Are Bengal Cats High Maintenance? Here’s What to Expect!

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Are Bengal cats high maintenance? For certain aspects such as behavior correcting, play, and environmental stimulation – Bengal cats will require more effort and time devoted to them to allow them to develop into well-rounded cats. Other aspects of the Bengal cat, such as health, food, and physical needs, require similar maintenance levels to other cat Breeds.

bengal cat focused at hand.
There’s no doubt about it. Bengal cats just require a lot more attention than other cats. Especially in their kitten years.

The Bengal cat breed is one of the most charming cat breeds. However, they require cat butlers to have above-average knowledge of cats and their behaviors. Why? Simply because of their massive amounts of energy that needs more stimulation than the average cat. Otherwise, a Bengal cat can end up with some nasty traits such as:

  • Destructive tedencies towards furniture, household items, or cables.
  • Aggressiveness towards people or other pets.
  • Loud and constantly vocal.

Bengal Cat Maintenance Requirements: Quick Chart

Below is a quick glance chart of how much attention or time is expected per category, along with any other comments. Bengal cats, in general, can be a lot more work than regular cats. However, if you’re able to push through with patience and consistency – they’re incredibly loyal, interactive cats that you’ll be able to have fond memories with together.

One thing to note is that there is a big difference when dealing with Bengal kittens and adult cats. The kitten stage of any cat is a crucial time for them to develop good habits and behaviors. Therefore, kittens will generally require more effort and attention when compared to an adult Bengal cat. For a complete guide of what is needed for kittens (from newborns to a few months), read here!

Maintenance CategoriesTime/Attention Required (Bengal Kittens)Time/Attention Required (Bengal Adults)
Direct Play Time1+ hour of direct playtime daily20 – 30 minutes regularly
Behavior CorrectingHigh attention requiredLow to moderate attention required
Food & MealsModerate attention requiredLow to moderate attention required
EnvironmentModerate attention requiredModerate to high attention required
Health/BodySome health issues to be aware ofSome health issues to be aware of
Table 1. Bengal Cat Maintenance Requirements.

See the sections below for a more detailed explanation of these maintenance categories!

Bengal Cat Maintenance Requirements: Detailed Explanations

Again, Bengal cats are like any other cat but with a metric ton more energy. While this might sound fun and interesting at first, many owners can get overwhelmed with the amount of attention that they might need.

Also, there will be times when cat owners might have to do the opposite and not give any attention to their Bengal cat. Knowing the proper time to give or not give your Bengal cat the attention is what cat owners will have to learn quickly. To help cat owners comprehend what a Bengal cat is really like, I’ve written the article: Bengal Cat Personality (What’s Are Bengal Cats Like?).

Responsibilities: Direct Play Time

Direct playtime is a regular playtime in which you, as their cat butler, directly interact with them using a toy or object. The toy can really be anything as long as it can keep the Bengal cat’s attention for a decent period. Bengal cats benefit the most from more playtime, and it almost directly translates to a better-behaved cat as they age (avoiding negative behaviors like rough playing or biting).

Bengal cats are Tasmanian devils when they’re kittens. You’ll find them flying everywhere and trying to play with everything in sight. Therefore, the more time they can play with the proper toys when they’re young, the less destructive Bengal cats will be later on as adult cats. Having at least an hour or more of interactive direct play with Bengal cats up until they’re several months old is the best course of action.

Bengal cat being hand fed.
Latte, my Bengal cat never bites or scratches. He’s a very gentle Bengal cat. However, it wasn’t always the case.

Bengal kittens will luckily find almost everything entertaining, but as they grow up to become adult cats, they’ll start to prefer more interactive activities. For example, Latte, my Bengal cat, is about three years old and will refuse nowadays to play with any stationary toys.

For owners worried about the time commitment of the Bengal breed, having another energetic kitten paired up with the Bengal kitten will also help a lot with curbing their energy levels and, thus, will require less attention from their cat parents.

Responsibilities: Behavior Correcting

One of the skills that a prospective Bengal cat owner needs to know is when your cat is bored. A bored Bengal cat will do one of two things, start looking around for things to take apart or start yelling/howling at the top of its lungs. Both are unpleasant.

