Are Bengal cats dangerous?

Bengal cats are not dangerous, no more so than any other domestic cat, but let me expand on that statement because it is quite important to do so. The first point to make is that I’m referring to F5 (fifth filial) Bengal cats. These are five generations from the wild by which I mean five generations from the leopard cat a.k.a. Asiatic leopard cat, which is the wild cat hybrid within the Bengal cat. To be clear, the Bengal cat is a wild cat hybrid so there is some wild cat DNA in the Bengal cat. It just depends how much and for a fifth generation cat there is not much wild cat in the animal. This means that they behave pretty well like any other domestic cat.

Elizabeth Richmond-Watson at a cat show
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Elizabeth Richmond-Watson at a cat show. She is a cat breeder. The cat is a Bengal.

These are a very small selection of the articles available on the Bengal cat on this site. Please search using the Google custom search tool.

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The F5 Bengal cats are perhaps a bit more lively and demanding than a typical purebred or random bred cat because of the small amount of wild DNA content. On average, they might be a bit more intelligent and need more entertaining than regular domestic cats but other than that they are standard domestic cat companions.

The video below is of an F3 Bengal cat living in an apartment in London, UK. It was made by me many years ago. It does not mean that these cats are aggressive. It means I provoked him to be aggressive by sticking my camera in his face to get a good video. My fault.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Daily Mail article

However, you might be mistaken in believing that all Bengal cats are dangerous if you had read the 18 November 2016 Daily Mail online article written by Stephen Moss. It paints an entirely incorrect picture of the character of the Bengal cat as one which attacks other cats all the time. He says that breeders had deliberately bred into the Bengal cat a powerful instinct to hunt and kill. He says that they did this by selective breeding, choosing Bengal cats which are particularly aggressive. This is entirely incorrect. The opposite is probably nearer the truth in order to create a cat more suited to being a companion to people.

F1 Bengal cat

F1 Bengal cat. Click on the photo for more. Photo: copyright Helmi Flick

The incorrectness may have been born out of ignorance because in 2016 Bengal cats were less commonplace than they are today in the UK. But nonetheless, I sense that he deliberately hyped up the story having heard one or two instances of Bengal cats terrorising other domestic cats the neighbourhood.

He states that Bengal cats are particularly aggressive in defending their territory. In an area where there are lots of indoor/outdoor cats you will get domestic cats fighting over territory and continually marking territory. Any domestic cat will have a tendency to do this. Another issue is that Bengal cats should not be allowed to roam freely outside the home in my opinion. This is because they’re too valuable and too noticeable. They are liable to be stolen. They shoule be leash trained from kittens in my view and taken out on a lead. I do believe though that the Bengal cat needs more space than the inside of a home. This presents a dilemma. But if if a Bengal cat is attacking other cats you might justifiably blame the owner of the cat rather than the cat himself.

Ruba Bengal Cat Crouching

Ruba Bengal Cat Crouching

In the first paragraph of this article I referred to the F5 Bengal cat. This is relevant to the discussion because rarely you will find in the UK owners of F1 Bengal cats. These require a licence in the UK and in some states of the USA and they are a different sort of animal than the F5s. This is because they are much nearer the wild cat in terms of behaviour. Their father would have been an Asiatic leopard cat which is a small wild cat but quite aggressive and highly independent.

Bengal Cat Cruiser

Bengal Cat Cruiser.

F1 – first filial or F2 Bengal cats

If you are living with any F1 first filial wildcat hybrid you can expect to have to devote quite a lot of time to the task. I personally would not advise it because 99% of people are not suited to looking after an F1 wild cat hybrid. I have a page on living with wild cat hybrid which you can read by clicking here.

The answer to the question the title depends, therefore, on the filial of the Bengal cat that you live with. That said, an F1 Bengal cat is not necessarily dangerous. It just means that they are bigger and potentially more aggressive, more demanding and more independent. It is probably easier to mishandle them and in doing so they may become dangerous to the person interacting with them. This applies to all F1 wild cat hybrids. Ken Flick said that living with their F1 Chausie (jungle cat x domestic cat) was like living with a cat on crack cocaine.

Bengal cat from Bengal Springs Cattery

Bengal cat from Bengal Springs Cattery. Photo: the cattery.

There is one final point to make I believe. The question in the title is open-ended because it does not ask whether this cat breed can be dangerous towards other animals or people. The Bengal cat is more agile and more determined and perhaps more athletic than the average domestic cat and therefore they may present a greater danger to other domestic cats in their territory. This is what the Daily Mail article is referring to although it is highly exaggerated in my view. A company that makes cat confinement fences in the UK said that their fence is cat proof except for a tiny percentage of cats. Bengal cats are in this perecentage (and my cat!). My cat is a moggie.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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