If you have ever owned a cat, or know people who do, you know some common concerns are keeping them off your furniture or them using it as a scratching post. Bengals are no exception and will need to be trained to stay off forbidden areas in your home like furniture and countertops.
Our 5 top tips to keep your Bengal off furniture are:
- Provide more cat friendly furniture
- Scratching posts
- Adding unwanted textures
- Use undesirable smells
- Loud noises
In the article below, we will cover some basic Bengal behaviors that are perfectly natural and how to provide them with stimuli without sacrificing your furniture. Additionally, we’ll teach you how to train your Bengal and the best ways to discipline them.
Why Do Bengal Cats Jump On Furniture?
Bengal cats jump on furniture because, like any cat, they have natural instincts that drive their behavior. In the wild, cats love to climb trees and other places that give them a higher vantage point. Cats love heights because they see the things around them better.
Cats feel safer when they have a higher vantage point compared to those who stay close to the ground. This allows them to see potential predators as well as prey, and makes them feel as though they have control of their domain. Bengals feel the same way, even when they are clearly in a safe environment in your home. This is why your counters and other elevated furniture are so alluring.
Problems From Jumping On Furniture
Other than being frustrating and annoying, your Bengal jumping on your furniture can present other problems. Of course, one problem is they can cause damage to the furniture, or they knock things off counters. However, another is concern for your Bengal’s safety. When they look at a high surface to jump on, they do not test the stability or know what’s waiting for them when they get there.
Tables or other surfaces might have runners or tablecloths that will slip when your Bengal tries to climb up onto the surface and they may fall, potentially hurting themselves. They can knock objects on top of children or other pets in the home. If they break glass, they can get it in their feet or other parts of their body.
Learning to keep your Bengal off certain surfaces is for their safety as much as it’s for keeping your furniture from being damaged. Not to mention having a Bengal constantly on your counter or dining room table can lead to issues with cleanliness and contamination. Remember, they have fur as well as feet that touch the ground and their litter boxes.
5 Top Tips To Keep Your Bengal Cat Off Furniture
1. Provide More Cat Friendly Furniture
If your Bengal has access to more cat furniture, they will have less of a desire to climb on yours. Cat trees and other cat furniture are designed especially for cats and their behaviors. Cat trees are favorable because they provide elevation, a resting place, and scratching posts.
Some cat trees will have added features like small houses, tunnels, and other hiding places for your Bengal to enjoy. Hiding places provide several benefits, including a place to sleep, to feel safe, and to play. When your Bengal is playing, they may hide, waiting for the perfect opportunity for a “surprise” attack, whether on a toy, another pet companion, or even you.
Other furniture may include cat beds that can be placed in strategic areas, making your couch or chairs less interesting. You can also purchase mounted furniture that will mimic shelving but are more cat friendly. Many come curved or shaped perfectly for your Bengal’s many strange sleeping positions.
Get creative and give your Bengal a special area just for them in multiple rooms in your home. If there are rooms you prefer they don’t enter, like your kitchen, there will be some extra work on your part. Keeping pets out of a room with no door is often difficult, especially with Bengals who are very attached to their owners and follow them everywhere.
2. Scratching Posts
Scratching posts are another great way to keep your Bengal away from your furniture and still provide them with areas they are allowed to scratch. Like all cats wild or domestic, Bengal’s need to scratch in order to keep their nails healthy, mark territory, and relax.
Scratchers come in all sorts of types and sizes. Most commonly, you will see scratching posts covered in carpet or wrapped in sisal rope. Both provide what your Bengal needs and usually last a long time, so you don’t need to buy new ones very often. Scratchers come in post form, cat trees, and even mounted versions for walls.
Other scratchers are made of layered and compressed cardboard your Bengal can really dig into. Many are also infused with cat nip making them more attractive to most cats. Many are in the shape of a cat bed or a simple rectangle on the floor. Other cardboard scratchers can be attached to the wall or hung from a door handle.
Scratchers that can be mounted can also come in handy for those areas your Bengal is already attracted to. Mounts can be placed on or next to doorways, next to the couch, and other areas. This makes them more likely to use the scratchers versus wood or couch.
3. Adding Unwanted Textures
Cats are very particular about what their paws touch and chances are, if they don’t like the way something feels they will leave it alone. This creates a negative experience with the desired area and prevents them from wanting to use it for laying or scratching.
Using undesirable textures can be a way to keep your Bengal off furniture, but also keep them from scratching it. Many pet owners suggest using double sided tape. When your Bengal attempts to scratch or lay on the area, they will be dissuaded by the sticky texture. Cats really hate things that stick and give them an unpleasant sensation.
You may have to use this method a few times before they get the idea and associate the area with the unpleasant feeling. At the same time, after they attempt to use the forbidden area, relocate them to their own space and reward with a treat or affection. This way you associate their area with a positive and the forbidden one with a negative.
