Should I let my Bengal roam outdoors


    This information is provided in general for all new or existing Bengal owners, the kittens I sell are not outdoor cats and this forms part of the contract I provide when I sell a kitten.  I do take my own cat's outdoors on a harness and lead; this works very well.  However, some of my cat's hate being outside and much prefer the comfort of their home. I personally do not want to risk the life of my Bengal cats/kittens and I have heard some sad stories over the years and all because they let their Bengal outdoors in to the big wide world.

    Of course, this is a matter of preference for cat owners who purchase elsewhere and there are many people who are for and against letting their Bengal cats roam outside of their home.

    Bengal cats tend to wander and are easily lost, this generally is down to their nature. If you want to take that risk and let them out, make sure you accompany them and do not just open the door and let them out. Take them around your garden perimeter and then back to your home, preferably on a lead, until you are satisfied they know where home is.  

    It could be the Bengal's wild ancestry that encourages them to go afar, but for me it is not worth taking the risk. Bengal cats have unique characteristics, which need to be considered as part of the decision-making process.

    Bengal cats can get bored, keeping them in all day without any human contact or otherwise, you will find they can become reckless and can develop behavioural issues, becoming naughty and innappropriate spraying. Unless you can keep them pre-occupied, lots of cat toys and activity. Therefore, they make great companions/pets for children and work well with dogs. Most Bengal breeders would prefer you have another cat as a companion for them, to keep each other entertained and I would totally agree with this and I almost always encourage it, unless of course you already have a cat or a dog or you are at home all day.

    What are the risk factors of letting your Bengal cat roam outside?

    Unfortunately, cats who are left to roam freely outdoors live less years than indoor cats. The most important causes are as follows:

    • Road traffic accidents 
    • Fighting with or being attacked by other cats or even wild animals
    • Human cruelty
    • The risk of theft
    • Becoming locked in a shed or outbuilding
    • Picking up diseases and illnesses

    The above list is not exhaustive, there are many more risks that come with letting your Bengal cat roam free. I agree that most cats are a free spirit, but with Bengal cats it is more to do with them being more adventurous than other cats, that is why they are highly likely to end up getting lost, their inquisitive nature is relentless and therefore they will wander too far and inevitably into danger.

    Bengal cats also do not understand the meaning of 'private property' and think that any open door is an invitation to go in and look around, not just a shed, garage or outbuilding this could be someone’s home. 

    What alternatives are there?

    All is not lost, there are plenty of Bengal cat owners who take their cats out on a harness and lead. It works well, as mentioned we do it and they soon learn to accept this is part of the routine when they go outside, much like a pet dog. Alternatively, you can build an outside cat home/run. I would rather not say cage, as they can be very luxurious and entertaining for your Bengal, there are so many ideas on the internet.  

    Again, the saying goes "what they don't know won't hurt", some Bengal cats do not even want to venture outside, its alien to them and our Bengal cat Luna is the same... she has absolutely no interest in being outside of her home.

    So, what should you decide?

    At the end of the day, only you can make the decision yourself and everyone will have their own unique circumstances to consider based on the personality of your cat and the area where you live. If you live near a main road or some other hazards, we will say you perhaps should not let your cat roam free… if you live in a very rural area, you may wish to let them outside. However, that does not mean that the risks are not there!

    What to consider if you decide to let your Bengal cat roam outside?

    Do not let them outside until they are older enough, at least six months and make sure they are neutered and make sure they have had their vaccinations and a good idea is to get them microchipped. A collar is a good idea, but make sure it is safe should it get caught.

    Also make sure they are safely indoors when it starts to get dark, they are more at risk of road traffic accidents during the evening.

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