws," (more correctly called polydactl) which just means he has more toes than is normal. It's a common trait in Maine Coons and ferals and because Bengals are from a whole mess of other breeds they sometimes have things like this pop up. Sometimes double pawed cats look like they have mittens or baseball mitts for front feet and I knew a Siamese once that had ten toes on each back foot, which is extreme and very unusual, not to mention very bizarre looking! Hemingway had a bunch of these double pawed cats, that's why any cat which displays this feature is sometimes called a Hemingway Cat. :) And if your cat isn't double pawed then I don't really know what to say. Bengals feet generally look pretty normal...

    • Beverly 4 years ago

      Thank you for your reply, I really don't know if this is what they are, but they certainly don't look like any Cats feet I've ever seen before.

    • Tammy 4 years ago

      I have 2 Bengal female kittens, 1 spotted & 1 marble. They are a total handful and very clingy. The one is very boisterous and the other just follows us everywhere and YELLS at us to be carried. Bengals are very demanding I have descovered but also very loving.....

    • Sarah C 4 years ago

      My Female Bengal is 13 this year - She has pee'd standing up her whole life. She starts off squatting but as she ee's she slowly stands up more and more - I have a high sided litter tray which is over 12inches tall - But she still manages to do it (as this tray has handle holes which I have covered with tape in the vain hope none will escape) She is a mad cat LOL - She is not ill, she is just a bengal who does this... Just glad I dont have carpet anywhere near the litter box lol

    • Jaynie448 4 years ago

      Hello everyone.. thank god Iv found this thread (very funny storys btw about sophra i was lol'ing)..anyway i really need as much peoples advice as possible pleease!.. i rescued a kitten 4 days ago, an ad off preloved etc said she urgently needed to rehome her kitten etc, and due to recent text messages iv come to the conculsion she knew what sort of cat he was and that he was quite feisty etc (as he is lol) she was pregnant too and she said she just simply didn't want him..anyway! we weighed him and he weighs 5kg (11 lb) hes 12 inches from floor to top of shoulder and 14 iches long from shoulder to base of tail, hes 9 months old..& when wev let him out as he was climbing the walls, running past us when we was opneing doors to which we had to shut them quickly, and also climbing the windows yes the actual window!! we were amazed! so put butter on his feet my neighbour told me about that and he battered every poor cat in sight,, a woman was even out in her dressing gown at 8am watching him and she said theyv been at it for an hour, there were 4 other cats he battered too :( this particular white one, there was fluff all over the garden so i went and chased him. caught him and he scratched and bit me he eventually came in tho :? i felt truly awful though and im scared of letting him out.. i want to know what sort of cat he actually is??!! this isn't normal atall!! how big he wil get length and weight etc,, should i keep him in now and build a cattery? is he a bengal do u think?? iv taken looads of pics and iv posted a few on a link (which ill add at the end)he is all black but he has like a marble "rust" when the light of my flash hits it and in sunlight iv captured this on the pics too.. hes very long and can touch my cuboard side..please help as i need to know what to do.. i dont want any harm to come to my neighbours cats, i dont want him to go missing and i need to know how big hel actually get?? do they come in black? iv read something about melanistic? & iv read breeders get rid of the black bengals or savaanhs quick as no one wants a black one :( which is awful i think.. im not saying i think hes a wild cat lol but i would greatly appreciate any advice or opinions u have on him... my email address is and the link to his pics is here please help me... he also likes to eat...alot! and meows alot too and hes always demanding attetion off me and my fiancé...any thoughts or ideas?? i welcome all your comments etc :) thankyou in advance x

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 4 years ago from New England

      Oh boy Jaynie448, sounds like you got a handful there! To answer some of your questions... Melanistic Bengals are black cats with black spots or marbling. This color is not recognized for showing so show breeders do sometimes cull them but I think more often than not they get sold as pets because pet owners don't care to show anyway and some of us actually think melanistic is beautiful.

      As for your cat... he could have Bengal in him although to me he just looks like a Siamese cross. They show up very commonly as all black cats with long tails, lean bodies, and adorable faces. Being a cross he probably wouldn't display blue eyes either. At 9 months of age most cats are pretty close their adult size, he may grow a little more but by the time a year's out he's going to be done with that.

      Have you neutered him yet? If he's unfixed he will grow more muscular and he will beat the hell out of any other tom cat in sight. The surgery isn't just for the purpose of keeping the population down it also calms the animals down a bit, makes them more likely to be docile, especially towards each other.

