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Welcome, Crazy Cat People!
Bengal cats can at times be a handful compared to more placid laid back breeds. They have very high energy levels and their natural curiosity can sometimes get them in trouble.
As owners, we want to teach our cats right from wrong but we have to take into account why a cat is misbehaving in the first place and consider if it is right to discipline your Bengal cat in the same way we would a child?
I used my knowledge of this breed and did some research to answer your question.
You should never discipline your Bengal cat by shouting at them or using force as this will destroy the trust you have built with them. The best way to deal with problem behaviour is to set up their environment in a way that prevents misbehaviour in the first place, a bored cat can be very destructive.
Shouting and screaming at your cat will never solve behavioural issues!
In fact, disciplining your cat in this way will cause your cat to become stressed and anxious which can often lead to more of the same behaviour. We need to get to the root cause of the bad behaviour and hopefully, this post can help you do that and help you find some solutions to your problems.
So keep reading to learn more!
Why is my Bengal cat misbehaving?
It can be very frustrating when you bring home your little pussy cat to then have them destroy your home by engaging in destructive behaviours and it can stir up lots of emotions such as anger, upset and it can make you feel like your at your wit’s end and not knowing where to turn to for help.
With a little bit of patience and persistence, you will get to the root cause of the issue and eventually you and your cat will be able to share a happy home.
Trust me, I have had my fair share of issues with my felines but we have worked through them together.
Bengal cats have super high energy levels and they need regular stimulation and play throughout the day. If they are not stimulated and they don’t have an outlet for the play energy that they have built up they will eventually explode.
A bit similar to a jack in a box.
This can then result in destructive behaviour, this is one of the most common causes of misbehaviour in cats, boredom! So it’s super important to have an environment that is stimulating and entertaining for your cats and we will go into detail a little later on about how we can achieve this.
What are common behaviour problems in cats?
- Going to the toilet outside the litter box – A common problem and this can be anything from a health condition to territorial marking behaviour, always see a vet rule out any health issues
- Biting, scratching and being destructive – Bengals are high energy and they love to play so this may be a common problem.
- Getting into places they shouldn’t be – Bengal cats are very curious and will get into places they shouldn’t especially if there are treats inside.
- Scratching furniture – Cats need places to scratch, it’s an instinctive behaviour and a cat who cant scratch is a cat who will become very unhappy.
- Jumping up on high places you don’t want them to go – Bengal cats are keen jumpers and need vertical space
Is there anything, in particular, you notice about these behaviours? – They are all instinctive behaviours that cats would do naturally in the wild.
So telling your cat off and disciplining them for being a cat is going to cause your Bengal to become confused and anxious and eventually unhappy.
Imagine how you would feel if someone told you off for doing the things that come naturally to you such as eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth?
Instead, we must look at ways we can deal with this behaviour proactively and provide the right environment for your cat so they can flourish and be the happy high energy friendly Bengal they are meant to be.
As stated above if your cat is acting out all of a sudden when previously they were happy and content its always best to see a veterinary practitioner, unfortunately, your cat cannot tell you if they are in pain or discomfort so a routine check will clear up any concerns before you can start to look for your own solutions.
Check out one of my other very related posts on what to do if your Bengal is destroying your home!
Territorial aggression in Bengal cats
Another very common cause of misbehaviour especially in a multicat household is a fight for territory. Cats need places they can own. They need places they can mark with their scents such as scratching posts, beds and litterboxes.
Bengal cats in particular are a very territorial breed and they can get jealous!
If you have a house with multiple cats then it’s important to have more beds, more litterboxes and more vertical spaces they can hang out, otherwise you may find your Bengals becoming destructive and fighting with each other.
Cats need to feel confident in their environment and be able to express their natural cat behaviours and one of them is having area’s that are specifically for them.
Again this comes down to creating a stimulating environment for your cats where they have plenty of space. Spot a common theme here?
What can I do to discipline my cat?
We have already established that disciplining your Bengal cat the same way that you would discipline a child is a big No-no!
