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The Joys and Hazards of Living With a Pet Bengal Cat

Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.

An adult Bengal with the well-known and popular rosette coat patterning.

An adult Bengal with the well-known and popular rosette coat patterning.

Although there are a lot of Bengal cat enthusiasts and reputable breeder websites, organization sites like The International Cat Association (TICA) or The Cat Fanciers' Association, few describe what living with a Bengal is really like. In this article, I hope to educate readers on the breed's personality, instinctive behavior, reproduction and breeding, sociability with children and dogs, health issues, and more. Most importantly, I'll share my story about what it's like to live with Bengals as pets. Whether you recently acquired a kitten or you are simply a cat breed fancier, discover what a charming handful of a house cat these sprightly balls of fur can be.

Do Bengals Make Good House Pets?

The breed possesses the following unique attributes and is known for being:

  • Trainable
  • Intelligent
  • Water-loving
  • Exotic in appearance
  • Verbal and communicative
  • Athletic and entertaining
  • Social (if paired or bonded early)
  • Dog-friendly (if bonded early with a cat-friendly dog)
  • Kid-friendly (when socialized)
  • Loyal
The Asian leopard cat or "Prionailurus bengalensis" of the continental South, Southeast, and East Asia, is an ancestor of the breed.

The Asian leopard cat or "Prionailurus bengalensis" of the continental South, Southeast, and East Asia, is an ancestor of the breed.

What Is the Origin of the Breed?

Bengals originated from crossbreeding or mixing domestic cats with the wild Asian leopard cat or Prionailurus bengalensis (a type of small wildcat or jungle cat). The purpose of this breeding was to obtain a cat with the disposition of a domesticated cat but with the wild and crazy markings of the Asian leopard cat.

Not to be mislabeled as the "Bengali cat" (Bengali or Bengal being the language of the region) or misleadingly named the Bengal "tiger" cat (Bengal tiger being a distinct species), the domesticated Bengal is a hardy cross of both wild and domestic species. These hybrids (typically termed F1s for "foundation" to denote the first generation, F2, and F3 thereafter) were bred across numerous generations. 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 across all 50 American states.

Some common traits of the breed like personality and patterning may carry over into half Bengal-tabby cat or kitten mixes, Bengal-Siamese mixes, Bengal-British Shorthair mixes, and other common domestic blends.

Adapted from CatTime.com. Trait rating is from 1-5; 1 being lowest, and 5 being the highest probability.

Adapted from CatTime.com. Trait rating is from 1-5; 1 being lowest, and 5 being the highest probability.

Breed Information and Traits

  • Lifespan: 10–16 years
  • Size: 8–15 pounds or 3.6–6.8 kilograms
  • Body type: Long, muscular, and medium to large in size
  • Ancestry: Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) and domestic tabby (or Siamese mix if of the "snow" variety)
  • Coat type: Dense, soft, silky; sometimes described as "glittered"
  • Coat patterns: Spotted or bull's eye, marble, or rosette
  • Hypoallergenic: Mildly to highly hypoallergenic
  • Shedding and grooming: Low shedding; low grooming requirements
  • Activity level: High; active and athletic
  • Sociability: High; dog-friendly and kid-friendly if socialized early; vocal

Temperament, Personality, and Behavior Traits

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.

They Have an Affinity for Water

Like their ancestors, they adore the water. 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 than just drinking straight from the dish like the average house cat. They've also been known to play in water whenever they can, splashing water out of their bowl, interrupting their humans while they're showering or bathing, and displaying an almost painful delight at playing with running fountains and faucets. People with fish should also beware that some enjoy pawing around the tank and catching goldfish.

Bengals Love to Play in Water

They Are Highly Intelligent

Bengals are a very active breed. Add their high IQ or intelligence to this, and you generally have a recipe for trouble. No amount of toys will ever keep them 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 other animals just for giggles.

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They Are Excellent Hunters

Because of their wild heritage, they are phenomenal fishers and efficient hunters. The only way to curb them from this particular tendency is to expose them to small animals constantly while they are kittens. 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.)

They Are Territorial

The breed is fiercely territorial and can get nasty, which means that if you want to have more then one, you should get a pair (or have other cats already living in the home) from the start. Otherwise, introductions can be hard. They generally do not like big changes in their environment and should always have a box, cat tree, or crate that they can retreat to and hide in when they feel stressed out. They should also be kept inside due to the dangers they face in the outdoors and the dangers they pose to local wildlife.

They Are Affectionate

Bengals are an affectionate breed if raised properly. They tend to love their humans and act rather dog-like—playing games like fetch and following their owners. They are also trainable and can learn basic commands like "sit" and "stay." Careful though, they can learn bad behaviors from watching their human, like how to turn doorknobs, how to turn on faucets, and how to flush the toilet repeatedly.

