CHARACTER OF THE BENGAL CAT

Bengie playing Peek-a-boo!

Bengie

The many facets to the character of the Bengal Cat are as varied as they are unusual. For the Bengal is no ordinary cat. The beauty of this breed is undeniable; their coats, which are referred to as pelts, whether spotted or marbled, are sleek, glossy and as smooth as satin. Unique to the Bengal cat, their coat has the appearance of gold dusted glitter covering it, which looks striking outside in the sunshine. It is said, although I don’t know how true it is, that the hair of the Bengal cat does not cause the same allergic reactions as can be caused by other breeds of cat.

The makeup of the Bengals personality has much to do with their wild ancestry, which has ingrained in them a highly intelligent, alert and mischievous nature. Although your housework may take twice as long to do, you will never be bored with a boisterous Bengal in your house. Their ability to emerge as a lump in the duvet cover after I have finished changing it has set my housework back many a time.

I think one of the most important things about owning a Bengal is to start training as soon as it enters your household so that it knows what is, and what is not, acceptable. Unchecked, cats will cause havoc around the house unless they know their boundaries. A simple and firm hissing noise coming from you when a cat is misbehaving will tell it to stop. Bengals are very quick to learn. It will recognise the hissing noise as a reprimand after a very short time. Misti and Ziggi learnt after I used it only twice and as a consequence I had two very well behaved kittens after only a short space of time from their introduction into the house. Their quick learning ability also meant that when it was time for them to use the cat flap for the very first time I only had to flap it once with my hand before they understood what it was for. Introducing the wearing of a collar was also effortless and they wore them as though they had been born with them on. When they were one year old I did try them both on a harness but they wouldn’t have any of it and protested strongly! If I had tried it when they were kittens I think the results would have been a lot more successful. 

Messin' about on the river

Misti by the stream ... pretending she likes water!

 

The Bengals fascination with water is well known. They will quite often get into the shower with you, as they seem to hold no fear from it and it is quite usual for a Bengal to paddle around in their water bowl to clear the top of the water before drinking it, just as the Asian Leopard cat does in the wild. There is a small stream a few hundred yards away from my house at the bottom of a field, Ziggi will quite happily paddle through it but Misti is not so enamoured with the wet stuff and prefers to jump the stream.                                                                                    

Their vocal repertoire is very varied, ranging from a simple meow to a chirrup, yowl or a more urgent and alarming guttural sound. Sometimes when I am out for a walk with the animals, Ziggi begins to lag behind and out of view. I will call him and the sound that comes back from him across the field  is very primal and quite distressing. Not dissimilar from the sound of a distraught baby. A stranger hearing this would assume that something had happened to him and that he was in dreadful pain, when in actual fact all he was doing was calling me! 

These cats just love interaction with humans and should get as much attention as possible. For someone living in a flat that is out at work all day with no outdoor access, the Bengal is really not the cat for you. If you live in a town it is a good idea to fence your garden with cat-proof fencing so that your Bengal can get some outdoor exercise. They are a very muscular cat and love to dash around like a maniac before ending up somewhere on a branch up a tree.

Their personalities are very dog-like. They are so active and intelligent that they need communication and mental stimulation with other creatures, preferably feline or canine as well as human. When mine were kittens I used to set up games with rope and all sorts of household objects to keep their minds occupied and when they got bored with one game I would devise another.  They would follow me around the house, in and out of everything and helping me with whatever I was doing and at night they would curl up with me under the duvet for the night. Now that they are well into adulthood I feel that all this interaction between us has helped to develop a very strong bond and they have grown up to be very confident, bold, and balanced cats. Many a time I have woken in the middle of the night with a sleeping Ziggi, stretching out his full twenty pound body under the duvet, pushing me more and more towards the edge of the bed!

Ziggi thinks he's hiding!

Ziggi thinks he's hiding!

Of course I can only speak from experience about my two, but it is no exaggeration to say that they are the most affectionate cats I have ever lived with. Once you’ve experienced a Bengal cat in your life you know you can never be without one!!

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