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IS THE BENGAL BREED RIGHT FOR YOU?

June 17, 2018

So, you’re thinking about getting a Bengal? (or any hybrid cat?)

Well, you came to the right place. I’ll give you my professional opinion as an animal behaviourist about the breed & breed traits, plus, as a Bengal owner, (Boomer is an F7 Bengal) so you’ll know that my advice stems from first hand experience.

Many of the things I’ve experienced with the breed has also been experienced (confirmed)  by many Bengal owners (online, below in the comments, and or people I meet out in public.) It’s clear, they are not like your average cat. And I feel it’s my duty to alert others about important details that weren’t available to me during my research some 4+ years ago.

I understand there are exceptions to every rule. If you have a Bengal that is nothing like I’m reporting, or is everything I’m reporting and more, let us all know about your Bengal (and their temperament) in the comments below. I want my followers to hear all points of view and experiences. The bottom line… Whenever you’re committing to adopting “ANY” new cat/dog into the family, it’s important to do as much research as possible, nothing is worst then getting the animal home, only to find out a few short days or weeks later, they’re nothing like you thought, and you’re wondering if you made a big mistake. Unfortunetely this scenario happens frequently, these animals are then ignored, abandoned in the streets or brought to shelters. This is very sad ending to what could have been avoided if people did the research first.

I’m confident this article will help you see if the Bengal breed is right for you.

The Bengal breed is right for you:

  • If you identify yourself more of a dog person. (Not recommended for people who identify themselves as a “cat person”). Why? They’re way too much cat for cat people, even way too much for most dog people. They don’t have the temperament that a cat person would be compatible with. I describe them as “high maintenance”, like that of a husky dog, after all, they’re part wild. This requires more space, more of your time, more interaction. Not for one month or one year, but for years and years, like you would (should) do for a dog.
  • If you understand that MOST Bengals DON’T like to be picked up or carried around. Bengals ARE NOT considered “lap-cats” and most will struggle/cry if held.  I had one lady tell me her Bengal is super affectionate and a lap cat with her, but still doesn’t like being picked up by her. and will run away from other family members that try to pat/pick him up. (Make sure you understand this about them, because even with the best training, you can’t change a leopard spots).
  • If you’re NOT getting a Bengal for their “looks” but for their temperament, YOUR lifestyle/living arrangements, and that you are prepared for a life long commitment/expenses that goes with bringing an animal into your life. “Looks” should only be a bonus. As an animal behaviorist I wish everyone would put themselves in the animal position, (hypothetically) asking the animal what they think about being cramped up 24/7 in your small living space/cage, being alone most of the day or you at home just staring at them??? If they could speak, many Siberian huskies & hybrid “type” cats would say, “We are definitely NOT compatible, DON’T BUY ME“. The bottom line, always take into consideration the breed traits, and with a Bengal there are a lot of them
  • If you’re NOT going to let them ROAM unsupervised outside.
  • If you have a large living space.
  • if you understand they are big time climbers and need lots of things to climb on.
  • if you have some sort of outside containment/catio.
  • if you’re going to take them out for supervised play or leash walks.  They need lot’s of stimulation, but there are so many dangers associated with outdoor cats. They could be killed by poisons, people, cars, dogs (or other animals),  They can get lost, stolen, injured, catching diseases fighting other cats. They also kill innocent local wildlife “for sport”. It’s sport because they didn’t need to kill it to survive, most of the time they don’t eat the animal. (Bengals aren’t the only cats that kill animals I know, but the hunting instincts, power and heights these cats can jump, make them killing machines.) FYI – Boomer and Didga have not killed any animals outside. Didga learned in 2 weeks not to chase/lunge at birds, I’ve been trying to teach Boomer ever since he was a kitten applying training in text book fashion, but I still don’t trust him around birds, especially off leash. Hence why you see, in many of my pics and videos, Boomer is still on a lead and Didga is not. (Can’t change a Leopard spots)
  • If you know Bengals are considered “Talkers” and have a very loud meow. They will pace around  your home a few times a day, doing this screaming meow that will definetely be heard by your neighbors
  • If your children are over 7 years old. (people hate when I say this)  but I feel raising a young child is already time consuming enough, so is properly raising any pet, let me repeat that “ANY PET” but the Bengal breed needs more attention than your average cat. Young kids are more likely to treat ANY PET as if it’s a toy. “Most” Bengals wouldn’t like that. It’s a myth anyway that small kids “need” to grow up with a pet, I didn’t until I was 18 and look how good I am with animals. (just saying) it’s okay if you wait until the kids have a better grasp about the responsibilities of caring for an animal. Even then the parents end up doing most of the work.
  • If you DON’T have a cat, or your existing cat is a Bengal, or you have a very very tolerant YOUNG playful cat. When I first got young Boomer, Didga and Boomer got along BRILLIANTLY!  then after a year and a half it started to go down hill. Boomer at some point must have hurt Didga, since then Boomer started stalking her taking advantage of her weakness by bullying her more and more pouncing on her back, bitting her in the back of the neck, with Didga screaming. No punctures marks, but hair comes out. I usually have to intervene by pulling Boomer off. Thankfully, I’m with the cats most of the time,  but even so, he still gets in a few attacks a week. EVEN with all I do to tire Boomer out, all the micro managing I do, all the training techniques I apply in textbook fashion, I’m still not able to manage the situation 100%. I feel sorry for Didga not having a playmate anymore. Unfortunetely if this keeps up, I may have to re-home Boomer to the right family and I’m guessing that won’t be easy to find. Didga’s well being is my main concern. With that said, Boomer did get along brilliantly with the younger kittens/cats I fostered, so I know he can get along with cats, just not older sensative cats like Didga. Yes I know, the scenario could of happen with any other cat, but the difference is bengals have more wild instincts and don’t respond to training like most other cats would. Again, they’re part WILD. Why take a chance and ruin the good life your existing cat has by adding a high maintenance energetic overbearing cat (Bengal or not)  At some point I’ll be fostering again and eventually adopting another kitten, we’ll see if that changes things having the younger kitten around.                                                                                           (UPDATE – a year later.  I’ve not only been fostering more kittens, I ended up adopting 2 of them, a brother and sister. One of them has been the distraction I needed. Almost daily Boomer and the two kittens, Bindi and Jeb, whom are very “dog like” run around and play, both of them don’t seem to mind the awkward social playful skills of the Bengal. So I can report good news that In the last 5 months since their arrival, there has only been 2 or 3 altercations between D & B v.s. 1 to 2 per week before. The kittens are still young, we’ll have to wait and see if things can stay this way.
  • If you understand “boundaries” are not a Bengal thing. you know, please don’t jump on that, hang on that, go behind there, etc. They’re just very thick headed, and unfortunetely, they don’t adhere to conventional deterrent methods because  of their wild nature. Teaching them most things requires extra-extra work. Example: jumping on the kitchen counter, Didga learned not to jump on the kitchen counter after a few weeks. With Boomer, every trick in the book was used, and to this day (at times) he still jumps on the counters even if I’m right there preparing food. Let me add, I’ve noticed him doing it less in the last month, so maybe the training is starting to sink in? (like I said, extra extra work). They just like to explore every nook and cranny of your home, and don’t see what all the fuss is about. Oh, they can be quit clumsy too. I was worried to leave Boomer home alone his first year. I had a somewhat escape proof sun room that I “mostly” felt safe leaving him, although after 2 years he found a way to break through one of the plastic windows, and if I didn’t see him hanging half way out he would have been on a mission around the neighbourhood. The fact is they are big time escape artist, the owners of a cat enclosure company told me, if a Bengal owner calls them to install an enclosure, they tell the person, “sorry we can’t help you.” In their experience Bengals eventually find a way to escape from their enclosures. (Now, I can see why)
  • If you’re planning on teaching your Bengal lots of things and taking them on adventures at least a few times per week. – Bengals take to the harness and leash quickly, but most (even with a lot of training) won’t be walking with you in a normal way. I spent 10x more leash training on Boomer than I did Didga, Bindi and Jeb and they walk on leash way better than Boomer. It was more difficult but I had to persevere as it’s a safer way to get him outside. IT would be cruel NOT TO teach them tricks and leash training to help satisfy their natural wild instincts to roam in nature. If you don’t take them out, they do this very loud annoying ritualised meow scream, several times a day. Neighbours I’m sure are wondering WTF is going on. Some people say, oh, I’ll just keep the Bengal inside, and ignore their demands, but  without fail, that annoying loud sound wears the people down. The owners let them outside, and that’s when the problems start.

