Some people believe that keeping a cat inside is cruel, as it prevents the animal from living a fulfilling life. Others believe that letting your cat outside is actually irresponsible, as it puts the animal at high risk of getting injured or killed.
What about Bengal cats specifically? One could think that due to their leopard cat, they must feel miserable if they aren’t allowed outside. But is it truly a good idea to let your Bengal go out by itself? Let’s find out.
Can Bengals be outdoor cats?
Letting your Bengal cat roam freely outside is not a good idea. In fact, it’s very risky, so much so that some breeders require buyers to sign a contract that forbids them to let their cat go outside unsupervised.
There are many reasons why Bengal cats should be kept inside. Dangers of the outside world include:
- Other animals
- Cruel people
Let’s look at these dangers more closely.
Every year, millions of cats get hit by vehicles in the United States alone. According to a Vets Now study, more than 4% of the cats that are treated at emergency veterinary clinics are there for this reason. While Bengals are intelligent, they can’t be taught to cross the street safely.
As explained by American Humane, cats can pick up all sorts of parasites outdoors, including ticks, fleas, ear mites, intestinal worms, and ringworm.
While not all parasites cause severe symptoms, some do. Moreover, some parasites can be transmitted to humans. The last thing you want is for your cat to transmit parasites to your family!
If your cat ventures outside, it risks encountering other cats, dogs as well as wild animals such as raccoons and coyotes. Such encounters are dangerous because they can lead to fights, which may result in serious injuries or even death.
In addition, other animals could transmit serious diseases to your cat. Rabies, for instance, is often fatal in cats and can be transmitted to humans.
Recommended article: What vaccines do Bengal cats need?
Pet toxins are not to be underestimated, as they are found everywhere and can be lethal. The Shiloh Veterinary Hospital warns against the following: rodenticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, cocoa bean mulch, compost, and antifreeze. It also points out that many plants can be hazardous, including lilies, rhododendrons, and crocuses.
While it’s possible to eliminate these threats from your own yard, it’s impossible to prevent your cat from encountering them elsewhere.
Bengal cats are both popular and expensive (see: Are Bengal cats expensive?). This makes them a target for thieves who wish to make a quick buck by reselling them at a lower price than what they are typically sold for.
Unfortunately, unsuspecting buyers can easily fall for such scams. That’s why it’s important to buy your Bengal from a reputable cattery such as the ones listed in our price guides:
Believe it or not, some people find pleasure in hurting cats. There are many documented cases of people shooting at cats, poisoning them, or doing other cruel things to them.
Are Bengal cats a threat to wildlife?
Another thing to consider is that due to their high prey drive and formidable athletic abilities, Bengals are a threat to wildlife. Indeed, Bengals love to chase small animals and can often catch them since they run fast, jump high, and are great climbers.
The impact of outdoor cats on wildlife is not to be neglected: According to a study published in Nature Communications, “free-ranging domestic cats kill 1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals annually” in the United States.
What if I go outside with my Bengal?
While you shouldn’t let your Bengal go outside alone, it’s still possible to let it enjoy the outdoors by taking it out on supervised walks.
That being said, there are certain steps that need to be taken for these walks to go without incident. Make sure to read our 8 essential tips for walking a cat outside.
Just because a Bengal is kept inside doesn’t mean that it won’t live a happy life. On the contrary, Bengals can thrive indoors, provided they are sufficiently stimulated. This means that their owners need to play with them and provide them with a rich environment.
For product suggestions to keep your Bengal mentally and physically stimulated, take a look at this article.
- American Humane – Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats
- Nature – The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States
- Shiloh Veterinary Hospital – On the Lookout for Outdoor Pet Toxins
- Vets Now – Study using Vets Now data reveals which cats are most at risk on roads