When Bengal cats are faced with boredom, they can become very creative creatures. They’ll open up cabinets, drawers, and even washing machines (my Bengal cat has recently learned how to do this) to find some entertainment.

Bengal cat on a rack.
Bengal cats are not only curious but they’re also persistent. A very potent combination for a cat.

Many cat owners might think it’s just part of their personality, but it’s really just boredom. A bored animal with a ton of energy needs to direct it somewhere, and leaving them bored might lead to more destructive habits down the line. Therefore, Bengal cat owners need to have tools and items ready whenever their Bengal cat gives boredom indicators (check below for a list of recommended behavior correcting tools & supplies).

Responsibilities: Food and Meals

Bengal cats aren’t too picky about food, but their digestive systems can be a bit sensitive depending on their age. When they’re young, they’re very prone to having diarrhea. Thus, finding high-quality foods (high protein content) is essential during their kitten years. It is also recommended that Bengal kittens start with wet foods and slowly transition to high protein grain-free dry foods.

Bengal cats are incredibly food motivated and open cabinets and drawers to get snacks and food. They’re very persistent cats. Therefore, potential owners will need Bengal proof their homes to stop this behavior in its tracks. Putting them on a meal schedule as opposed to free-feeding will allow your Bengal buddy to start to learn some discipline and allow for more predictable energy levels.

The benefits of scheduled meals for cats are well documented. I have written a comprehensive guide with the most optimal times to feed your cats here!

Responsibilities: Environmental Preparations

Environmental preparations aim to set up and layout the living space to serve both cats and humans. This is because the ways cats move and use space are entirely different from how a human might. Cats love to climb and perch in high places, and thus, the way the home should be “designed” should also allow for that.

Bengal cat climbing on some suction cup scratching posts.
Environmental stimulation and catification is always ongoing process for cat owners with Bengal cats.

This is called catification (I outline all the ways you can catify your home for all types of price points here), and it is an essential part of owning any cat, not only the Bengal breed. As kittens, Bengal cats are entertained by everything, and they’re small enough that everything seems a challenging task. However, as they grow up and get larger, the things they use to climb up might only take a tiny bit of effort. As a result, setting up the environment to be Bengal cat-ready requires a bit more creativity the older your cat gets.

Responsibilities: Health/Body

Cats of a specific breed sometimes have health issues that tend to occur more often than other regular domestic cats. Some of these more common health concerns for the Bengal cats include:

  • Their digestive system is quite a bit more sensitive than other cats, especially as kittens.
  • Hereditary health issues such as cataracts and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart disease that causes the walls of the heart to thicken).
  • Cats are terrible in general about taking care of their teeth. Brushing your cat’s teeth when they’re young will allow them to get use to it as they grow into Adult cats.

Be sure to monitor your Bengal cat’s condition and schedule vet visits at least twice a year. Keeping your Bengal cat healthy will, of course, help with vet bills and other fees! Here’s the complete breakdown of the costs associated with buying and living with a Bengal cat!

Frequently Asked Questions About Bengal Cats Maintenance

Will Bengal Cats Calm Down Later On?

Owners will be happy to know that Bengal cats do calm down as they reach about 2-3 years old. The first couple of years can be pretty hectic, depending on your experience with cats and their behaviors. After that, Bengal cats start to enjoy the calm moments and require less attention. However, they’re still relatively high-energy compared to other cats but not overwhelmingly so.

Cat parents who want a little bit of downtime should invest in items that allow Bengal cats to tire themselves out passively throughout the day, such as a cat wheel or tall climbing cat-poles. Cat wheels are a relatively large investment compared to most other cat furniture, so I wrote a complete guide about cat wheels here to help cat owners decide!

Should I Punish My Bengal Cat When They Do Something Bad?

Any type of “disciplining” or punishment towards your Bengal cat is only going to end up in a bad experience for both you and your Bengal cat. Additionally, if done enough, can start a negative association towards humans. As a result, it can lead to a cycle of resentment and neglect which impacts your cat’s welfare.

