Photo of @dutchbengalfamily on Instagram
One thing most humans like about us Bengals is our unique and exotic appearance. However, despite our appearance, we are definitely not considered as “wild” cats and are completely domesticated felines. And although we were initially bred from the Asian Leopard cat, we are far from being wild animals.
Despite being domesticated though, we have qualities that set us apart from other domestic cat breeds. We Bengals are much more energetic and adventurous than other house cats. We love learning new things and exploring our environment. We are also extremely intelligent and highly trainable, so we’ll be the perfect pet for people who want an active companion. We are not, however, the kind of cats to just lounge around and sleep all day. In fact, most Bengals have a napping time specifically set apart during the day, my nap time is from 3-6 every day, my humans claim they can set their watches by it!
Before going out and getting your very own Bengal, it’s extremely important to understand everything about our breed. Plenty of Bengals are being turned over to animal shelters and rescues just because their previous owners didn’t do their research before they got a Bengal. We Bengals are amazing cats that will surely make the right human happy. It’s all just a matter of finding out if our breed will be the right one for you.
Here are a few things about our breed:
- We are one of the most intelligent breeds of cats
- We are very energetic
- We are naturally curious and we love to explore
- We are highly trainable
- We love water
- We like following our humans around
- We learn things very quickly (and can easily figure out how to open doors and turn light switches on and off)
- We have a wide range of vocal sounds
- We are very chatty
- We generally like strangers
- We are good with other pets and small humans
- We need stimulating daily activities (puzzle toys, cat wheel, walks outside)
- We love to climb
- We are extremely loving and loyal to our family
- We tend to be territorial
- We have a strong urge to hunt (bird, mice, fish)
We Bengal cats have very unique personalities and if you’re looking for a lap cat that will quietly lie on your lap or lazily lay in the sun all day, you may need to look elsewhere. We need constant physical and mental stimulation and if that’s just not something you’ll be willing to provide, then our breed may not be the right fit for you.
However, that isn’t always true, if you would prefer a more loving Bengal then try getting a retired queen, rather than a kitten! Most times, a Bengal Queen will be grateful for their new home where they don’t have to work so hard, and since they are a bit older, they will want to nap in your lap more! Unlike other Bengal cats, Bengal Queens sometimes prefer to be the only cat in a household, meaning that they also tend to be less work than the typical Bengal. If that is the kind of Bengal you want, I recommend talking to a breeder about which Bengal will be the most loving!
This doesn’t mean that we Bengals are not affectionate—because we’re one of the most loving breeds out there. It just means that since we’re very active, curious and intelligent, we will need the right amount of activities and the right kind of environment to be happy.
HOW TO KEEP A BENGAL CAT HAPPY:
- Environmental enrichment
Since we Bengals are very high energy, we need homes that can provide us with the right kind of environment—somewhere we can climb, scratch, play and explore.
You can do this by getting your home ready for your Bengal. This means investing in cat furniture like cat trees, wall-mounted cat shelves, scratching posts and cat toys.
It may sound like a lot, but the commitment of giving a Bengal—or any pet—a home, means giving them their own space, too.
One of the most important things Bengals need is exercise and stimulating activities. We Bengals are very smart and can get bored easily. And, a bored Bengal will not hesitate to find fun things to do around your home like play with the blinds or explore the inside of your kitchen cabinets. So as a Bengal owner, you should provide engaging daily activities for them.
You can get them a cat wheel or take them for walks. We Bengals are smart, so leash training us won’t be much of a problem.
Another thing you need to do is play with them for at least 15-20 minutes a day before mealtime. The perfect toy to use is a cat teaser wand. Make sure to move it around like a real prey and get your Bengal to “hunt” it. This will satisfy their primal urges and help get rid of all their excess energy.
We Bengals are very social cats. We love to interact and talk, especially to our humans. We like being around other animals, too and we’re pretty good at making friends.
Bengal owners will know how talkative and expressive we are. We’re also very affectionate. Despite not being a lap cat, we love bonding with our humans in other ways. We enjoy going on walks with them, playing with them and watching them while they go to the bathroom.
We’re pretty funny, too and a tons of humans enjoy our antics. Plenty of Bengals are even internet sensations because of that—it’s crazy!
So yeah, we Bengals aren’t good lap cats and that’s okay. All of us cats are unique and ameowzing in our own ways—you just have to find the right one for you.