It’s no secret that most pets shed, which can be quite frustrating because their hair or fur can end up everywhere. If you are considering getting a Bengal as a pet, you may be wondering just how much they shed and if it’s easy to mitigate the shedding.
Bengal cats do shed. Bengals have more of a pelt than a traditional domestic coat composed of hair or fur. This means their pelt goes through fewer cycles of shedding and regrowing, making them shed less often. No cat is shed free, but the shedding of a Bengal is manageable with the right tools.
Bengals, like all cats, shed. It’s a natural part of their biology. However, the amount they shed is different from other cats. A lot of this has to do with their type of pelt, which we will discuss below. Additionally, you need to know how to maintain their coat and the best tools for the job.
Do Bengals Shed A Lot?
Bengals shed less compared to other cats and often groom themselves, cutting down on the amount of shedding. However, they are still a cat and will shed their coat from time to time to replace older hairs. All cats go through the shedding process, as it’s necessary for healthy hair growth.
Even when your Bengal goes through their natural shed cycles, they do not shed as much as other cats. They have much shorter hair that falls out less often, and most of what they shed is taken care of through frequent grooming. Bengals are very particular and will groom often to remove debris, dead skin, and loose hairs from their body.
Essentially, your Bengal will take care of most of the shedding, leaving less of a mess for you to clean up afterwards. You will still need brush them often to help keep the shedding to a minimum. For Bengals, brushing can be done once a week or once every other week with a good hair-removal brush.
Why Do Bengal Cats Shed?
Shedding in Bengals is triggered by the changing of the seasons, especially in the spring and fall, in order to prepare for the coming temperature changes. In the spring, your Bengal will begin to shed their winter coat to thin it out, making the coming heat of summer more tolerable.
Your Bengal will shed the most as it grows from a kitten to an adult. Their soft kitten fluff will be replaced by a silky-smooth pelt. This is also when you will see their full color and pattern start to show more vibrantly. As they shed their hair follicles, they receive genetic ques to start growing with the proper pigments and colors.
Even though your Bengal is most likely kept indoors, except for going for walks or lounging in their catios, their body’s natural system will still act according to the environmental signals they receive. Biologically, they are programmed to go through these different cycles, and they sense the changing of the seasons despite being indoors.
Stress can also cause shedding and will often be more noticeable since they shed at a higher rate when they are stressed. The cause of their stress can be several different things you may not immediately be aware of and not necessarily through any fault of your own. Bengals can be sensitive to changes in their daily lives, and you may not even realize the source of the stress.
Changes in your work schedule that cause you to spend less time at home or influence when you leave or come home can affect your Bengal’s stress levels. Cats are used to routine and can get confused by a sudden change in your schedule, especially if it also changes things like feeding or play time. This can cause a little extra stress and cause them to shed more for a time.
Another common cause of stress could be the introduction of a new pet or person in their lives. It’s perfectly natural for your Bengal to feel stressed out by someone new, especially when it’s a new pet like a cat or dog. Bengals are known for getting along with other cats and dogs, but it can take some getting used to.
Therefore, it’s important to introduce your new pets to your Bengal slowly and to give them some extra attention when possible. You want them to know that they are still special and important to you and that this is still their space. Adding some additional cat toys, beds, and furniture will help make your Bengal feel like they don’t have to share everything.
Other Causes Of Shedding
Finally, other causes of increased shedding in Bengals can be the result of a medical issue. If you notice your Bengal is shedding more than usual and it’s not a changing season or there are no signs of obvious stress, it’s recommended that you take them to the vet. Cats can develop skin issues, cancers, and even Cushing’s disease that can cause increased shedding.
Your Bengal’s diet could also be the culprit if you have changed their food recently or they have unexpectedly developed an allergy. Many cats have grain allergies but there are other ingredients in foods that can cause the same reaction. Make sure to carefully inspect your Bengal’s food ingredients to ensure they are free of grains, including corn.
Dry-kibble diets tend to cause more allergic reaction than other diets, which can lead to skin irritation and hair loss. Canned food diets are typically going to be better for their pelts, but you also want to make sure they are free of any ingredients listed above. A raw diet is probably the best in terms of eliminating potential allergens.
Are Bengal Cats Hypoallergenic?
Bengals are considered hypoallergenic. However, this only means Bengals are less likely to give someone an allergic reaction. Many people who have allergies to cats are allergic to their dander (dead skin), which falls off during shedding. Others are allergic to the oils or the saliva of a cat.
While a person is less likely to be allergic to a Bengal, it’s not guaranteed, and you may still find you have some irritation. Before bringing a Bengal home, you may want to spend some time with another Bengal, if possible, by visiting a breeder or a friend with a Bengal. Another option would be to get an allergy test to make sure you are not allergic to their oils or saliva.
It would be a shame to bring home your new best friend and find out that you have a severe enough reaction that you might not be able to co-exist. If you know you already have problems with other animals and their fur, it’s worth looking into whether you will be allergic to a Bengal. This will help prevent future heartache resulting in having to rehome your Bengal.
Do Bengal Cats Have Fur, Hair Or Pelt?
Technically, Bengal cats have a pelt. If you have ever had the pleasure of petting a Bengal or have one of your own, you will notice they have very soft, shiny coats, like a rabbit. This is due to having only one short, tightly wound layer of hair, which is referred to as a pelt.
Most other domestic cats have fur coats, or hair with multiple layers you can clearly see as you run your fingers through their fur. Bengals get their unique pelt from their wild relative the Asian Leopard cat, which also grows a pelt. Even with the added genes of domestic breeds, Bengals have been able to keep this feature.
