Bengal cats make amazing pets when given the proper care and resources they need to live healthy and happy lives. Despite this, many sources online claim otherwise, saying Bengals have many health and behavioral issues. However, this is simply not true. Reasons for the hate seen against Bengals come from misinformed sources, dislike of breeding/hybrid cats, and the association of issues found in earlier generations to the breed as a whole.
Top Misconceptions about Bengal Cats
There are many misconceptions about bengal cats on the internet about whether Bengals make good pets. Some common ones are that Bengals are a destructive breed that don’t get along with other animals well. Other misconceptions include health problems. Seeing this misinformation on the internet can cause people to lose interest in Bengals, but the reality is that these sources are very misleading.
One of the most widely spread misinformation about Bengal cats is that they are destructive and wild. Bengal cats have a lot of energy and it is good for them to have access to toys and other forms of entertainment such as cat towers to keep them happy, but this does not make them destructive. Throughout most of the day, you will likely find your Bengal lounging around, taking a nap, or playing with various toys as opposed to being destructive. Bengals are also highly trainable as well and can be easily trained to get rid of unwanted behaviors. Like all cats, the Bengals will be much more hyper as kittens, and as they grow this frisky behavior will wear off.
Another misconception is that Bengals are territorial, which is far from the truth. Bengals are very social and love having other people and animals around to play and interact with. Many sites depict Bengals as highly aggressive and dangerous toward other animals, saying that they are wild and have strong hunting instincts. In many of these instances, aggressive behavior can be linked to neglect and mistreatment by the owners. When properly socialized and trained, Bengals aren’t any more aggressive than regular cats and enjoy the company of both people and animals.
Why do Bengal cats get a bad reputation?
There are a few reasons why Bengals get a negative reputation online. Some people with bad experiences with unsocialized Bengals believe that their cat’s problems originate from the breed. Other times people see misinformation online and publish their own articles and websites based upon inaccurate sources when in most cases they have never even owned a Bengal cat. While these all contribute to the misinformation, the vast majority of hate comes from people who are against hybrid breeds and breeding in general.
Many people have heard of stories involving animal cruelty by breeders before, and the media has pushed the idea that breeding is harmful because of this. Claims that breeders are neglectful and mistreat their animals have given them a very bad reputation. Unfortunately, there are some breeders that fall into these stereotypes, but there are also many breeders who are informed about how to properly breed and care for their cats. This makes it important to properly research for a good breeder before buying a Bengal. Though, when searching the internet about breeding, you will hardly see any sites which acknowledge this.
The other reason why it is easy to find hate against Bengals is due to many people believe they have harmful traits from being hybrid cats or disliking hybrid cats in general. Many harmful sources link problems that people have had with Bengals to their genes and do not consider alternative factors. For instance, an article published by The Dodo describes Bengals as having behavioral problems, stating that “Bengal cats can have health and behavioral issues stemming from their wild genes and hybrid breed, including urinating all around the house and having chronic diarrhea.”
What this article fails to include is that issues like this have only been seen in earlier F1 and F2 generations of Bengals which are more closely related to Asian Leopard Cats.
Our Bengals are a part of generation F5, which are considered SBT (stub book tradition) and are considered completely domesticated. F5 is where it stops, there are no generations beyond this because at this point you are just breeding F5 bengals back to F5 bengals so the percent of "wild blood" stays the same.
This is not the only instance of Bengal behavior problems seen in earlier generations blamed on the entirety of the breed, as many other sites do the same in regard to other unwanted personality traits.