Shouting, screaming and chastising in any other way just isn’t going to work and all this is going to do is ruin your relationship with your cat and lose all that trust you have worked so hard to build.
Cats learn by association and they will learn that you are the aggressor. For example, let’s say that you are trying to teach your cat to stop jumping on the kitchen counter and you shout at them whenever they jump up.
They will learn that you get angry when they jump up but what is going to happen when you are not around? You guessed it, they will jump onto the work surface! So you haven’t taught them anything.
Forget spray bottles to discipline your cat
Spray bottles have been used to discipline cats for a long time however are they the best option to train your Kitty? In my opinion no there not.
Why are they no good?
Well, again your cat learns by association. They see you holding the spray bottle and they can tell it’s you making the water spray out over them.
They may then become more fearful and engage in other naughty behaviours due to being stressed and if they do stop the offending behaviour then it will only be when you are not around.
If you are happy for them to scratch your sofa, chew wires when you are not around and you want to ruin the trust with your Bengal then use a spray bottle otherwise we need to look at other more beneficial ways we can teach our Bengal right from wrong.
So if I can’t shout at my cat, if I can’t use a spray bottle then what can I do?
Don’t reward your Bengal cat for bad behaviour
This seems like a strange one, why would I reward my cat for bad behaviour?
What I mean by this is any form of attention. Let’s use the example of the cat that keeps meowing at the kitchen cupboard because they know there are treats inside.
You walk over to them and try to distract them away from the cupboard or you shout their name and walk over to them before eventually giving in and opening the cupboard to reveal the grand surprise, a nice tasty treat.
So what just happened there?
You rewarded your Bengal cat for doing that behaviour and they now know that next time if they want your attention all they have to do is meow in the kitchen and you will come running.
The best way to get your cat to stop doing any behaviour is to ignore them, give absolutely no attention at all to the offending behaviour. It may be tough at first and it may take a few days, even a week but eventually, your cat will get the message.
You then want to reward your cat when they are not doing the bad behaviour, so give them a little cuddle or stroke once they stop.
This can be applied to any form of bad behaviour but what if your cat is scratching or fighting and you can’t just ignore the bad behaviour?
The YES/NO Game
You have to meet your cats halfway and compromise sometimes especially if they are engaging in what they see as natural behaviour such as scratching your furniture or urinating outside the box.
First, we need to say ”No” to these behaviours and get them to associate the action with something they don’t like. An example of this would be a cat that is scratching or spending too much time on surfaces we don’t want them going on.
One way to say ”No” is by placing sticky cat tape on your surfaces.
Cats hate anything sticky!
They will learn to associate the furniture they are scratching with the offending material and believe me they will not want to go there at all!
The link below is for panther armour transparent cat sheets. These are a godsend when training your cat.
When they finally stop scratching or jumping on the surface you don’t want them to it’s then time to compromise and whenever you take something away you want to say ”Yes” by giving something back!
So this is where you need to look at the behaviour they were engaging in before and replace it with an alternative. So if your cat is scratching the sofa they may need a scratching post in that particular area so try placing one there or if your cat is always jumping on the kitchen surface maybe they just want to see you cooking and observe your actions so maybe place a cat tree so they can watch their human making food.
Another way to say ”No” to them jumping on your countertops is to leave some lemon or orange peel on the surfaces. Cats hate citrus fruit and will not want to go anywhere near.
The yes / no game can help with solving your cat’s bad habits, it’s about making certain areas unappealing while creating an alternative to mimic the instinctive behaviour they are wanting to engage in.
Think about what other situations you could use this technique in?
Don’t discipline, enrich your cat’s environment instead
I may be beginning to sound like a broken record here but I am going to say it again.
”A bored Bengal is a naughty Bengal!”
A lot of behaviour problems that we associate Bengals with are easily cured by making sure their environment is right for them.
Bengal cats have very high energy levels and require slightly more attention than some other breeds, they are natural hunters and they need regular stimulation or boy will you know about it.
Cats need to play, they need to scratch, they need to hunt and they need exercise. Is your environment allowing them to engage in these natural behaviours?