According to a 2021 study: risk factors for aggression in adult cats, the use of punishment on cats was associated with more severe aggressive behavior. Instead, implementing strategies such as redirection/misdirection is much more effective for cats. I outline exactly how to do this in this article: How to Discipline a Bengal Cat (Safely).

Can Bengal Cats Live in Apartments?

A Bengal cat can be raised in an apartment (I’ve done it myself), but it’s not recommended unless cat parents have the time to give your Bengal cat the attention it needs. An apartment will not only need to be heavily catified, but the Bengal cat/kitten will also need a companion.

3 cats, including a Bengal cat, playing on some cat furniture.
Apartment life is entirely possible for Bengal cats, even in tiny apartments. Just be prepared to put your brain to the test!

I have three other cats of similar ages in my apartment to keep my Bengal in check. Additionally, I have become hyper-aware in my apartment to ensure the safety of my cats. For those wondering how I live with my 3-4 cats in a tiny apartment, you can read it here!

What Kind of Toy Do Bengal Cats Like?

All cats are individuals with preferences, but Bengal cats generally love things with erratic motions. Things like bouncy balls and plastic springs are all great toys that have exaggerated movements whenever a cat interacts with them.

Also, they love toys that they can grab and grip with their teeth to play games of fetch – so make sure that the toys you get aren’t too large. Click here for a complete, curated list of the best toys for indoor cats!

  1. PetSafe SSSCAT Motion-Activated Dog & Cat Spray
  2. PetSafe SSSCAT Motion-Activated Dog & Cat Spray

    The PetSafe SSSCAT Deterrent Cat Spray easily protects indoor areas and objects from your pets. This unique spray uses motion-activated infrared to monitor movement up to 3 feet away. When the SSSCAT detects your pet entering an off-limit area, it emits a harmless, odorless, and stainless spray to deter your pet from continuing.

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  3. Sticky Paws Pet Sticky Roll
  4. Sticky Paws Pet Sticky Roll

    When push comes to shove, this can be a good tool to our teach cats what areas are unacceptable to be on. This is for people that don't want certain furniture to be scratched up and for stubborn cats that are set in their ways scratching up a certain type of furniture or material.

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  5. Frisco Plush Kicker Cat Toy
  6. Frisco Plush Kicker Cat Toy

    This is another great tool for misdirection for when your cat is overstimulated and prone to biting. The furry tail adds motion to stimulate your kitty’s hunting instincts, so toss it to give him the thrill of the chase. It’s also spiked with Canadian catnip for even more exciting play

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  7. Soft Claws Cat Nail Caps, 40 count
  8. Soft Claws Cat Nail Caps, 40 count

    Save your floors and furniture with Soft Claws Cat Nail Caps. A safe and pain-free alternative to declawing, Soft Claws works by simply capping your cat’s claws with a vinyl cover. It applies easily with a safe and non-toxic adhesive, and will not interfere with the normal extension and retraction of their nails—which means even the fussiest kitty won’t mind wearing them. So your cat can go about his routine of pawing and playing, and you don’t have to worry about unwanted scratches. Easy to apply and long-lasting, it’s made right here in the USA.

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  9. KITTY CAPS Cat Nail Caps, Color Varies, 40
  10. KITTY CAPS Cat Nail Caps, Color Varies, 40

    Nail caps provide a safe alternative to declawing to stop all snags and scratches. Covers the nail completely while allowing normal extension and retraction of claws. Applied with included adhesive and will shed as your cat’s nails grow; generally in 4 - 8 weeks. Easy to apply and vinyl resin material is totally safe for cats. Choose from a variety of fun colors!

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  11. Matatabi Sticks Cat Biting Toys
  12. Matatabi Sticks Cat Biting Toys
    $12.99

    These sticks have a similar effect to catnip for cats. Have these sticks around for your cats to bite and chew so that they don't chew other stuff around in your apartment or home (cables, electronic components, etc.). It also acts as a great teeth cleaner too!

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    10/01/2022 08:47 am GMT
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monsieurtn

With a science background and years of experience including learning, observing, and training cats - increasing our beloved feline's welfare and wellbeing is the priority and passion.

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