If you’re looking for some interesting facts about Bengal cats, you’ve come to the right place. The Bengal cat has quickly become one of the world’s most beloved breeds and it’s not hard to see why. With their striking good looks and outstanding athletic ability, the curious, charming, and up-for-anything Bengal makes for a truly wonderful companion.
Never happier than when they’re entertained with the best cat toys – and they need lots of them - the Bengal is well known for getting into everything. So if you’re after a docile lap cat, this intelligent and busy little kitty is not for you. In fact, you’ll need plenty of energy reserves just to keep up!
The Bengal adores human company and is delightfully friendly, but that’s not the only reason to consider welcoming this playful and adorable little feline into your family. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite facts about the Bengal cat - and we have a feeling they’ll make you love this breed as much as we do.
1. They have wild origins
If you’ve ever wanted to own a miniature leopard, then the Bengal might just be the breed for you. With an appearance that would see them looking right at home in the jungle, the Bengal came about by crossing small, wild Asian leopards with domestic cats in the early 1900s.
These Asian leopard cats were also known as Felis Bengalensis, which is how the Bengal got its name, and their beautiful iconic markings were also passed down to the modern day Bengal whose striking coat and sleek body have seen them become increasingly popular amongst pet parents since they were officially recognized as a breed in 1991.
2. They have bucket loads of energy
Make no mistake about it - the Bengal is one high energy breed, so if you’re planning on welcoming one into your family, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of the best interactive cat toys on hand to keep this spirited and active feline happy when you’re too busy to play.
Bengals are naturally very alert - a trait required by their leopard ancestors to survive in the wild. Because they love to play with their humans and be frequently on the move, these athletic cats require lots of space to run and exercise freely.
3. Bengals are highly trainable
One of the most intelligent cat breeds, the Bengal has an abundance of curiosity and is known for being an exceptional learner. Incredibly easy to train, Bengals love to learn new tricks and training them is a wonderful way to help channel their inquisitive nature and intelligence into a productive activity.
4. They love water
While most cats aren’t overly fond of the wet stuff there are several cat breeds that like water and the Bengal is definitely one of them. Most Bengal cats love playing in water and some will even join their owners in the shower! It’s likely that this natural affinity for water is something that’s been passed down to them from their wild leopard ancestors who also happen to be very fond of getting wet.
If you own a Bengal, or are considering getting one, it’s worth investing in one of the best pet water fountains as this breed is drawn to moving water. Giving them a water fountain provides another object inside the home that engages their natural instincts and can direct their curiosity.
5. Two is better than one
Bengals are highly social and absolutely adore company. Thriving on consistent interaction, if you’re out and about a lot, it’s well worth considering getting a second fur baby who can be your Bengal’s playmate and companion - another Bengal or a similarly active breed would be the best fit.
6. They adore climbing
Astute climbers and powerful jumpers, you’ll want to ensure you have plenty of vertical space if you plan on having a Bengal in your home. Bengals, even more so than other cats, seek high spaces as their ancestor, the Asian leopard cat, is a tree-dwelling animal. Expect to find your Bengal frequently wandering along the countertop, lounging on top of the refrigerator, or exploring your bookshelves.
Because you’ll likely be sharing your furniture and appliances with the Bengal, it’s worth creating comfy spaces on top of these items for them to stretch out on. Consider placing a blanket on top of the fridge or tucking one into a space on your bookshelf so they can make themselves at home and investing in one of the best cat scratching posts is also well worth the money.
7. Bengals make wonderful traveling companions
Many Bengal owners say that their fur friend has a personality more like a dog than a cat, with a natural love of the outdoors and a fondness for camping, hiking, and water-based adventures. They usually do very well in a harness and on a leash and because they love exploring and being around people, they tend to be very flexible and adaptable when exposed to new environments.
8. They have glittery fur
It’s true! Put them in the right light and the coat of some Bengals will take on the most stunning glittery sheen that makes them look like they’ve been sprinkled with gold dust. This is the result of a recessive gene, which means in order for a Bengal cat’s fur to take on this glitter-like appearance, it must receive two copies of the glitter gene - one from each of its parents.
9. Bengals love to talk
If you’re looking for a chatty companion who will love nothing more than spending their day conversing with you, then look no further than the bubbly Bengal. Known to be vocal, Bengal cats are highly communicative and tend to be amongst the most talkative members of the kitty kingdom. It’s worth noting that their social nature means they’ll often follow their humans around the house, meowing frequently as a way of including themselves in what you’re doing - so if you’re after a quiet feline friend, the Bengal definitely isn’t for you.
10. They do best with an experienced owner
Because of their need for high levels of engagement and stimulation, Bengals do best with experienced owners who can give them the attention and enrichment they need to thrive both mentally and physically. Without this, they can become prone to getting into mischief and engaging in destructive behaviors, so while they are super affectionate and loyal, you’ll want to make sure you can provide a Bengal with everything they need to stay happy and healthy before welcoming one into your home.
11. They’re great with kids
Bengal cats and children share some common characteristics - they’re both pretty vocal and super curious for starters - so it’s no surprise they can be perfect companions. Despite their wild cat origins, Bengals are affectionate and playful and they’ll pick up on your behavior too. So if your furry friend sees you being caring and gentle with a baby or toddler, they’re more than likely to follow suit.
12. They get along with dogs too
Bengals are very social creatures, so as long as your pooch is puss-friendly, there’s little chance of them fighting like cat and dog. In fact, they’re often described as having a dog-like personality due to their ability to learn tricks, plus their boundless energy means having a dog on hand could be a blessing if you need to take a break from playtime.
13. They’re easy to groom
While Bengals will take up plenty of your time when it comes to playing, you’ll only need to groom them once a week. Their coats are short, and they do a great job of keeping themselves clean, but the occasional brush will help to keep furballs at bay, and they’re certainly not going to complain.
14. They’re not lap cats
While it’s not unusual for a Bengal to curl up in your lap, don’t expect it to stay there for long. Exploring, climbing and playing will always be the priority for these high-energy felines. There’s just not enough time in the day for a cat nap.
15. They’re natural hunters
Bengals look a lot like their leopard ancestors, and they act like them too. They have strong predatory instincts and will prowl outside for hours, searching for mice and birds. They’re also good at catching fish! So if you have an aquarium or a pet hamster at home and you’re thinking about getting a Bengal, consider yourself warned.
16. They like to hide things
Bengal owners have been known to find some interesting items dotted around their houses – think coins, keys, pens, hair clips and items of jewelry. These cats have an inquisitive nature and will happily scurry away with an object they find interesting. You could also see it as their way of getting your attention for a little game of hide and seek.
17. They need a lot of toys
As you’ll have gathered by now, Bengals love to play and have the energy to keep going long after you’ve taken a time-out. These fur babies need a LOT of toys to keep them occupied, and don’t be surprised if you regularly end up replacing battered old playthings with shiny new ones - they’ll play with them a lot!
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.