If you know anything about the personality of a Bengal cat, you know they’re slightly higher maintenance than most cats. The key to their happiness (and avoiding behavior issues) rests in you understanding and meeting their needs!
To help determine if a Bengal would be a good fit for you, there are five needs you’ll have to be ready to meet when you bring a Bengal kitten home.
What does a Bengal cat need?
1. Territory (AKA, your house)
Territory is SO important to Bengal cats, and you’ll want your house to be a place that can be their home, too.
Bengals have a need to stretch their legs and run to release energy. A home with adequate square footage for them is great, but if you have a smaller area, a cat wheel is a great investment!
But more important than square footage is vertical space. How can you add things to your home that will accommodate a Bengal’s innate desire to be up high?
Another critical part of a Bengal’s environment is a dedicated scratcher. Or several. They need to scratch to add their scent to their territory, and they need to use their claws to stretch their back muscles.
If you’re not willing to make some adjustments to your home to make it a place suitable for a cat, a Bengal might not be a good fit for you.
2. An outlet for their energy
Bengals have high energy, even into adulthood. If you don’t play with them, they will find other ways to spend their energy, ways that you might not appreciate.
Kittens in particular want to play for hours each day. The very best way for them to use up their energy without getting into trouble is to have…
A playmate! Ideally, another cat with a similar energy level who they can chase around to their heart’s content. There’s just no replacement for this kind of fun! If you ever have the opportunity to adopt two kittens from the same litter, I highly encourage you to go for it! You won’t regret it.
3. A species appropriate diet
To clarify, Bengals do not need a special diet. They do, however, need a diet fit for a cat, because they’re cats! ALL cats should be fed quality food, especially since their diet is something we control for them and they don’t have any say in the matter.
Species appropriate means meat. Unfortunately, the most readily available, convenient cat food in stores is not very healthy for them. If you want to know more, read our post about a healthy Bengal cat diet!
4. Enough litter boxes
This is not a need specific to Bengals, but to cats in general. If you tuck a single litter box in the corner of your garage where you don’t have to see or smell it, you and your Bengal are going to have some strong disagreements. And that’s a battle you do not want to fight!
As a general rule of thumb:
- There should be one litter box per cat, plus one extra
- Add more litter boxes if their area is large, or if there are multiple floors in your house
- Litter boxes should be conveniently located
- Cats prefer litter with a sand-like texture
- Cats prefer unscented litter
If you can make the whole litter box situation as appealing as possible, your Bengal won’t try to avoid using them!
Your Bengal needs you! Bengals are social, and they want to interact with the family (on their terms, of course). If you think it’ll be okay to leave for an entire weekend as long as you leave some food out, think again! Bengals don’t like to be alone.
It can be hard to fill a Bengal’s social needs all by yourself, so ideally they will have a friend! You can try to have a Bengal as an only pet, but most Bengal kittens are raised to be social with people and with other animals. Again, they don’t like to be alone! And there is no one who can fill their need for play time like another cat with a similar energy level. A Bengal with another pet at home as a friend will be usually be much happier than a lonely Bengal.
How well do Bengal cats get along with other pets or kids?
You may be wondering about how Bengals do with other pets or kids. There’s a lot to cover here, but we’ve briefly answered some common questions below.
How well do Bengals get along with dogs?
Most Bengals do great with dogs, as long as the dog is friendly to cats. A dog usually can’t provide the level of play that another cat could, weaving in and out of cat trees at top speed, but Bengals will often demonstrate that they enjoy a dog’s company and may play with a dog. A Bengal will not feel the need to compete for resources with a dog like he would with another cat, and so the relationship is relatively simple.
How well do Bengals get along with other cats?
ALL cats are tricky to introduce to each other, and this process should always be done carefully. Once introduced, cats with similar energy levels are the most likely to get along the best. If you have an older, calm cat at home and you bring home a rambunctious kitten, the older cat could quickly become annoyed with the kitten, and the two probably won’t have a great relationship.
How are Bengals with kids?
If you have young kids at home, I’d recommend researching best practices for Bengals and children (until we have a chance to post about this, Google is your friend). You’ll want to referee a lot of their interactions to make sure one doesn’t accidentally scare or hurt the other. But as long as you’re cautious and provide your Bengal an escape from the young child, there should be no issues.
Would a Bengal be a good fit for my home?
Now that you have a good idea of a Bengal’s needs, you can learn what a Bengal’s personality is like here. And then, I encourage you to read this post to discover a few questions to ask before searching for your very own Bengal kitten!