Friday, February 19, 2021

Are Bengal cats dangerous?

Bengal cats are not dangerous but it does depend on how you interact with them and whether we are referring to F1 or F5 Bengal cats and finally whether we are referring to Bengal cats being a danger to other cats or people.

Bengal cat
Bengal cat

Fifth filial (F5) Bengal cats are pretty well like any other standard domestic cat. Treat them nicely and they will be nice back to you. There is nothing more to say particularly about this breed of cat except perhaps that they are liable to be more athletic than your standard random read cat. I say "liable" because that does not apply in every instance. And because they're more athletic they are more inclined perhaps to get into trouble or break out of cat confinement fences if you've taken the trouble and time to build an enclosure in your back garden.

If you adopt a first filial (F1) cat it is a different proposition (note: license required in the UK and elsewhere probably). The father of these cats is an Asiatic leopard cat and there is a lot of wild cat DNA in them which makes them more difficult to handle and live with. They may be dangerous if you mishandle them and mishandling them is more likely because they are more demanding. This applies to all first filial wild cat hybrids by the way.

I would not advise the average person to adopt a first filial wild cat hybrid for this reason. They require more time, money, patience and commitment than standard cats. Most people want a cat companion to be placid, somewhat docile and friendly all the time. They don't want to be challenged and have demands placed upon them. That's why I would go for a well socialised random bred cat from a rescue centre compared to a glamorous and highly expensive F1 Bengal cat or Savannah cat.

It may be argued that F5 Bengal cats are more territorial than your standard domestic cat companion. This means that if they go outside to wander freely they may be more aggressive towards other cats doing the same thing. There is, however, an argument that people should not let the Bengal cats go outside because they are too expensive, too glamorous and more liable to be stolen. Keep them inside and they would not be in a position to attack a neighbour's cat.

That said, there are complications in keeping an active F5 Bengal cat inside a home because I think they demand more space and challenges than that. Therefore an F5 Bengal cat owner has a dilemma. If you let them out there may get stolen and if you keep them in they may be bored and they place more demands upon the owner. 

I may be unfair because as mentioned the Bengal cat is ultimately very similar to any other domestic cat. But that said again domestic cats need challenges and entertaining and being confined to the home that does place automatic extra obligations upon the owner in order to stimulate them mentally and physically.

So back to the question in the title. The answer has to be a no, they are not more dangerous than any other but they are possibly more challenging and more demanding even at the F5 level which means that you have to interact with them in the right way. I suppose it is fair to say that a Bengal cat might be more dangerous in one sense and that you might be more liable to be scratched than if you live with a very placid female Ragdoll cat for example.

There is a Daily Mail article about the aggressiveness of the Bengal cat. It is highly misleading in my view. It is exaggerated. They paint a picture of a cat which is diabolical to live with, attacking other cats willy-nilly. They say that cat breeders have bred a cat which is deliberately aggressive and with heightened hunting skills. Wrong!

Bengal cat
Bengal cat

In my view, cat breeders have tried to breed Bengal cats which are the opposite. They want to create cat companions which are suitable for living in the home in which are friendly and gentle towards their owners. It is entirely inappropriate to claim that breeders are selectively breeding Bengal cats which are highly aggressive. This may be out of ignorance but it does tend to put people off this breed which is unfair in my view.

That said, the Bengal cat is probably more territorial than your standard domestic cat and therefore if it is outside they may attack other cats for territorial reasons more commonly than other cats.

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