Bengals, with their striking, slanted eyes and leopard-like coat, appear to be wildcats to those who aren’t familiar with them. Bengals look wild; they act wild, too. It can appear eerie and unnatural when they explore a bathroom or play with a tiny plastic toy. In my mind, they should be batting around their freshly-caught prey, or scrambling up a tree in the rainforest. Many people begin to wonder if they should walk their Bengal cat precisely because Bengals appear so confined inside domestic spaces. But, can Bengal cats be walked?
Bengal cats can be walked. Bengals are highly energetic and eager for adventure. They should go on daily walks outside with supervision. You should make sure to properly attend to your Bengal outdoors by keeping them on a harness and providing them with access to nature.
Going for daily walks can be tiresome; let’s face it; you adopted a cat for a reason. Usually, they don’t need much attention nor take much time to care for. Well, Bengals aren’t your usual kitty—they’re much higher maintenance.
Bengal Cats And Their Outdoor Instincts
Being descendants of the Asian Leopard cat, Bengals have intensely wild instincts. These instincts cause them to act differently than the average house cat, as they have more intense physical and mental needs.
Not only should Bengal cats be fed a raw prey diet and get plenty of tree-imitating vertical space, but they should also be provided the option to roam outdoors.
Exploring the outside world is a natural craving that every animal possesses. All living beings are meant to be outdoors, and cats are no exception. The need to reside in nature is ingrained in them, even though they are domesticated creatures.
Ideally, every cat should have access to the outdoors either via a Catio or a fenced-in area. However, evidence suggests that the average house cat doesn’t need access to nature to live a happy life. Before I introduced my cats to the outdoors, I believed they could be perfectly happy living indoors forever.
There’s a reason vets don’t advise reintroducing your outdoor cat to indoor life. Once my kitties sniffed fresh air, frolicked in the grass, and rolled in the dirt, they were sold. Their eyes had a new twinkle to them.
Once they began to live partially outdoors, my simple housecats gained access to a healthier and more exciting life. Without a doubt, Bengal cats—being much wilder in temperament than all other domestic cats—have a severely depleted quality of life when confined to indoor-only living.
Bengals need to feel the earth beneath their paws; they also need to exercise vigorously. Having significantly more energy than the average house cat, Bengal cats should be played with extensively and must be provided ample space to run and jump both inside and outside your living space.
Can Bengal Cats Go Outside?
Yes, Bengal cats can go outside under careful supervision. Taking your Bengal cats on walks, or allowing them to run and jump in the yard, can be an easy way to meet your Bengal’s physical and emotional needs.
While you can fill your house with as many cat trees, shelves, toys, and wheels as your heart desires, it’ll never be enough to satisfy your Bengal cat’s needs if you do not grant them access to the outdoors.
I learned this the hard way with my two cats. Although none of them are Bengals, one is significantly more wild-tempered than the other. Once introduced to the outdoors, she began roaming all day, every day. As my partner and I reside in the extreme Sacramento heat, we try to keep her indoors during the hottest hours of the day. Most of the time, she’ll pace and growl in front of the door to be let back out.
My other cat, however, is a die-hard indoor kitty. After we introduced her to our backyard, she’d sneak back indoors just half an hour after we had let her out. She’d then proceed to sleep for eight hours until dinner time, only after which she’d go play in the lavender bushes.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to gauge what’s best for your cat. Nevertheless, it’s guaranteed that your Bengal will thrive with their tail sweeping in the grass. Imagine not being able to breathe fresh air or feel the sunlight on your skin—that’s not something you should condemn your Bengal to.
Can I Walk My Cat With A Harness
If you take your Bengal on walks outside, it is recommended that you always use a harness. Harnesses prevent your Bengal from running off and potentially getting lost around town. It’s also a safety precaution for other pets in the area whether it be another cat or dog.
You shouldn’t let your Bengal outside without proper supervision. Cats love to jump around and get into all kinds of adventure, but this can lead to a bad experience for those around them. A cat needs to have guidance when they are outdoors. Bengal cats are highly valuable, and thus, sought-after by those looking to make money through reselling.
A harness, as it wraps around your kitty’s whole torso, is much more useful than merely a collar and leash. With a harness, you have control over where your cat walks. It’s also more comfortable, allowing your Bengal cat to leap and pounce as if they weren’t attached to anything.
With a harness, you can walk your Bengal around the lush areas of your neighborhood, take them to a local park, or even drive them to National Parks. Many hardcore Instagram adventurers take their Bengals along on kayak excursions, hikes, and backpacking trips!
If your community doesn’t have much grass or trail areas, taking your Bengal on a hike will do wonders for their overall contentment. In fact, hiking with your Bengal more accurately imitates what they would do in the wild. Climbing over rocks, digging in the dirt, and chasing bugs or animals all satisfy their wild urges—until the next day.
How to Train a Bengal to Use a Harness
To get your Bengal used to walking on a harness, you’ll have to train them. Although Bengals are highly trainable, this will still take some time and patience. Training a cat is much different than training a dog, so be ready for a long journey!
The most important aspect of training your Bengal to use a harness is slowly getting them used to it. The first day, only have the harness on for a short time. Feed them treats and praise them throughout. Increase the amount of time they spend in the harness each day as you lead them around a peaceful area in your backyard or neighborhood.
When looking for the right harness, only consider ones that are made of 100% cotton. This material is non-abrasive and won’t give your cat a rash.
Also, consider a harness that is light-weight and breathable. If you live in a warm climate, you’ll want to make sure that your cat’s core temperature doesn’t rise too high from extra fabric.
Taking your Bengal cat for walks is a generous way to bring more joy into your cat’s life. If you think walking your cat daily doesn’t fit into your schedule, consider taking them out in the early morning or late evening for just 15-20 minutes.
Waking up earlier to walk your Bengal can help get your brain jumpstarted for the day, and the sunrise is calming for both your body and mind. Otherwise, walking before bed can provide your body with the exercise it needs to sleep soundly. You’ll likely find that you benefit from your Bengal’s new walking regimen, too.