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Bengal Cat Behavior Problems

Bengal cats are extremely intelligent and will find ways to communicate their wishes to you. Sometimes this may result in behavior that is not acceptable. Therefore it is very important to try to understand what kitty is trying to tell you and then address the issue rather than punishing him. Bengals are not malicious, or deliberately destructive. You must never ever hit your cat! It is completely ineffective since they do not understand physical punishment. Rather, they will see this as an aggressive action and you will destroy the trust and security required for a good relationship. Your cat will remember such an attack and may hold a serious grudge. Instead, learn why your cat does certain things and then work with your cat to correct any problems. Clapping loudly, raising your voice with assertion and using a spray bottle of water when they may “get out of hand” are effective tools. Here are some common bengal cat behavior problems and ways to address them.
Bengal Cat undesirable behavior

Scratching Carpet or Furniture

First of all, it is important to understand that scratching is natural for cats and they do it for a variety of reasons. Cat’s paws have scent glands and scratching is one of the methods they use to mark their territory. It also provides a much needed means for stretching and works the muscles of the cat’s front quarters. Also cats scratch to shed the outer layer of their claws. Finally, cats scratch because it feels good. Just think how much better you feel after a good stretch first thing in the morning.

You will never be able to make your cat stop scratching, but you can re-direct his scratching to acceptable surfaces. Here is where the need for an appropriate scratching post comes in. Cats like rough surfaces and prefer to scratch vertically. Sisal rope scratching posts are ideal for this purpose. They love the smell and texture of the natural fiber and it is tough enough to stand up to repeated use.

The key to getting kitty to use a scratching post is its location. Cats always like to have a good stretch and scratch upon waking from a nap. So keep a scratching post in areas where your cat likes to sleep. We have at least one sisal post in all the main living areas as well as in the bedroom. If your cat has been scratching carpet or furniture, place a sisal scratching post as close as possible to this spot.

Ultimate Scratching PostIf your cat starts to scratch the sofa or carpet, say “no” firmly and place him at the scratching posts or cat tree. Praise him when he uses the post. You may need to rub a bit of catnip in the scratching post to get his attention. Make sure that the post is tall enough for an adult cat to be able to reach up and have a good stretch. It must be sturdy and not tip over as this will discourage your cat from using it. Most cats are drawn to the sisal naturally and prefer it over carpet or other surfaces. I highly recommend the “Ultimate Scratching Post“. It’s a durable post made with fibrous, durable sisal and it measures 32 inches high to allow your Bengal to stretch vertically.

Cat trees with sisal posts are a cats dream come true. Also, try cleaning the area that you don’t want him to scratch to remove his scent. You may have to temporarily cover the area with foil, shelf paper, or special paper (available in pet supply stores) to discourage him from using this area.

Jumping on Counters and Tables

Bengal cats love food and they know that wonderful food smells come from counters and tables. The moment your back is turned, your Bengal will try to jump up and taste what’s cooking. Not only is having a Bengal on the counter while you are cooking unsanitary, it could also be dangerous. Many cats have been burned by a hot stove or hot steam and been cut by sharp knives. There are several different ways of letting kitty know that this area (or some other area you choose) is off limits. Give him a firm “no” in his face to let him know this is unacceptable behavior.

Having a water bottle handy and giving your Bengal a spraying is also effective. Another method is orange peel. Most cats hate the smell of citrus and I usually eat an orange a day. So I put the fresh orange peels everywhere I don’t want my Bengal to go. Or you could take pieces of masking tape and fold them in loops with the sticky side out. Place these on the counter where kitty is most likely to jump. Cats hate it when their feet come in contact with the sticky tape.

It may take some time, but eventually your Bengal will learn that certain areas bring unpleasant consequences and will avoid them. Each Bengal is unique and will respond differently to these methods. For example, each cat must be dealt with individually to see what works. It also helps to feed your cat just before you begin preparing or serving food so that they will be less interested in yours.

Another tool to use is a “scatmat” that delivers a very low voltage sensation that the cat doesn’t like (it is battery operated).

Litter Box Problems

Bengal kittens are trained to use the litter box before you even bring them home. However, if you decide to use a different litter than what they are used to, you may have to re-introduce your new kitten to the new litter in this way: I recommend “Swheat Scoop“, as it is natural, flushable and the cats love it! If you use another litter, introduce it slowly by putting his old litter on the top of the tray and your new litter on the bottom. It can take from a few days to a couple of weeks of gradually adding more and more of your litter to the old one before you are successful in switching over to 100% “your” litter.