The Bengal Breed was right for me (at the time)  I wasn’t looking for a lap cat, I was looking for a cat that would be adventurous, where I can take lots of places and teach a lot of things to. and the research did prepare me for a challenge, heck, If I can train police dogs in the Military, I can surely handle a Bengal. I admit I got Boomer for selfish reasons, let me explain…. As a dog trainer many so called “trainers” were training up border collies gaining notoriety as trainers, and I thought, that’s cheating, just because you can get a Border collies to do tricks, that doesn’t make you a dog trainer. So as a cat trainer I did my research to look for the “border collie” of the cat world. My research showed the Bengal to be one of the most teachable cat breeds. Fast forward a year and the research, I believe is misleading, and I think whoever labeled Bengals as one of the most teachable, aren’t animal behaviorists or trainers. Didga, Bindi are WAY closer to the smarts and trainability of a border collie than Boomer. The difference I’m talking about is once you get past that initial “smarts” of the Bengal, which definitely shine through as being very adaptable to things where other cats might have difficulty, you still have a part wild animal, and wild animals have a very independent nature. For training, this is not a good combination. “You can’t change a leopard spots.”  I often compare them to Huskies who are also extremely beautiful with the more active traits.  YES, there are exceptions to every rule, I’m sure the “wild traits” / trainability differ within each Bengal.

For as much as I try to talk people out of getting the breed,  I have to say they are adventurous and want to be part of the action. Although the Boomer you see in the videos is not a good representation of the breed, because he was raised very differently . I do have over 35 years experience as an animal trainer, and I dedicate most of my time to my cats. FYI – I started working with Boomer when he was just 5 weeks old. But at the end of the day, he’s still a Bengal. For all I did/do, I still get the feeling I’m holding him back. BOOMER is an F7 – So I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have anything closer to the Leopard. I don’t think any wild animals should be in captivity.  I feel very sorry for these “hybrid” cats unhappily imprisoned in a home environment. Very-very-very few people can provide the space and stimulation these cats require to truly be happy. BTW – early next year, I’ll be adding a third cat to the CATMANTOO family, – Catmanthree? LOL – I won’t be doing the ‘pure breed’ thing anymore, it’s back to the shelter to look for another amazing “normal” cat like Didga. In the meantime look for me doing a few fosters before the end of the year, and stay tuned for more.

(UPDATE) As you’ve read above, 4 months ago, I fostered and adopted two new kittens (brother and sister) who are more “dog-like” than Boomer will ever be, one of them reminds me of Didga when she was a kitten. so look for some fun pics and vids of thing cats can do, posted on our social.

IF you found this post useful and informative please let me know below, that way I will be motivated to write more things for this site.

(If I think of anything new, I’ll update this blog)

IF you want to add anything, or just say “HI” feel free to comments below.

Robert, Didga and Boomer

Comments

91 Responses to “IS THE BENGAL BREED RIGHT FOR YOU?”

  1. LuJean on May 24th, 2017 9:35 am

    I was curious about the Bengal being taken out for exercise. Are they different that way.? I thought most cats prefer their same home life rather then taken different places.

  2. Sophie Debbane on May 24th, 2017 9:46 am

    Love your comments Robert. They are practical and you offer sound advice. I love comment 7 outlining the dangers of cats roaming free and the comments about the realities of Bengals. Owning one I guess is more akin to owning a high-energy small dog and the responsibilities are great. On another note, I wish you made more cat trick tutorials – (I know you said you’d stop because of lack of time but maybe one a year??) . For example, I’d like to teach Bruno the “free fallling” trick you did with Didga and the “rollover” trick. I have checked other cat teaching tutorials on the internet and yours are much better – second to none. Cheers from Canada, Sophie 🙂

  3. Daryl from USA on May 24th, 2017 1:35 pm

    Hello from the northeast USA! I didn’t know Bengals required quite so much exercise. They are definitely too active for me. I’m so glad you adopt rescued animals. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  4. richard akroyd on May 24th, 2017 5:27 pm

    Hi
    I have a Bengal and a Savannah I agree with what u say I spent 2 years researching this breed and I was not disappointed but I am a dog person and that’s part of the reason I got them.
    Where I disagree is the young children my cats love them and I feel they can be great family pet if you teach the children how to care for them properly.
    I always tell people how hard it is to look after them it’s takes an incredible amount of my time and money to care for them properly but me personally wouldn’t have it any other way and they give me lots of fun in the process, used your video’s for the harness training as it was the best way by a mile to do it only took me about 2 weeks to get them ready.
    Keep spreading the word more of a dog person’s animal than a cat.