They Are Vocal

New owners should also note one of the breed's most adorable characteristics: their pathetic kitten meow. They're a verbal breed and do love to meep, mew, and meow at their humans on all occasions. They talk a lot!

The average selling price of cats and kittens as adapted from the Bengal Cat Club website.

The average selling price of cats and kittens as adapted from the Bengal Cat Club website.

How Much Do Bengal Cats Cost?

Bengals are expensive and might be one of the most expensive cat breeds in the world. According to the Bengal Cat Club, their value depends on their generation rating. Recall the "foundational" generation ratings. A female kitten from an F1 generation (with a direct Asian leopard cat parent) can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 USD. An F1 male, in contrast, sells for $1,500 because they are born sterile. F2 and F3 generations can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 USD.

Coat color and patterning, of course, also factor into their value. The snow Bengal is considered to have the rarest coat type, and spotted types are also high in popularity.

Why Adopt or Rescue?

Besides saving a life, adopted or rescued Bengals can be acquired for $150–200 USD.

Breeder Pricing Quick Reference

Information adapted from the Bengal Cat Club website.

GenerationParentsEstimated Selling Price

F1 Female

Asian leopard cat parent

$2,000 to $10,000 USD

F1 Male

Asian leopard cat parent

$1,500 *always sterile

F2/F3

Bengal x Bengal cross

$1,500 to $5,000 USD

Rescue/Adoption

Often Bengal x Bengal cross

$150-200 USD

Coloring and coat patterning varies among the breed.

Coloring and coat patterning varies among the breed.

Appearance and Characteristics

The breed is highly varied in appearance in terms of coat color and patterning. Eye color and even weight can vary greatly from individual to individual. Still, Bengals maintain a certain distinction in the cat world for being the bulkiest of the 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 coat. Most people think of spots when they think of a Bengal, but they also don marble and rosette coat types. Rosetting is what causes some individuals to have spots which look more like doughnuts than dots; in other words, the rosetting is comprised of spots with two colors (brown or black spots with rust or orange inside or surrounding). Marbling is a form of horizontal striping, a fascinating variety of swishes and swirls on the side and back of the body. Swirls that look like cinnamon buns are actually a default if you're showing a cat, but they are still gorgeous. Here is a breakdown of the specific coat pattern types:

  • Arrowhead rosette: triangular spots pointed distally; fades toward the tail
  • Doughnut rosette: outlined spots with a darker interior compared to the full coat color
  • Pawprint rosette: c-shaped or dappled spots, punctuated with half open and dark outlines
  • Marble: random patterning and swirls; patterning continues to change within the first few years of life

Variations in Coat Type

Bengal coat colors include brown (orange-brown to cool-brown with black spots or marbling), snow (cream-colored body with dark tan spots or marbling), silver (metallic-silver with black spots or marbling), charcoal brown or charcoal (dark face mask and cape), and melanistic (black with darker black spots or marbling). The snow variety comes in either lynx point, mink, or sepia. Lynx point is the lightest of the snow variety, presenting with light markings on the points (ears and nose), and the sepia variety is of a soft tan coloration with pronounced accents. Melanistic fur and blue (dilute) fur are occasionally seen but are not recognized by cat clubs. Blues are almost always (if not always) crosses.

Eye Color and Coat Color Pairings

The breed is noted for its "mascara" (horizontal striping lateral to the eyes) and striking eye color—anything from a deep copper-gold to a startling minty green, to brilliant yellow and ice blue (depending on the ancestral breeds used and whether or not the breeders in their lines have decided to concentrate on improving eye color or not). Brown Bengals often have gold or green eyes, or a hybridization of the two; lynx points have blue eyes, and mink, with slightly darker cream to tan fur, have blue eyes as well. Sepia types again have green or gold eyes or a combination of these eye colors; their fur is slightly lighter than your standard brown coloration.

Common and Uncommon Coat Colors and Patterns

*Not recognized by most cat clubs. Information adapted from Wildrose Bengals.

Coat ColorDescriptionPatterning

Brown

Orange to cool-brown with light to black spots; charcoal brown (darkest)

Rosettes or marbling

Snow

Cream-colored body with dark tan spots

Dark tan spots or marbling; lynx is the lightest, with highlights on the standout features (ears and nose)

Silver

Metallic silver with black spots; no brown coloration

Black spots or marbling

*Melanistic

Solid brown with muted markings; black with darker black spots

Black spots or marbling

*Blue

Grey with occasional peach undertones

Spotted or marbled

The breed is prone to several hereditary health conditions.

The breed is prone to several hereditary health conditions.

What Are Common Health Issues in Bengals?