      I had a Siamese girl who displayed most of these behavioral characteristics... climbing windows, dashing through doors, biting, trying to beat on the other cats. I'm afraid you're not going to get rid of these personality traits. I personally don't let my cats outside as I know they'll endanger wildlife and put themselves at risk for being eaten by dogs and other things. I have however made them an outdoor run I have yet to post photos of. I did however write an article on caging cats that goes though some ideas for outdoor runs, some more affordable than others. It'd keep him from harming other cats. Scroll to the bottom for the outdoor runs.

      I hope this has helped you at least a little! Good luck!

    • Jaynie448 4 years ago

      Hi, Thank you for your reply,I think i will get him an out door run made and get him neutered. Thank you again for the advise

    • heavenblest-bengals 4 years ago

      I breed bengals in perth western australia my bloodline is HCM free & i been breedn for 8yrs. All my bubs fetch love water are cuddle sweet natured.

    • Enzosmom 4 years ago

      I just love this article and come back to it from time to time for a smile :)

      My bengal boy must stay inside. He is extremely territorial, and I fear not only for his well-being but for the well-being of all the outdoor critters.

      In addition, outdoor cats (esp in a city/suburb) have a very short lifespan and are subject to all sorts of nasty pests, germs, dirt, dangers (despite being fully vaccinated, why take a chance). We prefer for him to be safe and live to a ripe old age than to take a chance and have him hurt, injured, injure others or worse.

      He has plenty of space to play, (as another member wrote) "a pet store worth of toys", we horse around twice a day for at least an hour. He loves people and dogs. He is not lacking for anything. And if he is missing something, he has no problem letting us know! He is quite the talker! :)

      He goes for an annual check up with his favorite veterinarian. He is a very healthy, neutered 18 lb PITA (said with love, of course)

      In terms of biting and infection: that is true. A cat's bite can be messy. If your cat (any cat) mistakes your hand for a steak, after the incident, keep it clean and keep a close eye on the wound. It is painful and antibiotics may be in order. It's not the end of the world, though, as some posters mentioned.

      I have read that some variations of Bengals do seem to have long(er) toes.

      Bengals aren't for everyone. They are very demanding, incredibly intelligent and active. They insist on being "in" on whatever is going on around them and their dog-like antics are too funny for words.

      Oh by the way, mine starts pee'ing squatting and then stands up, too! I am so glad you mentioned that, Sarah C. I put his boxes up against the wall and stand up whole pages of newspaper between the box and the wall. I also have gallons of Natures Miracle ;)

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 4 years ago from New England

      LoL, well thank you Enzosmom. I have to agree, Bengals are a handful and not for everyone! This weekend I got asked, "What's that howling noise?" "That'd be Howl....I named him that for a reason..." "That seems such a simple answer." (He was staring down my Snowshoe boy. SIGH.) My house is plenty full of felines right now but I have stated if I were to ever get another it'd have to be a Bengal. They're just too much not to love! Plus there are breeders now working with all sorts of new colors and even long-haired Bengals. Intriguing stuff. Who knew you could have beauty and brains!

    • Stephen Govoni profile image

      Stephen Govoni 4 years ago from Coastal Massachusetts

      Your hub made me smile. My wife and I bought two bengal kittens while we lived together in college, one male and one female. They are absolutely beautiful animals with striking markings. The affection that these animals offer is outstanding. If you love animals and can offer discipline I firmly believe Bengals are the most amazing breed. We have 3 sons now, all under 5 years old, and they constantly chase and wrestle with the cats. Cougar (the male) is big around 20lbs and he has never bit or clawed. Never, as in no strangers, no family, and not even a wild 2 year old pulling on his tail or yanking his feet. Cougar will follow me around the house, sleep under our covers, lay next to us on the couch....

      These cats are not cats, they have doglike personalities with catlike tendencies. And yes, they HATE the vet! Thanks so much for this hub!

    • meegs supergirl 4 years ago

      I am a dog person slowly moving over to the cat world. This is the most dog-like cat i have heard of... hmmmm :)

    • Katy Riley 3 years ago

      I love my Bengals, and I find your stories and information to be true to the crazy breed!

    • Ardith 3 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your article about Bengals. My cats aren't Bengals but share many commonalities. Size and appearance( muscle and bone structure) are very similar. Other than color my male looks very like yours. My female covers or hides food when she is done eating. (doesn't matter if the male is done or not.) They are very rowdy. Have climbed the built in bookshelves and picked out books that I find laying on the floor. Unfortunately when I didn't find them soon enough pages were sometimes removed and hidden under things. or buried in the cat litter. These cats were from a female tabby farm cat and a feral male tabby raised by hand from about 4 weeks old when they were abandoned. I've heard of people having unexpected crosses between their female cat and a bobcat that are larger, much more aggressive, whether at play or hunt. I wonder if that would be similar to the Bengals.

