Say it louder for the people at the back! Bengals are not your average cat!
As leaders in Animal Welfare in our community it is our responsibility to educate on the responsibilities of pet ownership. We have recently noticed an increase in calls for assistance from owners of Bengal cats. Why would that be you may ask? That is because Bengals are not your average cat.
Bengals are Domestic Cats, recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) and the Canadian Cat Association (CCA). Bengal cats are descendants of the Asian Leopard Cat, which was first outcrossed with a domestic cat in 1963. Initially, the Bengal breed was created by taking an Asian Leopard Cat and crossing it with a Domestic cat. Today, this practice is no longer necessary, or desired. The Asian Leopard Cat should stay in their natural habitat. Today’s domestic Bengal cat comes from breeding Bengals to other Bengals. For more about the history of the Bengal Breed visit TICA.
Every Bengal cat is unique, yet they do share many common traits. Like all cats, they are individuals and have their own likes and preferences. Bengals are highly intelligent and curious cats. They can figure out how to open doors, drawers, and tuck away in places where you simply can’t find them! Bengals are playful, and athletic. They require lots of regular play, stimulation and enrichment. For this reason, they do not do well being left alone for hours at a time. If you are not home often, they may not be the best cat for you. Bengals love catios, exercise wheels, tall climbing towers and toys, because of their athletic nature and high energy. Some Bengals LOVE to chatter – LOUD. They may not be the best choice, for apartment-dwellers.
Bengals can be high maintenance pets requiring a lot of stimulation, enrichment and interaction. If they do not have these needs fulfilled, they will manifest their frustration in a myriad of behaviour issues including but not limited to:
- Inappropriate Urination
- Separation Anxiety
- Scratching or Biting
- Extreme vocalization
The most common calls we receive about Bengals are pet owners looking for help with house soiling or aggressive/destructive behaviour. Often these pet owners are looking to surrender these cats. If you are looking to purchase a cat from a breeder please do your research on the breed and ensure that your breeder is registered with a reputable association (TICA, CCA) and offers support with any of these common Bengal behaviours.