  5. Robert on May 24th, 2017 9:52 pm

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks so much for your input. Sounds like you’re doing a great job raising your kids too 🙂

  6. Robert on May 24th, 2017 9:53 pm

    Hi, thanks for the message

  7. Robert on May 24th, 2017 9:58 pm

    Hello, thanks so much. I’m thinking about making more tutorials, just thinking about it, but I’ll need to start a Patreon page if I do.
    All the best, Robert, Didga and Boomer

  8. Robert on May 24th, 2017 10:05 pm

    Hi, thank for the comment. it’s somewhat true, if they don’t ever experience the outside world, they don’t miss it as much. Although instinct will tug at them for a long-long time. But I want/need my cats to experience different places because of the filming I do, and sometimes we get called on set. Even if I didn’t do filming I’d still wAnt my cat to get out and see the world.

  9. Lisa C on May 24th, 2017 11:47 pm

    As a Bengal owner myself, I found every point to be very true for myself. As I wrote on the Catmantoo Facebook page people see my kitty and love her color, softness and personality. Then they express the desire to maybe get a Bengal for themselves. I always encourage them to do their research on the breed first. Bengals are not conducive to a too much laid-back lifestyle!

    Thank you, Robert, for educating people about Bengals. Boomer is so beautiful. He and Didga (gorgeous, too) are quite the characters!

    Looking forward to Catmanthree! 🙂

  10. Robert on May 26th, 2017 12:08 am

    Hi Lisa,Thanks for following
    and the kind words. It seems like all of us Bengal owners let others know what it’s “really” like to have one. All the best

  11. Kelly on May 26th, 2017 1:46 am

    I have a 2 year old Silver Bengal who you can find on Instagram as @phoenixthebengal . I did a small amount of research and my only surprise has been not wanting to be carried unless in a box or basket and no lap time.
    Previously were owned by a Lilac Burmese who lived for 18 years 100% indoors. I would have to say that at the same age the enegery levels, running and naughty behaviours were matched.
    While he is completely his own cat he also interacts with myself, husband and daughter all differently. It is so interesting to see the different relationships he has with us all. For example he treats me much like another cat, walks up and bites me to play or brings a toy to play with. He doesn’t do this with anyone else.
    I would not say he is like a dog as he is not affectionate like a dog. We haven’t done leash training as he is 100% indoors.
    It is my opinion that leash training brings a curiosity for the outdoors and leads to escaping where an indoor cat learns where their boundaries are. I am curious to know what you think about that.

  12. Chelsea on May 27th, 2017 11:29 am

    All my bengals have been very food motivated! My latest Bengal is very picky though and doesn’t care for most food or treats, but none of them have been able to resist freeze dried chicken treats. Agree with them not liking to be held or learning to stay off the counters! Have to take him with me everywhere like a dog though or he starts to get bored at home and then starts getting into trouble!

  13. Robert on May 27th, 2017 9:54 pm

    Hi, thanks for the comment. Good to hear from other Bengal people

  14. Robert on May 27th, 2017 10:21 pm

    Hi Kelly,

    Good to know, and good to hear from other Bengal people to confirm my opinion. A curiosity to the outside world is always there, it’s instinctive. So whether it creates more curiosity, I don’t care, I think the benefits experiencing the outside world (on a leash), outweighs keeping them strictly inside. First Boomer has learned when he goes out, once the leash in on, then he’ll walk out the open door. He get’s experience walking around the neighbourhood and knows how to get home if he gets out, going places with me makes him tired so when he gets home he sleeps more, he still plays and bugs Didga at times but nothing like I think he would be if he was pent up all day inside, animals redirect pent up energy/anxiety towards people or other animals. Boomer loves going places and being part of the action, I couldn’t imagine not having him enjoy those things. The best part is he sleeps all night long. He’s still young but as he ages, he won’t have as much desire to go out because he’s been there, done that sort of thing, he’ll prefer to stay home, but boy did he go places. Didga has been that way for the last few years, I can let her roam around the backyard supervised and she comes when I call her. Boomer will be able to do this in a year or two. I’ll love seeing him explore off leash when I have more control of his bird obsession (I hope to control). thanks again.

  15. Mittar on June 1st, 2017 3:25 pm

    Hi there,

    Good list, much of it disagrees with my experience with my F7 female, but one thing is for sure. She is far more aggressive than most cats with the other cats of the house. She coexisted just fine with my big male Siamese, who outweighs her handily, but when I met my wife we combined cat families.

    She now has two much less aggressive, and much less wary cats that she picks on constantly, and while I’ve given them plenty of room to get out and play in the back yard (overhanging fence) the whole lot of them is now very territorial as a result of her over aggression.

    But, she is truly affectionate, and very loving to the humans of the household, and she’s been a lap cat since day 1.

  16. Piera on June 1st, 2017 3:35 pm

    Hi, I have four cats and a dog. Three cats were stray kittens, the fourth I dreamt about him and he arrived. My dog had been abbandoned. She was already three years old said the vet. They go along well together. I brought Cirilla the dog to train because she is half pitbull. She has a high temperament but only with other dogs with people is always belly up asking for kuddles. I discovered a great thing during our training together. The one who was trained was me! I learnt to look with the eyes of a dog and be the “alpha wolf”. I am more cattish in many ways. The thing I like about you ‘if I can espress my opinion freely, is the respect for these two cats. The risk was to create two ‘circus’ freaks.
    Thank you for the time you dedicate to me
    Best regards
    Piera

  17. Cheryl Ogden on June 1st, 2017 5:38 pm

    Robert this information on Bengals was very thorough and complete. Besides being excellent at what you do with Didga and Boomer, you’re very passionate and articulate and you have a big following of fans like me. The videos are fantastic. Thank you for sharing them and I’ll be looking forward to your next rescue kitty!!

