Skip to main content
HomeBengals as Pets

Bengals As Pets

Thinking of getting a pet Bengal? Bengal cats make loving, dependable household pets and intelligent companions! Here are some common questions and considerations in selecting a new Bengal family member.


How large do Bengal cats grow?

Bengal cats are medium to large felines ranging from 8-15 lbs on average. Female Bengals are relatively smaller than the males and each different bloodline produces a vast array of musculature and size.


What is the temperament of a Bengal?

The domestic Bengal (four or more generations away from the Asian Leopard Cat) has been selectively bred for an active, loving, and responsive disposition. Generally, Bengals are extremely interactive and insist on being an active member of the family. Many Bengals have a natural love for water and for interactive play with adults, children, and other pet members of the family. Just as in all cat breeds, there are individual personalities within bloodlines and even between littermates. Some Bengals are born showmen; some may be reserved. Careful breeding for a loving temperament is only half the story. Socialization, interesting experiences, and lots of hands-on love and attention in early life and beyond are what shape your Bengal kitten into a prized companion.


Will my new kitten get along with my other pet(s)?

When adding any new feline member to your household, both the disposition and behaviors of the resident pets and the Bengal must be taken into consideration. Begin discussing the temperament and personality with your breeder. Is this Bengal outgoing or retiring? How do they interact with the breeder's family, littermates, and with other felines in the breeder's home? Have they ever been exposed to dogs, birds, turtles, etc.? These types of questions, designed for your specific situation, will give you a baseline to decide which cat would fit best with your resident pet.

A slow and easy introduction is the best route for introducing the new kitty into your home. Having a separate safe room prepared with food, water, litter pan, bed, and toys will allow the new kitten to acclimate gradually to their new environment while giving resident pets time to adjust to the intriguing smells of a new feline in their home.


At what age should my kitten be altered? Must it be?

YES!! Altered cats make loving and dependable house pets. TIBCS responsible breeders generally have a contract that requires you to spay/neuter your kitten before a certain age and will withhold registration papers until they receive veterinary documented proof of altering (Certificate of Spay/Neuter). Some breeders have their kittens spayed/neutered before they leave home at 12+ weeks of age. This procedure is referred to as early spay/neuter.

It is sad when a person neglects to alter their pet early enough and then cannot live with the spraying animal they have created. (While spraying is a territorial marking behavior, spay/neuter will most often prevent it in both sexes but it will not always "cure" an existing problem.) Both male and female cats can spray. Altered cats also do not make more unwanted babies. Bengals are beautiful and unusual because they have been responsibly and selectively bred---if you want mongrel, unpedigreed kittens, please adopt from your local shelter. Your Bengal pet may also have an imperfection that should not be reproduced, which is why it was not initially sold as a breeder.

Must my Bengal stay indoors?

Yes, except when it’s in an enclosed “catio” or you take it outside on a leash. These cats are beautiful and striking, and will soon be "adopted" or stolen by someone else if allowed to free-roam outdoors.

In addition, Bengals, like other domestic cats, are very good hunters. The Audubon Society warns that pet and feral domestic cats are a leading cause (after habitat destruction) of the rapid decline of songbird populations in North America. Also, Local laws usually dictate that cat owners take the same responsibility for their pets as dog owners. Why should any cat be allowed to be a poor neighbor by yowling all night under the neighbor’s window? Spraying through his screen door? Walking across the church's freshly painted porch, etc.?


Are Bengals intelligent? Do they like games, water, walking on leashes, etc.?

Bengals are so intelligent and they do have a propensity to learn things quickly! With a lot of novel twists and turns, they like to teach their families a new trick or two. Please do not expect your Bengal to do any one particular thing. Many Bengals like to fetch, climb, and may even take a bath with you, but just like any instinctual behavior, it is up to the individual personality of each cat to show their family exactly what tricks and traits they have.


How much should I expect to pay for a pet Bengal?

