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Bengal Cat Behavior Problems

Bengal Cat Behavior Problems

Is your kitty turning into a little monster? Bengal cat behavior problems can be quite irritating and are probably the most common reason some of them lose their homes. But the first step to correcting them is to actually try understanding your furry friend and the cause of these issues: they can be due to behavioral or medical causes.

Bengals are extremely intelligent and will find ways to communicate their wishes to you. Bengal cat behavior problems can sometimes be the result of this form of communication. 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.

Dealing With Bengal Cat Behavior Issues

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 Bengal 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 can be re-directed and Bengal cat behavior problems can be solved with patience and understanding. 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.

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55 comments

  1. Hello. I have a huge problem with my Bengal cat (4 year old male, neutered) because he pees everywhere. We examined him to search for a medical reason of this behaviour but fortunately he is healthy, so that’s not it. We have three cats in the house (2 male and 1 female) and three litter boxes, cleaned every day. What is odd, he seems to pee when he is angry or does not get something he wants. We know cats are not malicious but this behaviour is not acceptable because he causes us damage. We are really worried about his psyche as well. We are so desperate to help him but here in Poland where we live there are no specialist who could help us and tell more about this breed of cats. Today I have purchased calming collars for all three cats, maybe this will help. Maybe some of you faced similar problems? I would be greateful for any piece of advise. Thank you all : )

  2. Can my 8 year old female Bengal cat be mad at me for 3 days? She won’t come to me, because she went to jump on my lap like she always does but this time her head bumped my elbow so now she must think that I hit her… I didn’t …. So anyone out there know how or what to do???? I thought it might be the weather because we live in Maine and of course we had to change our clocks forward and then it snowed which means Roo does not go outside… Thanks

    • I wouldn’t worry about that. Cats don’t hold a grudge for so little. Maybe she is just anxious about something.

    • My Blackjack seems to get really jealous if he sees me loving Kovu. He’ll ignore me for a day or two. lol He gets over it. I usually just pick him up and cuddle and he ends up licking my nose off and we’re all good after that. But the look on his face until then. What a jealous baby. haha

  3. Have a Bengal which is prone to attack for no specific reason just seems to go into a frenzy of being naughty , attention seeking and generally irritating to get what it wants , have given the cat the run of the house but due to the volume of his chat for a better word , sleep is quite a challenge so have tried isolating him to lounge / diner / conservatory and kitchen are which is a large area however still not adequate for his constant noise , normally 2 in the morning and constant , anyone else had and solved this problem ? an answer would be great or will have to find someone to rake on this beautiful but unstable cat

  4. Generally speaking, the Bengal needs no more care than most cats. Proper food and veterinarian care will keep your cat in good health. Except for one thing: this cat needs out! Otherwise, it becomes fearful and goes wild. It also loves water and during the hot season will gladly splash and spatter in any pool it finds.

  5. Hi, i have two bengal cats. One female and one male. My male is the only problem i have… he urinates on my couch. I’m not sure why he does this, maybe its because i’m not home enough to spend time with him, but he only urinates on the couch…. my female is fine.

  6. Hi, i have 2 females Bengals, one is 6 and extremely vocal and the other is 4 and more discret. The vocal one I can have a conversation with her, meaning I talk to her and ask her questions and she always answers me and sometimes I swear it sounds like yes or no. That conversation can last 5-10 minutes and people find this very cute.

    The younger one well this is the one I do have problems with. I believe that she think I am her Mommy because everytime I leave the house for groceries or appointments she is looking at me with those big cooper eyes and I feel like she is saying “Are you leaving me alone again, are you coming back, can I go with you?”. And I feel bad for leaving, I used to leave my slippers or some shoes like running shoes at the door but I learnt my lesson. One time when I came back my slippers which had some imitation sheep fur around them, well that fur was everywhere near the door but not on the slippers anymore! Sometimes when I came back I would leave my running shoes or some leather shoes at the door, she loves anything in leather, and maybe an hour later I would notice that my shoes were full of teeth mark.

    The second problem with her is that she is a female and pees like a male. She starts in the sitting position and the more she goes the more straight she gets and the more she pees on the wall of the litter. When I had a real litter she kept on peeing outside of a uncovered litter, for the covered litter it’s on the side and the ceiling (that one I still can not figure out). Now I bought a Rubbermaid container high on the side, no more messes outside the litter but you should see the walls! I have to wipe them with a wet cloth at least 3 times a week.
    Now I can live with my solution if there is not anything better, I just want to know why she does those things. This cat is my cat and the other is my husbands, but mine follows me around like a dog, watches everything I do, sleeps in between my legs all night, brings me toys during the night because I wake up with toys on my blanket and when we both go out when we come back we always have toys waiting for us at the doors!

