Why Are Bengal Cats Illegal?

Welcome to Authentic Bengal Cats – the site where we aim to answer all of your Bengal cat questions.

In today’s article we are going to look at the question “why are Bengal cats illegal?”

We hope you find it informative and helpful.

After all, you don’t want to purchase a Bengal cat only to find that it is illegal to own one when you live!

Legal Status Of Bengal Cats

The Bengal cat as a breed has a relatively chequered legal history in some jurisdictions.

For example in Australia only Bengals of certain status/lineage are legal – the rest are illegal (see our article on whether or not Bengal cats are illegal in Australia for more information on this).

There are some states as well in the United States where Bengal cats have restrictions. For example, according to most people’s interpretation of the law, Bengals are effectively illegal in New York. According to this report Bengals of F1-F4 generation are illegal in New York State, and all Bengals are illegal in New York City.

However, this is compounded and made more confusing by the fact that Bengal breeders exist in New York, which may mean that the rules are not really enforced particularly strictly.

We will be doing more articles on the legal status of Bengal cats in specific states and locations in future articles – in this piece we are looking more at why Bengals might be illegal in some jurisdictions (rather than specific status in specific places).

So Why Are Bengal Cats Illegal In Some States & Countries?

Basically, the illegality of Bengal cats tends to stem from the history of the breed.

Bengals are a relatively new breed, and are a hybrid breed (hybrid between wild and domestic).

If you consult our guide to the history of the Bengal cat, you’ll see that basically over successive generations the “wildness” has increasingly been bred out of Bengals, but elements still remain.

Many jurisdictions – be that at a country, state or city level – have restrictions on the ownership of hybrid animals. Basically, because of the breed history of the Bengal cat it falls into that category in many cases.

This restriction can be for a variety of reasons.

One reason is that hybrid animals can have a tendency to be more dangerous to both humans and wildlife as they are “less domesticated”. You can read our article here on whether or not Bengal cats are dangerous for more information on that.

Another reason is that hybrid animals can sometimes pose a biosecurity risk, possibly becoming vectors for disease that may affect local domestic animal populations, livestock etc.

Although most Bengal cat owners will tell you how friendly and non-threatening their cats are, it’s an unfortunate part of how legislation and rules work that “innocent” animals (and their owners!) get caught up in the crossfire.


If you’re wondering why Bengal cats are illegal in some jurisdictions, then we hope you found this article helpful.

Basically, Bengal cats may be illegal where you live due to restrictions on hybrid or recently domesticated animals.

We are working at the moment on a series of guides for individual countries, as well as states in the United States where most of our readers live.

Please check back in the near future for those!

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