Owning a Bengal cat means a lot of things. It means that you have a very beautiful cat with a lot of personality but it also means that you have a very smart, active, and very high energy cat.
Smart, active, and high energy seems like a great combination but in reality, it’s actually a lot of work and preparation that goes into owning this specific breed. However, the work that we do put into our cats can be a very rewarding process.
So let’s get into one of the main issues that people might discover with owning a Bengal cat. Their seemingly limitless energy and curiosity. This is great when we’re ready for it but at times when we need to wind down and relax, it can be stressful.
To tire out a Bengal cat, schedule playtime at least 30 minutes in total per day using interactive toys (wands, and balls). This will help them a lot with toning down their energy levels. Learn which toys your cat enjoys the most. By cycling them in and out daily, they can discover new ways of playing with said toys.
Also, having a stimulating and purposeful environment helps greatly, whether that means having lots of things to climb, a cat wheel to run on, or having other animal companions for them to expend their energy on.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly is giving them a routine that they can follow.
Solutions For Hyperactivity In Cats
These are some effective solutions for expending your Bengal’s energy. In conjunction with a good routine and play schedule, it will help your Bengal adapt to your lifestyle and energy levels. Rankings in terms of energy expenditure will be revealed at the bottom of the article!
Remember, a bored Bengal cat can be misunderstood as a destructive and wild cat. A big part of how to discipline your Bengal cat is knowing how to tire them out!
Have The Right Toys
A lot of cat owners just have cat toys laying around on the floor. While maybe some cats will find it entertaining to find a random toy, a Bengal quickly gets bored.
We can divide toys into two types of categories:
- Interactive toys
- Stationary toys
The most exciting toys for them are interactive toys. Wand toys are great for this because it’s something that responds to their action.
However, leave that wand out for too long, and they quickly realize that nothing else is going to happen and get bored quickly. So it’s important to have a routine for interactive play. When the play session is finished, put away the interactive toys for next time to keep it fresh and new.
Stationary toys for independent play such as balls, mice, and other battery-operated toys, are sometimes great in a pinch. These, however, are the toys they quickly get bored with. So never keep them all out at once. Get into the habit of toy cycling!
Toy Cycling of Stationary Toys
As you learn which toys your cats respond to the most, keep a note of the top 4-5 toys and put them all away.
Toy cycling is a very simple concept. It just means to take out different toys for your cats to play with on a certain day or session and put the previous day’s toys back in the toy ‘reserve’. Rinse and repeat.
When your Bengal acts up or is in need of attention/play, use 1-2 toys from their favorite toy reserve. You’ll find that they’ll keep their interest longer and your toys will get much more usage! It also means you don’t have to keep buying new cat toys!
When you see they get bored of it, put it away again until the next time that they have their energetic spurts. Cycle through your toys day by day, session by session. Think about new ways your cats could use the toys. Put them in a box or give them a spray of catnip to keep it fresh and fun!
Toy cycling is great for reusing old toys and has an added benefit of not cluttering up your home with a bunch of cat toys.
Stimulating Cat Furniture
Think about how a cat behaves outside. They are able to run, climb, chase, and burrow. It’s up to us to try to incorporate as many of these actions as possible inside (if your cat is an indoor cat).
Almost everyone has a cat tower but does the cat tower lead to anywhere interesting?
Have a progression of where the cats can go from the lowest part in the room to the highest point. As an example, my cat pole tower leads from the bottom to the top of the window where they’re able to access the cat hammock. What’s the point of climbing something unless there’s some sort of purpose to the climb?
Frequent climbing allows a cat their hind legs, one of the largest muscle groups on a cat’s body. Obviously, the use of these large muscles requires more energy – a great thing if we want our Bengal to tire out!
Bengal cats also love to burrow and go under blankets or other furniture. Collapsible tunnels and the-like are great things to have around for Bengal cats as they will endlessly run in and out of tunnels chasing toys and other animals around (Remember to keep the tunnel on ‘toy cycle’ too!)
Get Them A Cat Wheel
Cat wheels are believed to be a luxury for cats and I believe for the most part they are. Bengal cats are making me rethink this a lot. They are so quick to pick up a cat wheel that I believe that it is made for them.
