Photo of @thecityleopard on Instagram
We Bengals are very social felines. Contrary to the belief that cats prefer to live on their own, we Bengal cats actually enjoy having companions. We are lovers of social interaction and make excellent family members. But, if you own a Bengal and your human activities outside the home constantly gets in the way of having some feline-human bonding, then you seriously need to consider getting another furry family member to keep your Bengal cat company. Being alone will lead most Bengals to become destructive or depressed because they have no one to play with and nothing to keep them entertained while you’re away.
Most people get Bengal cats in pairs so they can keep each other company, but if you’d rather have a cat and a dog, or if you already own a dog, then getting another cat may not be necessary because many of us Bengals love dogs. As long as your dog is cat-friendly and willing to play with cats, your Bengal will quickly warm up to them. We Bengals are known for having a dog-like personality, we enjoy spending time with our humans. We love playing fetch with them and being taken out for walks. We’re practically a dog inside a cat’s body!
We Bengals thrive on social interaction and physical activities, and because of our high intelligence, we need regular mental and physical stimulation and having a dog friend gives us exactly that. Most of us Bengals will find playing with dogs very enjoyable, but challenging at the same time—which is good, since we love challenges. Because of our differences, we’ll always need to use our minds to figure out how to communicate to a species that uses different body language. But, we’ll also enjoy the roughhousing part, since dogs are much more into that than most cats and we Bengals are definitely not like most cats. In most cases, dogs will also be thrilled to have another pack member. As pack animals, to them, more is better.
If you own a Bengal cat with a dominant personality, a dog may be a better companion for them than a cat. Alpha cats can be a little harsh on other cats and can even bully them. But, since dogs are of a different species, your cat won’t see them as competition and therefore won’t pick fights with them. That doesn’t mean they won’t play with the dog, though. They’ll still be happy to have fun and interact with the dog, releasing excess energy in the process.
INTRODUCING A CAT TO A DOG:
- Make sure you have a dog with a stable temperament
Before you introduce your cat to your dog, make sure that your dog has a pleasant, stable temperament. As their owner, I’m sure you’ll be able to predict how your dog will act around a feline. If your dog has expressed a strong distaste for the feline community, then you may need to train them and get them accustomed to being around cats. If they’re too violent, then getting them to share their territory with a cat may not be the best idea.
Even loud barking at first can sour your feline, so it is very important that both animals seem willing to compromise.
- Get a kitten that has had positive interactions with dogs
Kittens that grow up with dogs will be less likely to get scared of them. They will still react when first meeting your dog because your dog will smell different from their previous dog buddies, but the transition will be much smoother since they’re already familiar with what it’s like to share a living space with dogs
Steps To Take:
- Give your cat a safe room
Allow your cat to adapt to their new environment first and give them a room where they can settle in until they feel comfortable. This can include a room with a puppy gate that has an open cat sized door so that the animals can see each other, but the cat feels safe.
- Do scent swapping
You can do this by using a clean cloth for the cat and a separate clean cloth for the dog. Rub the cloth on their scent glands. For your cat, rub the cloth on their cheeks and on their forehead. For your dog, you can rub the cloth along their armpits and sides.
Then, give your cat the cloth with your dog’s scent on it and vice versa. Allow them to smell the cloth and you can observe how they react to it. If they willingly smell it or avoid it. This way, you’ll be able to gauge how the introduction is going to go.
- Use a glass barrier
Introduce both of them for the first time with a glass barrier in between. You may do this using a glass door or French doors around your house that have glass. Don’t force them to face each other, but observe if they approach or turn away from the other.
- Use a grilled gate
Eventually you can put both animals on either side of a grilled or mesh gate. This way they’ll be able to see and smell each other in close proximity, with the choice of whether or not to approach or avoid each other.
- Leash your dog during the first face to face introduction
During their first face to face introduction, it’s important to give your cat the most control. So, make sure to put your dog on a leash and let the cat roam free. Your cat should be able to approach or avoid your dog at all times.
- Make sure there is somewhere high up for your Bengal cat
We Bengal cats like high places, they make us feel safe! All throughout the process of introducing your pets, make sure there are plenty of high places for your Bengal to jump where they can sit down and watch the dog for a minute. We are naturally curious, so we might stare a long while before approaching our new companion!
Do these exercises every day until they become comfortable around each other. Make sure to reward them with treats for their progress.
Bengals are excellent dog companions, but it’s always best to take caution when first introducing them to each other. Once you get through the hard part, your Bengal and your dog will easily form a bond and eventually see each other as family. You might even forget they’re of two different species!