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Welcome, Crazy Cat People!
When deciding to share your life with a Bengal cat it’s normal to have several questions, one of those questions are if they should be kept indoors or allowed free roam of the outdoors?
I used my knowledge of this breed and cats in general to answer your question.
As a general rule, a Bengal cat will do fine as either an outdoor or indoor cat. Indoor Bengals not given enough stimulation and play may become destructive and get bored but also bear in mind that indoor cats are generally safer and live longer lives than cats who are left to free roam.
Later on in this post, I examine the subject in more detail to help you decide the best option for you. I also give you some super cool bonus tips on how to keep your Bengal cat entertained while they are indoors.
So keep reading my fellow crazy cat people to learn more!
Can Bengal Cats Be Kept Indoors?
It is a debate that you could have with other cat lovers over and over and still disagree with what you think is right. You may even question yourself once you have made the decision.
This is completely normal. I question myself regularly about anything to do with my cats and more than anything this shows the level of respect and love you have for your cats.
I am not here to preach at you throughout this post but to help you make the decision that is right for you and your pets and come to some conclusions at the end.
Anyway, I am going off-topic but felt I needed to get that in their quiet early.
So Can Bengal cats be kept indoors?
The short answer is Yes.
Bengal cats are certainly known as being a much more energetic breed than some of the other domestic cats.
They have massive amounts of energy and play is very important for them. If you are looking for a cat that is going to laze around all day long then I would suggest finding another breed such as a ragdoll or ragamuffin.
With high energy levels and a need to hunt and play comes a bigger responsibility on you the owner to make sure their environment is fully enriched with plenty of toys, places to jump up onto and ideally a companion they can share their life with to keep them entertained.
It’s very common for Bored Bengals to get anxious and to engage in naughty behaviours such as scratching furniture, urine marking and potentially fighting with other pets in the home.
While we’re on the subject of destructive behaviour you may want to check out one of my other blog posts where I go into detail about how you can deal with any unwanted behaviours in your Bengal cats.
Reasons to keep a Bengal Cat indoors
- Safe from being hit by a car or other traffic – Bengals tend to be a lot more confident than other cats
- Safe from being stolen – Bengals are beautiful, rare and may get stolen by someone else
- Preserve wildlife – Bengals are exceptional hunters and will kill with precision numerous times a day.
- Safe from fights – Bengals tend to have a very territorial nature and may fight and get injured with other cats.
- Bengals tend to roam further – They are curious and confident so won’t be afraid to explore which means they could get lost.
So as you can see there are lots of reasons why you may decide to keep your Bengal cat indoors but again please don’t think this is me just promoting cats as being indoors only.
We will have a look later in this post at the Benefits of giving them some outdoor space whether that’s free-roaming or other options such as a catio (More on that later)
Is it Cruel to Keep a Bengal Cat Indoors?
Keeping a Bengal cat indoors is not cruel; given the right environment, your Bengal will flourish. It is important that they have enough enrichment and that the environment is set up to provide an adequate amount of stimulation. You may, however, wish to provide some outdoor space to prevent boredom.
Personally, my two cats are both indoor animals, the first years of their life were spent in a high raised apartment. They are both happy little cats.
I have had people tell me that cats should be kept outdoors and it’s not fair and cruel.
If you decide to keep your cats indoors don’t let anyone else’s opinion get to you. I always say opinions are like a**holes we all have one and I don’t have a problem with it unless it’s being waved in my face 🙂
How to keep an Indoor Bengal Cat entertained?
Bengal cats thrive on play and have an incessant amount of energy.
It is one of the reasons why people love them so much, it is no surprise they are this way inclined after all they are a hybrid breed originating from the Asian snow leopard hence why they maintain a lot of their wild hyperactivity.
So it’s super important to keep your Bengal entertained if you plan to keep them indoors.
How do I keep my Indoor Bengal entertained I hear you ask?
Let’s have a look at some of the common ways to keep them happy and to preserve your furniture from being attacked by a bored Bengal!
- Lots of interactive toys!
There are so many toys that you can buy these days for your feline friends.
The list is endless! Some of my favourites and the ones I would recommend are featured below. (Just click the links to take a look!)
2 in 1 Lazer and cat feather toy! – Two in one! Bengal love lasers and they LOVE feathers!
Check out this automatic rotating Ball – With built-in sensors to work its way around furniture!
Springs? Whoever thought your cat would enjoy playing with Springs! – They are totally cat safe and at a good price too.
2. Teach Your Bengal Cat Tricks
Bengal cats are very curious and with their curiosity comes a high level of intelligence.
Bengal cats love to learn tricks. You can teach them how to do a ”High 5”, you can teach them how to sit down and even how to open doors.
Mind you they are that intelligent you might need to train them not to open cupboards and doors but that’s for a different post!
Another great trick you can teach them is to play fetch!
I made a blog post that was aimed at training the Siamese cat but the same principles apply to Bengal cats, Check it out here to learn how to train your Bengal and keep them entertained!
3. Provide a water fountain for your Bengal cat
Bengal cats are big fans of water! They are attracted to any running water as you will probably have already discovered if you have the pleasure of sharing your life with this breed.