  18. megan on June 1st, 2017 11:20 pm

    hi, we were given a Bengal 15years ago who was exactly like you describe and we loved him so much we felt we could only replace him with another Bengal. our new kitty is one now and so unlike what weve known about Bengals. He is an anxious cat who loves my lap, is easily dominated by our other animals, hes not overly energetic and needs lots of support to handle changes around the house. We still adore him but we wonder if we ended up with the runt of the litter sometimes.

  19. Mel on June 2nd, 2017 12:41 am

    Hi Robert, I have to agree with all you’ve said about your Boomer. I have a rescue cat, *apparently* part Bengal, who had been sent to the RSPCA for being too difficult. Even the foster carer had problems with her, and she was nearly 1year old before the RSPCA put her up for adoption. I hadn’t done enough research, and was initially blown away by how little like any other cat I’d had she was/is. In saying that, after 2 years she’s finally settled in here so she owns us now. Kira’s really only my cat, but will tolerate my husband or son patting her occasionally. I was told not to have another cat or dog with this one, but when my mum died I took in her old Sheltie Sasha. Turns out my kitty was quite happy to rub up against her and spend time with her. Sadly she wasn’t with us long, but at least I was able to see Kira interact with another animal. These days Kira is happy to sleep all night, and only be attention-seeking in the daylight hours, but if she doesn’t get the attention she craves, she can be very destructive, so I can understand why some people get disillusioned with their Bengal. Keep up the good work, I enjoy your adventures with Didga and Boomer!

  20. Robert on June 3rd, 2017 11:24 pm

    Hi Mel,
    Thanks for your comment. You’re welcome, I will. Robert

  21. Robert on June 3rd, 2017 11:25 pm

    Hi Megan, Thanks for your comment

  22. Robert on June 3rd, 2017 11:26 pm

    Hi cheryl, Thanks for your comment. thanks for following us. R, D & B

  23. Robert on June 3rd, 2017 11:28 pm

    Hi Piera, Thanks for your story. I am aware of that and I might have gotten carried a way a little, but just know I hope in the long run many cats benefit from my teachings. R, D & B

  24. Robert on June 3rd, 2017 11:29 pm

    Hi Mittar, thanks for adding your story of your Bengal. People need to see all sides

  25. Bonnie Bray on June 4th, 2017 2:11 am

    Thank you, Robert. Interesting info on Bengals. I, myself, would never think of a pure breed. Shelter pets only! If you do foster, please, appreciated if you don’t let us fans get seriously involved. When you let Leonardo go, I found it painful because he had bonded with Didga & Boomer. Plus, I will always wonder how he is. Maybe a Barn cat??
    I love your Kitties, love your videos. You are a wonderful Cat Man.
    Cheers,
    Bonnie Bray
    Langley, South Whidbey Island
    Wa State, US

  26. Lee Squire on June 4th, 2017 3:09 am

    I have to say my 2 are pretty typically Bengal. One unfortunately had a heart issue and died at age 6. Yuki is now16 and still freezes if you pick her up. She is never going to be cuddly except on her terms IE cold in bed cuddling hot on her own bed. But insists on being near you = happy Bengal. Use to love playing soccer and fetching sticks but with a bit of arthritis tends to looks at the paper ball and then you as if saying you pick it up! But there are times you’d think she is a big kitten love story to run like a lunatic. If it wasn’t for the issues with jumping she’d still be on the bench.

  27. Abigail Greenbank on June 4th, 2017 1:08 pm

    I stopped watching your site months ago, after seeing Boomer lunge at Didga and appeared to bite her neck or shoulder area ! I was too afraid of seeing him do worse harm to dear Didga , so I stopped watching. Your Article was honest and I wouldn’t get a bengal because every one I met who had one ended up taking it to a shelter; the only reason they got theirs was always looks, Tiny kitten society (Shelly Roche) rescued a female snow bengal who was used as a kitten mill in a back yard breeding enterprise and they didn’t get vet care for any of the things afflicting including a uterine infection!! And gave birth to the only kittens she got to keep: She slept with them clasped to her chest . After spaying and neutering, A woman adopted the whole family of 3 !! There are many beautiful loving cats at rescues everywhere, so adopt don’t shop ! Thanks for giving people the pros and cons of bengal ownership !

  28. Kim Cate on June 4th, 2017 4:12 pm

    Great article. I love Bengals but they are far beyond my cat skills. I think you’ve done a great job sharing your insights.

  29. Courtney on June 4th, 2017 7:43 pm

    That was very helpful thank you. I have always wanted a bengal but this blog really helped me to understand the work involved so i think i will hold back until later on in life. At the moment i have a Bombay that i got fron the shelter. He is beautiful. I would love to read more blogs on vreeds and healthy cat ownership behaviors from you as it is very helpful.
    Thanks 🙂

  30. Helen Jane on June 8th, 2017 2:20 pm

    Hi Robert,
    Love your videos.
    This info for Bengals is brilliant, you’re so right with all these points.
    My Bengal loves the Maclaw Wheel to run on but it wasn’t enough so I have been letting him outside for the last few months & he loves it, we’re lucky to live in the country side and he’s learned NO BIRDS!
    Looking forward to meeting the new cat once you’ve chosen her.
    Best wishes

  31. Stevie Marie on June 10th, 2017 12:27 am

    Hi Robert,

    I so enjoy your videos and pictures of Didga and Boomer. I’ll be on the lookout for the third cat early next year!

    I so respect your putting forth the cautionary list about temperament. It’s so important. The demand for supervision and attention reminds me of a kitty I had.

    Sadly, most people think cats are like a piece of furniture (to be mostly ignored) or are only good for being barn “mousers.”

    I LOVE your Instagram posts and follow as SoulfulSadie. I’ll keep on following. Please keep on posting and educating folks about how amazing kitties are!