One thing I have learned about cats over the years, is that if they are upset about something they will let you know by scratching, peeing or pooping somewhere they shouldn’t to get your attention. They do not do this out of maliciousness or revenge but rather it is a form of communication. Try to understand what they are telling you and then deal with that issue.

If your cat should eliminate somewhere other than the litter box, he or she is trying to tell you something. It could be a medical problem. A urinalysis may be necessary. However, suddenly switching foods can cause diarrhea which can also result in “accidents”. Always mix the new food with the old, gradually increasing the ratio of the new food, over a week or two, to allow the cats digestive system to adjust. So, when there is a problem, ask yourself: “What has changed recently?”. Cats also react to stress and change in the family such as moving to a new home. Sometimes with new kittens, the problem is the location of the litter box. Young kittens need to have the litter box nearby until they get their bearings. Don’t expect them to find a litter box tucked away under your basement steps. Chances are, they were used to having a litter box in the room with them before coming to your home. Keep an eye on him if he looks like he is searching for something and meowing, it is probably his litter box he is seeking out. Start by having the litter box nearby and then move it to a preferred location once your kitten knows it’s way around your home. If you have a large house with many levels, have one on every level. A good rule of thumb is this… a litter box for every cat and then one more! Also, start out with an uncovered litter box, then add the lid later on. “Listen” to your cat and negotiate a compromise that is acceptable to both of you. Remember, your Bengal is extremely intelligent and cannot be forced to do anything it doesn’t want to do. On the other hand, with proper training their thinking and behavior can be re-directed. Distraction works wonders and if a kitten or cat is doing something you do not want, give them something better to do or play with.

About Laurent

As a Bengal Cat owner of some years, Laurent writes about his favorite cat breed to share his passion with other owners and enthusiasts. Laurent is a Webmaster and Designer by profession, photographer and animal lover by heart.

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42 Comments on "Bengal Cat Behavior Problems"

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Nancy Susan Fosburgh
7 months 5 days ago

The pic of the Bengal chewing on the end of a shelf could have been of my boy, except mine has the entire corner chewed off of a mid century modern bookcase bed headboard! We’ve had the bed for close to 50 years & have had kitties for just about as long & he’s the 1st kitty to have done anything like this. He’s the sweetest, most affectionate lil fella & smart as can be & when he’s awake, he’s always in high gear. Love him to pieces!

7 months 16 days ago

My Bengal licks the mini blinds. Any suggestions as to why??

7 months 16 days ago

My beagle used to mark his territory all Over my closet. I took the carpet out and put down a hard floor. He finally stopped. Then continued to pee in my loft. I finally decided to put a litter box in my loft. So happy to say, he was trying to tell me something and now he goes in the box. No more peeing in the floor. I found a great product that took the smell out. Happy mom, happy cat

10 months 1 day ago

I have a one year old bengal, He has always peed on my bed here and there but this week he has peed on my bed everyday and more than once a day. I’ve taken him to the vet he has no problems, he has clean liter, he has toys, I take him outside, and I play with him. Ive even had to put a tarp over my bed when Im not home which he stills pees on. Im getting beyond frustrated with him and I dont know what will make him stop.

Lindsay Buck
5 months 8 days ago

Ericka did you find a resolution for this? My 10 year old Bengal is peeing EVERYWHERE and right in front of me too! I am beyond frustrated as well!

2 months 20 days ago

My 6 month old Bengal does this too!! She’s ruining my house :( I’ve had cats my whole life but never had one this stubborn lol. I can’t figure her out and it’s making us miserable!! She pees in open containers, on my husbands side of the bed, on my sons bed, on pillows but only if they’re on the floor, her cat carrier, the kids chairs & mini couches, the pack n play, etc. she likes peeing on anything canvas or similar texture.. She even peed IN her water bowl the other day (and then proceeded to drink it… Read more »

Lindsay Buck
2 months 20 days ago

Hi Katie!

My boyfriend ended up speaking with a cat trainer and she suggested a 30 day “reset”….. She told us to keep Mambo in the bathroom or a small room for 30 days. With his litter box, food, etc. She also said to clean his box twice a day. We did this and he seems to be doing better. Our bedroom is off limits for him but he seems to be doing better. We are moving to a new apartment on October 1 and our bedroom is in a loft without a door so I got a huge cage for… Read more »

10 months 1 day ago

Hi can you help my friend inherited two Bengal cats that where untrained with the litter tray prior to his adopting them. They urinate on his bed and the male will pee on his chest in bed and pee on his leg . Can you help with this problem.