Why Are Bengal Cats Illegal

Why Are Bengal Cats Illegal? What You Should Know

Bengal cats are a popular domestic cat breed. They are known for their beauty, athleticism, and intelligence and was developed in the United States from crosses between domestic short-haired cats and Asian leopard cats However, there is one big downside to owning a Bengal cat – they are illegal in several states across the US, due to their wildcat heritage.

In this article we will discuss why are Bengal Cats illegal and what you can do if you want to own one. Let’s take a closer look.


The Bengal cat is a relatively new breed, having been developed in the 1970s. The original aim was to create a domestic cat that had the markings and appearance of a wild leopard cat, but with a temperament that was suitable for living in a home environment.

Bengal Cat Generations

To achieve this, breeder Jean S. Mill created the first generation of Bengal cats by crossing domestic short-haired cats with Asian leopard cats. These first-generation Bengals, known as F1s, were not suitable as pets due to their wild temperament and so were used solely for breeding purposes.

The second generation of Bengals, known as F2s, was created by breeding F1 Bengals with each other. These cats were much more docile than their F1 predecessors and so made excellent pets. It was from the F2 generation that the Bengal cat as we know it today began to emerge.

By the late 1980s, the Bengal cat had become a popular pet in the US and Europe, and it was recognized as a championship breed by the International Cat Association in 1991.

Why Are Bengal Cats Illegal?

Why Are Bengal Cats Illegal

Some important reasons why are Bengal Cats illegal in some states:

1. The most common reason for why are Bengal Cats illegal is that they pose a threat to native wildlife. This is because Bengal cats still retain some of their wild ancestors’ hunting instincts and behaviors, which means they may be more likely to kill local wildlife than other domestic cat breeds.

2. Another reason why Bengal cats may be illegal is that they can be aggressive towards humans. This is likely due to their wild temperament and may be a result of inbreeding between F1 and F2 Bengals.

3. Another reason for why Bengal cats are illegal could be the fact that they are still relatively new as a domestic breed. This means that there is not enough data on them to know for sure whether or not they pose a threat to native wildlife or humans.

4.The final reason is that they are expensive. This means that only a small number of people can afford to own one, which could lead to them being used for illegal purposes such as breeding and selling them without a license.

Legal Status Of Bengal Cats

Bengal cat as a breed has a relatively chequered legal history in the United States. There are a number of states where Bengal cats are currently legal to own, but there are also a number of states where they are illegal.

While Bengals are currently legal in the United Kingdom, they were actually banned for a period of time. The ban was lifted in 2005 after it was decided that the cats posed no greater risk to public safety than any other domestic cat breed.

What States are Bengal Cats Illegal In

Why Are Bengal Cats Illegal

There are a number of states in the US where Bengal cats are illegal to own includes

  1. Arkansas
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Georgia
  5. Idaho
  6. Louisiana
  7. Maryland
  8. Missouri
  9. Nebraska
  10. Nevada
  11. New Mexico
  12. Wyoming

The state of Maine has a law which states that all domestic cats must be spayed or neutered, which effectively makes Bengal cats illegal to own in the state.

There are also a number of cities and counties across the US where Bengal cats are currently illegal to own. These include Denver in Colorado, Fort Worth in Texas, , and New York City.

All other states allow ownership of Bengals that are at least F5 and lower generations.

Check your state and local laws before buying or adopting a Bengal cat, as the legal status of the breed can change at any time.

What You To Do If You Want To Own A Bengal Cat

If you live in a state where Bengal cats are currently illegal, there are a few things you can do if you still want to own one.

1. You could always move to a state or city where Bengal cats are currently legal. This may not be practical for everyone, but it’s an option if you’re willing to make the move.

2. You could also look into adopting a Bengal cat from a rescue organization. This option may be more difficult, as there are not as many Bengal cats in rescues as there are other breeds.

3. You could also try to find a Bengal cat that is up for adoption through an online pet site such as Craigslist or Petfinder.com.

Are Bengal Cats Dangerous?

Bengal cats are not dangerous. However, there are some things to consider if you are thinking of getting a Bengal cat.

F1–F3 ancestors are 50%–75% Asian Leopard Cat, and as such are more likely to exhibit some primitive behaviors like biting. So these hybrid cats are used for breeding purposes  to create Bengal cats that are less likely to bite.

While the later generations of Bengal cats (F4 and beyond) are less likely to bite, they can still exhibit some unpredictable behaviors. For example, they may be more prone to scratching or clawing than other domestic cat breeds so they do not make good pets.

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