    In sincere appreciation,

    Stevie Marie

  32. Stevie Marie on June 10th, 2017 12:43 am

    P.S. I know you’re the expert, and you probably tried this already, but just in case, I thought I’d mention this . . . Also, other readers may find it helpful with cats who might not be as steadfastly willful as Bengals . . . To keep a cat off of kitchen counters, have you tried keeping sheets of aluminum foil on all the countertops when the cat is new to the home? They don’t like the noise and/or feel. Eventually, the cat’s interest goes to other things. I think the kitty I wrote about, above, also got a lot of her curiosity satisfied by being able to see what was going on, when I was working on the kitchen counters, by being on my shoulder! (She wasn’t spoiled or a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. LOL)

  33. Robert on June 10th, 2017 5:56 am

    Hello, very nice story, what a character your cat was. Thanks for following. I’m looking forward to the day Boomer falls asleep in my lap, that may be a while. all the best

  34. Robert on June 10th, 2017 5:56 am

    Hello, thanks for the comment, and glad your cat understood No Birds

  35. Robert on June 10th, 2017 6:14 am

    I think you read that wrong, They play together a lot, Didga lunges (in play ) at Boomer and bites the same way. Do they take things a little far sometimes? yes, but that’s normal, human kids/siblings do the same… play until one takes it too far. You don’t have to worry about Didga, I’m WAY ahead of you, I’m the professional, plus her daddy, I do all the worrying when needed. btw – if/when Boomer does go too far, I would NEVER film it or share that on my site. That’s not my style.

  36. Jonna on June 14th, 2017 10:58 am

    This is a great post! I have two bengals and they’re exactly like you describe the breed here – except they’re both definitely lap-cats! I’ve been a dog person all my life but when I heard about this breed, I had to get one, and it was definitely the best decision of my life.

    When my dog passed away, I thought that life gets “easier” now as I could go and spend night elsewhere straight after work if I want to without having to go home and take the dog out – well, my cats require even more attention and I just can’t stand leaving them alone! They’re so social and active. And the best thing in my life <3

    @happythebengal

  37. Frank Howell on June 28th, 2017 12:10 pm

    I am looking for a cat I an leash train and take on the road camping ECT. You Bengals look great but I am glad you got the information out that it just not that easy. Is there any other breed you would suggest or does it just take a lot of training and luck?

  38. Cyndi Davis on June 28th, 2017 8:16 pm

    My Bengal, Ansel, is a 15 year old F3 with BST markings and gold glitter. He’s a beautiful cat that was taken from a home with 2 other Bengals and 9 other cats. They had tried everything to “domesticate” him after letting him try being an outside cat almost got him killed when he took on a dog pack. Yeah. Everything, including declaw him. They insisted on him being an only pet, which is a very good thing because he hates every other animal with a passion.

    He’s not a lot of work now, but for most of the time we’ve had him (10 years) he’s traveled with us and went out on adventures on his leash. He’s talkative, whiny, demanding, adores attention from every adult in the house and damned if he isn’t a lap/chest/shoulder cat. Hard to do when you need to be on a computer from home in order to work. He chitters at birds and squirrels out the window, and at me when I sneeze and startle him. He’s the biggest part of my heart and my baby boy.

    I will say, I could line the entire kitchen floor with aluminum foil and it wouldn’t bother Ansel at all. He’d figure out how to ball it up and play with it. He looks at me in the mirror if I’m behind him, instead of turning around. He waits for me to get settled in the recliner and then climbs up and curls up between my legs, on my legs or God forbid, on my chest. Every day if he can. So no two are exactly alike.

    I would agree with most of the do’s/don’t’s but most people don’t do this kind of research before buying an exotic animal. So if you do the research and decide you have the time and energy for a Bengal, please visit the rescue sites first before going to a breeder for a kitten. There are so many abandoned bengals in need of a home.

  39. Robert on June 29th, 2017 5:13 am

    Hi Cyndi, Thanks so much for sharing your Bengal experience with us. I too am looking forward to when Boomer will be more of a lap cat, but it could be several years from now.

  40. Robert on June 29th, 2017 5:18 am

    Hi Frank,

    Confidence & high food drive is what you look for in a cat/kitten. The shelter is perfect place to go to evaluate lots of cats/kittens until you find (they find) the right one to take home. then watch my tutorials to learn how to teach your cat. let us know how it goes, send pics

  41. Robert on June 29th, 2017 5:21 am

    Jonna, thanks a bunch for sharing your Bengal experience. I agree, they can be more work than a dog at times.

  42. Cindy Ellegood on June 30th, 2017 12:56 am

    I fell in love with the breed back in the late ’80’s, but it wasn’t until ’99 that I brought Faji home. He was nine weeks old at the time and came into a household with three female moggies, all rescues. From the first he was a snuggler, though, and his sisters adopted him readily. I called them “Hairy Spotter and the Moggles”, but that didn’t give them a complex. Faj took to the harness readily, and it was uncanny the way he’d walk up to a tree and then just change gears and walk up the tree, as if gravity didn’t exist. Once when a squirrel was mocking him from a dogwood tree, Faji went up quickly while the squirrel was in mid-tirade and said “Hiya” to it. Squirrel’s eyes got as huge as they could and he hopped quickly to an adjoining tree. I also found that Faj had an innate gentleness with kids, as though he understood they were like kittens. I have to agree that Bengals aren’t for everyone, though. You may have to choose between knick-knacks and a Bengal, ’cause they may make it a joyful life mission to destroy things that are so vulnerable to gravity. For me, that was no problem, because there is no inanimate object as beautiful or loving as a critter. Faj was my soul-mate for 15 1/2 wonderful years, and a better companion I’ve never been blessed with. Just be willing, if you choose a Bengal, to give up on the concept of “normal”, be ready to laugh in the face of destruction (because they often wreak havoc with such irrepressible glee), prepare to laugh also at their comic timing and marvel at their ability to understand all manner of things you might not expect from a cat (like vacuum cleaners and gadgets of all kinds), and most of all, bask in the incredible love they offer.

  43. Andrea on July 1st, 2017 12:24 am

    My Bengal Peanut has never clawed anything but the scratching post and stays off the counters. She is about 2 years old and was given to me when she was around one, she was close to feral at first and I had to insist that she allow me to pick her up. It took time but I can now hold her up like a judge at a cat show with no fuss whatsoever.

    She is definitely not a lap cat but will cuddle up just within reach of my fingertips. She rarely comes when called but will play fetch enthusiastically until exhaustion with the right mouse.

