Bengal Mythbusters

As I’ve been doing my research on Bengals at the various Bengal sites, blogs and organizations that I have come across I’ve noticed a trend in similar questions about people who seem to have bought into some of the myths that are out there.  Videos on You Tube like “Are You Sure You Want a Bengal Cat” which proceeds to show a bengal ripping apart some type of paper product or they have seen some post somewhere about a bengal destroying a home, climbing curtains, terrorizing and attacking other cats, prized possessions or their owners.  Many think that because the bengal cat is derived from a wild cat (see this post for more info) that all these bad behaviours just have to be true.

So it’s Bengal Mythbusters Time.  Let me preface this with, these are my opinions from my research, I’m not a veterinarian or a cat behaviourist expert or even a breeder (yet).

1.  The most popular one: Bengal cats are wild destructive creatures that will turn your house to shambles

False …but

Bengal Cat on TableBengal Cats like any cat can misbehave.  Any other breed of cat can be just as destructive if their owner doesn’t invest time in training them.  For instance our bengal cat likes to go on the counters and kitchen table, like all cats, but personally we don’t allow this.  Our tabbies have learned over time not go up there and at 9 years old they pretty much have stopped trying.  Our bengal, Cookie, on the other hand sneaks up there whenever we aren’t around.  To the right you can see when we caught her sleeping in the fruit bowl on our table.   She is slowly learning that she’s not allowed up there, nor do we leave food out to entice the behaviour. We’ve also taught her she’s not allowed to dig in the plants or chew on the plants etc,.  The worst thing our bengal cat has destroyed is probably a roll of paper towel, but our entire family has invested time and energy in ensuring she knows right from wrong and pays attention to her, plays with her and ensures she has the right toys and activities she needs.

Bengals do have a lot of extra energy, more so then regular tabbies or traditional family cats have so they are going to get into more trouble than a normal cat, but they aren’t any more destructive or vicious.  The assumption is that because they are derived from an a “wild cat” that their behaviour is wild and destructive like having a mini tiger.  This is not at all the case as most fail to understand that a bengal cat is at least 4 generations removed from the “wild cat” and that good and proper breeders are breeding from well tempered domestic cats during these 4 generations.

2. Bengals are mischievous and get into trouble around the house

True

Bengal cats are mischievous but there are other breeds just as curious as they are, otherwise where would the term Curiosity Killed the Cat come from?  Bengals are curious about everything that moves, makes a sound, visits the house, smells new, up high, down low, under stuff … you get the point.  For instance to the right Cookie decided she wanted to see if she fit in our daughters new lunch box.. she did barely.

They will get into anything and everything, and more so then maybe a traditional house cat, tabby or mixed breed cat.  But there are other breeds of cats like Abyssinians are notoriously more mischievous than Bengals and don’t have that “wild cat” thing either.

3. Bengals aren’t lap cats and aren’t cuddly

False

Bengals aren’t like some cats who want to just lay in your lap all day like Persians or Himalayans, but they also aren’t aloof and totally distant either.  In fact Bengals like to be where the action is and our Cookie typically greets anyone coming home at the door, especially if she’s been home alone (alone being with 2 other cats but no humans) and follows people around as they go through the house.  She also loves to sleep with us, but usually on her terms and times, just like every other cat.  In fact she tends to be more affectionate and cuddly then our two tabbies.

To the right you can see Cookie sleeping up against my arm, when she does sleep with someone she always has some sort of contact with that person, where as our tabbies are content to be at the foot of the bed or on a chair by the bed.  Since cats do have their own little personalities it doesn’t mean there aren’t some bengals out there that are distant and hate cuddling but the breed as a whole does.

4. Bengals are high maintenance 

True

This can also tie in with Myth #1. Bengal Cats have a ton of energy, but not unlike other breeds like Siamese and Abyssinians or others.  I have read that Bengal Cats who are home alone all day, or have little interaction with people or other cats do tend to have more destructive behaviour.  This means you do have to have time daily to spend with your bengal cat.  I also personally think a bengal cat should never be the only cat in the house.  A pair is best or at least other cats in the house it can interact with.  To the right Cookie is playing with our male tabby Silver, although in the photo she almost looks like she thinks she’s doing something wrong by stopping for the photo, Silver is the one actually engaging her to play.

They also get bored of the same toys are out, so we make it a point to introduce new things or she will find new things.  Recently she’s decided to claim ownership of one of our children’s toy stuffed ducks that is her new “kill”, but she also loves straws, those balloon holder sticks and weirdly enough a plastic (industrial strength) tie that was around a box.  She loves her toys and meows to announce them all the time or invite us to come play with her.

To sum things up, bengal cats aren’t for inexperienced cat owners and aren’t meant to be alone.  I’ve read several stories of people who had one bengal and were at work all day and had bengals with destructive habits like spraying or chewing and tearing up furniture, curtains, clothing, papers etc.  They aren’t any more destructive than other breeds when an owner doesn’t invest the time in them to train them and interact with them.  I do personally believe they should be in a multi-cat environment or in a home where someone is home most of the day.

 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 at 3:12 pm and is filed under Funny Stories, Purrrrrsonality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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