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 3 years ago from New England

      Ardith, yes crosses between bobcats and domestic cats are possible... usually these litters result in very muscular kittens who sometimes have bobbed tails and very often have "double paws." These are usually found in feral populations... they have the distinct advantage of having that wild ancestry to hunt better. They're usually not the best pets! But Bengals also get out from time to time and get into the genetics of feral populations. I have had at least three people come to me with what was clearly a Bengal cross they got from the streets! It's a big and strange world out there. Enjoy your little furry monsters. :)

    • Anthony 3 years ago

      I have had my Toyger Bengal for a year and a half and I couldn't be happier. This is one intelligent and loving cat. He does get bored from time to time but I do everything I can to keep him occupied. I would recommend a Bengal to anyone that loves cats that are extremely smart and very affectionate. He's very loving and as close to a dog as a cat can get. If you train them right and stick strong to the training you'll end up with the best cat you've ever had. My Bengal is extremely obedient for a cat too.

    • nut 3 years ago

      My Bengal kaiser has to go outside. I have fitted him with a bell and this tends to prevent him from killing birds etc. As before there were presents daily. I just believe these cats have instincts and keeping them locked up is like cageing a wild Animal. Allot of people go for looks and don't tend to care for needs.

      The local vet says Kaiser is the finest specimen she has seen, so I am lucky to have rescued him from an illegal breeder. Were he was kept in sqaulid conditions with 20 other kittens. You can imagine the state he was in. Now though he is the most loving affectinate creature I know. He gets on well with my paternts dogs, they were introduced properly. Kaiser does like a good scrap though which Im not fond of as Bengals are allot stronger than other cats. I will say though he does not fight unless provoked. He has even fought of next doors boxer dog.. My advice People Children fine be careful round other animals...

    • ben 2 years ago

      A lot of the behavior you described is just normal cat behavior, put even the sweetest cat in a cage and you get one pissed off cat who will get revenge on you for wronging them.

    • nathalia27 profile image

      Nancy 2 years ago

      You give me second thoughts in having bengal cat now.

    • kathy14 2 years ago

      A mother Bengal cat and her kittens were abandoned near our house. She left with one of the kittens. There were 5 but one was given away. We have 3 left. I am keeping 2 and the other 1 belongs to a neighbor. I fed them from a syringe and box trained them myself. I haven't seen the momma and the kitten that she left with for 2 days . I am very worried and am going to keep looking for them until I find them .

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 2 years ago from New England

      Well.... they may have just wondered off for a few days... but she also may have tried to protect the kitten from some wild critter or loose dog and suffered the consequences. For your sake I hope she reappears safe and sound, but if she doesn't have comfort in knowing you did what you could.

    • Susan 2 years ago

      What a good wealth of knowledge. The neighbor's bengal was out while I was hanging my Christmas lights the other night. She comes right up to me and is so very affectionate, meowing and wanting her pets. I took a walk with her down the neighborhood sidewalk. She then wanted to run, and I mean she flew. We got to her house and I prompted her to go to the door, she just seems to understand everything I say to her, like my Mainecoon. She is awesome! Another Great article. Can I ask what happened to Sophra? What are the lifespan for the Bengals, do you know?

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 2 years ago from New England

      You may ask... Bengals were originally bred, in part, with the hopes that hybridizing the common cat would give them a genetic resistance to FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) which is a truly nasty disease that ravages many cat populations and has no cure. In a cruel twist of irony Bengals are one of several breeds which are actually much *more* likely to get the virus. I lost Sophra at five years of age to the disease, and Howl at 8, which devastated me. I no longer have any house cats, just two feral barn cats who are in no way pets. But thank you for reading. It is nice to know what I learned in that special time was not wasted! Happy catting! :)

      PS For Bengals who do not get FIP their lifespan is probably more like 12-15 years.

    • Anna 2 years ago

      Wonderful! I have a 1 year old melanistic bengal. His name is Nova and he is probably one of the best cats I've had... other than my cat Chevy, who is a manx cat. I will admit he is the first bengal that I know who is not fond of water but he loves to make a mess of his water dish all the time. He is a kleptomaniac and has stolen many things... he seems to have a great taste for expensive jewelery, keys, and sweaters. When he was 7 months old, he tried to drag a sweater down the hallway to his bedroom, the sweater was bigger than him and weighed about as much at the time... but now he's a 16lb bugger that hasn't even grown into his skin yet. He constantly harrasses his brother but when the sun hits him, he has the most beautiful spots and stripes that you can just start seeing if the light is right... would I get another bengal yes, but I would make sure to have a bigger house so that when he decides to zoom around like a race car, he will have more room to do it, instead of knocking every picture he can off the walls when he hits the end of the hallway.