    And I’ve never seen a cat who loves catnip more. She gets SO stoned – LOL
    SO glad she’s in my life

  44. Tawna on July 1st, 2017 4:54 pm

    My SBT Bengal (Jeanette aka Jeanettasaurus Wrecks) is as you describe. Very vocal/talkative. A menace with fur. Bull in a China shop. Complete LOVE pig. High energy and high maintenance. Likes sitting/riding on our head. Plays well with our Savannah F7 breed cat. However, MUST be kept completely separate from our 2 older Siamese (thinks beating them up is a sport). Practices catch & release mousing. Catches them in the garage and releases them in the house. Strictly indoor cat (outdoor pets in my neighborhood are called “snacks ” for the local wildlife). We love her!!!

  45. Robert on July 1st, 2017 11:26 pm

    Hydroponic catnip? LOL thanks for sharing

  46. Robert on July 1st, 2017 11:26 pm

    LOL! well put, thanks for sharing your Bengal story

  47. Robert on July 1st, 2017 11:29 pm

    Jeanettasaurus wrecks LOL LOL LOL!!!! thanks for sharing your Bengal story

  48. Anne on July 2nd, 2017 8:29 am

    I rehomed my Bengal for many of the reasons you mentioned, that his breeder did not tell me. Very sweet cat, loved my dogs, trained to behaviors cats normally won’t do. But besides all you said he was destructive beyond belief. He removed the carpeting from a spare bedroom, by pulling it up from underneath the baseboards. He ate the seat off my exercycle. He could open any closet door and haul out what was in it, then shred those things. He went to an experienced friend who had worked with large wild cats and was retired with other cats too. He never let up even in a more stimulating environment with 24/7 attention. Thankfully new owner didn’t mind.

  49. Robert on July 5th, 2017 6:12 am

    WOW! thanks for sharing your Bengal story

  50. Carla on July 6th, 2017 7:16 pm

    I am getting a Bengal kitten in a few weeks. I have been helping take car of them and getting to know them. I want to this cat to go everwhere with. Is it hard for them to be around different homes and pets. I want to teach her to ride in a basket on my bike. Do you have any good books I can read to learn more. I want a happy buddy..tks

  51. VICKI HAIGHT on August 21st, 2017 7:58 am

    What does F7 and F6 mean, please?
    BTW, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

  52. Tessa on August 21st, 2017 8:21 am

    We have 2 Bengal/Cross female cats that we adopted from kittens. The eldest is 7 years & youngest 4 years. Our eldest is not a lap cat at all and she only loves her mommy. She can be aggressive at times so I have to warn visitors not to try and stroke her. She learned to walk on a leash from young, but as we live in an apartment I could not keep her indoors for very long, she will claw her way out or as you mentioned in your article they are master escape artists. Our youngest are the complete opposite of the Bengal norm, she is a real lap-cat that loves to snuggle. They have high energy levels and chase each other around the house and yes they sometimes knock things over. We have adjusted our living space for them 🙂 They also fight sometimes, but no biting luckily, just the odd hair flying. I have fallen in love with this breed as there is never a dull moment with them around.

  53. Kate on August 22nd, 2017 6:24 am

    Enjoyed the article thanks kindly. I love Boomer (and Didga) and its super exciting that there there will be a 3rd addition to Catmantoo/three !!! Yay 🙂 Boomer seems very well behaved and such a sweetie to meet 🙂 You have done a wonderful job training both pussy cats ….. can’t wait to see what the next one will bring. BTW This blog , looks great too, thanks plenty again 🙂 xxxx

  54. Philip vincent on August 22nd, 2017 7:52 am

    I always loved the Bengal breed. I really love your two cats Boomer and Digda

  55. Mary Bossio on August 22nd, 2017 12:12 pm

    Very interesting and informative information,thanks Robert for you amazing care and love of training,,truely a pleasure watching you three pop up daily <3

  56. tammie molenaar on August 22nd, 2017 8:35 pm

    i enjoyed the article and it does describe my Bengals well. My older male Bengal is more highly anxious and disappears when people come over. The younger female has no fear, but she has no boundaries either. the female has caught dragonflies out of the air – no bird would be safe if she roamed free. the male has slowed down now at 8 years, but the female at 4 years has not slowed at all. just for the record, both are fixed and both are rescues.I will adopt another Bengal, probably a rescue because many people do not do enough research better buying one.
    thank you for your post and advice

  57. Kathryn on August 23rd, 2017 5:49 am

    We adopted a 7 year old Bengal twelve months ago and I must say it has been a huge learning curve. She’s like no other cat I’ve ever met before. For a long while, we were wondering if we had made the right decision. She was biting and I ended up at the hospital one night after she attacked my leg (in all fairness, a neighbour’s cat had been harrassing her through a window and at 4am she thought my leg was another cat) and it felt like we were living with a tiger. But we persevered and I’m so glad we did. The biting has stopped and she is the most affectionate cat I’ve ever had. I’ve used the tactic of showing her love instead of rousing on her (if she happened to get out of the yard I would praise her for coming inside instead of rousing on her for being out) and I’m always telling her how beautiful she is (both inside and out). If she does escape, she’s very good at showing us how she did it so we can fix it immediately haha. One time, we watched her as she climbed up a ladder and scaled the cat proofing at the top of the fence. They’re very smart. She loves cuddles, albeit on her terms but I couldn’t hold her at all before. She loves to sit on my lap to the point where I need time out! I can now take her out for supervised walks. She loves to sit and sleep on me and she’s now the first face I see in the morning. She’s slowly warming to my partner. I love her to bits and couldn’t imagine life without her now. It has been an interesting road but I believe with that when they’re treated right, they will love you for life.

  58. Ingrid Heerkens on August 24th, 2017 9:39 am

    Thank you so much for this detailed information about Bengals. I love their coats but never knew how much work is involved for the Bengals and yourself to be happy with each other. I now have Ocicats, who are the loves of my live! So from Coco and Chanel! (Who live happily in Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

  59. Didga on August 29th, 2017 2:34 am

    Hello Coco and Chanel, You’re welcome. Thanks for your comments and for following us on Facebook and/or Instagram or YouTube

  60. Hedda on August 29th, 2017 9:18 am

    Hello Robert!

    Thanks for sharing such thorough and good information with us! I have long considered getting a Bengal, but I know the breed requires a lot more than other cat breeds, so I’m still reading and learning about the breed. Something I’ve worried about is the temperatures where i live. I live pretty far up north in Norway where it can become pretty cold in the winter, and even in the summer as well. Temperatures can reach as low as 14° F in winter, and stays between 41° F and 68° F in the summer. Is it possible to walk a Bengal on a leash in winters as cold as we have here, or is it more responsible having an indoor Bengal? Thanks again for sharing your experiences with us!