Your cat needs lot’s of toys and more importantly, they need to have places where they can jump up to. Bengals are very keen jumpers and you can turn even the smallest of apartments into a haven for them by utilising the vertical space you have inside your home.
Later in this post, I have a section where I link to some recommended products to enrich your home and make it a perfect place for your Bengal but some of the things you will need are –
- Lots of interactive toys
- Food puzzles
- Window Hammocks
- A bird feeder on your window to attract wildlife
- Cat tree’s
- Wall-mounted Cat shelves to create a ”superhighway” around your home
- Clear the top of your wardrobes and kitchen cupboards to allow access
- Lots of places to scratch, sisal rope posts
- Cat grass to chew
- Fishtanks (Make sure they cant get inside)
As you can see there is a big selection of items you can buy to keep your indoor Bengals entertained while you are out of the home.
Enriching your cat’s environment can go a long way in stopping behaviour problems associated with the Bengal cat.
Cats, unfortunately, can’t speak to us to let us know their frustrations but I can guess that a lot of cats would be telling us they need more play and more toys if they could!
Don’t discipline your Bengal, get them a companion
Cats were traditionally solo hunters or so we assume. Even though they hunt on their own doesn’t mean they don’t share the need for companionship.
If you work away from home or if you generally just spend a lot of time away from your Bengal and they are home alone then this could be the reason why when you come home, it looks like there has been a world war going on.
Your cat may be stressed and anxious while you are gone and begin acting out by chewing and scratching furniture. It is not always easy to introduce another cat to your existing territorial Bengal but it can be done.
In fact, in a poll, 93% of Bengal owners had a companion for their cat and 42% of the companions were dogs. Yes, that’s right Bengals get along well with canines as much as other felines.
Having a mate for your cat may reduce that unwanted naughty behaviour! They will keep each other occupied and happy while you are out of the house.
Check out my post on introducing a companion to your Bengal cat – to learn more!
You may also be wondering if you should choose a male or female cat for your Bengal and this post can help you find out more! So bookmark it and take a read.
Stop peeing outside the litterbox
This behaviour can be one of the most frustrating. Cat urine can smell so strong and there is nothing worse than coming home to cat pee or poop on your sofa or even worse on your bed.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why this may be happening and how we can solve this.
When your cat is urinating right outside the box the first thing you want to do is rule out any health problems.
Cat’s are prone to urinary tract infections and the first way you can tell if this is affecting them is if they are peeing outside the litterbox so it’s worth ruling out any health problems by visiting a qualified vet, this is your first port of call.
If there are no health problems it’s then time to look at the box itself, some cats like hooded litter boxes but they can be a pain at times especially if you have another pet waiting outside to ambush them while they are inside. So if you notice they are peeing because of being bullied by another cat then it’s worth trying a litterbox with no lid for a while.
Also, make sure that there is one litter box per cat and an extra one for good measure making sure there are plenty of places for them to go.
You want to make sure that if your cat is peeing in the same location every time that you place a litterbox right there, they may be telling you that this is where they want to pee and sometimes you have to compromise. Also, try various cat litters as some cats hate certain types of litter.
When cats are peeing everywhere it can be frustrating but if you work with them you can solve this problem!
The thing with cat urine is that your cat may keep going in the same place because the smell of ammonia attracts them back to this spot and this is where it’s important to have a pet cleaner that neutralises the smell straight away.
This is why it is handy for any cat owner to always have a bottle of live pee free around! (Check it out on the link below)
Recommended cat products
Here are some of the cat products I recommend to help eliminate bad behaviour
Key Takeaways: How to Discipline a Bengal cat!
- Never shout or use any violence with your cat, you will lose their trust instantly
- A bored cat will misbehave
- Make sure you enrich your cat’s environment
- Rule out any health issues causing the bad behaviour
- Yes / No, don’t reward bad behaviour and when you take something away give access to something new
- A companion can go a long way to help stop behaviour problems
- If your considering a bengal cat as your first cat then see my post ”Are Bengals good for first time owners” to help you decide if this breed is right for you!
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies!
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)