You can even leave the tap running in your bath and they will spend hours batting away at the water, just make sure you have towels down otherwise you could be in for a wet and messy surprise!
4. Cat Trees and shelves are an absolute must for Bengals!
Bengals love to climb and hunt, a Bengal who has nowhere to jump and observe their territory will quickly become very bored.
That’s why cat tree’s and Wall-mounted shelves are a necessity.
You can design these how you want but ideally a cat superhighway with multiple shelves to jump onto and various exit points are a good idea.
You can even clear the tops of your kitchen cupboards or re-arrange bookcases to allow cats access to the top of wardrobes. This will not only provide much-needed entertainment for an indoor cat but will also provide the exercise they need to be strong, fit and healthy.
5. A Companion for your Bengal is highly recommended
Bengal cats are not only a very friendly breed but they also thrive on companionship.
They will happily get along with dogs and other cats. They can however be territorial so it’s always best to get two Bengals when they are young to allow them to grow up together and become comfortable being around each other.
To learn more about introducing companions to your Bengal and the right type of companion take a look at my blog post by clicking here.
6. Ever heard of a Cat wheel? You have now!
The cat wheel!
Believe me, for a breed like the Bengal it is an absolute godsend! They will burn off so much play energy and that means they will be less likely to engage in naughty behaviours and allow you a little bit of peace!
Should I let my Bengal Cat Outdoors?
Bengal cats are perfectly fine to go outdoors if you want them to. Just be aware of the risks of letting your cat roam freely such as traffic and theft. Due to their wild nature, Bengal cats are also known to roam quite far so please consider this when allowing your Bengal outdoors.
If let outside there is no doubt about it that your Bengal will be a happy cat as long as they stay safe and you take the correct precautions.
There are alternatives to letting your cat free roam which we will go into later in this post.
As we have stated earlier in this post there are risks. When we look at the individual personality traits of the Bengal they are very territorial so this could lead to fights with other cats and other animals.
They are known to wander quite far which if you live in a rural setting may be okay but if you live in a town or city then this puts them at much of a higher risk of either getting lost or getting trapped inside somewhere.
Some cats will simply not want to go outside even if you allow them to, cats are like people. Not everyone wants to spend all day outdoors.
It’s your job to way up the pro’s and con’s and take into account the risks before deciding if you want to let your Bengal free roam or if you want to look at other options.
Things to consider if you let your Bengal Cat go Outside?
As well as the obvious risks stated above you need to make sure if you do let them free roam that they are microchipped and they have a breakaway collar on with a name tag and your contact details.
If they do get lost this massively increases their chance of being found again and returned to their home sweet home!
It’s also important to not let them out before 5 months old, you also need to make sure they are up to date with all their vaccinations and that they are well trained.
If you have adopted an adult cat they will need at least two weeks to make sure they have left their scent in your home and they are used to you and their surroundings before being let outside.
Alternatives to letting your Bengal Cat free roam outdoors?
You may not realise but if you are not a fan of letting your Bengal Cat free roam the streets then there are some safe alternative options.
This allows your Bengal to get a change of scenery and get some fresh air without the risks associated with roaming the streets freely.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
- Leash Train Your Bengal Cat!
You may get some odd looks off the neighbours but so what! Your Bengal will love you for it.
When training your Bengal to walk on a Leash you want to introduce the leash and harness slowly to them.
When training any cat it’s all about building up positive associations. You don’t want them to be scared of the harness!
First I would say it’s a good idea to just leave the harness and leash around the home and let them get used to the smell and feel of it.
Once they have got used to the smell then place the harness on your cat and allow them to walk around the home with it on. This will allow them to get used to the feel of wearing it while in a safe environment.
When they feel comfortable and have got used to it, you can then attach the lead and practice walking them inside the home, all the time using positive reinforcement by rewarding good behaviour with treats.
Then it’s time to take them outside, just be wary of other pets such as dogs and other cats and distractions.
This may take time and don’t be afraid to backtrack and bring them indoors if they are not ready, eventually, you will be able to take them outside at any time and they will look forward to their outdoor adventures!
2. Create an outdoor enclosure for your Bengal!
If you have the space and own a home or even an apartment that you can build a safe enclosure on then this will be ideal!
You need to make sure that the Cat enclosure is safe and secure so your cat cannot escape and include lots of places to jump if you can do.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be a massive expensive enclosure on your back garden.
You need to take into account what space you have and what you can afford.
You may even decide to design what Jackson Galaxy calls a Catio! A small enclosure that is attached to your window will allow your cats to observe nature and stimulate them mentally. You can even place some cat hammocks on your window and place an outdoor bird feeder to attract wildlife to the window.
I would recommend watching the Youtube video below by Jackson Galaxy to get some great ideas!
Key Points: Are Bengals Indoor or Outdoor Cats?
- Bengals will do fine indoors BUT they need lots of play and stimulation
- I will repeat this again ”A bored Bengal can be a destructive Bengal”
- Please take into account the risks of allowing your cat to free-roam
- Consider leash walking your cat and creating a safe outdoor cat sanctuary
As always, take care of yourself and your little fur babies!
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)