Owning a Bengal cat is a big responsibility. This breed has the same needs as other cats but also has some additional ones.
If you don’t meet your Bengal’s needs, it could become depressed, develop behavioral problems, and even fall ill.
In this article, we go over those needs to help you prevent such an unfortunate situation from happening.
Related article: Are Bengal cats high maintenance?
What do Bengal cats need?
Bengal cats need the following:
- A stimulating environment
- Ways to exercise
- Quality food
- A clean litter box
- Scratching surfaces
Let’s take a closer look at each of these needs.
1. Bengals need companionship
Bengals are more gregarious than your typical cat. They enjoy interacting and playing with their owners as well as other animals. These social interactions are essential to their emotional well-being.
Because of this, Bengal cats can’t be left alone for too long.
If you have to leave your home for more than 10 hours, we recommend asking someone to spend an hour with your Bengal while you’re away. Ideally, this person should play with your cat to stimulate it and tire it out.
If you’re constantly away for long hours, you might not be a good fit for this breed. Perhaps it’s better to wait until you spend more time at home before adopting a Bengal.
Related article: Do Bengal cats need company?
2. Bengals need a stimulating environment
Bengals are intelligent, curious, and playful. The flip side of these qualities is that they easily get bored.
Related article: Do Bengal cats get bored? How to entertain your Bengal
If your Bengal is constantly bored, it might start engaging in destructive behavior or plucking out its hair. That’s why it’s crucial to provide it with a stimulating environment.
Stimulating doesn’t necessarily mean big. Bengals can thrive in smaller apartments, as long as they have toys, hiding spots, and structures on which to climb.
Related article: What do Bengal cats like to play with?
3. Bengals need ways to exercise
Just as important as mental stimulation is physical exercise. Indeed, Bengals are true athletes that need to keep active to remain healthy.
While they can burn off energy by playing with their toys or with other pets, that’s not enough. It’s also important for you to play with your Bengal regularly. For example, you could use a cat teaser to simulate a hunt for about 20 minutes every evening.
Another way to help a Bengal exercise is to take it out for a walk. This will also stimulate its senses and enrich its life. Keep in mind that walking a cat on a leash is not without risk, so if you plan on doing so, make sure to read the following article: How to walk a cat outside – 8 essential tips.
4. Bengals need quality, protein-rich food
Nutrition is just as important to cats as it is to humans. If you want your Bengal to live a long, healthy life, it’s crucial to feed it properly.
The first thing to know is that Bengals need to consume animal protein, which contains essential amino acids that they can’t produce themselves. If you don’t feed it animal-based food, your Bengal risks having nutritional deficiencies that can lead to major health issues.
Plant-based food can’t be used as a substitute for animal-based food. Not only does it lack some essential amino acids, but it’s also harder to digest, as cats have short digestive systems.
Another thing to know is that not all cat food brands aren’t equal. As Meow Guide explains, some cheap brands use fillers such as corn, grain, and wheat, which can be detrimental to your Bengal’s health in the long run. Some also use undesirable animal by-products like beaks and undeveloped eggs.
Since your Bengal’s diet is so important, we recommend discussing it with your breeder and your veterinarian. You can also learn more on the subject by reading this article by the Cornell Feline Health Center.
- Applaws – Cat Health Benefits
- Fear Free Happy Homes – How Much Protein Does Your Cat Need?
- Meow Guide – Do Bengal cats need a specific diet?
5. Bengals need a clean litter box
Cats in general like their litter box to be clean. If it’s dirty, they’re more likely to do their business in inappropriate places.
To prevent this, you should scoop the litter regularly (ideally every day).
It’s also important to change the litter according to the instructions on the bag. Non-clumping litter needs to be changed much more often than scoopable litter.
The Humane Society recommends scrubbing the box every time you change the litter. You only need to use warm water and mild detergent. Make sure not to use any cleaning products that are toxic to cats!
Related article: Inappropriate Toileting and Urine Marking in Bengals Cats
6. Bengals need scratching surfaces
Like other cats, Bengals feel a strong need to scratch objects. They do so to hone their claws, stretch, express emotions and mark their territory with their interdigital glands.
If you don’t want your Bengal to ruin your furniture, you need to provide it with more interesting options, i.e. scratching posts and/or corrugated pads.
Related article: How can I stop my cat from scratching furniture?
Cat trees often feature scratching posts that can be replaced once worn out. Here’s an example:
Important: Declawing is inhumane. It is NOT the right way to prevent your Bengal from scratching your furniture. You can learn more in this article.