Other textures you can use are mats with little nubs that are uncomfortable but do not cause pain, or crinkly paper. Many cats do not like the feel of crinkly paper or foils and will be less likely to use the area. With these methods it’s not only the texture that puts them off, but the sound as well.
4. Use Undesirable Smells
Bengals, like other cats, are very sensitive to certain smells and will often avoid areas that smell too strongly. Fortunately for you, the smells they hate are often ones that humans love, making your cat stay away while filling your home with fresh scents. Just be careful not to use certain essential oils that can cause your Bengal respiratory distress.
Lavender and lemon are two scents many use to keep their furry friends away from undesirable areas. Even with these safe scents, you still want to make sure your Bengal isn’t in the room when you diffuse them or spray them. The droplets in the air can be potentially harmful.
Spray or wipe down the area you would like your Bengal to stay away from and watch the magic happen. Your Bengal’s sense of smell is much stronger than ours, so you will not need to use an excessive amount. When your Bengal is near the area, they will smell it and steer clear.
5. Loud Noises
An easy and inexpensive way to deter your Bengal is using loud and disruptive noises. This can be as simple as clapping your hands, whistling loudly, or yelling a command. This will work for many cats just fine and keep them away from your furniture. It will startle them enough to scare them away, but not cause them too much stress.
You can also make a noise maker for the extra stubborn Bengal. Use a small container filled with loose change, beans, or even small pebbles, and screw or glue a lid in place. When your Bengal ventures into forbidden territory, give the container a few good shakes and it should scare them off.
Like the other deterrents we have talked about, the noises will create a negative experience in your Bengal’s mind. Every time they see the area, they will remember their bad experience and choose another safer place to scratch or lay. Be sure to never use anything too loud because a Bengal’s hearing is better than a human’s and you may hurt their eardrums.
Keep in mind, you still want to reward good behavior using treats, affection, and play. Use these positive reinforcements when your Bengal chooses to use their personal spaces. Additionally, you can leave treats or catnip on the areas they are allowed to use, making them more desirable.
5 Ways To Keep Bengal Cats Off Counters
1. Automatic Spray Deterrent
If your Bengal loves to be on the counter, you may want to consider an automated spray deterrent. While you can use other alternatives in person, there is no way to guarantee they won’t stay off when you aren’t looking. Bengals are mischievous and often know you don’t prefer them on the counter, but when the human’s away, the cat will play.
Automatic spray deterrents are motion activated and let out a loud hissing sound when they are triggered. When your Bengal decides to jump up on the counter, the sensor will automatically react, startling your Bengal and making them jump down to avoid the deterrent.
After a while, you may no longer even need the deterrent because your Bengal will have given up on your counter tops as a viable and safe place to sleep. You can always keep it on hand if they ever decide to be daring, or if you move locations and you must retrain them. This method can also be used with kitchen or coffee tables.
2. Surface Training Mats
A great deterrent for countertops and furniture such as couches and chairs, are deterrent mats. These mats can be laid across the desired surface and when your Bengal jumps onto it, they will be met with an undesirable sensation and learn to avoid the area.
The sensation is a vibration or a mild static shock that will startle your Bengal, and they will quickly jump off the area. Mats can be purchased in many pet stores as well as online, just be sure to do the research to make sure the product is right for you. Some mats are designed just for dogs and deliver a more powerful sensation and will want to be avoided.
3. Spray Bottles
A spray bottle or squirt gun is a simple and easy way to deter your Bengal from wanting to be on the counter or other areas. Plain water is usually enough for most cats, but you can add a very small amount of vinegar just for the smell. When you catch them on the counter, squirt a bit of water by their feet or chest and they should quickly retreat.
Try to avoid spraying them in the face, as it can get into their eyes and cause pain or irritation. Cats generally dislike the water, so spraying any part of the body should be sufficient. For Bengals who usually like water, we suggest adding the vinegar as an extra deterrent. The added smell should do the trick.
4. Bubble Wrap
Bubble wrap combines both texture and noise deterrents and can be bought cheaply. Just lay some sheets of bubble wrap on your countertop when not in use and your Bengal will surely be scared off. Once they jump up onto the counter, both the odd texture and the loud pops will startle them, making them avoid the area.
You can continue to use this method for as long as it takes for your Bengal to associate the area with the unpleasant sensation. If you don’t want to use bubble wrap, you can also purchase special mats made for deterring pets. The main difference is that the mats are more expensive, but they can be used repeatedly, unlike the bubble wrap.
If your Bengal likes to chew on things or is prone to eating inedible objects, we suggest going with the mat or other deterrent. Bubble wrap can be dangerous if they decide to eat it. Ingested plastic can be toxic and cause blockages. Monitor your Bengal’s behavior and interactions with the bubble wrap before leaving them unattended while you are away.
