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Should I Let My Cat Outside? Especially a Bengal?

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A very controversial topic in the Bengal cat community is whether or not you should let your Bengal outside. As I understand it, some countries consider it cruel to keep a cat locked up inside. People will do what they need to do to give their cats access to the outdoors, even when living in an apartment NOT on ground level. In the US, it is very common for people to keep their kitties as indoor pets, especially Bengals because they are a rare breed and there is the added risk of theft when they are outdoors unsupervised.

SEE ALSO: How To Train Your Cat To Walk On A Leash

A few months ago, some events went down that made me question whether or not I should let my indoor Bengals outside. Despite living in a large two­story home, working from home, having two Bengals so they can play with each other, interacting with the cats constantly, trying to play with them vigorously multiple times a day, giving them a variety of toys to play with, and practicing positive reinforcement, my one Bengal grew more and more unhappy indoors. I had to do something since my Bengal was miserable, not to mention the rest of my household.

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After trying everything possible to keep my Bengals happy indoors despite them wanting to go outside, I finally decided to let them have free roam of the outdoors. This decision has not been easy and I’ve gotten a lot of mixed feedback from people. My family thinks that I am irresponsible for letting my cats have their freedom and frequently remind me of the risks for letting my Bengals outside. Other people tell me that I am selfish if I don’t let my cats outside.

I have created a 3­part video series (so far) documenting the entire process of letting my Bengals outside and what it has been like. For the most part it has been great but also, something happened to my Bengal that I would have never expected as you will find in Part 3.

Whether or not you let your Bengals outside is a personal decision and my intention is not to sway you one way or the other. My goal is to raise awareness of the pros and cons to letting your Bengal outside and ultimately, help you make the right decision for your Bengal.

I welcome you to engage in the conversation on this topic whether on YouTube or right here on the blog! I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

Feel free to comment below by registering with your email address. Users with Facebook accounts can signin/register instantly by clicking on the Facebook icon in the comment box.

If you have any questions or tips to share on this subject, you can also visit our Bengal Cats Forums.


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About Alyssa

Alyssa is a bengal cat owner and lover of 3+ years. Her two brown marbled Bengal boys are Malek and Nikolai. She is passionate about helping others give their Bengals the happiest, healthiest lives possible, and enjoys making fun YouTube videos while doing so!

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Gabrielle Andrews

I am going into independent living accommodation and will not be able to give my Bengal the outdoor space and freedom she has been enjoying. Should I try to convert her to an indoor cat? She was an indoor cat when she was younger. Any suggestions welcomed


Have you thought of building a catio? We have built an outside catio where our cats can have some freedom while we are outside.


no not unless u have them on a harness leash I think I tried that on my female tawny once and she didnt know what to think,but she’s really an indoor cat, so she’s scared to go outside, and I haven’t tried it again. Went I went for a walk, I carried her the whole time so she could just look around, and she got a little heavy, but I think she had a little fun doing that. I think sometimes they need to get a little fresh air either way.

Cindy Nickels

I have an 8 month old Bengal who adores his walks. I put him in a harness and lead as soon as we bought him, and he never had any issues with the harness at all. SniPurr knows where his lead is kept on the hat stand in the hallway and brings the lead to me when he wants a walk, normally a couple of times a week. He has a special bird-like call he makes with this act of bringing the lead. Strong winds frighten him and so do vehicle sounds. He has a regular pattern of where we… Read more »

Laurent Jaccard

Thanks for sharing your experience Cindy. I’m actually gonna try taking him on a walk for the first time tomorrow.

mike winslow

you’re gonna love it.. So will the cat.. We found a use for trees today!

Laurent Jaccard

Nice video Mike. Looks like a lot of fun indeed. I can’t wait to take him outside for the first time and see his big eyes looking at everything with amazement like a child at Disneyland.

mike winslow

Can we talk about leash training? It’s something between free roaming and not going out. My cats have loved it. My 8 y/o female has an escape proof harness which I keep on her. She is a little high strung, and really doesn’t care as much about outside. My male on the other hand – Just two years old this april has come to be somewhat demanding about getting his walks. Today we got to chase 6 squirrels two rabbits and a couple birds. To him – this is the meaning of life. This is now my fourth Bengal to… Read more »

Laurent Jaccard

It’s a very interesting subject and I’m actually reading a lot about this lately because I have decided to give it a try recently. I’ve ordered a harness last week and I’ll be experiencing all of that in a few days. Thank you Mike for sharing your experience!

mike winslow

On harnesses – My male is on a figure eight.. He could probably escape it if he tried. My female is on another type, which goes down the front. She cannot escape from this one. When the cat faces you, couches and backs up is how they can slip out of a figure 8 harness.. If they do have a fright and escape the harness – they might literally disappear before your eyes. Chances are that the cat will follow the perimeter of the building. once you find him/her, and you find they are only running from you, the best… Read more »

Laurent Jaccard

I ordered the Kitty Holster Cat Harness after seeing this product on Jackson Galaxy’s show. Some people also recommended this harness so I decided to give it a try… My plan is to try first on my rooftop terrace to see how it goes. If everything looks good with the harness and my cat’s behaviour, I’ll slowly introduce him to the outside world but very late at night in order to avoid noises, people, cars, dogs…

mike winslow

I saw them, and would’ve ordered, but found a similar one at petco.. That was my fallback from reading the reviews.


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