Helping Guide Bengal Cat Owners

The Body Language of Bengal Cats Explained

Bengal cats can display some interesting and strange behavior just as many cats do. To know them better, we need to understand the body language of Bengal cats in greater detail.

By observing the language expressed through the cat’s eyes, whiskers, ears, tail, mouth and meows, you can interpret its body language.

In this article, expect to learn more about your Bengal by watching how their face and body respond to people and events.

What Does the Body Language of Bengal Cats Mean?

Bengal cats behave just like many cats do. They are a high-energy breed with a fun and active personality. Watch out for what they want to tell you!

Language of a Bengal’s Eyes

  • Wide-open eyes. Your cat is focused on watching an object move or is alerted by noise.
  • Half-lidded eyes. When the lids partially cover the eyes, your Bengal is secure in its environment and around you.
  • Staring. This is one of the ways your cat wants to get your attention and tell you it needs something only you can provide. Once in a while, it can also mean a challenge.
  • Slow blinking. When your cat looks at you and blinks slowly, accompanied by a very relaxed posture, it’s a sign your feline is comfortable with you.
  • Dilated or constricted pupils. The pupils increase and decrease in size depending on the light, constricting when it’s in bright light and dilating when it’s dim or dark.
    • Constricted. It could signify that your feline is agitated, angry, and ready to attack.
    • Dilated. It could mean that your Bengal is excited about a “hunt”, is cornered and frightened, ready to attack, overstimulated, losing vision, or in a lot of pain.

Read: Why Do People Love Their Bengal Cats So Much?

Language of a Bengal’s Whiskers

  • Whiskers back or close to the face. This could indicate displeasure, annoyance, and defensive fear.
  • Whiskers forward or away from the face. This shows interest and excitement, particularly to play or hunt.
  • Whiskers in a neutral position. Your cat is showing relaxation, comfort, and trust.
  • Whiskers twitching. Dr. Sarah Wooten speculates that this could be whisker stress. Your feline could be stressed regarding its bowl and food. Signs include pacing in front of the bowl, seemingly hungry but refusing to drink and eat, and pawing food off the bowl to eat it on the floor.

Your cat’s whiskers are sensitive. Dr. Wooten suggests feeding your cat on a flat plate or on a bowl with low sides.

Read: What Makes Bengal Cats So Special?

Language of a Bengal’s Ears

  • Ears perked up. Your Bengal is alert and trying to pick up sound.
  • Ears pinned back or flattened to the head. Your cat is scared and is giving a warning to the source of the threat.
  • Ears slightly forward. This is a look of a feline wanting to play! It could also be curiosity and the urge to chase a perceived prey.
  • Ears on both sides that form a T. It can look adorable, but accompanied by slight baring of the teeth or twitching of the whiskers, your cat is telling you to back off because of discomfort, unfamiliarity, and fear.

Read: The Pros and Cons of Male vs. Female Bengal Cats

Language of a Bengal’s Mouth and Sounds

Aside from snarling, hissing, and purring, your Bengal does things with its mouth that could indicate a message you need to hear.

  • Yawning. Your feline is comfortable and happy.
  • Mouth baring the teeth and growling. We all know that this cat is giving you a warning!
  • Mouth open or grimacing. Your cat is trying to “smell” the air, also called the flehmen response. They inhale the scent through the vomeronasal organ in their mouth.
  • Mouth wide open and purring. Cats purr to relax and also soothe themselves when in pain and stress. Purring with mouth wide open or salivating could mean they’re unwell.
  • Licking over the mouth. Your cat is expecting food or could be expressing anxiousness.

Read: Exploring the Intelligence of Bengal Cats: What Makes Them Unique?

Language of a Bengal’s Tail

  • The tail is lifted. A sign of comfort, happiness, greeting, and affection.
  • The tail is lowered. A sign of fear, unease, and unfamiliarity with the person or object.
  • The tail is slowly or rapidly moving from side to side. A sign of uncertainty, excitement to hunt, and display of warning. If the cat is relaxed and doing this, it could mean affection and comfort.
  • The tail is dramatically lifted, with the fur appearing poofy. This is a warning sign for others not to approach, or the cat will attack.

Language of a Bengal’s Body

Happy Body Language of Bengal Cats

This doesn’t only mean that the cat is happy. It may also be feeling playful, relaxed, and comfortable.

  • The eyes can be half-lidded or neutral, the ears are up, the tail is upright with the tip curled, and the cat is generally relaxed. It’s a happy and content cat.
  • The body is relaxed and stretched, the belly is exposed, the ears are upright, and the eyes are half-lidded or neutral. This feline is comfortable and trusting.
  • The eyes are wide open, the ears upright, the tail swishing and the cat is trying to catch your feet or biting and running away. Your Bengal is inviting you to play!

Angry Body Language of Bengal Cats

When your cat is angry, unhappy, and scared, it expresses it in similar ways that could be mistaken as a display of a different negative emotion.

  • The pupils are dilated or constricted, ears pinned to its head, back arched, hairs standing on ends, tail upright or parallel to the ground and swishing quickly. The cat feels threatened and appears bigger to scare off the source of fear.
  • The cat is lying sideways on the ground, ears are flattened, teeth are shown, pupils are constricted or dilated, and the front paws are ready to strike. Get away or get scratched!

Worried Body Language of Bengal Cats

  • The cat is lying on the ground, the limbs are held close to the body, including the tail, the ears are flattened or forming a T, the mouth is closed, and the eyes stare. It could signify insecurity, fear, uncertainty, and discomfort.
  • The eyes are dilated, the hair is on end, and the cat is skittish and hides, attacks, or runs anytime when it’s provoked.

Read: 10 Simple Ways to Keep Your Bengal Cat Happy

A Bengal Cat’s Behavior

Pawing and playing with water.

Your Bengal subconsciously tries to “hunt” in water like its wilder counterpart. This trait came from their ancestor, the Asian Leopard cat, which hunted in many habitats particularly water. There, they catch fish and smaller animals lingering close.

Climbing tall furniture.

They naturally love being in high places due to another trait passed down from the Asian Leopard to the Bengals. Asian Leopard cats may be found at heights up to 3000 meters, according to Wild Cats World Sanctuary.

Peeing outside of the litterbox.

This can be a result of the litterbox being placed in a busy area which is distracting, in a secluded spot where the smell gathers, or an uncleaned litter. It could also be that your Bengal is feeling insecure in its territory or with itself, or a medical issue with the bladder.

Scratching furniture and shredding other items to bits.

This could be a result of boredom. Bengals have a high demand for exercise and tools (cat posts and toys) to keep those nails away from your furniture.


Bengal cats are a ball of chaotic energy that is always looking for fun. Bengals that appear relaxed with half-lidded or neutral eyes and erect ears indicate happiness and contentment. A cat with dilated or constricted pupils, fur standing on end, and ready to fight or flee is a sign of fear, insecurity, and distrust.

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