Bengal cats are beautiful animals that have a reputation for being mean to other cats and even their owners. Animal experts state Bengal cats can be territorial, which comes across as aggression. Yet, Bengals that are trained from a young age are no more aggressive than any other cat.
Bengals are one of the more exotic types of cats and they have traits that date back to their feral ancestors. They are persistent, hyperactive, vocal, and territorial. They are also affectionate, easily trainable, and can be great pets for children. The secret to owning a Bengal is understanding how to address any problems.
Where Does the Bengal Cat Come From?
Bengal cats are a crossbreed, designer cat that includes a mix of domestic cats with an Asian Leopard Cat. The purpose was to develop a breed resistant to feline leukemia.
The originals used for science were further bred by owners to keep the leopard colorings mixed with the positive aspects of housecats.
Still a relatively new breed, Bengals kept some of their ancestor’s wilder traits like a high drive to seek prey and their territorial bent. This may lead to the question: are Bengal cats aggressive with other cats?
Understanding the Aggression
Animal experts state that any animal can be dangerous or aggressive if they aren’t properly trained and maintained. Bengals can be awesome pets if they are cared for, trained, and socialized. Most say they are no more of a threat than any normal domesticated cat.
Bengals aren’t for everyone. Bengal cats can live up to 16 years old, so owning one is a commitment. The person who owns a Bengal cat must be prepared to spend a good bit of time training them and playing with them to cut out behavioral issues.
While most people buy them for their good looks, it is unfortunate that many Bengals wind up in rescues because their owners didn’t account for their high energy and unique personality.
These cats are hyperactive, demand a lot of attention, and are stubborn so you have to be consistent in working with them. They don’t do well left alone all day and need a large space to roam.
Some Common Problems with Bengal Cats
Bengal cats come with a personality that makes them prone to certain negative behaviors. These can include:
- Jumping on countertops
- Getting into drawers and cabinets
- Constantly want to play, hyperactive
- Destructiveness and biting
Ways exist to remedy all of these problems. You just have to understand why your Bengal is doing these things and meet their needs.
Cats, in general, like to jump on counters to get a good view. Maybe they smell leftover food or hear running water, both of which attract them. This can be fixed by creating “yes” and “no” spaces.
The “yes” spaces are spots where your cat feels good and determines to be theirs. A tree stand could help alleviate the need to jump on counters as it provides a perch.
Providing other high spots that your cat can sit to observe will make them happy. Bengal cats are notorious climbers so they need some peaks where they can look down.
Besides cat trees, you can design certain shelving for them to climb onto. One good investment is a kitty jungle gym. They come in sections, so you can buy and design your own. The gym has scatch boards, swinging balls, feathers on springs, places for your cat to hide, and can be built to stand high for your cat to climb.
That may be the right environment for your Bengal cat to stay stimulated and burn off his energy!
There are several ways to create “no” spots. Most are simple changes that have great results.
Place double-sided sticky tape or smells like citrus on the “no” spots to deter them from going there. You can also use cat training sprays to deter them from certain areas, but it usually smells bad for humans too.
The idea is for your cat to feel uncomfortable so they avoid the area.
The same premise can be used to stop your cat from getting into cabinets or drawers. Baby-proofing them to keep your cat out will work too.
Resolving High Energy Issues
Resolve hyperactivity and issues like biting by having lots of playtime with your Bengal. After all, what many people see as aggressiveness is just the result of boredom. Bengal cats can be easily bored.
Here are some ways to resolve those types of problems:
Simulate hunting behavior in your playtime.
Be prepared to give them an hour or two of playtime a day. You want them tired at the end of the day. Don’t use your hand because any cat will bite it during play! Use things like interactive wand toys, small balls, or toys put in places the cat will need to work to retrieve.
The toys don’t have to be expensive. However, animal experts recommend a cat exercise wheel for Bengal cats. This toy is more expensive than most but will be a way for your Bengal to burn off all their extra energy. Bengal cats don’t have to be trained to use the wheel, as they are naturals at using it.
