Bengal Cat Breed

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 or raising your voice with assertion 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 not recommended and not really effective. A better 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.

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.

Laurent Jaccard

As a Bengal cat owner of fifteen years, Laurent writes about his favorite cat breed to share his passion with other owners and enthusiasts. Laurent is a webmaster and graphic designer by profession, photographer and animal lover by heart.

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71 Comments

  1. Hello, we have a very serious issue and are desperate for help. We have had two Bengals for many years. Our first, Lucy, passed away at 16 this past June. Our other girl, Cleo, came to us as a thirteen week kitten when Lucy was ten. The adjustment of adding Cleo to the family was relatively easy and they remained lifelong companions. In August, we acquired Stormy, a wonderful six month old Bengal kitten. We tried all normal introduction techniques, but Cleo has visciously attacked Stormy at every opportunity. We still keep them separated, but Cleo will sit outside of the door of Stormy’s room, tail huge and jumping on the door. Our vet has prescribed anti-anxiety meds for Cleo, but they have no effect whatsoever. We alternate free time for each of them every few hours and Cleo is her normal sweet chatty self when she is with us. These past 2 1/2 months have been hell for us and for both cats. There is no doubt that Cleo would kill Stormy if they were left alone. Has anyone else been through a similar situation? We are at the point of wanting to find a new home for Cleo, which is heartbreaking for us, but we want two cats and feel this will be impossible if Cleo’s behavior cannot be changed. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  2. Hi Everyone! I’m new to this site and am wondering if it still has active exchanges of information? Is there a “Bengal Expert” that answers questions? Thanks, in advance, fellow Bengal Parents!

  3. I have a problem with my 5 year old snow leopard female Bengal, Fara, not pooping in her litter box. I notice that when she has to go she’ll actually sniff the area of the box that she pees in and if there is a trace of pee, she’ll jump out and not use it. I remove all clumps several times a day. If I don’t take out all of the litter and wash her litter box thoroughly EVERY SINGLE DAY she won’t poop in it. She poops on the expensive rug in the dining room. She actually holds it for 3 days sometimes! This is making me crazy. She also has a second litter box that she used to use occasionally but doesn’t use it any longer. I have tried clumping and non-clumping litter and the litter doesn’t seem to be the issue. I know they’re fastidious but this is time consuming, stressful and expensive. Also, I have taken her to the vet and she is healthy. I have tried “spot cleaning” the area she pees in and replacing fresh litter but when she sniffs and if she detects anything I’m out of luck. If anyone else has or has had this problem and found a solution please share. Thank you!

  4. I have a 3 year old Bengal up till 4 months ago he ate 3 times a day and 10:00 sack, now he acts like he is not getting full. Does that mean it’s time to call our VET? Bengals are very picky so it will be nice to talk with other bengal lovers. Elizabeth

  5. Hello everyone. So recently i got a silver bengal. He has been living with us for about a month now and never had any litter box issues. except peeing in my bed while really young im gunna call that an accident. recently i got another bengal. About a month younger than him they get along fine but ever since i brought him home he’s been pooping and peeing OUTSIDE of the litter box on the litter rug i have for them. The new kitten uses the litter box fine. It’s also a self cleaning litter so it doesn’t get too dirty or smelly but i dont want to keep yelling at him. I know something is wrong. Does anyone have any advice? Should I get him his own litter box? Take him to the vet? Change it a week earlier than usual ? Any help is appreciated. Thank you

    1. I’m hoping you found a solution to your challenge already, but in case you haven’t… It is recommended to have 1 litter box per kitten/cat plus an extra one. Hope this helps some!

  6. 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 : )

  7. 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

    1. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

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