Does the Bengal Cat Make a Good Pet?
The Bengal cat is a hybrid breed that originated from a cross of the Asian leopard cat, and domestic breeds such as tabbies and Siamese cats, among others. As eye-catching as they come, the Bengal cats boast distinctive, sleek coats with marbled lines and spots that lend an exotic and exciting appearance that stays true to their wild cat ancestry.
The Bengal cat blows the competition out of the water when compared in appearance to the average domestic cat, as well as in temperament and other core traits, making them an obvious choice and appeal for many people internationally.
That said, many first-time owners of Bengal cats soon find themselves overwhelmed by the vivacious personality of the Bengal cat, rethinking their ownership and sometimes rehomed, sold, or surrendered to shelters and rescues. This happens many times over every year.
Many people think that this raises the question of whether or not a Bengal cat is a suitable choice of pet overall, with the answer obviously being that they are a perfect fit for some, and a downright ill fit for others. No breed is a one-size-fits all animal; some breeds are good for some people, and no one breed is a perfect pet for everyone.
Let’s explore the main traits of the Bengal cat breed, and you may be able to determine whether one of these glorious cats is a good fit for you, considering the different aspects of their personalities.
Understanding “F” Ratings
When a Bengal cat is listed for sale, the ad may include an “F” number, such as F1, F2, F3, etc. The number accompanying the “F” corresponds to how close the cat being advertised is to their wild ancestor. For example, an F1 Bengal will have one domestic cat parent and one Asian leopard cat parent, making them a first-generation crossbreed. As the number next to the “F” increases, the Asian Leopard aspect in the cat’s blood is diluted, taking the cat one step further away from the wild ancestor.
The “F” rating scale is important to understand and is vital information to have about the Bengal cat you own or are interested in buying, because the closeness or distance from the wild side of their ancestry can have a great impact on their core traits and personalities.
The lower end of the F scale, such as F1, F2, and F3 are uncommon today, because the breed has been established and adding the wild DNA is no longer necessary to support the breed. The average Bengal cat available for ownership is generally F6 or higher, which indicates a more distant wild ancestry. The lower the F number, with closer relation to the wild animal, tends to correlate with a higher price of the cat, although this is not always true.
However, an informed decision as to whether a particular Bengal is right for you relies heavily upon the F number. Some of the breed’s less desirable traits, such as being noisy, independent, or troublemaking, comes from a close wild ancestor.
This is not always a universal fact, with all cats being different individuals, but many who have had trouble with cats lower on the F scale have found a better addition to their family with a higher F number.
Make sure you find a reputable breeder with intimate knowledge of the cat’s lineage, who is well educated about the breed and can tell you endless information about your potential cat. It is important to know as much about the cat’s background as possible, to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Bengals As Pets
Bengal cats are very loving and affectionate with their families, and tend to form a particularly strong bond with one member of the household, possibly becoming ambivalent to other members of the family. This person can find this to be very endearing and enjoyable, but the other members of the family may experience a feeling of neglect from the animal.
Sometimes, the person to whom the Bengal forms the affinity with can find it overbearing to be the centre of their world; the cat can become demanding—almost like a toddler following them around, sometimes constantly, which can be endearing, but when you are trying to do other things it can be cumbersome or even noisy if the cat wants your attention.
Bengals are not exactly the biggest lap cats, as they like to keep busy climbing, exploring, and hunting to curling up in a sleepy ball for long periods of time, but if a Bengal chooses you as its person, it is quite a badge of honor.
Bengal cats quite enjoy being outdoors, and will love to stay out all night or for hours at a time, which may conflict with an owner who prefers to keep their pet indoors to prevent the risk of injury, theft, or worse.
Confident cats, Bengals are rarely shy or nervy and can, at times, live in great harmony with other cats or dogs. That said, Bengals do tend to prefer to be the “only child”, although they can find happiness with a littermate or another cat that they met when they were a young kitten.
Bengals can be very clingy or aloof, depending on the individual, and you will not know which your cat is until you get to know them. If you would be happy with such a cat, and you have researched the breed fully and know what you are setting yourself up for, the Bengal cat may well be the best choice of pet for you and your family.
It is important when choosing any pet to take plenty of time to make the decision, meeting as many individual cats as possible, along with every member of your family so that everyone is in agreement. This is true in spades with the Bengal cat, due to its strong personality and wild lineage. In short, get to know the cat before adding it to your family and make sure it is the right cat for you!