Are Bengal cats dangerous? Untamed answers the question
Bengals—a mix of domestic felines and Asian leopard cats—have a reputation for being mischievous and aggressive, but are Bengal cats dangerous to keep as companions?
Despite their wild appearance and somewhat naughty temper, these kitties are no more dangerous than any other feline if disciplined and cared for properly. We explore whether there are valid reasons for Bengals' bad rap and what you can do to bring the amiable part of their temperament to the forefront.
Personality traits of Bengal cats—dangerous or playful?
People consider Bengal cats dangerous and aggressive, but they’re usually quite the opposite. They have a cheeky, wild side and territorial nature that needs to be controlled, but it stems from their curiosity, need for activity, and playfulness. Bengals are never malicious.
Hey, I might look wild, but I’m as sweet as they come!
Souce: Nika Benedictova
Their wild instincts can easily be managed with proper care and socialisation. Life in a safe environment filled with love and sufficient physical activity will make your Bengal kitty a cuddly and well-behaved companion.
Like other felines, Bengals bare their teeth when provoked. Intruding their space and scaring them with loud and sudden movements will make any kitty jumpy and ready to act on instinct, which is why you should always approach your Bengal gently and calmly.
The different hybrid generations of Bengal cats
Your Bengal’s proneness to aggressive behaviour also depends on their hybrid generation.
Kittens from the earlier generations, “foundation Bengals”, came from a direct mix of domestic felines and Asian leopard cats and tended to display more wild characteristics. Gradual distancing from the Asian leopard cats in later generations—second, third, and fourth, respectively—made the kitties tamer.
Consult the table below for an easier overview of the generations:
Asian leopard cat and domestic cat
Bengal F1 and domestic cat
Bengal F2 and domestic cat
Bengal F3 and domestic cat
Cats of the F1 generation cannot be kept indoors because of their wild nature. Males of this generation are often infertile and highly aggressive.
Are Bengal cats dangerous to other felines?
Although they’re not dangerous, Bengals are territorial and possessive.
Keep your distance from my chair, and we won’t have any problems!
Source: Jenny Grinblo
You should socialise your kitten with other animals from an early age. If they get used to other animals during kittenhood, they’ll be best mates with other cats, dogs, and humans.
Be cautious if you’re planning to adopt other animals, especially if your Bengal is fully grown. Give them plenty of time to adapt to the new situation, respect their habits, don’t invade their space, and give them enough attention. It’ll prevent anxiety and violent outbursts.
Avoid mixing Bengals with small animals they would hunt in the wild, such as birds, mice, rabbits, and fish. Because of their predatory nature and hunting instincts, you shouldn’t let them outside without supervision.
Why do Bengals act up?
Regardless of their breed, all felines get moody and irritable. Reasons for aggression can be various, including:
- Rough playtime
- Physical restrictions
- Protecting the litter
- Pain and health issues
Aggression caused by rough playtime
Bengals who haven’t been socialised tend to be aggressive when they play.
Playtime with littermates teaches felines about boundaries. They learn how sharp their claws and teeth are, how to control their strength, and when to back off. If you’ve adopted a Bengal kitty who’s been raised alone, socialisation is crucial because isolated kitties can become moody and aggressive.
During playtime, pay attention to the following tell-tale signs that your tiny leopard is about to lash out:
- Thrashing their tails back and forth
- Ears pinned to the tip of their head
- Dilated pupils
- Flashing their teeth
Can we play? I promise I’ll go easy on you this time!
Source: Paul Hanaoka
If particular objects stress your Bengal, remove them from the play space.
To prevent aggressive outbursts during play, use loud and uncomfortable noise deterrents right after your cat’s acted up. You’ll redirect their attention and train them to abstain from such behaviour. You can also ignore them, quit playtime, and walk away, signalling that their reaction isn’t desirable.
Never physically punish your Bengal—it can break your bond and cause them to become fearful of you.
Bengals become aggressive when they're afraid
The following stressors can provoke a violent reaction in your Bengal:
- New animals or people in their vicinity
- Loud noise
- Trips to the vet
Since you cannot avoid all situations that’ll trigger fear in your Bengal (e.g. vet visits), try briefly exposing them to the stimulus and rewarding them if they’ve managed to stay calm.