Here are some common health problems you should keep an eye out for.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy or HCM

Bengals are prone to a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM, otherwise known as "the silent killer." This form of heart disease is often inherited and may even be recessive or dormant in both parents. The disease can, therefore, pop up after generations of breeding. The condition leads to abnormal thickening of heart wall muscles, related thrombosis (or blood clots), and congestive heart failure. Initial clinical signs include arrhythmias or heart murmurs, which can be detected during auscultation in a physical exam. HCM is diagnosed via radiographs or an echocardiogram.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Cataracts

Both progressive retinal atrophy or PRA and cataracts are two hereditary eye conditions commonly seen in the breed. Retinal atrophy refers to a photoreceptor disorder—the wasting of the photoreceptors of the eyes—and leads to premature blindness. Responsible breeders should test their Bengals for PRA before breeding.

Cataracts are also a common issue; cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes increasingly cloudy over time.

Anesthetic Allergies

Some individuals are sensitive to anesthetic agents, which makes them "high-risk" anesthetic patients. Specialty clinics that are accustomed to handling complex anesthetic cases can often manage your cat's surgery appropriately.

Luxating Patellas

This condition is generally a result of an inherited malformation. Bengals are prone to luxating patellas, and it doesn't help that they are so active. In a healthy knee, the kneecap usually sits in a groove called the trochlear groove. When a knee "luxates," it pops out of place or dislocates entirely; this leads to sudden or prolonged lameness and degenerative arthritis. Luxating patellas can be managed by keeping a cat within a healthy weight range. Otherwise, surgery is often recommended.

Kidney Issues or Renal Failure

Chronic renal failure is not a condition specific to the breed, but it is a disease worth noting because it is so common in older cats. Chronic kidney issues are often first characterized by an increase in thirst and urination and commonly present in older cats. Kidney infections and stones put cats at a higher risk of long-term kidney issues; this susceptibility also compounds with age. Your veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests to screen for kidney issues.

Skin and Coat Issues

Psychogenic alopecia or over-grooming causes hair loss in all cats. It is a similar condition to obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans. The condition is generally triggered by psychological disturbances such as boredom, new household stressors, and similar drivers. Hair loss may also occur from flea allergies, environmental allergies, food allergies, and dermatitis.

How to Cat-Proof Your Home

Dos and Don'ts: Caring for and Raising Your Cat or Kitten

This is some of the best advice I can offer when it comes to raising your Bengal kitten or taking care of your adult house cats:

  • Get Your Cat Spayed, Neutered, or Sterilized: If the Bengal is not going to be used for breeding purposes, your male or female should be fixed by a veterinarian before it reaches sexual maturity. This helps to prevent them from marking territory by spraying and avoiding the litter box. (Once this behavior starts, it's a hard habit to kick in both males and females.)
  • Offer Many, Many Toys: Keep lots of toys out and put anything precious and destructible away!
  • Put the Toilet Lid Down: Keep the lid to the toilet down so they don't have an excuse to start flushing it.
  • Place Water Dishes Thoughtfully: Put their water dish on Linoleum or tile floor if possible to make cleanup easier.

It’s critical that kittens have good experiences in many new environments with many new people and animals so that, later in life, they don’t consider the new environments, people, and animals to be stressors. Their prime time for socialization is between 3 weeks to 3 months of age.

— Dr. Sophia Yin

  • Socialize Your Kitten Early: Are Bengals good with kids? Yes, but an important part of raising your kitten is to socialize them early on with as many people as possible—kids included—to prevent your cat from becoming overly loyal and affectionate towards one person and developing additional personality problems. (Believe me, once they bond in this manner, they're usually petrified of everyone else for no reason at all.)
  • Introduce Them to Other Pets: Are Bengals good with dogs? Yes, but if you're going to have other pets like a dog, make sure you get your cat used to them while it's still a kitten.
  • Expect Chaos: Never expect a lap cat or a perfectly behaved pet. They're going to start trouble sooner or later, you just don't know how or when.
  • Consider Agility Training: If you want a weird hobby, try agility training your cat. Yes, there are tournaments for cat agility now, and Bengals take the place of Border Collies as the most popular breed in agility.
  • Make Them Indoor-Only: 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. Plus, they are less likely to be exposed to viruses like feline leukemia (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). If you want to bring them outside, Bengals are easily harness trained.

My Experience Living With Bengals

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, caring for one is like having a wrecking ball with a warped sense of humor in your home. Now it's time you hear some stories of my little rabble-rousers.

Meet My Male: Howl

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

My adult female marbled-snow Bengal, Sophra, singing.

My adult female marbled-snow Bengal, Sophra, singing.

Meet My Female: Sophra

I got Sophra 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 was Sophra, a 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 game of hers.

When she grew older, I started 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.)