  61. Aly on August 29th, 2017 3:39 pm

    Great information!
    My bengal loves going outside into the backyard on a harness, but is petrified of the front yard/anywhere else. He is very anxious and scared around people and loud noises. It’s not ideal, but he does have a great time in the back. Do you think the breeder didn’t socialize him enough? Or maybe it’s just his disposition? Also, what do you use to prevent fleas? That’s one thing that’s making us hesitant to take him out more.

    At 2 yrs old, he is definitely a very active cat. And if he is not being stimulated enough, he will make it known! Wouldn’t recommend a bengal to anyone who cannot invest the time – they would end up driving you mad with the meowing and destroying the house. It really only takes a couple hours a day of direct attention, which may be too much for some people. Another thing I noticed is that my bengal just wants to be around you and lie next to me after a play session. He actually sleeps on my lap (only mine and my father’s) at night when it gets colder. Overall it’s very rewarding to own a bengal, he makes me laugh everyday.

  62. Didga on August 30th, 2017 5:33 am

    Hi and thanks for sharing your experience with my followers. Just follow protocol and use food to help build his confidence. Don’t be concerned with what might our might not have been done. Focus on your cats strength, it sounds like that’s what you’re doing. Thanks for following

  63. Didga on August 30th, 2017 5:39 am

    I don’t really know, Asian Leopards are mostly in hot humid conditions? Boomer likes cooler temps but snow? VERY ACTIVE BREED, I take him out EVERYDAY sometimes twice a day.

  64. Didga on August 30th, 2017 6:46 am

    AWESOME! thanks for sharing your story. Thanks so much for adopting an older cat, not many do that.

  65. Didga on August 30th, 2017 6:50 am

    Thanks for sharing your story. So glad to hear they were rescues. They are very lucky to have you.

  66. Didga on August 30th, 2017 6:50 am

    You’re welcome. Lot’s more to come. Thanks for following

  67. Didga on August 30th, 2017 6:51 am

    We love our followers

  68. Didga on August 30th, 2017 6:52 am

    Thanks a bunch, and thanks so much for following Didga and Boomer. Lot’s more to come

  69. Didga on August 30th, 2017 6:54 am

    Thanks for sharing your story on your Bengals. Sounds like never a dull moment and you wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for following

  70. Didga on August 30th, 2017 6:58 am

    Filial or Foundation

    but the easiest way to remember is “From” or generations “From” F7 is 7 generations from the wild cat.

  71. Mary on September 7th, 2017 8:38 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and experience with Bengals. it helped me to make my decision.

  72. Bronwyn on September 11th, 2017 3:25 am

    Hi! Enjoyed hearing your experience and tips on the mighy Bengal! I am a Bengal owner and agree with your advice! Think I can add some information on the older Bengal. Rani (male) is 14 years young!! He certainly has not slowed down and shows no signs of doing so anytime soon. If he was allowed he would be at my side all day and night. He never sleeps during the day and then not until he is put in his room with the door shut so we can get some sleep. He will do whatever he can to get attention. Rani has made a lovely companion cat to my autistic son and he fully understands that my son is special and treats him that way. He allows my son to rough-house him and if he chooses to tell anyone off it is usually the dog! Rani is very sensitive to emotions and women’s issues (not sure if this is a male Bengal thing) and can get a little aggressive at certain times of the month! I know, a little bit too much information, but maybe a warning to potential owners!! I couldn’t imagine life without him but it would certainly be quite without him!!

  73. Didga on September 11th, 2017 11:59 pm

    Hi there, thanks for sharing your Bengal story with us. So you’re telling me I have to wait another 12 years before Boomer “calms down?” LOL kidding. Thanks for following Robert, Didga and Boomer

  74. Dianna on November 25th, 2017 11:49 pm

    Very interesting read! I have two senior cats 15 & 16 yrs young myself and the 15 yr old sounds just like the description of the temperament of the Bengal but he doesn’t have the markings of one. The vets always told me he was just a high maintenance cat & that I had to create a simulating environment for him… I wonder if he has some Bengal in him? Or maybe it’s just him temperament. Like you, I always have to keep an eye on him he’s always into things and up to no good!!! Attacks the other cat for no reason sometimes… needs activities and playtime.

    Thank for your feed, very entertaining for a fellow cat owner/lover
    D

  75. Jamie on March 14th, 2019 11:09 pm

    I have an 8 yes old SBT male Bengal that I’ve had since he was a kitten. He definitely talks a lot whether running around after a ball making zooming noises or protesting loudly because he was scolded. We got him hoping he would distract our older suspected Bengal mix that we adopted from picking on our munchkin. Instead the two would gang up on our munchkin, and now he gangs up on our suspected bengal mix in exactly the way you described. I am more convinced that our suspected Bengal mix is actually a Bengal mix because our Bengal really connected with him and imitated him when he was a kitten. He plays fetch with the tenacity of a dog. I’m lucky that he doesn’t jump on the counter, but he does jump on my back while I’m cooking dinner. We had to get a new trashcan with a lid because he kept jumping in the trash, and we had to learn real quick that the toilet needs to stay closed at all times or else he’ll jump in that too. He’s not big on going outside, but he does insist on helping me with EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. But if he thinks you’re crying, he’ll come over and check on you. We think only a kitten will be able to keep up with him because he’s 8 years young and hasn’t slowed down yet

  76. Ivan on March 22nd, 2019 11:58 am

    Will I have a Bengal for 1-year-old, while every time I take him outside he is very scared. He seems not very enjoy walking outside but wants to just stay in home.

  77. Sarah on March 29th, 2019 5:02 pm

    As I type, my Bengal Inigo just went zooming by. I initially got Inigo as a companion for my siamese rescue Iggy when I moved with him to a new home that separated him from his cat friend. Iggy was about 3, and shy, but better with animals than people. Inigo annoyed Iggy at times, but he adopted him right away with grooming, playing, and cuddling. Now Inigo is 2 and Iggy is 5, and they still chase each other through the apartment and play and groom and cuddle. However, Inigo definitely does the bully thing like Boomer does to Didga where he jumps on Iggy’s back and bite his neck, usually clumps of fur come out but no wounds I can discover if it happened when I wasn’t at home. I think the difference here though is that Iggy is a forgiving boy, and he always wants to play and love on Inigo regardless of the bullying.

