Bengal Cat Character

bengal cats playing
Photograph copyright Helmi Flick

The Bengal cat character is very interesting because of the wild cat heritage. How is this seen in the Bengal cat's behavior? I have made several posts on this subject together with Bengal cat health issues. Here is another post on this popular subject. Bengals have plenty of character both in behavior and appearance. This is what makes them so popular. It is the fact that they are wild cat hybrids which dictates their slightly different character compared to your typical domestic cat including other purebred cats. The higher filials (F1-F3) will have more pronounced characteristics to F5s et cetera.

What I haven't mentioned before is the fact that within a cat breed there is a naturally wide variation in the personal characteristics of individual cats, just as in humans. Sometimes we forget that. We seem to think that a cat is a cat and bundle them all together. It is probably fair to say that individual characteristics are more outstanding than the underlying characteristics associated with a particular breed.

A quick recap on the underlying characteristics: intelligent, dynamic, active, athletic, involved. Caveat: make sure you are adopting a proper Bengal Cat if you want to see these characteristics. There are some bad and many good breeders.

Athletics:

My neighbour has a Bengal cat. He has a classic Bengal cat character. You can see him in a video jumping up at me. It's a short video in which I film him from above. He didn't like his space being encroached upon and attacked me in a nice way. See it here if you wish (this takes you to the main site Bengal cat page).

Some cats can jump much better than others and the Bengal is an outstanding athlete. They can jump vertically to substantial heights. They like to be high up sometimes, perched looking down.

Assertiveness:

The wildcat/domestic cat hybrids are usually more assertive. This must reflect the need to be assertive in the wild to survive. Obviously this is manifest in the early generation offspring (F1-F3) but less so at SBT level. But it would seem that the Bengal in her activity and energy is perhaps a little more assertive (demanding) than you typical moggie, for example.

Normal cat:

They do of course have all the lovable characteristics of a domestic cat; lap cat, crashing out after all that activity, plenty of sleep as well. In fact they are (if well socialised) a lovely soft domestic cat.

Water:

We know they like water a throwback from their Asian leopard cat wild ancestor. I have discussed this. But it has occurred to me that this could present dangers in a human habitat for the cat. Toilets often have bleach in them. Hugely dangerous for an inquisitive Bengal. I would take precautions against the potential for injury there.

As they like to jump into baths and showers, sometimes, it would seem that that could happen when you are in it, which means hot water, which your Bengal won't know about as she thinks all water is at ambient temperature. This would be another area where great care needs to be taken to protect your impulsive Bengal from getting scolded.

Voices:

Bengal cats have slightly different voices. All cats make a range of sounds and in fact it is through the tone of our voice and the general sound of our voice that we can communicate with our cats. This cuts two ways and Bengals are adept at communicating to us with a wide range of sounds and tones.

Another wild/domestic cat that has a notable voice is the Savannah. They have their own way of hissing (mimicking a snakes hiss to ward danger off). They are also assertive.

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8 comments:

  1. I Have Two Male bengals,Yes they may be a little loud at times,and yes they do love water.But they are wonderful they are very sweet. when I am in my recliner at night my boys are right their with me all 38 pounds. I would not have it ant other way.And Yes they do follow me every where in the house.when I come home they are right there at the door to great me.

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    1. Thanks for commenting. Sorry I am so very late in responding.

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  2. My name is Chris

    I live in port macquarie NSW, Australia.

    I own a female Silver Seal Mink Marbled Bengal Toyger. ( POSSUM )

    She is an amazing animal always ready to play or hunt day or night.

    She loves to meet people at the door and is more than willing to take a chunk out of your leg, hand or arm as you walk by, unaware of the toyger stalking you....

    I also like to play stalking games with her....
    Wait till she is crashed out somewhere and find a good hiding spot out of her sight, make a noise to wake her and let her see you peering at her from behind the corner of the lounge......holy crap you had better run cause by the time you are out of the crouch position she has already taken a piece out of you somewhere and is looking for seconds.....

    I am a little concerned as she hates water unless its in her drinking dish, and even then she loves to tip it over...

    and

    She doesn't meow.....these cats are supposed to be very vocal but(possum) my cat does not meow loud its more like an under your breathe growl. She isn't angry she growls when im giving her food and petting her. I would say it's more like a very very loud perrrrr.

    I called her possum because she loves to climb up things, and yes if you happen to be in the way she will climb up you, claws and all !

    But this is what makes having one of these animals very special..

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  3. I have to female "moggies" both of which are 2.5 years old and a male Bengal cross breed his mum was a full Bengal and Dad a (rather determined) black and white moggy. He has the Bengal spots all the way down his back and the ringed tail just with white splodges in areas, kind of looks like he walked under a ladder when someone was painting.
    He does make a broader range of noises than my girls and in many ways is much more affectionate, so much so that when he wants a cuddle, he will go to ANY lengths to get that cuddle. For example he is currently trying to bite my nose and head-butt me in a bid for attention, almost asking, how dare I use the computer when he clearly requires attention! He is a lovely little boy, only 4 months old but already showing the muscle structure of a wildcat. He loves to climb, the second we let him out the door he was straight up the blossom tree in my garden - although getting down was a task I had to help him with.
    Sadly he doesn’t seem to get on with his adopted big sisters, I'm not sure whether it is him playing, rather aggressively, or whether he is trying to take over their territory but they are gentle soles who would rather flee than fight so we haven’t had any major fights yet. We did have him 'snipped' two weeks ago so hoping his spraying and chasing will soon die down a bit.