The price of a Bengal depends on many different factors. The breeder's reputation, small imperfections the kitten has when compared to the Bengal Breed Standard, early spay/neuter, show versus pet quality, parents’ titles, coloration, size, etc., are all elements that can come into play when discussing the price of a Bengal. The price will vary also not just by country but by region; for example, in the USA, a pet quality kitten from a responsible breeder may start at $1,200 to $1,500 depending on region. Sometimes, an exquisite show-quality kitten may be placed as an altered pet for a portion of the breeder's regular price.


What is a reputable Breeder?

A reputable breeder will belong to a registering domestic cat association such as TICA or CFA and a breed club such as TIBCS. Reputable breeders are working towards a common goal of improving and strengthening the Bengal breed and do not just breed pet quality kittens to sell into irresponsible hands. Breeder Members of TIBCS have signed a strict Code of Ethics and will provide written adoption contracts and health guarantees.

Usually the breeder will guarantee against congenital defects for a designated period of time. Look at the adoption agreement and health and temperament guarantees. Ask to see health testing reports of the parents of the kittens you are considering. Every breeder should be able to provide you with a few references and this will help you choose the right Bengal for your home and family. There are many scams out there, so verify information that is given to you and check with the registry to be sure that the breeder is a registered breeder in good standing.

Most breeders have you take the kitten to your veterinarian within a few days after adoption to confirm the kitten's health. During this time period, the kitten can usually be returned in trade for another kitten if there is any problem.

Before you buy a Bengal, talk to different breeders and look at as many kittens as you can. Pet quality kittens will still have the wonderful inquisitive temperament but may have a coat or pattern imperfection.


Can I find a less expensive, quality Bengal?

Remember, "You get what you pay for" and "If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” While these clichés may sound a bit strange when referring to our beautiful Bengal cats, remember that responsible breeders work very hard to bring in new bloodlines, exhibit their kittens, provide exceptional health care, and spend a lot of time and energy educating the public on their charming cats. This all costs a fair amount, and these expenses are usually reflected in the prices of kittens. That being said, there are ways to find the occasional quality Bengal that may be available for a lower amount.

  1. Check with Breeders who may have retired, altered adults to place (on this site, look for advertisements for “Retirees” under Find a Bengal). Retired breeders are often unusually lovely and are offered at substantial discounts to the right individual.

  2. Check Bengal Rescue sites and email lists for unwanted Bengals who need a home. Note: These cats may have some problems which led to them being given up for adoption or they may be perfectly fine, so ask lots of questions and get photos up front. (This site has links to some Bengal Rescue sites here.)

  3. Call/write reputable breeders for Bengals which have the great personality and most of the traits so desirable in a Bengal but which are of an non-standard color (tortie, white spots, etc.) or may have been born with a physical imperfection that does not meet the stringent Bengal Standard (e.g., a visible kink in the tail).
  4. .
  5. Enquire about kittens/cats with special needs from reputable breeders. These darling kittens may have certain health problems but will nevertheless make loving, beautiful companions. Do this only if you are prepared for the additional expense of possible health issues in the future and have the time, experience, and attention to give to a special-needs pet.


Do Foundation Bengals make good pets?

The Foundation Bengals (F1, F2, F3) are intense felines with many aspects of the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) behavior that can make a fascinating addition to the appropriate home. However, those same idiosyncrasies can make life very uncomfortable for both owner and cat if the household is unprepared to accept them. Owning one of these cats is akin to owning a large parrot or an alligator as a pet, as they are not for everyone and require understanding and specific requirements to keep them happy and healthy. The closer the Foundation Bengal is to the ALC, the stronger the instinctive behaviors and the less likely that they can be modified to fit the owner's expectations.


A true Foundation Cat enthusiast does not expect the cat to change to fit the owner's lifestyle, but rather is willing to change their lifestyle to accept the behavior of the cat. In general, while domestic Bengals adapt readily to new situations, new people, and new places, Foundation cats find it more difficult to do so and are much more easily stressed by those changes. They are more likely to bond with just one member or animal in the household and cannot simply be rehomed or put outside when they do not neatly fit the owners’ expectations. In addition, Foundations are subject to stricter laws governing their keeping, and may not be legal to own depending on where the owner resides.