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Are Bengal Cats Good Pets? Actually Revealing the Truth in the Tales
You may have just learned of Bengal cats. Or you may be a long-time Bengal cat lover. Either way chances are you’ve come across horror stories about Bengal cats. But what’s true and what’s wildly exaggerated? Are Bengal cats good pets?
At Buckaroo Bengals, our goal is to connect the right pet with the right people. And we have the answer to your question. Let’s start by talking about the Bengal cat personality.
Are Bengal Cats Friendly?
If you’ve heard stories about antisocial Bengal cats, chances are it was a true story. While the majority of Bengal cats are very friendly, there are always exceptions. And as you know, everyone loves drama. But for the most part, Bengal cats are very friendly, loving, and people-oriented. They have a very agreeable temperament.
Bengal Cat’s Natural Personality
Bengals naturally have a curious and outgoing personality. They are the cat who is standing at the shower door deciding whether they might want a rinse-off. They are also the cat that will follow you around the house. Play fetch with you. Go on walks on a leash. And all manner of other adventurous activities.
But why are Bengal cats the way they are?
What Makes Bengal Cats Friendly?
There are many reasons that most Bengals are friendly. It goes back to the origin of the Bengal cats.
The History of Bengal Cats
Bengals are a hybrid species. They have genes from both the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) and the domestic house cat. ALCs and house cats were first bred for a research study about feline leukemia.
Once that study finished, Bengal cat breeding evolved to create a wild-looking cat. But the goal was that they would have a friendly personality. As a result, only the friendliest ALCs and Domestic cats were chosen to breed with.
This leads us to how we choose to breed today. One of the things Breeders have the most control over is breeding for temperament
Breeding Bengals for Temperament
One of the first things that can impact a Bengal cat’s life is their genes. Bengal breeders should prioritize personality when they select their breeding cats.
In my time as a Bengal breeder, I have seen personality passed down by both the mom and the dad. Since the stud is not around the kittens very much, I can only conclude that there is a genetic component.
It’s also important for the Bengal mom to be friendly so that the breeder can handle the kittens at a young age. Which leads us to socialization.
Socializing Bengal Kittens
Lack of socialization can cause devastating effects. It is important to let Mama cat take care of her babies with very little interference. But how the mama reacts to a human will impact how kittens interact with humans. So it is important to have a friendly mama cat and be in the kitten room during their newborn state.
A Bengal cat breeder should be interacting with the babies from day one. Even if it’s just to weigh them and make sure they are healthy. As they get older the Bengal breeder should handle the kittens more and more. This correlates to very friendly Bengal kittens.
With great genes and proper socialization, all Bengal cats should be friendly. But we know this isn’t always the case.
Bengal Cat Behavior Problems – AKA Personality!
Bengal cats aren’t for everyone. What one person calls a behavior problem, another person will thoroughly enjoy. Bengal cats do have some very strong personality traits. And if you aren’t prepared for them it can be challenging. Here are some examples of differing perspectives:
- Crazy ↠ Boundless energy
- Into everything ↠ Curiosity
- Attacks me ↠ Strong prey drive
- Annoying ↠ Talkative
- Needy ↠ Attention-oriented
Perspective is everything. Bengal cats thrive with an adventurous lifestyle. And then like a good cuddle when they’re tired. Think of owning a Bengal cat as more like owning a puppy/dog than a cat. While they may mellow out with age, they may also keep their kitten personality for a much longer time than a DSH cat.
People like to talk about “That one time” something happened. For example, I heard about a rooster spurring my Uncle, my whole childhood. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all roosters are bad. So what about Bengals?
Are Bengal Cats Aggressive?
If you have heard of a Bengal cat “attacking” someone it usually means that the Bengal cat is ready to play. Or it may mean that their nutrient needs aren’t being met and their “prey drive” has activated. Clearly, you don’t live on a ranch and have mice in your house, like me . So how would you go about fixing this?
- Start by increasing your Bengal cat’s playtime. Make sure you are part of it and you are simulating hunting. The best toy for this is a teaser wand. But some other good ones are plastic springs, fabric mice, and sparkly pom poms.
- Time your Bengal cat’s meals appropriately. Feed your Bengal right after a very active “hunting session” when they’re worn out. This simulates what their wild ancestors do to catch their food and then eat it.
- Take a look at their diet. Is your Bengal cat getting all the nutrients they need? If your Bengal is lacking the proper nutrition they can act a bit more wild. Bengals get hangry too!
This leads to another question I get asked all the time.
Are Bengal Cats Dangerous?
Bengal cats are no more dangerous than any other house cat you have ever had. In fact, unless you get an early-generation Bengal Cat your Bengal cat has less than 10% wild genetics. Current research states this number is actually closer to 1%.1 So in reality a Bengal cat is no more wild than your calico fur baby or your striped tigger.
But enough with dispelling negative rumors. Let’s talk about the ins and outs of adding a Bengal cat to your family.
Bengal Cats 101
We’ve discussed the big picture of Bengal cat’s personalities. Let’s now focus on everything you need to know if you think a Bengal cat is the right fit for you.
Are Bengal Cats Affectionate?
My experience with Bengal cats is that they are very affectionate. My Bengal cats (and I have a few) all want to be in the room with me wherever I am. If I’m sitting or laying down I often have multiple Bengal cats cuddled up against me. Bengal cats tend to be like dogs. They choose one person to really bond with. That is the person they will choose to cuddle with.
Do Bengal Cats Get Along With Dogs?
Bengals have fairly outgoing personalities. So chances are adding a Bengal to your house, even if they haven’t been around dogs, will be fine. But finding a breeder who has dogs is probably a safer bet.
A kitten who has already been socialized with dogs will acclimate a lot faster to their new friends. The time it takes your kitten to settle into your house will decrease. And you won’t likely run into surprises.
Bengal cats and dogs get along very well because they tend to have similar activity levels. My Bengal cats often play with my dogs. But what about cats?
Are Bengal Cats Good With Other Cats?
Bengal cats do great with other cats. As long as you introduce them properly. Bengal kittens are easier to integrate into a house with other cats. Older Bengal cats may take a bit longer. Either way, you are going to want to follow some guidelines for the introductions.
- Start with your new Bengal cat in their own space separated by at least one door. Make them feel comfortable in their area.
- Let the cats get used to hearing and smelling each other through the door.
- Put something that smells strongly of each cat into the other cat’s room. Maybe a blanket or cushion they have slept on.
- Start to feed each cat right by the door that separates them. So they get used to positive emotions when they smell and hear the other.
- If they both seem relaxed, open the door between them and supervise their meeting.
- Hopefully, you have successfully introduced two best friends.
They may still have a couple of turf wars here and there while they decide who is dominant. And what spaces belong to which cat. But for the most part, you should be able to sit back and watch the fun of cats playing together. There’s nothing quite like the sound of cats zooming around the house playing together at top speed.
Friendly Bengal Kittens in Your Home
Are Bengal cats good pets? After reading this article, you should be able to tell me! Bengal cats have strong personalities. But there isn’t much “wild” left in their genetics. If you have an active household and love to play with your animals, then a Bengal Kitten may just be for you. Check out our available Bengal kittens. One is ready to fit right into your family and be the perfect pet.
1Early Generation Bengals – Sakura Bengals