Some felines get aggressive if patted at all or on particular body parts. Try to avoid any uninvited show of affection, petting them only when they approach you.
If your feline resents being touched, grooming and playtime can be challenging. Ease your furry friend into these activities by rewarding them whenever they allow you to proceed.
If your Bengal feels restricted in any way—they can’t move freely or reach a toy—they could get frustrated and redirect their aggression towards something or someone else in their midst.
Restraining cats or keeping them in confined spaces isn't advisable because it makes them stressed. If you must use a transporter, you should talk to your cat to let them know that you are there and there's no reason for fear.
Territorial in nature, Bengals will often show their dominance by resorting to violence. To prevent this type of aggression, try to designate a space in the house for them, introduce new pets or family members slowly, and don't interrupt them during mealtime.
Queens are protective of their kittens and will hurt anyone they deem threatening. If your Bengal has become a mummy, provide her with a quiet, low-stress environment and let her take care of the litter.
Once the kittens develop and become stronger, this type of aggression will naturally subside.
Aggression caused by pain and health issues
If your Bengal is in pain or suffers from uncomfortable health conditions, they’re likely to show frustration by reacting aggressively.
Some health issues that could lead to aggression are:
Feeding your Bengal nutritious and healthy meals will help prevent or delay most health niggles, making them less irritable and prone to destructive behaviour. Physical activity, bonding, and lots of affection do wonders in keeping a cat stable, happy, and calm.
Control your Bengal’s attitude with a proper diet
A healthy diet is crucial for your Bengal’s physical health and emotional well-being. It should consist of:
- Animal protein
- Animal fat
I waaaaant meeeeeaaaaat!
Source: Kim Davies
Protein is the best primary source of energy for your Bengal, containing amino acids, such as taurine, vital for:
- Strong muscles, healthy skin, and a luscious coat
- Proper organ function
Being obligate carnivores, cats need protein derived from high-quality meat and fish. They cannot efficiently digest or metabolise protein from vegan or vegetarian food.
Proteins derived from different sources (meat, fish, and vegetables) have different biological values, which indicate how efficiently felines can extract the amino acids they need. Consult the following table for details:
Animal protein, including:
Vegetable protein, such as:
Animal fat delivers necessary fatty acids that help felines maintain cell integrity and healthy organ function.
Fat is also delicious to cats, so even fussy eaters who refuse wet food can't resist it. The amount of fat shouldn’t exceed 20% of your Bengal’s daily food intake because overconsumption can lead to obesity, tummy troubles, and diabetes.
Food your Bengal should avoid
Carbohydrates can hurt your Bengal's stomach and make them irritated and aggressive. Too many calories lead to weight issues and lethargy, while allergens can cause stomach sensitivities and skin irritation, contributing to your feline's bad mood.
How can Untamed help?
Untamed is healthy and tasty, so your Bengal doesn't get nasty.
Image (c) Untamed
Large amounts of animal protein
Untamed meals contain twice as much protein as other commercial products. Regardless of your Bengal's favourite Untamed flavour—Chocka Chicken, Tuck-in Tuna, or Full-on Fishy—they'll get all the essential nutrients and enjoy a diet closely resembling their natural feeding patterns.
Our recipes are formulated by vets to ensure your feline’s nutritional needs are met. They’re made for kitties at any life stage, including:
- Kittens who need to grow strong
- Adults who should stay healthy and get sufficient energy
- Seniors struggling with weight maintenance and dental diseases
Untamed also helps in preventing common feline health niggles, such as:
- UTIs, cystitis, or bladder stones
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Ethical production and logistics
To keep our planet safe from harm, we make sure our:
- Meat and fish come from sustainable, cruelty-free suppliers
- Packaging is 100% recyclable
- Process is completely carbon-neutral
Take our short online quiz to order the healthiest food for your Bengal and turn them into a zen master.
Join the Untamed clowder
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Your taster pack will arrive the next day with no shipping costs. We can replenish your stock around the same time every month, so you don't have to worry about cat food shopping.
Lots of Bengal parents have switched their kitties to Untamed. Here’s what they’ve noticed:
The Untamed effect
After a week
Within two months
After four months