Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.)
By Annie J
Posted Dec 14, 2016
I encountered Tozo--and many other Bengals of all ages and both sexes--when running an animal rescue. Tozo was a strapping wildcat-lookalike, lean and slender, stunning, glossy coat and loud voice! He really was ruling the place and constantly picking on someone. Well, that's when he wasn't up to some other mischief.
He climbed, scaled, conquered everything, ate everything too, and had too many opinions to count. However, as lovely as he was, he wasn't very sociable with cats and he could be dominant and aggressive when kept indoors.
Many Bengals tend to end up at animal rescue, and of course it's not their 'fault' at all. The problem lies in owners not doing their research and simply feeling tempted by a cat that looks amazingly regal.
Paws up, then, for RightPet, matching owners' needs to pet breeds (and I wasn't trying to write a poem there). In fairness, it's very hard to locate accurate personality and behavioural data on the more challenging cat breeds, with sources contradicting each other.
I chose to review Bengals I have known because they are a much-misunderstood feline breed, requiring much knowledge and care. They are quite 'hands off' in day-to-day terms, by which I mean they need little special grooming or diet, or healthcare etc, unlike the longhaired breeds.
However, they do need lots of breed awareness because the Bengal is one of the most astute and lively, interactive cat breeds, leading to feline boredom, boundless mischief, and sometimes to aggression and stress behaviour.
Aggression and other signs of stress from cats that live in close, cramped urban environments with little to occupy their time, can really cause a big problem for owners. Bengals tend to fall into patterns of stress-wetting or marking in the home, as well as to howling, furniture and soft furnishings damage in addition to aggressive fights with other cats that are less self-assured. Where there are Bengals, there will be much tussling and chasing around the home, breaking things.
They are often seen as little hooligans, but they are not at all; they just need lots of stimulation, space and play.
It is natural for all cats to hunt, climb and chase, and Bengals do this more than most breeds. Personality-wise, they are closest to orientals like Burmese and Siamese.
As Bengals are one of the less socialised breeds, while they're extremely friendly, chatty and happy among people, they crave hunt-and-chase, stalking and pouncing games. They rarely sleep much, unless pregnant or bloated from eating!
They really need to be outside, roaming the tall grass, catching rodents and vocalising to their hearts' content, so don't get Bengals and then keep them in a confined space. These are brilliant mastermind cats, with brains like a small planet, so your role as owner will be to entertain them. No, really--that's your job. Neglect your job at your peril!
Neutering young is essential, too, as this will calm the cat's hormones (both sexes) and make for a better house pet. The best owners for Bengals would be at home a lot, have a nice, lively household with people and dogs who love to play and interact.
Bengals should never be mixed with under-confident, sedate cats as these will end up bullied by your naughty Bengals, and it will end in tears.