Normally when it comes to adopting cats, any breed is considered equal in that it’s always good to rescue a cat from an overcrowded shelter, but with the Bengal breed there are a few more complications to the process. The thing is, Bengal cats from shelters require a good deal more care than most other breed you’d adopt, and while the reason may sound weird it will make a ton of sense when you hear it. So here’s what you should know if you’re planning to adopt a Bengal cat from a shelter.
Can you tell me where else you might find a Bengal breed, normally? Usually you’re expecting to have to go through a professional breeder as the breed simply isn’t that common anywhere, but beyond that where can you go? Well, that’s the thing, there really aren’t easy places to acquire a Bengal cat unless you go directly to the breeders since they’re the only ones who are actively raising new Bengals. Shelters will have the occasional Bengal, as you’d assume, but it’s highly unlikely that you’d have one wander up to you one day from an alley or hear about a friend who just had a litter of Bengal kittens and needs to find homes.
Since breeders are primarily the only place you can turn for a Bengal cat, which is itself considered an exotic breed, you can expect that any Bengal you find in the shelter probably has a troubled past. Breeders aren’t cheap, so a purebred Bengal had to have cost quite a pretty penny when it was first adopted, meaning that the reasons it’s in a shelter in the first place must be that it was either abused, neglected, or there is something about the cat the owner couldn’t tolerate. Sure, there will be exceptions, but they are rather rare. On the whole, Bengals in shelters are work, pure and simple.
This isn’t to discourage you from seeking out a Bengal though! Far from it, it’s rather to point out that there is absolutely a time commitment when adopting though, usually more so than any other breed. You will need to be extremely patient with the new adoptee as it will need time to get used to the new place, but more than anything it will need time to learn to trust again. Most times you won’t be able to adopt a Bengal if you already have a cat or own a dog as they’ll need a completely safe environment to try and fit in and get themselves situated.
A lot of the time you’ll need simply encourage a trusting atmosphere by a mixture of affection and respect. Make sure to show your new Bengal that it is loved and wanted in the house by occasionally petting it a little or offering treats, but also give it some space to get settled. Learning the balance will be cat-by-cat but it’s vital for the relationship all around.
On the flip side, if the cat was put into the shelter for a behavior reason, be prepared for that as well. It takes a very special kind of cat owner to handle a behaviorally-challenged pet, but it’s nowhere near impossible. A lot of the time the supposed behavioral problem was a complete misunderstanding, particularly with Bengals. The reason there is that Bengals are one of the most active breeds of cat and act like dogs half of the time. Some owners may see this as a pest-like behavior, becoming a nuisance and jumping all over everything, but it’s just part of being a cat and integral to being a Bengal. They’re huge cats as well, so they can be really imposing when they want to be.
The goal here is not to dissuade you from adopting Bengals but rather to encourage those out there who have the right type of attitude to give it a shot. Bengals are one of the most exciting breeds of cats, but there’s just not usually a simple way to adopt short of going through a breeder, which is a debate that a lot of people would prefer not to have, so when one appears in a rescue shelter, jump at the chance and give it a new, happy life. You won’t regret it!
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