5. Keep Your Counters Clean
Your kitchen counter and dining room table are spaces where you will typically have food, which in turn will attract your Bengal. Keeping your counters clean and clear of food will help your Bengal resist the desire to be up there when you are not looking.
Once you are done eating or cooking, wipe up any messes and remove any excess food as soon as possible. Remember, your Bengal has a much better sense of smell compared to you and will be able to smell food residues. Use a wet cloth or disposable wipes that are preferably lemon scented. This will help deter them and remove the food smells.
Also, you should do the dishes as often as possible, or put them straight into the dish washer. Dirty dishes in the sink still smell like food and your Bengal may investigate to see if there are any scraps left behind. Makes sure to rinse out your sink and remove anything from the drain catch as well.
Why Do Bengal Cats Scratch Furniture?
Like jumping on furniture, Bengals have natural instincts that cause them to want to scratch furniture. In nature, scratching tree bark and other surfaces helps cats grind and sharpen their claws, as well as shed old brittle nails to allow new growth.
Cats also scratch to communicate, either with other cats or other animals. Many cats have glands between their toes that will leave a scent behind, marking their territory. For example, cougars will do this within so many miles to mark their range to let other males know to back off, or to attract females.
You may have noticed that cats scratch around their litter box, or other favorite areas like their bed or their cat trees. This is them saying, “This is my area,” even if there are no other pets in the home. They are doing the exact same thing when they claw your favorite couch or expensive curtains.
This is why training them and providing scratching alternatives is so important. It will give them plenty of their own things to scratch and mark so that your furniture is of less interest. You want your Bengal to associate clawing your furniture with a negative experience, while scratching their own furniture is associated with a positive.
Should You Declaw Your Bengal Cat?
You should not declaw your Bengal cat. While it might seem convenient to have a cat who can no longer claw your furniture, declawing your Bengal cat can lead to health issues that are incredibly painful. Also, they will have to go under a lengthy procedure that may be traumatic.
Several countries and states in the US have outlawed declawing, and many veterinarians who still live in legal states have increased their prices significantly or have opted not to perform the procedure. It’s highly discouraged to have your Bengal, or any cat, declawed for both health and ethical reasons.
Imagine your nails, instead of being imbedded into the top of your nail bed, are attached to the tip of your finger’s knuckle. For cats this is a reality. Their nails grow out of their toe bones. In order to remove their claws, a portion of this bone must be removed, which would be like cutting off the tip of your finger. As you can imagine, this would be a very unpleasant experience.
Claws are used in everyday life for a cat. They help them balance, mark territory, exercise, and hunt. You may think your Bengal doesn’t hunt, but even playing with their cat toys is a form of hunting and stimulation for their mental health. Taking away a cat’s claws is like taking away what makes them what they are.
As your Bengal gets older, other signs of stress related to being declawed will start to show, including early onset arthritis, which can be incredibly painful and require medication. Even before the development of arthritis, many declawed cats will show poor walking abilities due to their toe bones being removed. This puts pressure on a Bengal’s paws and their back from not walking properly.
Studies have also shown that cats who have been declawed tend to have more stress related issues, difficulty peeing into their litter boxes, overgrooming, and more aggressive behavior. Loosing their claws affects them physically and mentally, leading to these various ailments.
In the long run, declawing may cause more health problems and you will find yourself at the vet more often. More vet visits will mean more vet bills and medication expenses. So do what’s best for your Bengal’s mental and physical well being and don’t get them declawed. Training may be less convenient, but it will be worth it.
How To Discipline A Bengal Cat
Disciplining your Bengal to avoid your furniture and other areas should never include physical corrections. This includes physically hitting your Bengal or throwing them from the area. Not only can this hurt them physically, but it will cause them to mentally associate you with a negative experience.
If you need to discipline your Bengal, try the different deterring methods we have already discussed in the previous sections. These methods have been tested and proved to work in many cases when done properly and consistently. Consistency is key. If you only use the correction sometimes, your Bengal will never learn and will more than likely be confused more than anything.
When these other deterrents fail and your Bengal is stubborn, you can also try a “timeout.” Just like with young children, a little isolation time can go a long way to send the message the behavior was wrong. Choose a room, such as a bathroom, and place them in there for five to ten minutes.
This short amount of time is sufficient and will show your Bengal they were acting poorly. Put them in timeout immediately every time they show undesirable behavior. If done correctly, they will soon learn to associate the behavior with the “timeout” and discontinue the behavior.
Keep your Bengal cat off furniture and countertops by using deterrents like loud noises, unpleasant smells and textures, and scratching posts. Never use physical corrections, as this can hurt your cat. With discipline and consistency, your Bengal cat can learn to stay off your furniture.