Why I Love My Cats

Still, I adore the two. I raised them from kittens, and they keep me on my toes. Sophra can usually be seen darting full speed through the house with hard candy dangling from her mouth. We haven't had candy dishes out for more than a year, likely two. When Sophra gets bored of the candy, 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? Too much personality for you?

Top-Rated Male and Female Names

NameSignificance

Amber

Yellow, orange, or brown fossilized resin.

Blaze

An extremely powerful fire or a distinguishable mark (a streak).

Bongo

An Afro-Cuban percussive instrument.

Cheetah

A large, spotted cat native to Africa.

Cheeto

A Bengal cat and Ocicat cross, or a cheesy, spicy chip.

Coco

Derivative of cocoa powder.

Copper

A reddish-orange metal.

Chili

A hot fruit of the Capsicum family.

Dot

A small, circular mark.

Garfield

The cat of the 1978 comic chronicles "Garfield."

Ginger

A zesty, hot spice.

Honey

A sweet substance produced by bees and pollinators.

Paprika

A ground spice made from peppers.

Pepper

Dried fruit used for spice/seasoning.

Leo

Lion; 5th astrological sign of the zodiac.

Max

Short for Maximilian, "the greatest."

Mowgli

The protagonist of "The Jungle Book Series."

Salem

Fictional cat character in film; historic town(s).

Simba

The protagonist of Disney's "Lion King."

Speckles

Patches of color; spots.

Spot

A circular dot.

Tarzan

The protagonist of Disney's "Tarzan."

Teddy

Nickname for the plush teddy bear.

Tiger

The largest of the felid cat family; a striped feline.

Tigger

A fictional character in the "Winnie-the-Pooh" series.

Xena

A princess warrior.

Although cats act "wild," it's a good idea to keep them indoors at all times.

Although cats act "wild," it's a good idea to keep them indoors at all times.

Do Bengals Make Bad Pets?

Once I was foolhardy enough to babysit for a small Bengal cattery. I brought the cats to my home and let them run around one room. The litter 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!

Dealing With Cat Fights

I let one of the males run around and stuffed the other one in a large cage so that they wouldn't kill each other. Little was I to know that this angry 25-pound male 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 ever. The two tomcats were beating the piss out of each other and fur was flying everywhere. I couldn't just grab one without 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. His neck was so thick with muscles that I couldn't grab his scruff (he didn't have one), though I tried desperately. 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.

Dealing With Destructive Cats

Every day I'd go in to check on the cats, I'd 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, and toys. The curtains were shredded, and the 5-gallon water cooler had been emptied out onto the floor. After a month, I was more than ready to send the hellions home! Never again will I take on caring for an adult cattery or cage-raised Bengals!

Quiz: Should I Get a Bengal Cat?

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. True or False: I am a first-time cat owner.
    • True
    • False
  2. True or False: Veterinary care is not necessary for indoor cats.
    • True
    • False
  3. True or False: Cats are self-regulating. I do not have to cat-proof my home.
    • True
    • False
  4. True or False: Designer cats are a reflection of status.
    • True
    • False
  5. True or False: Considering their near 20-year lifespan, I'm committed to caring for a cat financially and emotionally.
    • True
    • False

Scoring

Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. True or False: I am a first-time cat owner.
    • True: +0 points
    • False: +1 point
  2. True or False: Veterinary care is not necessary for indoor cats.
    • True: +0 points
    • False: +1 point
  3. True or False: Cats are self-regulating. I do not have to cat-proof my home.
    • True: +0 points
    • False: +1 point
  4. True or False: Designer cats are a reflection of status.
    • True: +0 points
    • False: +1 point
  5. True or False: Considering their near 20-year lifespan, I'm committed to caring for a cat financially and emotionally.
    • True: +2 points
    • False: +0 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score between 0 and 1 means: You might want to reconsider whether or not you are ready to care for a cat.

A score between 2 and 3 means: You might be eager to care for a Bengal, but seriously consider your readiness for cat ownership.

A score of 4 means: You just might be ready to care for a Bengal!

A score of 5 means: It appears you already know what it takes to be a good pet parent.

A score of 6 means: Congratulations! You are a cat's best friend.

What to Know Before Buying This Breed

Comments

Nadia Mahomed on August 06, 2020:

Love this write up - very entertaining and so true .

sadie on August 06, 2020:

im gonna get a half bangel kitten!!!

Elena on July 21, 2020:

Do Bengals ever stop biting? Ours is 5 months old and he is growing strong. His nips at everyone but with his 'human mum' he is worse... he grabs on to her arms and bites hard. She is full of bite marks and scratches. He purrs while doing this so not sure if he is trying to love her in this way. But now that he is growing this is becoming very worrying and painful for her.

