There’s a good chance that you are someone who is potentially considering buying or adopting a Bengal cat. You’ve already seen these cats and no-doubt countless videos of them but you’re interested in how well they are going to fit into your home. Firstly – thanks for doing some research. All too often we see people jumping in headfirst and buying a cat based purely on its looks (which you can semi-understand with the Bengal) but this cat is different to most and you’re doing the right thing by researching!
The Bengal cat does have a unique temperament and new owners could easily be surprised to discover what this cat is capable of. So let’s get down to it and ask the question you searched for…
Are Bengal cats nice? Yes, the Bengal is a very nice cat. Known for its high-energy, inquisitive and playful nature, the Bengal is a great cat for the whole family. However, they require a certain type of individual to cater to their essential requirements – is this you?
Typical Bengal Cat Personality
The Bengal cat, perhaps like a fine wine, should be reserved for the person who knows what they are doing (and what they are getting themselves in for). Often, you will notice people say that this breed of cat is not really for the first-time owner. I would have to agree with this – to an extent.
The Bengal has a lot of physical similarities to a wild cat and the comparisons don’t end with just its looks. The Bengal is a high-energy cat that will keep you on your toes, usually when you’re just about to sit down and relax with that glass of wine. They are ‘in’ to everything and will be happy to play whenever the opportunity arises and whatever their age.
They will see anything that is higher than them something that they need to get up and onto. This is usually the kitchen surface after you’ve just cleaned it or your lap as you’re sitting on the toilet. Many people ‘invest’ in cat trees – do take a look at the link if you want to see my recommendation. These work as they can focus the Bengal on an area that you’ve created, rather than areas you didn’t (and don’t particularly want them to climb).
The Bengal has a loving and affectionate side though, one which we will look at later.
What do we mean by a ‘nice’ cat?
Just going back to basics for a second to make sure we’re all on the same page. What do we actually mean when we’re referring to a cat as ‘nice’?Primarily, we’re looking to see whether the cat has any aggressive tendencies and how well it is able to get on with people (including children) and other pets.
A ‘nice’ cat is often one that is seen to show affection towards people and this could be (but is not limited to) being regarded as a ‘lap cat’. Care does need to be taken when categorizing a cat though (see what I did there?) Often, during play, a cat may have its claws extended – if your hands (or any other part of your body) gets in the way of these rather sharp pointy things, you’re going to come out worse. This doesn’t mean the cat isn’t nice – it just means you don’t understand how (or why) a cat needs to play.
So, in summary – what we’re looking for is the following:
- How friendly the breed is with people
- How friendly the breed is with other animals
- Signs of aggression
We will answer all of these below.
Is the Bengal cat affectionate?
Yes, the Bengal cat can certainly show affection to its owners and their family. In fact, I would go as far as to say the Bengal is a very loving breed of cat and thrives on human interaction. This cat would be lost without us, they need us as much as we need them and there are not many breeds of cat you can say this about.
It’s not just adult owners they can bond with though. This is a great family cat and kids love them – and I think I know why. If you look up the definition of ‘naughty cat’ in a dictionary it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if there’s just a picture of a Bengal. They certainly like to get up to mischief and I think it is this reason why kids fall for them – they are even naughtier than themselves!
A small (perhaps obvious) word of caution though here. As I’ve said, the Bengal is very much a playful breed. Unless the child knows how to interact with cats (very fast cats) they will end up getting scratched. When I was a kid I used to go into school with my hands shredded – I didn’t really understand that you shouldn’t play with a cat with your hands until later in life. This does not mean the cat is mean or aggressive – it just means you (like me when I was a kid) don’t know how to play with them.
Is the Bengal a lap cat?
Not really. Nor are they really a cat that likes to be held. Both these things are way too boring for the Bengal! If they are sitting on your lap or being held by you they are not doing something naughty – which is not acceptable in their book!
So, the Bengal is not typically a lap cat. There are always exceptions and yes, there will be the occasion when they jump up on your lap. You will then get ridiculously excited at this and will have to stay perfectly still, despite desperately wanting to go to the toilet. It wouldn’t surprise me if they actually know this and have done it deliberately. Anyway, if a Bengal stays on your lap for more than 10 seconds it’s unusual.
As for picking them up and holding them – imagine trying to pick up a slimy eel that’s just been dipped in oil. Then add four limbs, each with very sharp, pointy things on the end of them traveling at approximately the speed of light. This is what it’s like trying to cuddle a Bengal.
Do Bengal cats show aggression?
Hopefully, we’ve made it quite clear that the Bengal is a sociable, friendly cat that adores human contact. Its mission in life is to have as much fun as possible and they are taking us along for the ride.
However, any animal can show aggression – as much as even the nicest human can have bad days sometimes. When would we see this aggression in a Bengal? It’s rare and actually, it’s probably wrong to call it aggression. You tend to see Bengals getting a bit vicious when they feel under threat. For instance, if they are unwell. As a decent owner, you would recognize these signs anyway but if you try (and continue to try) to play and interact with a Bengal (or any cat) when they are unwell – they may need to give you a warning to back off. Imagine having the worst case of flu, lying in bed unable to do anything. Then, one of your children comes running up the stairs and jumps on you asking you to go outside and play with them. You might feel a little bit of aggression also 🙂
Also, occasionally signs of apparent aggression can be seen around children – but it is never without provocation. Babies (who should never be left alone with animals anyway) and toddlers don’t really understand what cats are. As far as they are concerned they are just another toy – and they will be treated as such. Therefore, they might be prodded, pulled and all kinds of other stuff that cats don’t like. If something happens that hurts them, they can hardly be blamed for lashing out.
The focus of the above should be on education. Children need to be taught how to treat cats (in fact, all animals). Without this training, how could they know?
Can the Bengal get along with other pets?
Yes, the Bengal can get along with other cats and also other dogs (as long as they aren’t too big). From a Bengal’s perspective, they just see this new introduction as a potential new friend to play with! Well, okay – maybe they don’t quite see it like this but the Bengal is usually so easy going it doesn’t present a problem, usually. Of course, there are always exceptions.
When introducing pets there are many variables involved and to give yourself the best chance introductions should take place when they are young. This isn’t always possible though I know. If you have a young cat and think that in the future you might be introducing a new animal into the home, then you should pay attention to socialization when they are young. Introduce them (like you would with a puppy) to as many different people and as many different animals as possible. This process doesn’t work as well as it does with dogs – but it can help the process.
In summary, though – the Bengal can get along with other pets. Don’t just chuck them together and hope for the best though. Introductions should be performed slowly and in a controlled fashion.
Conclusion – is the Bengal cat nice?
The Bengal is a nice breed of cat – in fact, it’s absolutely awesome – for the right owner! A lot of consideration has to take place before jumping in here. The Bengal is a stunning cat with an astonishingly attractive personality to match, arguably the greatest of all cats. For the right person though. The Bengal certainly isn’t for everyone, it can’t be.
The Bengal cat requires someone who can dedicate a big part of their life to them. It is not for someone or for a family who won’t be around for large parts of the day – it needs interaction to stay happy. Consider getting them another Bengal at an early stage if you think this will help.
If you’ve got the time, lots of energy, enough space and enough money to cater for them and if you’re not too fussy about personal space (when they sit in front of you when you’re on the toilet it can be a little off-putting) – then you could be the right type of owner for them. The Bengal cat will change your life for the better – and will maybe make you a bit fitter in the process!
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this article. If you’d like to see a Cat’s Guide to Owning a Pet Human – click on the link 🙂