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 2 years ago from New England

      Sounds like you got your hands full Anna! Thanks for dropping by and sharing your story. Bengals really are magical little beings. ;)

    • blueflame 23 months ago

      This is the best and most accurate article on Bengals I have ever read. I adopted a 6 year old Bengal cat from a cattery who was retired from breeding. He is close to twenty pounds of solid, hyper muscle. He's very affectionate but can be territorial with my female cat who is easily half his size, which is something I have to manage. He has two speeds, asleep and chaotic tornado. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! But, he is just the most gorgeous and friendly cat. People often come over to my house just to see him :)

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      Chris 19 months ago from Australia

      I have heard that Bengals are great cats! They look like a lot of fun! Great article thanks,

    • ann trent profile image

      Ann Urmson 15 months ago from United Kingdom

      I am new to the Bengal world. I have a 16week male named Blaze. Didn't quite realize how much of a handful they are, I have always had the normal domestic cat which are quite docile compared to the Bengal. When we first got him he would hide under the settee but after a couple of days settled. He is a joy I have more entertainment watching him playing with my little yorkie and my big ginger tom who took him about 5 weeks to accept him, but now they are like men in arms. He weighed in today at 2.7kg (5lbs 9) so think he is a good weight for his age I hope? If buying another cat it would have to be a Bengal even though it is like having a little tornado in the house. All is forgiven when he gives me a kiss and a cuddle.

    • ann trent profile image

      Ann Urmson 15 months ago from United Kingdom

      I'm new to the Bengal world, only having had the normal domestic cat. We now have a gorgeous Bengal boy named Blaze. We got him when he was 8 weeks he hid under the settee for a couple of days having sneaky peaks at his new world. He has settled well now playing constantly with my Yorkie dog and my big ginger tom. We didnt realise how so different they are compared to the average cat, we have had so much entertainment watching him play and slowly wreck my house, he is like a tornado running wild. He makes up with it when he comes for his kisses and cuddles all is forgiven he is so loving. Follows me about like a dog, comes when he's told amazes me, he come to the loo with me doesnt like me out of site. His diet consists of cooked chicken, ham, fish, he has one satchet of cat food per day any more than that he gets a bad tummy, so feed him fresh and biscuits.He has three meals aday then biscuits for during night. He is very good no crying at night so let lucky with him. He is now 4mths and weighs in at 2.7kg (5lbs 9) so he is getting there pleased with that. Hope hes not too big for his age but he's not fat all muscle. If buying another cat it would have to be a Bengal love him so much. Im waffling now so if anyones in any doubt about buying one and if you have time and dont mind a little tornado wrecking your house plenty of love and enjoyment comes your way.

    • Sasha the Cat profile image

      Sasha the Cat 8 months ago

      Many Bengals ARE nice, lovely pets, but I have a nasty experience with a huge one! It was running loose on the streets (not my cat, someone else's) and found and killed my cat, Sasha (I know that's my name on this. I like the name and loved her, even though I got some nasty scratches from this ill-tempered cat)! I also had two other cats and a beloved dog (she didn't chase cats). The dog was the closest to Sasha. I'd love it if the creator replied to this. I wanted to call animal control to take it away, but I never did and I have no idea why.

    • Caterina 7 months ago

      Hello! Thank you so much for all this information. I was wondering if you could answer a question ... We live in the countryside in France and we're thinking of getting two Bengals. However we have a large pond on our property, in which swim 3 koi fish. The fish are friendly and trusting, so they swim near the edge all the time, and would be easily accessible to a patient predator. So the question is, do you think that an adult Bengal would be able to kill a large koi fish? Or can they only kill small fish like goldfish. Thank you for your guidance! — Caterina

    • Harley 4 months ago

      Please post their need for raw meat as well-- a lot of breeders won't post that they have strict dietary needs because it makes people less likely to buy them with the effort and expenses. We rescued a stray fourth generation domestic mix and he died of organ failure from lack of proper protein. They cannot live on plain cat food.

    • Meg Francoeur 3 months ago

      I have a kitten who doesn't look like a bengal but I think she either read about one, or saw one on TV as she has all the crazy behaviors of yours!! She doesn't quite swim, but she doesn't really fear water much, she leaps up doorways and walls......just because......eats ANYTHING...and I mean anything....and pretty much creates havoc wherever she goes.....she's bengal by proxy!

    • Feleshia 3 weeks ago

      I have a half Bengal half Mainecoon he is huge (very long) his name is Oliver him and his brother both have heart murmurs Oliver loves his toys and climbing post and totally loves his water to the point I leave it dripping for him in the bathroom..... If Oliver can't see us at night he will howl untill we let him in he is the most playfull living furbaby ever he will cuddle up to me or I'll hold on in my arms on the bed belly up and run his head he sings the most beautiful purring song ever when he is with his momma !!!!!! He loves to carry things off

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