Here at Authentic Bengal Cats, some of the most frequent communication we receive via email and website comments on our articles comes from prospective owners who want the following question answered:
“Are Bengal cats nasty?”
People worry about getting a Bengal cat because they have heard horror stories from others about how mean and nasty their Bengals turned out to be.
Headlines in newspapers and news websites that “hype up” people having to give up their Bengals because they just can’t deal with their behaviour don’t help either.
So what is the truth?
In this short article we take a look at the temperament of Bengal cats and whether not not they are nasty.
Before we begin, if you are struggling with an aggressive/violent/nasty Bengal and want to resolve this behavior, then we strongly suggest you consider investing in the Cat Language Bible system. This is the best guide we have come across to understanding and resolving your Bengal’s behavior issues, and is well worth the modest investment. Read our review and learn more here.
Are Bengals Nasty Cats? The Key Facts
In our opinion, the key facts to consider around the purported “nastiness” of Bengal cats are as follows:
- Bengals are not inherently nasty – Let’s get the big issue out of the way. In our opinion (based on personal experience, research, and reader feedback) Bengal cats are not inherently nasty animals. They aren’t some kind of vicious wild animal that many falsely make them out to be (learn more here about the origin and history of the Bengal cat for information on just how wild they actually are). However, Bengals can have a tendency to be a bit more challenging than ordinary cats, partly because of their superior size and intellect. As we discussed in our article on whether or not Bengals are good for first time owners, you need to be prepared for the fact that owning a Bengal and bringing one into your family may be more challenging than you realise; not an insurmountable challenge at all, but something to consider for sure.
- It’s more likely you hear bad stories than good ones – This is a general principle in life; those with issues/bones to pick generally are more vocal than those who have good experiences. This is why you often see more bad reviews than good for products/services/businesses, because those who are dissatisfied are more likely to take the time to comment than those who are happy. The same applies for Bengal cats! In our view, it is a minority (but not a minuscule one) of Bengal cat owners who have aggression issues with their cats. These are the people who are more likely to vocalise their problems, as opposed to owners who have had generally positive experiences but are less inclined to “go public” with them. The number of nasty, aggressive Bengal cats probably appears disproportionately great due to frustrated owners speaking out, and contented owners staying quiet. Furthermore, when one person speaks out negatively on an issue (such as the behavior and nastiness of their Bengal) others feel more comfortable to do so, which can spark a bit of a “spiral effect”. Long story short, people are more motivated and inclined to talk about their negative Bengal cat ownership experiences than they are their positive ones; it is important to take this into consideration.
- Nature versus nurture is an important consideration – Another thing that you need to take into account is the age old argument of nature versus nurture. This can apply to animals like Bengal cats as much as the argument is relevant to humans. In our view, very few Bengals (if any) are born nasty and aggressive. Much of this behavior develops over time from incorrect socialisation and adjustment to living with human company. A risk here is acquiring a Bengal kitten from a “kitten farm” with poor standards of care and attention, where kittens are wrested away from their mothers at too young of an age so that the mother can be returned to breeding duties to keep the cash flowing. We are currently working on a list of reputable breeders across the world, so keep an eye out for that.
- Providing the right environment is critical – Make sure that your Bengal has access to all the essentials, and that he/she is looked after to the best possible standard that you can provide. This includes:
- Providing access to good food as well as water. Read our guide here on the best food for Bengal cats, and also take the time to look at our list of recommended water fountains for your Bengal that can promote superior hydration. A hungry/thirsty/malnourished cat is far more likely to be aggressive and nasty!
- Providing access to stimulating toys and activities. Once again, you may wish to consult our guide to the best toys for Bengal cats for options that will help to keep your furry friend entertained and content. This is critical if you want to ensure that your Bengal is as happy and satisfied as possible.
- Ensure access to fresh litter and a good litter box. Any Bengal owner will tell you that this is crucial to ensure the best possible behavior – Bengals take their “litter situation” very seriously. Read our guide to the best litter boxes for Bengal cats, as well as the best litter for more information on how to get this right.
- Nasty behaviour can indicate health issues – Another point to consider is that any nasty/aggressive behaviour that develops in a previously friendly Bengal cat (or any breed of cat, for that matter) could be due to health issues. We experienced this exact problem ourselves with our Bengal cat, Kala. While she had always been a bit challenging from the day she came to live in our house, around 10 years of age she suddenly became a lot nastier and more aggressive in her behaviour. This continued for some time, until during a routine vet checkup the vet found that two of her teeth were rotten and required extraction; she was clearly in pain, but unable to express her discontent. Once the rotten teeth were removed, here behavior improved almost overnight and she became a lot more relaxed and calm. She also started eating substantially more food and gained weight!
Conclusion – Are Bengal Cats Nasty?
In our opinion, Bengal cats are not inherently nasty.
However, as with any creature (humans included) there are natural variations within a population. There are also questions of nature versus nurture. If you bring a Bengal into your home that has had a bad upbringing – which is a risk for those acquired from “kitten farms” or through third parties whose cat-raising skills are not verifiable – then
The truth is that there may be some Bengal cats that have a mean streak, but in our experience much of the negativity that is thrown towards Bengals comes from those who aren’t aware that Bengals can be difficult cats to live with and are simply not prepared for this.
Owning any cat (or any pet for that matter) is a challenging commitment, and Bengal cats simply take that commitment and turn the dial up to 11. They are – on average, based on our experience, reader feedback, and research – more challenging to own than “normal” cats and sometimes this can be mistaken for nastiness.
The chances of actually getting a genuinely mean-spirited, nasty Bengal are low – especially if you buy from a reputable breeder.
However, it is critical that you take the time to ensure your Bengal adapts properly to your household, and is provided with adequate facilities (e.g. territory, toys, food/water and shelter) in order to promote good adjustment and behavior. Furthermore, if you notice any onset of nasty and/or aggressive behavior, then we advise that you take your Bengal to the vet to rule out any health problems that may be the underlying cause of the problem.
Finally, if you continue to have problems with your Bengal cat being aggressive and/or nasty towards you, your family members, house guests etc, then we strongly suggest that you take a look at the Cat Language Bible system – this is our recommended protocol for addressing challenging behaviors in Bengal cats, and is well worth the modest investment. Read our review here for more information and how to buy.