Soon, the cat will learn that toys are to be played with and will stop being so destructive on other things like furniture. The secret is to create an environment that wears out your Bengal with solid playtime.
Use a Distracting Technique
One sure way to prevent your Bengal cat from moving into unruly behavior is to distract him with a toy when you see he is about to get into trouble. For instance, throw a ball if he is starting to be aggressive with you or another animal.
Distracting the cat away from the behavior before he launches into it will subtly train him not to do it.
Socializing Your Bengal Cat
It is best that any cat, but particularly a Bengal cat, start socializing with other cats, dogs, and other small animals while they are young. This should be done as you supervise to ensure none are too rough or get injured. The idea is to lower your Bengal’s natural hunting instincts and introduce him to domesticated behavior.
It may take several attempts and a lot of work to introduce your Bengal cat to another cat, as they do have a wild nature and aren’t easily accepting.
Most suggest that those wanting a Bengal cat should go ahead and get two at the same time so they can grow up together and adapt easier.
You can also adopt a Bengal and another cat breed together as long as both have the same energy levels. Bengals will want to play all the time and you don’t want a secondary cat that will see that as annoying or a threat.
The truth is Bengals enjoy other cats’ company. The reason a Bengal cat needs to play with other cats is to learn the rules. Kittens will tell each other when to stop. They also learn to hold back on their bites and force. Having cats play with each other gives you some time for yourself too.
Set a Routine
Any animal does better behaviorally when they have a routine. Animals, by nature, are routine-oriented. They create patterns in their day based on sunrise, where the sun is throughout the day and sunset.
Bengal cats are especially fond of routine. Given their wild nature, routine is part of their genetics. Animals in nature have set routines in their hunts and among each other.
Feeding your cat, playing with them, and having cuddle time around the same time of day every day will do a lot to stabilize their behavior. Some animals tend to be more aggressive when they are insecure about something like whether they will be fed or get the necessary attention.
Resolving those insecurity issues with a structured day will resolve many problems.
Other Reasons Your Bengal May Be Aggressive
They aren’t neutered or spayed.
Adult cats that aren’t neutered or spayed will be more aggressive and territorial. It stems from a need to breed and they can’t be easily frustrated when they can’t.
Getting them fixed will help them remain healthier longer too
The cat is sick.
Any cat can be in a bad mood if they don’t feel well. Many domesticated cats can get a 24-hour bug but you will want to see a vet if they don’t get better in a day or so.
The Bengal has trauma.
Since many Bengals come from rescues, you don’t know the situation they were in. They could have been abused or under-socialized. He could have been attacked by other animals and is acting out of a defense action.
Resolving these issues will take some time and patience. You must give them a place that is theirs where they feel safe and give them time to bond with you. Use treats as rewards or bonding tools.
Most of all, don’t force them into a situation they aren’t ready to handle. Animals that are traumatized have their own timetable and will come around if given space.
Will My Bengal Cat Every Mellow Out?
Bengal cats, and any animal really, will mellow some as they age. Cats reach an age where toys are even boring and they just want your attention or something else to do.
This breed of cat will always have a sense of energy about them, even if they mellow some. They are high-energy cats and that part will never truly change even if their length of playtime or energy levels decrease as they age.
What Are the Advantages of Having a Bengal Cat?
Bengal cats are highly intelligent and an interesting breed to train. They are easily trainable and can be fun to work with using different toys and treats. Their high intelligence is one reason they need a lot of stimulation.
Bengal cats are loyal and loving, although they aren’t lap cats. They enjoy being a part of a family, including kids, and even other animals as long as their needs are met. They are worth any challenge in owning them.
Owning any pet is a responsibility and someone who wants a Bengal cat should learn all about the breed and its needs before bringing one home. This distinctive breed is a wonderful pet if given proper care and training. It isn’t any more aggressive than other cats and can be an awesome addition to your home.