    He is accident prone, mainly as he is so active, and has taken on the sole responsibility for ridding the world of bees. This has resulted in many swollen paws, but he carries on regardless with his mission.

    Rossi won’t get into water if I'm not already in it, which causes problems when in the bath. His balance isn’t good enough yet to just perch on the edge of the bath so usually falls in, but at least he ends up smelling nice for a few hours.

    One thing to be aware of is how naughty they can be. If anything bumps in the night, I can guarantee that it was Rossi and his acrobatics that caused it. I've given up on vases and ornaments in the living room (or any other room for that matter) as they end up smashed/eaten/urinated on/used as a football or general weapon of destruction. He will make a run for it the second I open the front door and has no fear, darting around the street right into roads. Obviously this is a concern for when he learns the back gate can be climbed. We will just have to be vigilant when that happens.

    All in all, he is a wonderful cat with a very apparent 'wild side' even though he is a cross breed. The genes must be strong as I have never known a cat like it. I wouldn’t have him any other way, well, maybe i would change the urinating on the other cats beds bit, but that’s all.

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    1. I am sorry I did not reply earlier. Thanks for a really nice comment which adds to the page and provides insights into the Bengal character.

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  4. I've had cats all my life (I'm 68 yrs. old) retired, and adopted two cats from the Rescue Center 8 months ago. They were 2 1/2 yrs. old and have always been paired together for adoption. They had been confiscated from 3 adoptions by law enforcement due to abuse. I got them and immediately after 5 days my male kitty completely shut down (depression and kidney failure). I rushed him to the animal hospital and was told that it was 98% too late to save him. They did however try...by doing every test you can imagine and put a feeding tube in his throat and a light induced coma to keep him still. He couldn't stand anyway. They kept him like that for a month. He went in weighing 4 lbs. I have him home and he now weighs about 12 lbs. He is not fat, he's big and all muscle. It wasn't until he gained weight and got his life back that I realized he was different. Through his look and characteristics and personality did I realize he is a Bengal cat. He is huge. He is so loving, sweet, very quiet, loves high places and furry cat toys. He does not meow. He does sometimes have a high pitched squeak which he 'speaks' with his mouth very wide open. He is assertive and his teeth are razor sharp. After he healed I found out he didn't know how to play so I have spent 7 months teaching how to play and he loves it. I'm still in the process of showing him not to bite when he plays otherwise he would bite to the bone as he does not recognize limits to drawing blood. He's VERY smart. His sister is just as smart. They both have a 'code' they use to let me know exactly what they want. I have made sure they have absolutely no stress to cause fear or depression. I don't know what happened to them before I got them but it was bad so have been careful not to do anything that might 'trigger' a flashback. I live in the country by a huge lake with two very large enclosed screened porches. They have a great deal of house room and many windows to lay in. They sleep with me unless he sleeps on the porch. Now, as huge as he is, and almost didn't make it, he scares easy if someone drives into the driveway, but he and she will inspect and approve anyone who comes into the house. She is extremely territorial and if they see other animals outside the house (from the woods) she goes ballistic wanting to attack them. They are used to the deer, etc. but not other animals that wander through during the night. I do not live in a city. Anyway, as abused as they were before I adopted them they could not hold any kind of commercial food down. ALL of it made them sick and they threw it all up. I spent a fortune on wet and dry cat food they could not eat. I finally fed them raw filleted catfish cut in small pieces. They will not eat people food, nor milk which I have never offered. They both do like chicken broth but not the chicken. I finally found ONE commercial cat food they can eat and not get sick on but it cost a fortune...and it is what I buy. I love them so much and they know it:) There is so much more to this story..in part....if I had not adopted them and got him to the hospital immediately the surgeon said Colby would have died the next day. The hospital was closed/after hours but they opened for me to drive 60 miles to get him there. Miracles do happen. xoxo

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    1. Wow. Great comment about cat rescue and the Bengal cat character. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences.

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    2. You're welcome Michael. I could have written 3 x's as much to this story about the adoption because it had a very unexpected twist which was so off the wall which was the reason I adopted Colby and Bella instead of the other kitty I had first picked out. (For me) I call it Divine intervention. If I had adopted the other cat (the paperwork was done), When I went to pick her up, she had been adopted out due to a major mix-up...really touching story...bottom line, if I had not ended up adopting Colby and Bella, Colby would have died. Out of 350 cats I chose Colby and Bella. They had been in hiding the first two days I had been there looking to adopt. I'm thrilled about how everything turned out :):) Brin

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