Bengal Cat Legal and Illegal States 2024


Originated in the United States, the Bengal cat is an offspring of a wild male Asian leopard cat and a female domestic cat. The first Bengal cat was born in California in 1963 when a breeder named Jean Mill crossed a male Asian Leopard cat with a female Domestic Shorthair cat. Bengal cats were accepted by The International Cat Association in 1983.

Because Bengals are a cross between a wild exotic cat and a domestic cat, a few US states and cities do not allow their resident to keep them as house pets. Some states allow F4 and later-generation Bengal cats. The F1 Bengal cat is the first generation offspring of a male Asian leopard cat and a female house cat.

F1 Bengal Cats are considered 50% wild, thus being restricted in some states and cities. The F2 Bengal cat is a cross between an F1 Bengal and a domestic cat. F3 Bengals are a cross between an F2 Bengal and a domestic cat while the F4 Bengal is an offspring of an F3 Bengal and a house cat, and so on. F4 Bengals and later generations are allowed in many states because they are far from their wild ancestry, precisely deemed 20 to 10 percent wild.

Two Bengal Cats

Most states do not allow early-generation Bengal cats (F1, F2, and F3) in part because they are closer to their wild ancestry and often retain much of their untamed nature unlike later-generation Bengals (F4 to F8), which are four to eight generations removed from the Asian leopard cat. With all this in mind, below are the states in which Bengal cats are legal and the states wherein they aren't.

Washington DC allows all generations of Bengal cats to be kept as pets, according to DC CODE § 8-1808.

States That Allow All Generations of Bengal Cats

All filial generations of Bengal cats are allowed to be kept as pets in the following states: Wyoming, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington, Virginia, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Oklahoma, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Missouri, Mississippi, Minnesota, Michigan, Maryland, Maine, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Georgia, Florida, Delaware, California, Arkansas, Arizona, and Alabama.

However, residents need to obtain a permit to own a Bengal cat in the state of Delaware. In some Indiana counties, you may need to obtain a permit to own a Bengal cat, even though the state allows all generations of Bengals. All generations of Bengal cats are legal in Washington State except in the city of Seattle. While all Bengal cats are allowed in Oregon, some cities or counties in The Beaver State may have restrictions.

Bengal Cats are legal to own with a permit in the state of Texas. However, most counties in The Lone Star State have restrictions. Consequently, it is important to check your local animal ordinances before purchasing a Bengal cat in Texas.

In the state of Georgia, you can't own any Bengal cat without a license, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

States That Allow F4 and Later Bengal Cats

It is legal to own F4 and later-generation Bengals in the following states: Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.

F5 and later Bengal Cats are legal everywhere in New York State except in New York City. All Bengals are banned in The Big Apple.

States Wherein Bengal Cats are Illegal

In the states of Connecticut and Hawaii, residents are not allowed to keep Bengal Cats as pets. According to Connecticut laws and regulations, Bengal cats are banned in Connecticut out of a concern for rabies. Nevertheless, the law permits individuals to own F4 Bengal cats if only the cats were registered with the Department of Agriculture by October 1, 1996. Only 18 people have registered their Bengal cats in the Constitution State to date.

How Much Do Bengal Cats Cost in The United States?

The price of Bengal cats in the United States depends on their filial generation. Because of the challenges breeders face to produce them, earlier-generation Bengal cats (F1 to F3) are usually more expensive than subsequent generations. Below are the prices of Bengal cats in the United States based on their filial generation:
  • F1 Bengal Cats: $2k to $10k
  • F2 Bengal Cats: $1.5k to $5k
  • F3 Bengal Cats: $1k to $2k
  • F4 Bengal Cats: $500 to $1k

However, you can purchase an adult Bengal cat from a Bengal cat rescue in the US for $150 to $200.

Do Bengal Cats Make Good Pets?

By all accounts, Bengal cats are affectionate, playful, and loyal and tend to create an incredibly strong bond with their owners, just like the Savannah cat, which is an offspring of a wild African cat and a domestic cat. Furthermore, Bengals are intelligent and very social felines that are known to do well in households with more than one pet. Finally, Bengals are very energetic and healthy felines, and if well cared for, can live for up to 18 years.


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