Nancy on June 27, 2020:

My daughter has 2 Bangles, a Brother & Sister. One Day after a year they just started fighting. The Male attacked her and they did this to the point she would start to pop and scream so loud we thought they were killing each other. So now she lives in the bedroom & he in the house. We are afraid he will kill her. What do we do? Why did he turn on her?

Helen on June 04, 2020:

Very helpful article! I was surrounded with many cats when I was little but never had one since I grown up. Just brought my bengal kitten home for a week and everything is so true! I prepared two cat trees and lots of toys (at least I think) for her but that's definitely still not enough. They literally can climb and explore every corner of yours. But still I'm in love and I'm committed with this little creature. Their personality is just so sweet and so unique.

Merith on May 28, 2020:

So true! Except my fixed female goes Nuts in spring and wont let a huge fixed Maine coon come out of his room.She beats on him and he goes easy on her because she is female He hides in a room from May until June. Forget nice curtains and be prepared to stain the wood work often to cover door jam claw marks as high as they can reach. They can be emotionally needy. She pooped on top of the air conditioner when we went camping for week. She follows my son up to bed every night. They are beautiful and amazing and love with all their crazy heart. They will find away to get to the highest point and sometimes get hurt jumping down to scare you. They can open the fish tank covers to fish. As a kitten would do backflips for a toy literally for hours. Can open any cabinet to get catnip. Un-parallelled fun that requires much love and patience.accept that furniture will be clawed Sticky tapes works but only until you take it off. When they are bored it helps to set up puzzles for them (catnip in a box under another box under a blanket before i leave for work) They are worth it if you accept that this cannot be changed.

Tia on May 05, 2020:

We just got a Bengal (10 weeks old) and have a 20 year old Blue Russian. I think our Bengal is the Devil but we have a 5 year old who loves him. They wear each other out.

malonz on January 09, 2020:

Excellent article. We have an 11 yr old F2 Bengal, who has been a healthy free range indoor - outdoor cat all his life.

Don't get a Bengal if you don't have time to put into them. They're fiercely intelligent, active & social and it's a cruelty to keep them locked up in a house while you're away at work all day.

- our guy, Squeeky, is very vocal - he can communicate whatever is important to him

- He loves water. When he was younger he'd swim in the bath. You definitely can't shower or flush the toilet without his participation.

- Fiercely territorial. Has been seen stalking toddlers with serious intent & actually jumping on the necks of chiwauwaus. More worrying has also attacked every labrador & pit bull in his territory and it's been pure luck he hasn't been damaged.

- Our guy isn't really interested in birds or rodents, but has been known to steal a fully shrink wrapped chicken from a kitchen 100m away and drag it home...

- Our guy Squeeky, is extremely bonded to my partner - i don't know whether this is because he gets up at 4am every morning to feed him, or because he had more time to spend with him when he was a kitten. Either way it's a fierce true love story.

- Squeeky is also a right destructive little bastard - smart enough to identify what's important so he can destroy it when unhappy. We had a flatmate last year. He didn't like her so he would piss in her bed as soon as he got 3 seconds of access. [Even though he knows pissing in the house is unacceptable]

Bengals are not like other cats. Don't take on the responsibility lightly, but they're also a true joy

LESLEY on January 02, 2020:

ABOUT TO OWN MY FIRST BENGAL ALTHOUGH HAVE ALWAYS HAD CATS

Owner of Leo the bengal aka Leocatra on December 12, 2019:

Bengals can be fun but they do sometime attack ankles. Use a water sprayer and soon they will back away just by the sight of it!

Mish on September 16, 2019:

We have had our Roxy 16 years now and we adore her even though she can be a pain in the a## . She still has energy and jumps on the roof to get away from neighbor hood cats . She can jump high and in strange places the top of a door is one. She opens doors still have not been able to teach her to close them though. We are now having a problem with her crying though andI am hoping she is not getting senile . She is not a fighter but she scared a bear up a tree to save our daughter once. She is loyal and loving . She will not go near a rat not interested at all . But birds are fair game for her jumping 6-8 feet in the air and plucking it from flight to kill the poor bird then leave once her game is over . Ugh not a fav of mine . We have shelves and beds in high places as she enjoys being off the ground.she has a basket on a pedestal that is one of her favs . She talks ALOT. She is super smart even if she is old . 16 I am afraid we will lose her soon as that is the high end of life for this breed. But she has always been super healthy and the only prob we had with her was she got a urinary tract infection and we changed her food and she has never had any other health issues in the entire 16 years .

Robert Conway on September 15, 2019:

I saved a cat from San Jose breeder .Cold hearted man for 500 dollars after he told me he had serious problems that’s ok me and my Beautiful Brother Bengal had A beautiful realshonship .The BREEDER A COLD HEARTED MONSTER FOR ONLY MONEY TOOK A TAXI TO PICK UP BABY ,HE WAS NOT THERE JUST A WOMAN .AND A REALLY STINKY CAT IN A METAL TRAVELER CAGE .Well bought a comfortable carrier before and sad to say the little baby I paid only 500 bucks for that was on laxatives got a warm bath .He smelled of SHIT AND THATS THE WAY SAN JOSE Cat breeders do business .GOT YOUR MONEY NO LOVE THERE .

