Bengal cat pros and cons: what you need to know

Bengal cats are awesome pets. But to be fair, there can also be downsides to owning such an animal, depending on your situation. 

In this article, we cover five pros and five cons to help you determine if this breed is a good fit for you.

Bengal cat pros

1. Bengal cats are full of energy

Bengals have a lot of energy to spare. Even as adults, they need to play and exercise daily.

If you’re looking for a cat that you can play with and take out for walks, this breed is worth considering. You’ll never be bored with a Bengal, that’s for sure.

Keep in mind that this is only a pro if you can satisfy your Bengal’s need to play and exercise. If you can’t, your Bengal will be miserable and might engage in destructive behavior

2. Bengal cats can learn tricks

Bengals are highly intelligent animals that need mental stimulation. One of the ways to meet this need is to teach them tricks. Bengals can be taught to lie on their back or to do a high five, for example.

Like dogs, cats learn tricks through positive reinforcement training. This means giving them a treat when they respond properly to commands. To make things easier, you can also use a pet training clicker.

Related article: Are Bengal cats smart?

3. Bengal cats can walk on a leash

It’s not a myth: Bengal cats like going for walks with their owners!

Walking your Bengal is a great way to make it spend its energy and help it maintain a healthy weight, which is the best way to prevent many chronic diseases. Plus, by running around and climbing on small structures, your Bengal will develop its agility and its endurance.

Make sure to read our essential tips so your four-legged friend can safely enjoy the outdoors.

4. Bengal cats like taking part in family activities

Like dogs, Bengals are part of the family. They follow their owners around and enjoy interacting with them. They’ll even tag along on adventures, such as a picnic at the park.

Bengal cat with a scarf outside

To make your Bengal feel safe during your adventure, you could bring an object it’s fond of (its favorite blanket, for instance).

5. Bengal cats get along well with other pets

Bengals love company, even that of other cats and dogs. This is good news for would-be owners who already have such pets. And if you already own a Bengal and spend long hours away from home, you could perhaps adopt another cat to keep it company.

How to introduce a Bengal cat to a dog

Recommended article: How to introduce a Bengal cat to a dog – Step-by-step process

The Cherished Companions animal clinic has a few tips for a smooth cat-to-cat introduction. These include taking things slowly and letting your animals smell each other from behind a door.One tip we would like to add is to install nail caps on your Bengal to prevent injuries when play gets rough. Nail caps (also called “soft claws”) are inexpensive and easy to install. There’s no better alternative to declawing.

Bengal cat cons

1. Owning a Bengal cat is expensive

One of the major downsides of Bengal cats is the ownership costs. From the initial purchase to the ongoing expenses, you’ll spend a lot of money on your Bengal. Here’s a breakdown of the costs: 

The cat itself

First of all, the cost of the cat in itself is quite high. You should expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on the breeder and the cat’s fur pattern. Our USA Price Guide or Canada Price Guide will give you a good idea of prices in your area.

The food

High-quality food for a single Bengal will cost you about $40 a month.

The toys and accessories

Bengal cats are highly active and need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Enriching their environment and providing all the toys and accessories they need has a cost.

While some toys (balls, springs, plush mice) can be found at a dollar store, some accessories are more costly. Here are some examples:

  • A cat tree: $50 to $200, depending on the material and the height 
  • A pet backpack: $30 to $250
  • An automatic food dispenser: $30 to $90
  • A quality harness: up to $30 (if you want to walk your Bengal outside)
  • A cat tunnel: up to $40

Related article: Top 10 gift ideas for Bengals (and other cats)

Add to that recurring expenses, like catnip ($3 to $20) and cat grass ($15 to $30), and the costs add up quickly.

Health care

Like other purebred pets, Bengal cats are prone to certain genetic health problems, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and pyruvate kinase deficiency (PK-Def).

Whether your Bengal develops such a disease or injures itself, the bill will be high. One way to avoid paying a high bill is to get pet insurance (which we discuss at greater length in this article), but that’s not free either.

Recommended article: How much does it cost to own a Bengal cat?

2. Bengal cats can’t be left alone for long

Bengals have a lot in common with dogs. For instance, they get all excited when their owners return home and enjoy interacting with them. They also need to play and exercise. And like dogs, they can suffer from loneliness.

A lonely Bengal may become mischievous and develop an anxiety disorder or behavioral problems (such as psychogenic alopecia). That’s why it’s crucial to spend time with your Bengal every day and to play with it regularly.

If you plan on adopting a Bengal cat, keep in mind this breed requires as much attention as a dog.

3. Bengal cats aren’t all lap cats

While Bengals are sociable and affectionate, they’re not what one would call “lap cats.” They’ll snuggle with their owners from time to time, but only on their own terms. They generally don’t like being picked up and put on someone’s lap.

This is not a drawback for everyone, but it may be for some people. 

Of course, as is the case with other animal breeds, every individual is different. Some Bengals are more cuddly than others.

The key is not to force anything onto your Bengal: simply wait for it to come to you. The safer it feels, the more it will cuddle.

Related article: Are Bengal cats cuddly?

4. Bengal cats are noisy

Bengals have quite a character and like to express themselves. You can expect your spotted friend to meow when you get up in the morning, when you come home from work, when you give it a treat…

Related article: Are Bengal cats noisy? An honest answer

Here’s a video that shows just how noisy Bengals can be.

While it’s fun to have your cat communicate in such a way, it can also be problematic for two reasons. First, Bengals don’t only make noises when you want them to: they can also meow loudly in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning. Second, if you live in an apartment, your neighbors might not enjoy the subtleties of feline communication as much as you do.

Recommended: Can Bengal cats live in apartments? Yes, but…

5. Bengal cats are predatory animals

The Bengal cat was created by crossing domestic cats with leopard cats. It shares the latter’s magnificent spotted fur, but also its superior agility. And like all cats, it has a high prey drive. 

These traits make Bengals a threat to small animals such as birds and mice. If you let your Bengal roam freely outside, chances are that it will disturb the local ecosystem.

The Bengal cat’s predatory attributes are coupled with a high energy level. An understimulated Bengal may start to play chase with other pets and even people. Although this behavior is playful, it’s not safe, especially if you have young children at home.

Final thoughts

Bengals have a lot going on for them: they’re energetic, smart, and gregarious. Plus, they enjoy walking with their owners and going on adventures.

But Bengal cats are not for everyone, mainly because they are expensive to buy and care for. They’re also quite noisy, which can be problematic for some people. 

Other characteristics can be seen as positives or as negatives depending on what you want from your pet. For instance, Bengals have a high energy level that makes them fun to play with. But as a result, they require a lot of attention. And while they can get along with other pets, they can act in a predatory fashion, which is why claw caps are a must.

Before adopting a Bengal cat, make sure to read these articles.


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