If you’ve never owned a cat before, you might be hesitant about adopting a Bengal. With its wild leopard cat ancestry, this breed must be a handful, right?

Recommended article: Are Bengal cats related to leopards?

Truth be told, Bengals are not the easiest cats to own, especially if you’re inexperienced. Plenty of first-time cat owners do well with Bengals, but they don’t necessarily have it easy all the time.

Unfortunately, there are also many people who fall in love with Bengals only to realize too late that they didn’t know what owning such an animal entailed.

Before settling on this breed, it’s crucial to be knowledgeable about it. Here’s what you need to know.

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Are Bengal cats good for first-time owners?

It is possible (but not easy) for first-time cat owners to successfully raise and care for a Bengal. While experience in owning cats can be helpful, it is not absolutely necessary. However, would-be Bengal owners need to know what they’re getting into: this breed is more needy than most domestic cats when it comes to play, exercise and social interactions.

Owning any type of cat is a big responsibility. You have to feed your pet quality food, keep its litter box clean, get it vaccinated, provide it with toys, play with it, etc. 

But Bengals are perhaps even more demanding. Because they have a lot of energy, they need to exercise on a regular basis. First-time owners might not expect this breed to be so active and might not be prepared to satisfy this need through daily interactive play.

Bengal cat teaser
Are you committed to playing with your Bengal daily?

They could also feel overwhelmed by their Bengal’s need for attention. This isn’t the type of cat that you can leave alone all day long. You need to spend some quality time with it every day (this means playing with a cat teaser, going out for walks, etc.)

Recommended article: Can Bengal cats be left alone?

If you don’t give your Bengal enough attention, it’s likely to develop behavioral problems. For instance, it might start urinating in your laundry or destroying objects around the house, including furniture. While it can be difficult for inexperienced owners to deal with these problems, they can always seek out the help of a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist.

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Another thing to be aware of is that Bengals can have a strong personality and tend to be quite vocal (here’s proof). Inexperienced owners might have trouble dealing with this temperament. If they start punishing the cat for being too demanding or too loud, things only risk getting worse.

Recommended article: Are Bengal cats noisy?

Final thoughts

The bottom line is that owning a Bengal is not easy. It takes a lot of knowledge and dedication to properly care for such an animal.

Bengal cats are needy
Beautiful… but quite demanding!

If you have never owned a cat before and are thinking about adopting a Bengal, make sure to read extensively about this breed. We recommend starting with the following articles:

It’s also important to discuss this breed’s particular behavior and needs with a reputable breeder (see our list of American breeders and Canadian breeders). This way, you shouldn’t have any bad surprises once you welcome a Bengal into your household. 

Recommended article: Are Bengal cats easy to look after?

It would be unfortunate if you had to get rid of your pet because you weren’t sufficiently knowledgeable. Not only would this be a waste of money, but it could be traumatic for the animal. There are plenty of other cats looking for a home, and just because you settle on another breed for now doesn’t mean that you can’t adopt a Bengal later on.