If you’ve ever seen the exotic beauty of a Bengal cat close up, you could be forgiven for wanting to immediately rush out and buy one. With their blend of wild appearance and domestic temperament, they truly are stunning pets. As with any pet, however, owning a Bengal is a huge commitment, and it is important to recognise the work you will be expected to carry out before you make your purchase.
First of all, you must locate a reputable Bengal breeder in your area. Your breeder will be well educated in their cats and will be able to provide you with endless information about your chosen pet, as well as specific details about their line of cats. It is important to know as much about your prospective pet’s background as possible, so as to avoid any unfortunate health surprises.
The Bengal is a fairly large domestic cat, and is incredibly affectionate and intelligent; they love playing and even love water! You should find one whose parents are good examples of the breed and who look happy and healthy in a clean and loving environment.
Aside from its wonderful appearance, the Bengal also possesses one of the greatest temperaments in domestic cats. With a pet Bengal you can expect a very loving and two-way relationship. Don’t be surprised when your new cat follows you from room to room and then just perches herself in the highest point to observe you. Bengals love attention and human interaction. They are astonishing athletes that will amaze you with their jumping and somersaulting skills. They have huge bursts of energy, running rampant and leaping about, showing off their athletic prowess. At the end of this, though, expect to find a spotty ball of fluff curled up in your lap expecting copious cuddles. It is not uncommon for Bengals to flop over on their backs like a puppy and await a tummy rub!
Bengals have a voice that is very different from the normal domestic cat’s. It is more akin to a yelp, and can even sometimes sound more like a chirp. Bengals are notoriously chatty cats. Sometimes they meow when they want something: food, toys, water, strokes. Other times, however, they just meow to let you know how their day is going, and keep you updated. They are very vocal cats.
Before you bring your Bengal home, you need to prepare for your new arrival. Make sure you have two bowls for food and water, as well as several toys and beds and a litter box. A scratching post is also a must, as otherwise your furniture will serve that purpose. Buy a good quality, low dust cat litter for your Bengal. Cats are naturally clean animals, and your breeder will have begun the litter training process before you bring your cat home. All you will need to do is show your cat where her toilet is.
It is important to buy a brand of food that is suitable for Bengals. They are known to have very sensitive stomachs and require a high protein diet. Make sure when you are looking at food brands that you check the percentage of protein and meat in the ingredients. Quite a lot of the cheaper brands will list rice or grain as a main ingredient, with the meat products and protein content slipping further to the bottom. Cats are meat eaters, not cereal or rice eaters. It is a good idea to feed your Bengal a mix of wet and dry food, and not just dry food as a diet consisting solely of dry food can be unhealthy for Bengals. It is recommended that you buy a very high quality dry food, and intersperse that in their diet with a middle-to-high-range wet food. You may also choose to feed your Bengal on a raw meat diet. If you choose to go down this route, make sure you use lean cuts of meat, and supplement with vitamins and minerals that your cat is not getting from a dry food diet. Bengals do tend to crave a meat diet more than other domestic cats, but make sure you do your research before embarking on a raw meat only diet, as there are several pitfalls you can easily fall into, especially regarding preservatives and fat.
Bengals are very affectionate cats and will require a great deal more of your attention than the average domestic cat. They have none of the stereotypical traits of other domestic cats: aloofness, independence, or hostility. A Bengal will want to be involved in every aspect of your life, at all times. This means you may have them following you into the bathroom, shower, and even out the door!
Bengals are extremely inquisitive, so it is important that you make sure they don’t get up to too much mischief, particularly when they may injure themselves in some capacity. They love water, and can easily fall into a running bath and scald themselves. Also, you should check your washing machines before you run them, as to a Bengal that looks like the perfect little hiding spot! It is also important to leave the toilet seat down. Your Bengal will definitely poke her nose in and try and drink the water, which can be extremely dangerous if there is any residual bleach or cleaning products in your toilet. Be wary of house plants, as many are toxic to cats, and Bengals will absolutely eat them regardless. For your Bengal’s protection, it is recommended that you teach her the word ‘no’, as you can’t always get to her in time to remove the threat or remove the cat. Bengals love to jump and climb to the highest point in the room, but they are not fall-proof. Make sure you leave windows closed and if you have a roof terrace or balcony, pay extra close attention when your cat is near the edge.
Bengals are wonderful pets and will make any household all the more exciting just by being there. If you do choose to purchase one of these extraordinary cats, just make sure you are doing so for the right reason. Yes, they are extremely beautiful, but they are also very demanding and require an owner who is willing to give them the time and love they deserve.