    Finally I love my Bengals and do not regret the day I bought them even if they were expensive. In 2 month we are getting a dog, Australian Shepard, I hope the cat’s will accept her without any fuss, she will be only 7 weeks old so for her it’s ok it’s the cat’s that worries me. They do see my Moms dog, a Shi-Tzu, and they used to spend a month in Florida living together and there was no problem so let’s cross our finger and if anyone has any advice for me to help with the acceptance of the dog with the Bengals, please do so.
    Thank you in advance for all the help I will get because I am sure I will get some good advice!

  7. HELP!! My one year old Bengal cat is starting to chew cords. She has chewed through two phone charging cords and a set of headphone cords. She has a seven foot cat tree and numerous toys. I’m afraid I’m going to wake up and either find her dead or severely injured.

  8. Nancy Susan Fosburgh

    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!

  9. 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!

  10. I’m having the same problem. My teenage daughter bought an expensive Bengal. (after borrowing half of it from her step-dad and myself on the day she went to get him. ugh) Anyway, teen = irresponsible. (often) She worked a lot and was out with her friends and wasn’t home a lot. Kovu spent a lot of time locked in her bedroom because her roommate didn’t want him out while she wasn’t home. She moved back with her step-dad, and again, the same thing. He would come back after being gone a week to work, and the house would wreak like cat spray. He wanted him out. She almost sold him to someone I was supposed to drop him off with. After talking to her, and she was rude, I told her straight out she wasn’t getting him. I’ve posted ads to re-home him, (mainly because of the spraying/peeing) and found a couple that would be really good. BUT, he’s family now. He’s not cuddly at ALL, but we love the little freaker. I think she got him fixed a little late, if that’s possible. He’s not quite a year old yet. According to the vet he has upper respiratory disease. (wheezy sound occasionally) We’ve struggled with him peeing if there is a pile of laundry, on beds, last night he soaked one of the chairs, (my youngest girl caught him), yelled at him, and I put him in the litter box. Today, my boyfriend caught him on my 12 year old girl’s bed. (we JUST washed all her bedding because of that yesterday!) Sometimes it smells musky. (I would assume that’s spray, but he’s fixed?? Could it be pee that wasn’t caught right away and just…fermented?) The last two days where I saw it immediately, it was clearly urine. A lot of it, and smelled like it. Someone suggested getting him checked for diabetes. God I hope it’s not that. *sigh*

    Did anyone else find any other answers? Today my bf yelled at him and smacked him on the butt. (I know you’re not supposed to) Maybe that will work. Scared the hell out of him, that’s for sure. *fingers crossed* Washing laundry and bedding and scrubbing chairs all the time SUCKS.

  11. 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 ugh). I’m going crazy!!! She DOES also pee/poop in litter box too so she obviously knows how & where to find it. She started this behavior when, I suspect, she began maturing around 4 months. I tried to get her fixed thinking it was related to hormones but the vet insisted I wait till 6 months. After she was spayed, the problem got worse!! Anyone have any idea how to deal with her??

  12. 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 him to hang in during the day- it has levels, I got him a “hammock” to hang on while in there. At night and when we are home over the weekends we will let him out and keep an eye on him so he doesn’t wander upstairs and pee on our bed. Now the major issue is his meowing and howling all hours of the night!!!! It is unbelievable that such a tiny creature can make such loud noises.

    Prior to the 30 day reset I tried Prozac that my vet prescribed…. he would not take the pills or the gel orally so I was putting it on the inside of his ear- my vet did some research and it seems to only work well if taken orally. If you think your cat would take it, I would give it a shot!

    Another friend of mine was having the same pee issue with her cat (not a Bengal)….. the cat was ruining her new home. She ended up going to home depot and getting a HUGE container for the cat to use at it’s box and she has not had any issues yet.

    Lastly…… another friend (married to a vet) had the same issues with her 2 cats. They live out in the country so they turned the cats in to indoor/outdoor cats and they have not had any issues.

    I love Mambo so much, he is a really cool guy but must say, after having him- I do not want to have another cat ever again.

    I hope that some of my suggestions help, let me know if you find anything that works!!!

  13. I tried that. I bought a huge tupperware type plastic bin with a lid, and my bf cut a big hole so the cats could get in and out easily. We make sure it’s always clean, still doesn’t matter.

  14. That’s not even funny, but yeah, it is… How about squeezing some orange peel (squirts) onto the blinds? Beg she won’t lick that!!

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