Due to their exotic appearance and background, Bengal cats are increasing in popularity among cat lovers everywhere, but do they have a tendency to be mean? I decided to find out!
Are Bengal cats mean? Not necessarily. Though they technically come from feral descendants, Bengal cats are not wild and are, therefore, no meaner than your average house cat. Not only that, they actually really love your attention and being around you.
Now that you know that, you might still be wondering why your Bengal cat is acting mean. Let’s dive more into the demeanor of Bengal cats and reasons they might be displaying aggressive behavior.
Do Bengal Cats Have a Tendency to be Mean?
As you already know, the answer here is no, but you’re probably thinking that if they come from the wild and are known as the “miniature leopard,” how can they not have temperament issues, right?
Well, I’m here to tell you that they are no more prone to behavior issues or aggression than any other house cat. Though they look wild, they are actually domesticated.
On the flip side, the same things that trigger other cats to have behavioral problems can also trigger your Bengal cat. Just like any typical house cat, if their basic needs are not met, they can develop behavioral issues like territorial spraying or play aggression, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more prone to these issues.
They simply just have more needs and demands than your average cat.
Just because they aren’t meaner than your typical house cat, however, doesn’t mean you should run out and buy one just because they’re cute. There’s a lot more you should know and consider before making that decision.
What Kind of Personality Do Bengal Cats Have?
Just like any other cat breed, Bengal cats have specific temperaments, so make sure you consider that before jumping on the Bengal cat bandwagon. Check out the following list of personality traits to see if a Bengal cat might be right for you:
- Very vocal
- High energy and active
- Love to climb and play in water
- Easily tamed/trained
- Great with children and other pets
- Extremely playful
- Attention seekers
- Require lots of mental and physical stimulation
- Can’t be left home alone for long periods of time
As you can probably tell from that list, these cats need a lot of attention and playtime as well as plenty of ways to exercise (designated shelving for climbing, tall cat trees, a place to run, etc.). Considering that they can live anywhere from 14 to 16 years or even longer, it’s a big commitment.
The biggest mistake most people make is that they buy a Bengal cat because they’re adorable and look like tiny wild cats. Sadly, a lot of them end up in rescues because the owner can’t handle their high energy or demanding personality.
Given the proper care, they are very loyal and affectionate and are a very rewarding pet to have as you can read in this article.
However, you likely won’t ever find them plopping down in your lap for a snooze, so if you’re looking for a gentle, soft-spoken, low-maintenance lap cat, a Bengal cat is probably not for you.
Why Your Bengal Cat Might Be Acting Mean
Though Bengal cats aren’t inherently mean, there are many things that might cause aggressive behavior, just like any other cat. Take a look at this chart of most common reasons Bengals might be aggressive, and see if you can figure out why your Bengal cat is acting mean:
Reasons your Bengal is mean:
You Bengal is play aggressive.
This is actually one of the leading reasons for aggressive behaviors in cats. Because Bengals are so high energy, they need a lot of ways to burn that off. If they don’t, they can become mean because they have so much pent up energy and don’t know how to get rid of it.
Your Bengal isn’t spayed or neutered.
If your cat is not altered and reaches maturity, he or she may develop aggression/territorial issues because they have this inner desire to breed. When there isn’t an outlet for that desire, they may become frustrated and take it out on you.
Your Bengal is sick.
You aren’t in a great mood when you’re sick, so it’s a lot to ask your kitty to be in a good mood if she’s sick. Many illnesses, such as respiratory or gastrointestinal issues, may make your kitty mean.
Your Bengal has been abused or under-socialized.
If you got your cat from a rescue or questionable breeder, there’s no telling what that poor kitty has endured. If she was abused by people or attacked by other animals, she may be a little hesitant or scared. If she gets scared, she may lash out in anger in order to “protect” herself.
On the flip side, if all she did was sit in a crate by herself and never really interacted with anyone, she will have socialization issues (like a feral cat), which can cause her to be mean, too.
Your Bengal cat’s environment or routine has changed.
Cats are creatures of habit, so when something in their routine or environment changes, they may lash out in an aggressive way.
For example, a new cat, constantly changing work schedules, a new piece of furniture around, or even a new litter box could cause your kitty stress and thus lead to undesirable behaviors.
How Can I Stop My Bengal From Being Mean?
Fortunately, if your Bengal cat is mean for any of the above reasons, there are a lot of things you can do to help.
If your cat is play aggressive, you can fix it by simply playing with her more (1-2 hours per day) or providing her with ways to burn off energy, such as kitty runs or specially made shelving for her to climb on.
If your Bengal is acting territorial or aggressive due to not being fixed, the only option here would be to fix him/her. However, before you do that, you might want to schedule a vet visit for a consult. Your vet should be able to tell you if the behavior is driven by hormones.
If hormones aren’t the issue, you may want to ask your vet if they think your Bengal is sick. Bengals can be good at hiding their illness, so even if she isn’t acting sick, an appointment with your veterinarian is never a bad idea.
If your Bengal has been abused or was never socialized properly, be patient with her. Give her time to adjust to her surroundings and to you. Don’t force her to do anything she’s too scared to do.
Treats are usually a good motivator – if she associates you with treats, chances are she will start to trust you. Work at it every day, and she should come around!
Finally, if your cat is acting mean because of changes in her routine or environment, you’ll want to either go back to the way things were or give her time to get used to the changes. Eventually, she will adapt. However, a routine is pretty important to Bengal cats.
If anything, make sure she is always on a regular feeding schedule as that will give her something she can always depend on at the same time every day.
Can Bengal cats be left home alone? No, not for long periods of time. If left alone, they can get very lonely and become bored (and therefore become destructive or curious). Some owners have come home to find that their Bengal went through all the kitchen cupboards and drawers, which is not only inconvenient for you but can also be dangerous for your kitty.
Do Bengal cats like to cuddle? Though this cat breed is super affectionate and craves attention, they don’t like to snuggle or cuddle. You will rarely ever find your Bengal curled up in your lap. They much prefer to be petted and played with.
Do Bengal cats purr and meow a lot? Yes! These kitties are very vocal and will let you know if they need something, are upset, or are very happy. They love to chatter, meow, purr, and grumble, and they’re very loud. So don’t think you can sneak one of these in your home without someone finding out!