If you’ve ever spent time around a Bengal, chances are you’ve been hypnotized by its wild, spiraled or marbled coat, piercing eyes, and fierce personality. Winning the hearts of whomever they encounter, Bengal cats are a living treasure that many cat-lovers obsess over—and, thanks to their friendly and loving demeanor, it’s hard not to.
If your heart’s yearning for a Bengal, but you’re worried that you can’t offer them ample space to hunt, roam, or play within your smaller dwelling, don’t fret. Many prospective Bengal owners, as well as those looking to adopt other domestic breeds, worry that their kitty won’t be able to experience life to its fullest in their current living space.
So, can Bengal cats live in apartments? Yes, Bengals, too, are domestic cats, meaning they can easily feel at home within an indoor area. However, it is critical to provide your Bengal cat or kitten with ample stimuli and opportunities for adventure when housing them in your smaller home.
It’s no question that Bengals’ wild tendencies can be difficult to navigate, especially when introducing one to an apartment. Nevertheless, with careful planning, cat owners can certainly provide their Bengals with a life full of adventure within their smaller-sized living space.
Can a Bengal Cat Personality Fit in an Apartment?
Descendants of the Asian Leopard cat, Bengals, possess strong wild features apparent not only within their striking appearance but also through their rambunctious temperament. They are not your typical lap cat and are total opposites of the mellow and well-behaved Ragdoll.
Expect your Bengal kitty to be rowdy! They are agile and energetic, constantly seeking a challenge through play or hunt. Because of Bengals’ active dispositions, they need daily playtime with their owners as well as on their own. Always have your apartment stocked with toys, ways to explore, and means to jump or run around (which isn’t as difficult to achieve as you may think)!
While your Bengal will surely be zooming all over your apartment every day, they’ll also be meowing at you for attention. Bengals are incredibly vocal; they have a signature meow that can be charming at times and irritating at others.
If your apartment provides no separation between you and your Bengal—meaning, they’re next to you meowing while you’re trying to work or relax—you should consider whether this loud and active breed is the right fit for you. Even if you do have some form of separation, your Bengal will likely be scratching and meowing at the door for your company.
Although they’re vocal and considerably active, Bengals tend to be friendly, playful, and great with kids (if they’re socialized at an early age), making them a never-ending source of entertainment for your smaller home.
Why Your Bengal Should Stay Inside Your Apartment
Indoor living spaces provide Bengals with a safe and reliable environment. It doesn’t make a difference if your living space is on the smaller side—with appropriate care, your Bengal is better-off indoors.
Although the idea of letting your kitty experience the outside world for the first time might be tempting, it is recommended that you don’t allow them to roam outdoors. Free-roaming domestic cats have a horrific impact on biodiversity and wildlife. They have assisted in the extinction and endangerment of many species.
Perhaps even more alarming to cat parents, it’s not uncommon for free-roaming Bengals to be stolen. Not only are Bengals highly valuable, but they’re widely admired for their exotic and stunning appearance. Many individuals worry about strangers stealing their free-roaming domestic cats, who don’t present any particularly distinctive features; with a Bengal, the risk is much higher.
Owners who wish to keep their Bengal safe and comfortable inside, but also want them to get adequate exercise and a taste of nature, can train them to wear a harness while walking together outdoors. With the harness on, Bengals can run, explore, and pounce under their human’s careful supervision.
Bengal-Proofing your Apartment
Bengals will be happy in any sized home, as long as you properly prepare it and provide them with substantial TLC. Before bringing a Bengal cat into your apartment, you must be willing to make big adjustments to the layout of your living area.
Ask yourself if the design of your space can work for a high-spirited animal. Will your cat be able to run around freely, considering how your furniture is positioned? Do you have any furniture that could be easily damaged?
Reposition your furniture so your Bengal cat has more room to play and run around. While it is recommended that you relocate valuable or delicate furniture, providing your Bengal with their own furniture, such as cat beds and trees, may distract it from tearing up yours.
Scratching posts are a must to keep your kitty from damaging doors and appliances. They are especially essential for those who rent their apartment, as having designated objects to scratch can keep your cat from damaging the home itself!
Playing with your Bengal in an Apartment
When integrating a Bengal into your apartment, you’ll need to keep tons of toys available, make time for frequent interactive playtime, and set up obstacles for your cat to run through or explore. Effectively housing this active cat in a more confined space is a matter of providing an abundance of stimuli to adequately support their creativity and intelligence.
Most studio or two-bedroom apartments have enough room to set up a playing circuit. Place catnip, crinkle, or moving toys across from as well as near their cat tree. Aim a laser pointer around the room to lead them to new toys, onto your bed, up the cat tree, and to a window hammock.
You must spend time every day playing directly with your Bengal. Interactive play enriches your cat’s quality of life, and you don’t need much space to do it! This play has to be intensive, involving running and jumping, as Bengals are high energy and require more exercise than many other domestic cat breeds.
When playing with your cat, string toys with feathers are always an easy way to hold their attention. Bengals, due to their high intelligence, can even be trained to play fetch!
If you find yourself with less time to play with your Bengal—perhaps your work schedule changed—consider getting them a companion! Cats are happier, play more, and get more exercise when they’re in pairs.
Apartment Essentials for Bengals
Anyone who’s ever housed cats in an apartment can admit that they’ve taken extensive measures to make sure their cat stays active. Bengal owners must go the extra mile when providing their energetic cats with stimulating activities that complement their wild heritage.
Bengal cats, bred from the tree-dwelling Asian Leopard cat, have the innate urge to relax in elevated spaces. With this in mind, it is no surprise that Bengals need vertical space.
That said, if you’re planning on adopting a Bengal cat, you should set up a couple of cat trees, cat shelving, and window hammocks around your apartment. They feel safest when they can scope out everything going on below them, so providing Bengals with access to elevated surfaces will dramatically increase their sense of security within your smaller living space.
Being hyperactive, Bengals need a reliable way to release energy whenever they please. A cat wheel is perfect for not only cat parents who live in a smaller space but also for those who keep their Bengal cat mainly indoors.
Many lucky apartment-renters have access to a personal balcony or outdoor space. If you have that luxury, take advantage of it and turn it into a Catio. Place cat furniture and toys in your Catio so your Bengal cat can bask in the sun. Of course, if you don’t have a way to secure your outdoor space with fencing, always supervise your cat while it’s enjoying the Catio.
The Bottom Line
Whether you can own a Bengal isn’t dependent on the size of your living space. As long as you provide your cat with an abundance of daily activities that adhere to its unique physical and emotional needs, they’ll be more than satisfied in your apartment.