In fairness, the world pelt refers to the skin of an animal with fur still attached to it, which really applies to all cats. The terminology to distinguish between fur, hair, and pelt can be confusing, and you may wonder why a Bengal’s coat is even referred to as a pelt in the first place if all cats have them.
The main different is that Bengals have a single layer of fur, versus a top and bottom layer like other domestic cats. For domestic cats, the two layers of fur are cycled through more often to shed the topcoat. Bengals still shed their pelt, but not as often or as much due to the single layer.
How To Manage Bengal Cat Shedding
Bengal shedding is fairly manageable when compared to other types of domestic cat. Bengals will take care of most of the work through grooming, but you should still brush them to keep the shedding to a minimum and reduce hair balls from ingesting too much hair.
Because of their short pelts, you will not have to use a grooming brush too often and may keep it to twice a month. A good grooming brush for your Bengal will help remove excess hair and debris, including dead skin. Brushing also helps spread their natural oils to keep their pelt healthy, lustrous, and smooth.
Since brushing is an excellent way to bond with your Bengal and can provide stimulation for healthy circulation you may also want to consider an “everyday” brush. These brushes will be much softer and allow you to brush your Bengal regularly without removing too much hair.Select a brush with soft bristles that will feel gentle on your Bengals skin, but still give them a good scratching.
You may be wondering if you should bathe your Bengal to help keep their pet clean and free of loose hairs. It isn’t necessary or recommended to wash your Bengal frequently. While they love the water, using shampoo on their coats too often will do more damage than good. Plus, it won’t reduce shedding.
Bengals have their own special oils, just like humans, that keep their pets healthy. By over bathing and using shampoos, you risk removing a lot of those oils. Additionally, too much bathing can dry out your Bengal’s skin and cause irritation.
If you are going to bathe your Bengal it should be very seldomly. Of course, there are exceptions for when they end up covered in dirt or some other substance. For these times, it’s okay to bathe them and use a safe pet shampoo without a lot of additives.
For the most part, taking care of your Bengal’s coat is relatively easy and low maintenance. This is why a lot of people love Bengals. They shed less and require less maintenance to keep the hair to a minimum. Of course, this doesn’t apply to other aspects of owning a Bengal, as they can be quite needy sometimes!
Best Brush For Bengal Cats
The Furminator is one of the best grooming tools on the market for at-home grooming. This brush is immensely popular amongst pet owners of all breeds and species. It can effectively remove a significant amount of dead and loose hairs in very little time.
This brush is made from high-grade materials and has a metal toothed comb “blade” that stays sharp overtime and will last for years. Many owners have attested they have used their Furminator for over five years or, in some cases, longer. With a Bengal, it’s bound to last even longer due to being groomed less frequently and only having a single layer pelt.
The Furminator grooming comb comes in a variety of styles and designs for your specific grooming needs. For a Bengal, you should use the short hair de-shedding version. This comb is specifically made for short hair cats and comes with a hair-release button for quick cleaning.
Do not overuse the Furminator, especially since a Bengal sheds less than other cats. Overuse can cause the same effects as overgrooming and cause skin irritation and hair loss. Use the Furminator once or twice a month for routine de-shedding and another, softer brush for everyday use.
One possible drawback of the Furminator may be your Bengal just being generally unhappy with it. Some cats are very particular about what they will accept as a grooming brush. Additionally, if you know your Bengal has sensitive skin, you may want to seek out a different type of de-shedding tool with soft, silicone bristles rather than metal.
What To Do If Your Bengal Grooms Too Much
If you notice your Bengal has suddenly started grooming themselves more than usual, it could be something medical or stress related. Either way, overgrooming can be bad for your Bengal. They can consume too much hair causing hair balls, or they may remove too many oils, or they may even cause skin irritation and rash.
Many times, overgrooming is the result of your Bengal being stressed. Grooming is sometimes used as a coping mechanism for cats and makes them feel better when anxious. It helps sooth them by giving them a singular task and it feels good on their skin, stimulating circulation. However, overgrooming due to stress will eventually result in bald spots.
If your Bengal continues to groom these same spots over and over, they will eventually irritate the skin. The skin irritation can lead to rashes and even lesions that can become infected if not addressed when you first notice the behavior.
For stress related overgrooming the solution may be relatively easy. Figure out the source of your Bengal’s stress and try and correct it as soon as possible. Sometimes, it can be as simple as new changes as discussed in previous sections and they will need some adjustment time. In the meantime, showing your Bengal some extra love can help.
Other Causes Of Overgrooming
Overgrooming can also occur if they have a food allergy, and their skin already feels dry and itchy. They will groom the area in attempts to relieve the irritation, but it can lead to the health issues previously discussed. If you think they are experiencing a food allergy, it’s wise to investigate their diet and make changes where necessary.
Some illnesses can lead to overgrooming as well, especially if it directly affects the skin tissue. Other illnesses, such as a urinary tract disease, can also trigger overgrooming as a way for your Bengal to cope with the pain. If you see areas with little hair on their lower abdomen or between their hind legs, this may be a sign they have a UTI.
In any of these cases, if you notice that your Bengal is overgrooming themselves you should seek advice from your vet. Your vet can take blood tests or skin scrapes to see if there is an underlying cause for their excessive grooming. If any illness is ruled out, your vet will typically discuss dietary needs, supplements, and possible ways to reduce stress in your Bengal.
Bengal cats shed, but they typically shed less than other domestic cat varieties. They have a single layer of short hair, and they are regular groomers, which keeps shedding to a minimum. You should brush your Bengal once or twice a month to remove any hair or skin debris left behind from grooming.