Bengal cats are one of the most desirable breeds of cat in the world.
Many people from all walks of life dream of owning their own “mini tiger”.
However, some Bengal owners (as well as those who have spent time in the company of Bengal cats) find that these beautiful beasts can have a mean streak.
As we have covered in previous articles – such as this one – Bengals can have a bit of a “mean streak” to them when compared to other cats.
But why are Bengal cats so mean?
In this article we take a look at some of the reasons why Bengals can have a tendency to be mean cats, and what you can do to resolve the problem if you are experiencing it with your own cat (or how to prevent it from happening in the first place if you are thinking of getting a Bengal).
Are Bengals Inherently Mean?
In our opinion, the notion that Bengal cats are inherently mean (which some seem to believe) is simply inaccurate.
There is no evidence that Bengals are mean by nature.
Instead, it is much more likely to be reasons of “nurture” that result in some Bengals being unpleasant and nasty.
Furthermore, as we established in our article on whether or not Bengals are good for first-time cat owners, they definitely have higher needs than “normal” cats, but once again this doesn’t mean they are inherently nasty animals.
If a Bengal is behaving in a mean fashion, then there will be a reason – some kind of influencing factor – that has caused this problem, and the good news is that often these problems can be fixed.
Let’s investigate further.
6 Reasons Why Bengal Cats Can Be Mean
If it’s unlikely that Bengal cats are mean by nature, then what are the reasons why a Bengal cat might display undesirable, aggressive, or nasty behaviour? Here are some of the top reasons to consider:
- Health Problems – This is one of the key causes of mean behaviour and tendencies in Bengals and other cats. Our Bengal, Kala, went through an incredibly mean streak that lasted some months. It was only during a routine vet visit that the vet discovered that she had a tooth that was rotten with a bad abscess, which was likely causing her pain and discomfort. Once the tooth was removed, she went right back to being a normal, friendly, happy cat. If there is a sudden onset of undesirable behaviour in your Bengal, then take a trip to the vet to rule out health problems that might be causing the issue.
- High energy without a suitable outlet – Another reason why your Bengal may be behaving in an aggressive manner is due to a lack of suitable energy outlet(s). Bengals are high energy cats. They need mental and physical stimulation and engagement in order to behave properly, but many owners don’t realise the extent to which this is required and do not provide their cat with enough suitable energy outlets. Make sure that your Bengal has lots of toys that he/she can play with, and also make attempts to spend time engaging in play with your cat. Read our guide here to the best toys for Bengal cats for examples of toys that will keep your cat occupied and entertained.
- Territorial issues – Cats take their territory very seriously, and if your cat feels threatened in his/her territory (or feels like they don’t really have a space to call their own) then this can lead them to lash out. Ensure that your cat has its own territory; it doesn’t need to be massive, but it does need to be a space that they can access at any time and have “control” over to the extent to which it is possible.
- Diet issues – If you aren’t feeding your cat properly (whether that is the wrong type of food, the wrong amount of food, or some combination of the two) then you might find that your cat responds in an aggressive and unpleasant fashion. Your cat depends on you to provide his/her sustenance, so it’s important to get this right. If you suspect that your Bengal cat’s mean behaviour is due to dietary issues, then make sure you take a look at our guide to the best food for Bengal cats for more information on what you should be feeding your cat.
- Old age – As cats age, their mental and physical “faculties” deteriorate (just like us humans). This aging process can lead to nasty and mean behaviour in your Bengal, as they may lose their inhibition and start to play up. This is similar to how some humans can develop undesirable, antisocial tendencies as they age, often due to problems such as dementia. If this is a concern, then talk to your vet to see if there is any medication or treatment that may help. Unfortunately, this could simply be a problem that cannot be resolved and you will have to learn to deal with it over time.
- Incorrect socialisation – This is perhaps the hardest cause to resolve, as the habits/behaviours that are formed in a cat when they are young can be challenging to change as the same cat gets older. If your Bengal was never socialised properly with human company etc, then you may find that this is the cause of undesirable, mean behaviour. This is a common cause for people who adopt/inherit Bengal cats, or who get them from rescue organisations. The good news is that you can socialise an older cat – it just takes time and patience.
What you need to do is work through the list and try to isolate the problem. For example, if your Bengal has generally been a nice and friendly cat in the past but is suddenly acting in a mean and aggressive fashion, then you might want to take him/her to the vet to rule out any health issues.
Conclusion – Why Are Bengal Cats So Mean?
The truth is that Bengal cats aren’t really mean.
There are some cats that definitely have a mean side, much as there are dogs, and even humans that have that mean streak in them.
To some extent, whether or not a Bengal cat is mean is a question of nurture and not nature. While we suspect that there is some small percentage of the Bengal population that is “born nasty” the truth is that most of the time when an owner reports a mean Bengal, there is a specific reason for this behaviour.
This can range from medical issues that need resolving, through to territorial insecurity, or simply the challenges of old age.
Use the resources and guides in this article to work through why your Bengal is mean, and then take steps to resolve the problem.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to solving your cat’s behaviour issues, then you might also like to check out our Cat Language Bible review. This is a guide we recommend to understanding why your Bengal is behaving the way he/she is, and how to solve unwanted behavioural issues as well.
We hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to leave a comment below if you require any further clarification, or have anything to add of your own. We always welcome all comments, whether positive or negative!