Cats are natural sprinters, not marathon runners. That’s why you’ll often see Bengals hop on for a half a minute running at full speed and then quickly hop off during their high energy phases.
When a cat sprints, he uses his full body to contract and release his muscles. It’s one of the most energy-consuming things for a cat to do. Indoor cats and especially cats that live in apartments, don’t get to fully sprint like a cat outdoors would be able to do.
So very often, indoor cats either get the ‘zoomies’ or start to bother other cats, animals, or even become a bit rowdy towards objects or things around the home. Simply because they weren’t able to release their energy from chasing or hunting throughout the day. Learn more about their need to hunt and chase!
One of the things I love about having a cat wheel is that you can set it up and forget about it because it doesn’t require much attention from you. The cats will use it as they need it and multiple cats can use it.
Get Them A Companion Cat
I’m a big believer in having more than one cat. If you’re able to, it can enrich your other cat’s life so much more than just energy expenditure and having someone to play with.
They learn a lot from each other and this spans from socialization, behavior, and even something as simple as grooming. Having more than one cat means that they provide interesting company for each other when their butlers might be gone or busy with something.
There are just so many benefits from having more than one cat. Cats will initiate all sorts of activities with each other and if the environment allows, they will climb, run and burrow chasing each other around your home.
Female Bengal cats will tend to enjoy games of chase and the boys will prefer a bit of wrestling and rough play.
Conclusion: Ranking the Methods
Now it’s obvious that some methods will tire out the cats more than other methods but on the other hand, other methods require much more effort from the butler.
So let’s first list all the methods available to tire your cat:
- Interactive Play (Wand toys, etc.)
- Independent Play (With stationary toys)
- Cat furniture (for climbing, burrowing, and play)
- Cat wheel
- Getting a companion cat
Energy Expenditure / Effort Ratio
- Interactive play requires the most energy as cats will chase a feather or something around for longer periods of time (20-30 minutes). They can incorporate sprinting, climbing, and even fetching depending on how you play with them. For some recommendations of the best toys for interactive play, click here!
EFFORT: High – this requires full attention from the butlers to control the pace and method of play. Obviously, we can’t play with our cats all day so having a routine and schedule is beneficial for both parties.
*Remember, a dog walks but a cat plays (hunts)
- Getting a companion cat really helps the cats focus on each other and again, is very beneficial in many ways such as mentally, emotionally, and physically. Cats love to initiate play and social activities with each other.
EFFORT: Medium – introducing a cat requires careful considerations and depending on where you live may complicate the introduction process. For a full guide on how to introduce your cats quickly and efficiently read here!
- The cat wheel is once again great because it just caters to a cat’s natural ability to sprint. They don’t need to run for long to get rid of their energy, some quick spurts throughout the day are all that’s needed.
The cat wheel is really the sort of sweet spot if you cannot do the above on a daily basis or able to get a companion cat. It allows your cats to get their spurts of energy out provided they take to the cat wheel quickly.
For a more in-depth guide and look at cat wheels and if they’re right for you. Read my full: Complete Cat Wheel Guide!
EFFORT: Medium – Bengal cats are usually quick to learn to go on the wheel but as with all animals, they are individuals and there might be cats that take longer to get used to the wheel than others.
- Cat furniture and props with thought put into how it is laid out in a room really enhance the effects of all of the above. Smaller homes such as studio apartments need to have more cat furniture than larger homes.
EFFORT: Low – it just takes a bit of creativity and time but once it’s set up, observe how your cats are using it and make adjustments according to how much it is being used.
- Independent play from stationary toys has a lot of uses. Through toy cycling, we can divert our cat’s attention and reduce clutter in our homes.
While it won’t keep the attention of your cat for hours on end, it allows you to either get a breather or ‘spark’ their play mode so that they initiate play with other cats or animals. It’s a great tool for socialization, introduction, and misdirection.
EFFORT: Low – it doesn’t require much to throw the toy or place the toy somewhere interesting. Toy cycling allows cats to experience the same toys in different situations!
While some of these methods do require a bit more effort than others, they all work together to create an active life for your active Bengal cats or hyperactive kittens.
By having more than one method of energy expenditure and play, they have a lot of options rather than always depending on you constantly for their source of fun.