    One other comment I do have for my experience with a Bengal though is food sensitivities. Through trial and long suffering we have found out Inigo is allergic to all poultry and also rabbit, which was evidenced by bloody diarrhea. Multiple vet visits and several courses of probiotics later, along with a shift to a fish protein diet has rectified this, but it’s been 3 months of poopy hell, and I have a friend who also experienced this in one of her Bengals. I call it a downfall of a “designer cat,” and tell myself it’s back to adopting next time i get a cat, but i feel part of me will always be attracted to the energy of the Bengal breed. They’re good on cat allergies, too.

  78. Roxanne on April 4th, 2019 6:27 pm

    Very interesting. I have always been a “dog person”- Rottweilers. When my last one passed away i decided to get a cat given my long working hours. Decided on a Bengal. Needless to say my Rottweilers were easy compared to “Venus” my Bengal. Gave up locking her inside as she hated it. She is a very free spirit with lots of energy and basically does what she wants to do. Everyone in the neighborhood knows her as she likes to go visiting and goes into their homes. Quite funny really. She is definitely not an affectionate cat and is a big talker. She is 14 months old so started to be a little calmer. She is not afraid of anything and very inquisitive. Not sure if it is just my Bengal but she is a very fussy eater and does not each that much. Thanks for the overview on Bengals, your comments are pretty spot on!

  79. Natalie King on April 5th, 2019 9:48 am

    Hi Robert, loved your article and information on Bengals…
    I have two rescued cats, Syko who was adopted as a kitten and Angel who came into our lives as an 18 month old.
    I would never get a Bengal after reading your article, so I will have to simply admire them from afar… but really appreciate your honesty and candid comments.
    Love your tutorials, and am seriously considering becoming a Patron to assist you with your work and aims for educating folk more about cat-care and education.
    Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing more of you, Didga and Boomer and the rest of your Cat-Clan in the future!
    Cheers from sunny Adelaide 😉

  80. Awinder Singh on April 8th, 2019 4:08 am

    Hi Robert! Thank you very much for the post. I just adopted a Bengal kitten a few weeks back and this is my first cat (also my first pet). I’m from India. Coco’s very young and also very energetic. I can see him directing his pent up energy towards me a lot of times when I get late from office.

    I have been looking at a lot of YouTube videos and reading about how to make this the best experience for both of us. However I’m having a few problems that I think can be helped by someone here.

    1. He’s 5-6 months old and he did not get a chance to play with his siblings and no one trained him. He still likes to bite a lot. Hands and legs. (lately he’s started scratching my back also). I have tried some methods of making him stop this- like when he bites, stopping the play session, put him in an empty room for 5 min, or clapping or pushing my hand towards him. But sadly none of it seems to work. What would be your advice on this?

    2. I see that you have mentioned Bengals love to walk outside. I’ve tried to put on a leash on Coco but he doesn’t like it. He fights extra hard to not get into it. How should I tackle that?

    Any answer here would be extremely helpful. 🙂 Thanks in advance!

  81. Robert on April 9th, 2019 10:24 pm

    Hello, thanks for sharing and yes it sounds very much like what we go through. I think iggy is more tolerant (being a boy) than Didga, I hope things stay manageable for you. I’ve been very lucky on the food sensitivity, he seems to be fine, but have heard that from other Bengal people. Glad to hear you love them but back (next time) to a more normal kind of cat, which is exactly how I feel. your comment very much helps, thanks for following

  82. Robert on April 9th, 2019 10:27 pm

    Hello, Nothing wrong with that, unless you wanted a more confident cat to travel with? Getting this breed definitely doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a confident cat. regardless of the breed/mix some cats are scaredy cats, at least your cat can stay safe indoors, then all you have to do is provide some fun things for him to do. thanks for the comment

  83. Robert on April 9th, 2019 10:29 pm

    Hi and thanks for the comment (poor munchkin)

  84. Robert on April 9th, 2019 10:34 pm

    Hi Natalie, Thanks a bunch, looking forward to seeing you on Patreon. Yay!!! #adoptdontshop

  85. Jeannie on June 22nd, 2019 7:09 pm

    Thank You so very much for all the wonderful information! We have owned many cats over the last 50 years and have made good choices and some not so good choices in many instances. It’s great following you here on IG!

  86. Janet on June 23rd, 2019 6:16 pm

    I have a Bengal her name is Ela and she’s amazing!!! I couldn’t imagine life without her, she is now 14 years old. I’d adopt another anyday, I’ll take Boomer

  87. Juan David on July 5th, 2019 12:36 pm

    Dear Robert, my name is Juan David, I am from Colombia, following you for almost two years. I really love your work, D&B are amazing, and my favourite is Bindi, she reminds me one of my cats called Micaela (Tortie point siamese). I really hope to visit Austalia in any moment to assist to one of your shows, sounds crazy but it would be great.
    Warm regards¡

    JD

  88. Marion on July 6th, 2019 8:14 am

    Hi Robert,
    Thank you very much for sharing your amazing knowledge of cats. I loved to learn more about the Bengals. Your videos are great, always astonishing!!
    Best wishes,
    Marion from Brazil

  89. Liz Harwood-Smith on August 4th, 2019 3:44 am

    We have a Bengal named Oscar. He’s an F5 and was pretty vicious as a younger boy. He was typical Bengal but he is an outdoor cat. Loved to hunt and bring back gifts. He’ getting old now and showing signs of memory loss . They are definitely not for the faint hearted, but he will sit on me and have cuddles on his terms. He used to tear up the post, play fetch with anything shiny and hide things. He is definitely different.

  90. Robert on September 15th, 2019 1:46 am

    Awwww, she sounds so sweet. Thanks so much for the story and for following so closely. Thanks again, I’ll keep the posts coming. Robert and the cats

  91. Jane B Sabatino on September 29th, 2019 4:42 pm

    So nice to read about other Bengals. I adopted mine
    5 years ago when he was 8 months. He was too much to handle with her other cats. She did not even know he was a Bengal. We went through “getting used to” phase He saved my other cat’s life who was severely depressed from the loss of my other cat. George is now 6. Everyone loves him and he loves everyone. Even the vet says he is a good cat. I feel blessed to have found him.

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