Janie on August 05, 2019:

I adopted a kitten that I now have figured out is a Bengal. When I adopted her I was told that her corneas didn’t attach at birth. That is all they knew.

The vet told me last week that most likely is blind as her pupils didn’t react for the test.

She is still very very active, and I have trained her to fetch. Can anyone please give me more games/ideas to keep her stimulated?

I have also found that she can play a mouse game on my tablet. Funny though she often gets into other programs too. Lol.

Thank you for any advice.

Eric on July 26, 2019:

I have a two month old,male, Bengal kitten named Zeke. Zeke is by far the most interesting animal I've ever experienced, not like a cat, but not like a dog either. He is so very intelligent and inquisitive, I've never experienced or seen anything like it, not even on T.V. The best purchase I've ever made, hands down. I love his crazy antics and his unquenchable need to be in the "Know" about everything I'm doing or what's around him. He's like a small child really, I love it, and him so much. If I hadn't done the research on the breed, I would have thought him to be a circus escapee or something. Lol

Louise on July 13, 2019:

Im rescuing a 14 month male Bengal in a weeks time im bringing him home after hes been castrated but people have said to put him in a room for a could of days by himself to get used to the smells and noises. My only problem with that is i have 4 children, a domesticated 2 year old castrated cat (friendly) and german shepherd ( friendly) but all my rooms are used sleeping ect. Ive brought a feliaway friends defuser but im woundering if i should bring him every day over to our house in his cat box and put him in a room to get used to the smells and also ive been asked to get a towl and rub both my dog and cat with the towl then rub the bengal. Looking for advice and anymore info

bengallover on June 04, 2019:

Great Article! I am an owner of two Bengals Simba a male, and Nala a female, who are brother and sister, by the same parents but a litter apart. The male is 2.5 yeas old and the female 2 years old. The cats are on the smaller side the male being 13lbs and the female at 10lbs. Both have rosette and marbling, and stripes. They are mixed with tabby, but definitely show most Bengal characteristics.

Very vocal cats, but highly intelligent and communicative. My cats will tell me when they are hungry, if they need water, or they wish their litter changed, when they want to play, what they want to play with, when they are not happy with you or the current situation, when they wish to be petted. In addition they have their own sounds they will make for different things. My female does not like to be held very much and if she does not want to be picked up, when you do she make a meow that pretty much sounds like "no". Also my male when he cant find the female he howls out a sound that sounds very much like her name Nala.

They are excellent cats as far as litter and grooming, Simba occasionally misses the edge of the litter box but not that often.

I am allergic to cats, and was told these two are hypoallergenic, and for the most part are, but if I rub my nose against them I will stuff up for sure! the hair is easy to deal with as it is so fine and hollow.

I can attest to the cats being more like dogs in many ways. They are very active cats and require lots of play! Not only playing together, but vocally and actively engaging the humans to play with them as well. My cats play fetch, come when they are called (most of the time) know to stay, sit, and lay down. The female is highly agile and can be found pretty much trying to climb and balance on everything she can. They are both very fast runners, but sound like a heard of elephants throughout the house. They have a very weird gait when running fast, that kind of sideways butt thing I have seen dogs do when they run.

If you are looking for a pet that you wish to play with, is very entertaining, can communicate well, little grooming needed, and you don't have to take for a walk, or wake to let out at 5am, a Bengal might just be for you!

Benjamjn on March 28, 2019:

I’m sorry you lost your bengals :( are you still without cars/pets?

Bengirl on March 25, 2019:

PEOPLE PLEASE STOP BREEDING FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!! There are too many cats in the shelters that need homes! Why do you support and enable people who want to make more animals by breeding them when shelters are overpopulated! Stupid people!

Garry on March 17, 2019:

We have a Female Bengal, now 12 years old, she looks half her age, adores her “female” owner, has roamed freely in and outdoors, since 6 months old, ultra intelligent, very territorial, just patrols our small urban plot, very unsociable with other cats, very poor hunting skills, “to impatience” interested in anything new, dislikes change,

Adam on March 13, 2019:

