Bengal Cats are highly intelligent members of the cat species. These cats tend to like water, much like their wild family members, the Asian Leopard Cat. With their interest in the world around them, they are typically great candidates for teaching to walk on a leash and explore the outdoors with you.
It’s important to note that even though Bengal Cats are highly intelligent and some are even considered to act like dogs, they are still cats and can be difficult to train. You need lots of patience to train your Bengal Cat, and having a favorite treat can make the job easier. Many Bengal Cats also respond well to clicker training, so you should consider getting a clicker to help with training your Bengal Cat.
Harness Training For Bengal Cats
One of the first things you should train your Bengal is to get used to a harness and a leash, which is the first step to walking on a leash and potentially exploring outside. You will first want to get a harness and a leash that fit your Bengal Cat. Fixed leashes tend to be safer options and less likely to break than a retractable leash.
When you first start putting the harness on your Bengal Cat, you will only want to leave it on for a few minutes. As your Bengal Cat tolerates the harness, you should reward them with a treat, toy, or affection, praising them for a good job. Start by putting it on your Bengal for short periods several times per day and gradually increase how long you leave the harness on your cat. You can play with your cat while they have their harness on, getting them used to the feel of it.
After your Bengal Cat is used to the harness, add your leash to the mix. Clip the leash on and let your Bengal walk around with the leash on in your house. Once again, reward your cat with treats and affection for tolerating the leash and harness.
Walking on a Leash
When you first take your Bengal Cat outside, you need to be prepared for anything, as you won’t know how they will react. Stick to your yard initially, as you have more control over the surroundings. Start by taking your cat outside for short stints of time so that they do not get overwhelmed. As they walk around on the leash, reward them with their favorite treat or lavish them with attention, whichever your Bengal seems to prefer.
When you take your Bengal Cat for a walk outside, they are not likely to act like a dog walking beside you on the leash. They tend to be more interested in their surroundings and checking everything out. They are also likely to amble rather than keeping pace with you, so have patience. Let them wander on the leash at their own pace, especially when you are just starting out.
You may want to teach your cat to focus on different objects, especially in your yard, such as a chair. Vocalize what you want them to do and reward with their treat or a click from the clicker when they go where you want them to go.
Toilet Training For Bengal Cats
Because Bengal Cats tend to really enjoy water, they make great candidates for learning to use the toilet instead of a litter box. There are some companies that specifically make litter boxes for your cat to use when toilet training, such as the Litter Quitter kit.
If you have more than one bathroom, set up one specifically for your Bengal’s use so that they get used to the set up, as well as minimizing how often you need to move the litter box around.
As the first step to getting your cat to use the toilet, you will want to get them comfortable using their litter box near the toilet. Gradually put the litter box closer and closer to the toilet, and then start to raise it up by slow degrees until it is level with the toilet seat.
Once your cat has gotten used to using the litter box adjacent to the toilet, you will want to seat the litter box over the toilet. While you can fashion your own box, using one of the pre-made litter box kits makes the task easier. You will gradually cut a larger and larger hole into the litter box until your cat is directly using the toilet. You can then remove the litter box apparatus. Just remember to leave the toilet lid up for your cat.
To make training your Bengal Cat easier, you may want to get them used to using a target stick in addition to a clicker. This is a stick or rod that you can put food on the end of and direct your cat’s attention with it. Using these tools, you can teach your cat a variety of different tricks.
One of the main tricks to teach your cat is sit. You will want your cat standing to teach them sit. Tell them to sit and move the target stick backwards and above their head, encouraging them to sit their haunches down. Once they sit, click the clicker and make sure that you give them a treat. You can also work with them to sit at meal times, raising the food bowl above their heads and telling them to sit.
To teach your cat to sit up, from a sitting position, tell them up while raising the target stick above their head. Most cats will naturally reach up to get to the treat on the end of the stick. Make sure to click the clicker and give them their treat when they do as directed.
From a sitting position, you can also direct the target stick down and away from your cat, instructing them to lay down. As your cat moves into position to lay down, reward them with their treat and a click of the clicker.
Bengal Cats are incredibly intelligent and can be taught a variety of different things, from walking on a leash to sitting. You will want to have a high-value reward for them to give them when they do what you ask of them. You will also need to practice a great deal of patience, as many cats take a period of time to get used to these activities, and rushing them makes it more unlikely that they will balk at what you are asking of them.