Bengal Cat Behavior Problems

Bengal cats are a hybrid breed of certain domestic shorthairs and the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC). Many cat behavior problems are the result of environmental changes or upbringing. Bengal behavioral problems are often related to genetics and inherited tendencies.

History of Bengals

In creating Bengal cats, breeders tried to make a domestic cat with the look of a wild cat. Bengals are very similar in appearance to ALCs; inevitably, they inherited some of the behaviors of their wild relatives, too.

Pet Bengals are divided into two main groups: Foundation cats, which are one to three generations removed from an initial cross with Leopard Cats, and SBT cats, which are four or more generations removed. The latter group is officially accepted as a domestic cat breed, while Foundation Bengals are not.

3 Common Bengal Behavioral Problems

  1. Bengals love water; they may play in their water bowls, jump in the shower with their owners and likely will prefer to drink running water (from a faucet or fountain). Foundation Bengals sometimes eliminate in their water bowls or other locations they associate with water (a sink or bathtub). This behavior can be modified by changing the location of a water bowl or providing water in a different manner (like a cat fountain or bubbler). This love of water might also manifest in knocking over water glasses, playing in the toilet or in a fish tank, and other behaviors that are problematic for owners.
  2. Bengals are more social than many other domestic cats. They form strong bonds with human companions and do not do well when left alone for long periods of time. Too much separation often results in urination outside the litter box and destruction of various household textiles. Give your Bengal plenty of company and attention to prevent such behaviors from developing. Some owners find that having a companion cat (who also has energy to play) alleviates these issues.
  3. Bengals remain quite playful and active long after kittenhood, and will want space to roam in, things to climb and perch on, and toys to stalk. Playfulness in cats can easily look like or turn into aggression. Bengals, especially Foundations, exhibit more wild behavior in their play, and may need training to prevent aggression. When playing with a Bengal, use toys rather than hands or other body parts; this will help you avoid being too aggressively bitten and scratched in the future. Avoid playing roughly with Bengals to discourage similar behavior from them.


Bengals are an intelligent breed. Some owners train their cats to walk on a leash for trips outdoors. They are as receptive to other forms of training as many dog breeds are. Bengals have been trained to sit, come, shake, roll over and follow other commands. Clicker or food reward training methods are used by different owners with success. Even if you don't want to train your Bengal, using food to reward good behavior is effective when dealing with behavioral issues (much more than punishing bad behavior).