A few months ago I was in a really dark place, I found my relationship of 20 years falling apart and I was homeless for a bit. Well shortly after I started to get back on my feet I found this tiny kitten she had the softest fur I had ever felt on a kitten, she had bright intelligent eyes. She was scared and hungry so I took her home. I believe my baby kitten that I have since named "True" for True North, she guided me when I lost my way. is a Bengal she ALWAYS getting into something, the other day I found her on the top of my fridge, I have no idea how she got up there. The other day she broke an expensive bottle of Polo, Which made my apartment smell wonderful til she broke the bottle of pickled artichoke hearts. She thinks the wicker shelf is a kitty tree. She will sit on the back of the toilet and watch me pee. The other day I was taking a bath she watch as the water went down the drain til there was 2 inches of water left, She hopped down between my knees into the water and just about clawed the living crap out of me trying to get out. I am getting used to using shredded tiolet paper She is a joy and I get a kick out of her everyday. I wouldnt trade her for a million dollars

Harry on February 22, 2019:

We got our Bengal almost a year ago -- he had a supposed defect ( a cow lick) which made the purchase inexpensive, but he is a gorgeous cat regardless of what those that look for showing perfection might think.

At the time Bagheera arrived at our house as a young kitten, we had an older house cat and a Rottie mix dog. Bagheera, after some nervous wandering around the new surroundings, tried to approach the older cat, who batted at him and hissed and honked, causing the confused kitten to run away. On the other hand, the Rottie initially scared Bagheera because of his size, but within a few days they were fast friends. One of the highlights of my admittedly dull life is watching Bagheera nuzzle up against the stomach of the sleeping Rottie and falling asleep side by side. Given the generally hyper active personality of the Bengal, it is the lion lying down with the lamb, and, of course, the lion would be the cat. Frodo, the Rottie, is the gentle one.

Derrick on February 14, 2019:

I have two Bengal cats. Both approximately 3 years of age. The male can be a little nasty towards the female (who we got first), and he's a big cat. We have to break them up a few times a week. They also play a lot together though, so it's difficult controlling them in that regard.

The female is a mischievous devil. Sweetest cat in the world. Except when she wants attention (even after 40+ minutes of play time) she will start doing things she's not suppose to because she knows you'll come after her. She doesn't come to you for attention, she goes and does something bad and forces your hand to play with her so she'll stop. It's tiring. the mornings are the worst, she constantly opens the bedroom closet and makes a ton of noise to wake us up for attention and food. She doesn't stop.

I love these cats. I spend ample time playing with them each day when I'm home. Anybody have any advice on how to stop the unwanted morning wake up routine?

HFM on January 07, 2019:

My Bengal boy "RIO" is close to 13 yrs old now. He is a registered brown marble of a champion breed line....I got him when he was 12 weeks old.

He was one wild kitten. He settled down when he was neutered @ 6 months.

He is very smart, vocal, playful and he is 100% fearless. RIO is the only animal on the planet my Alaskan Wolf Dog would run from.

I would not trade him for the world......if you choose to get a Bengal....please spend time with him/her and take the time to 'work/train' them......it will pay off.

That's my take.

Margie on December 08, 2018:

I, too, got a 11 month old clouded, glittered retired queen. I have had her for about 2 months. Her job was to keep my Russel Terrier (manic, active dog) busy when I could not go out to play with him often. She excels at the job. They love each other and also my 10 pound rescue dog. She sleeps in a heap (me included) at night. I could not have possibly gotten a better match for my little family. She does like to explore all parts of the house. She attempts to open and close cabinet doors and other doors. She is spot on using her two litter boxes (unlike my naughty, lovable Russell).

She is top of the line beautiful. Do be careful where you get your Bengal.

Before you buy a Bengal cat, do research. Find a reliable breeder, one who has champion cats in the breeding pool. Believe me, don't try to save money with cheaper cats or backyard breeders.

Marge on October 21, 2018:

I got an adult bengal (former used for breeding, one year old). She is lovable, sweet, and quiet. So far she has none of the drawbacks of some bengals. She had a tall, tall cat tree, cat tunnels, toys, and two dogs to play with. She is one of the pack. True, she likes to explore the house (larger than average). She plays with the maniac young Russell Terrier. They are partners in mischief. At night she sleeps with all of us. She loves affection. She is so very confident with people who come to visit. She overwhelms them with rubs and purring. She is not destructive at all. She is curious, but not destructive. I feel so lucky to have gotten such a wonderful kitty. Maybe you need to be careful of where you buy a bengal. A cat like mine is such a precious pet.

Todd on September 27, 2018:

We spent a considerable amount of time researching Bengal breeding catteries and were fortunate to find Cataristocrat. Paradea is our first Bengal and Olga made the process as well as transition very easy to welcome Paradea into our family. We live in Ohio and were able to visit Paradea at Cataristocrat. It's obvious from our experience and visit that breeding Bengals and Orientals is more than a business for Olga, it’s her passion as well. Olga sent videos and pictures leading up to the transition and has checked in to see how everyone is doing. She deeply cares for her kittens and wants to make sure your family as well as the kitten is a good match and you are both prepared to welcome each other into one another's lives. Olga prepared a welcome kit containing food, litter (new and used), and toys Paradea was familiar with to help with her transition between families. The transition has gone very well! If you’re looking for an affectionate, well behaved and socialized Bengal to become part of your family I would highly recommend contacting Olga at cataristocrat.com!

