How do you tire out a Bengal cat?

Bengal cats have a ton of energy to spare. They like to run, jump, climb, play chase, and engage in all manner of physical activities.

Related article: Do Bengal cats have lots of energy?

But truth be told, there’s a downside to this: when Bengals don’t burn off enough energy, they sometimes develop behavioral issues. For instance, they might engage in destructive behavior or urinate outside their litter box.

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This is problematic for two reasons. First, such behavior issues indicate that the cat isn’t feeling well. Second, they can be quite frustrating for owners and be a cause for abandonment. 

In this article, we give you tips on how you can tire out your Bengal so it goes to sleep instead of engaging in destructive behavior.

How do you tire out a Bengal cat?

Because Bengals have a high level of energy, they need to exercise a lot before they get tired. They can do so by themselves (using interactive toys or a cat wheel), with other pets (playing chase) or with their owners (through different games or through walks). 

Related article: Can I take my Bengal cat outside?

Let’s look more closely at different things you can do to help your Bengal exercise.

Play with your Bengal using a cat teaser

This classic toy is a favorite of Bengals. With their high prey drive, these cats just love stalking a target and pouncing on it.

To simulate a hunt, slowly move the toy part on the ground and start jerking it around. Make the “prey” hop, leap, run and hide behind objects.

If you have a cat tunnel, you can rub the prey against the inner surface, as if it were scratching it. The sound alone can really trigger Bengals. Our little Xena goes crazy when we do this. She sprints into the tunnel or jumps in it through the top hole. She also goes wild when we rub the prey against her scratching post.

Other possibilities include wiggling the toy at the top of a cat tree or dangling it in the air (at a height your cat can reach). By climbing and jumping, your Bengal will burn off more energy.

Why not do a little work out yourself by moving around with the wand instead of staying put? Just make sure there are no dangerous obstacles that could cause you or your cat to get injured.

Keep in mind that the goal here is not to outmaneuver your Bengal 100% of the time. You need to let your cat catch its prey once in a while if you want it to stay engaged. If your cat always loses, it risks getting frustrated.

Safety tip: As Way of Cats advises, you should make sure the string is thick enough so your cat doesn’t cut its toes or mouth. You also want the toy part to be sturdy.

Walk your Bengal outside

Walking your Bengal outside is one of the most effective ways to make it exercise while stimulating its senses. All you need is a safe, escape-free harness and a little patience.

With a little training, you might even be able to jog with your Bengal, at least for short distances before it tries to outrun you!

Bengal cat walking outside
Walking a Bengal at the park.

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Safety tip: You should only walk your Bengal in a quiet area where you won’t encounter too many people or dogs. If you need to walk through busy areas to get there, you can always put it in a cat backpack.

Weather permitting, walks are a fantastic way to make your Bengal exercise and see the outside world without the risks of free roaming. Still, safety is not to be neglected, so make sure to read the following article if you find the idea appealing: How to walk a cat outside – 8 essential tips.

Adopt another companion

If you don’t have enough time on your hands to play with your Bengal or take it out for walks, then the next best solution is to adopt another energetic animal. It could be another Bengal, of course, but it doesn’t have to be. Bengals can get along fine with other types of cats too.

The important thing is to find a cat that has a matching personality and a matching energy level, regardless of the breed. It’s also crucial to gradually introduce the animals to each other. If you let your new cat loose in your home from the get go, chances are that things won’t go too smoothly.

What you should do instead is follow the step-by-step introduction process detailed in this article: Adopting a second cat: Can two Bengals live together? 

Bengal cats for sale
Two Bengals sleeping after an intense play session.

Related article: Do Bengals get along with other cats?

Another possibility is adopting a dog. You read that right: dogs can actually be great companions for Bengals, which don’t see them as rivals competing for their territory.

That being said, dogs are usually higher-maintenance than cats, so you need to factor that in your decision. It’s also important to choose your dog carefully: some breeds are much better fits for Bengals (and cats in general) than others. You can learn more on this subject in this article: Do Bengal cats get along with dogs?

Safety tip: Bengals sometimes play rough and love to use their claws. To protect your dog’s eyes, consider installing nail caps on your Bengal. These small plastic caps have rounded tips that prevent injuries as well as damage to furniture. Read more here: How to install cat nail caps in 4 quick steps (video included).

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

Whether you’re thinking about adopting a second cat or a dog, keep in mind that this new pet will come with a lot of expenses beyond the cost of the animal itself. These expenses include additional food, toys and accessories, as well as vet visits. Needless to say, they can quickly add up!

Provide your Bengal with interactive toys

Another way to keep your Bengal active is to buy it a few interactive toys. Here’s a short video of our own Bengals testing one. As you can see, it got their seal of approval!

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll notice that there’s no shortage of interactive cat toys out there. But some are better (and safer) than others. Here are a few options recommended by BengalCats.co (all links lead to YouTube):

Safety tip: As with regular toys, you want to make sure that any interactive toy you buy is made of non-toxic materials. Durability is also important: if small parts break off, your cat could choke on them.

While interactive toys aren’t a substitute for play sessions that involve people, they’re a nice addition. They’re also a great way to keep your Bengal mentally stimulated in your absence.

Related article: Do Bengal cats get bored? How to entertain your Bengal

Buy your Bengal a food-dispensing ball

A food-dispensing ball is simply a ball with holes from which kibbles drop out when the cat plays with it. Watch our own Bengal test one out in this video.

Granted, your Bengal won’t spend a ton of energy using a food-dispensing ball, but it’s still a fun way to make it do a little extra work for its food instead of simply eating from a bowl.

Bengal cat food
Xena eating from her puzzle feeder.

Why not alternate between a ball and a puzzle feeder to keep your Bengal engaged?

Have your Bengal chase kibbles

Another way to make your Bengal work for its food is to have it chase food. Simply grab a handful of kibbles and slide them one by one on the floor. You can even throw some up or down the stairs for a little cardio workout.

The goal here is simply to make your Bengal do short sprints. Make sure there are no obstacles in the way so your cat doesn’t trip and get injured.

Play fetch with your Bengal

Did you know that Bengal cats can learn to play fetch just like dogs? See for yourself in this video.

PetMD recommends starting in a small space with few obstacles before moving to a larger space. Other tips include playing before mealtime, rewarding your cat with treats, and reinforcing the behavior with words.

PetMD also recommends putting the toy away after the fetching game. If you leave it laying around, it won’t be as enticing for your Bengal.

As an added bonus, training your cat to play fetch (or teaching it other tricks) is a great way to bond with it and keep it mentally sharp.

Final thoughts

If possible, try to play with your Bengal two or three times a day. This will not only tire it out, but also keep it fit and mentally stimulated, which is crucial for its well-being.

Related article: Do Bengal cats get fat? How can my Bengal lose weight?

Alternating between the aforementioned games (wand chasing, kibble chasing, fetch) and outside walks is a great way to keep things fresh for your spotted companion. These fun activities will also help prevent depression in your cat.

Related article: Do Bengal cats get depressed? Helpful solutions

References

Bored Bengal cat yawning

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