Nick on September 11, 2018:

We got our first Bengal a little too late, 20 weeks, and she was not socialized by her breeder. She bonded very well with our older male but it took 2 years before she was okay with us touching her when she was out of the cat-room ( when in her room she demanded affection, which was weird ). But like others said, vocalization needs to be a warning up front, if it weren't for the fact that I fell in love with her hard we may have gotten rid of her. Howling every night and morning, chirping and yipping whenever she sees a living creature. Bengals will train you fast. If I do not play with her and pet her until she falls asleep in her cat tree she will either lay under the bed or on my wife's dressed and howl at the top of her lungs. We tried to follow the advice of just ignoring it but she's smart enough to just stop for a few minutes and then start again... For hours.

Diana on August 20, 2018:

I just wanted to note, Begals are illegal in several states including New York.

bob Holt on July 09, 2018:

I have a neighbours bengal cat terrorising my cat and specifically kitten. It has also taken a chunk out of my daughters boyfriends leg. Nothing deters it. It comes through me window or door to get at the kitten. I am very dubious about the breed. I have had cats for more than 25 years and have never encountered this, including having many feral cats around my house in Italy.

Sylvia on July 07, 2018:

Will my 3yr old Siamese lady ever except a Siamese/Bengal kitten I bought as a companion at the moment my Siamese hates the kitten the kitten is adorable and a handful this is the first time I've come across a Bengal he never stops he's 12seems old

Megan on July 05, 2018:

Not sure who wrote this but I wouldn't put vocalization as a 2...they are very talkative and loud! It is one of the reasons many people who get a bengal can't live with them or end up letting them outside.

Aaron347 on June 28, 2018:

Hello, I recently adopted a 8 year old Bengal and had a question about biting. The previous owner had not gotten any vaccinations for her because she claimed she was an “indoor cat” and didn’t need them. A couple of times while petting her she’s randomly nipped at me and almost broken skin. Is this something I should be worried about or is this Bengal behavior. Thank you

Daphne on June 05, 2018:

Thank you so much for your reply, it was very reassuring. He was a stray who was rejected by all the local rescue organisations because he was considered so vicious, so we took him in, albeit reluctantly! Now, I can't tell you how much we love him. He had IMHA when he arrived (which resulted in a huge vet bill!) and this has made me a bit paranoid about his health. But he does seem to be very healthy. He is a wonderful cat, who has blown all my prejudices away, and who is obviously very happy we found each other. I never realised cats could be so affectionate!

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 25, 2018:

Thanks for stopping by Daphne! If your cat is on a meat only diet he's not going to need to drink nearly as much water as a cat eating kibble as most of his water intake is going to be in the moisture of his food. Of course you should always leave water out (maybe see if he prefers a fountain of running water?) But unless he's getting dehydrated I wouldn't worry too much about it. Good luck!

Daphne on May 25, 2018:

Having been a life long anti cat person, I have been shown the error of my ways by a beautiful Bengal who has turned me into a pathetic slave! Now I know what all the fuss is about. But...he does not like water! I can't even get him to drink it unless it has had fish cooked in it. I bought a cat fountain, played with the hosepipe, everything. He has a meat and fish only diet (no biscuits or any dried food) and I always add a little water, and I give him milk for cats, but does anyone have any suggestions to get him to drink water?

Chelsie Odom on April 25, 2018:

I got a snow lynx Bengal kitten 1 week ago. Her name is Sasha!! She is going on 14 weeks, she is so cute. very energetic. Everytime I eat she loves to get all up in my business. and she likes to be a parrot and sit on our shoulders. I also have 2 blue heelers. they love cats. lol

buenos on March 12, 2018:

"Never again will I take on caring for an adult cattery or cage raised Bengal!"

- could you elaborate? Would home-raised bengals behave differently than cage-raised ones? How much so? Even if you buy them as a 3mo old kitten? Or was your comment about adopting an adult cat?

No on February 21, 2018:

My bengal was horrible. He pooped in the toaster.

Carla on February 11, 2018:

You accurately described my Bengal to a T! Ozzy is a handful but we adore him.

Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on February 10, 2018:

Purchasing Bengals when they are kittens does make a huge difference in bonding. Often these are "one person" cats who bond with one human and if they're later put up for adoption as an adult they can easily revert to being skittish or completely feral. Sad but true. They are a big responsibility!

Someone with a dream of having a Bengal cat on February 04, 2018:

When I grow up and I have enough money I&