No Bengal Cats in Hawaii

Did you know that bengal cats are not allowed in Hawaii? Despite what the Hawaiian government website says, it is ALL bengal cats, not just non-domestic:

Prohibited Animals: The regulation of animal breeds and species that are permitted to enter Hawaii is under Plant Quarantine Branch jurisdiction and administrative rules.  Non-domestic dogs and cats and hybrids such as wolf, wolf cross, Dingo, Bengal, Savannah, etc are prohibited under Plant Quarantine (PQ) law.

I was shocked when the vet called to tell me that the cat, whom I had been working on getting to Hawaii to join his dad, was summarily rejected from Hawaiian soil based on his breed. Knowing the strict guidelines to get him to Hawaii with only a 5-day quarantine versus a 120-quarantine, I had read the website and the terms over 20 times to make sure all my i’s were dotted and my t’s crossed.

photo credit from site http://dogs-cats.wikia.com/wiki/Bengal

Why are they banned you ask? It’s actually a rather interesting tidbit of information, albeit frustrating considering my own personal experience in this process. All asian-breed cats are banned from Hawaii, and here is why. Hawaii uses water barriers to protect their endangered and protected species of animals. Asian breed cats are unafraid of water. So even the most devoted indoor cat runs the risk of escaping into paradise, and if they do escape, Hawaii’s precious protected animals are at risk of injury and death because these cats will just walk/swim/leap/pounce right through the water barrier to attack the delicious looking creature.

Oh, and do not think you can just call it a short-hair on it’s rabies test that is sent to Hawaii to begin the process. They do a thorough physical inspection as soon as the animal enters their quarantine facility, and if there is any indication of bengal or other asian breed, they are kicked out and sent back to their originating port.

So please do not trust the verbiage of the Hawaiian government’s website regarding animal importation. ALL bengals, non-domestic and domestic, are in fact banned from the island.

 

P.S., my particular story has a happy ending – this particular bengal has been embraced by a community of bengal owners and is on his way to finding a wonderful forever home.

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Maggie

Maggie is the brains behind MagGoogle. When she isn't posting stream of consciousness blog posts she is behind her camera shooting the work of Taken By Storm Photography or behind her computer working on the sites at Maggie's Web.

Comments (9)

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    Claudia Greco

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    Actually, Hawaii DOA (Department of Agriculture) isn’t banning Bengals and any other hybrid breed because they are worried about them escaping and wreaking havoc on Hawai’i’s endemic species; any cat, from a tiny little Singapura to a Maine Coon could, theoretically, get loose and start chasing red Hawaiian honeycreepers, etc. The ban originated in 2006, when someone tried to bring a full-blooded serval (exotic African cat) into Hawai’i – not only was it an exotic, not domesticated animal, but servals typically weigh 30 lbs. or more. Denied entry with his werval, the owner then tried to sue DOA, claiming that other animals with a wild ancestor were permitted in Hawai’i. Rather than fight a lawsuit, DOA simply banned the imporation of ANY animal that has a drop of wild blood which, in terms of pet cats, meant Bengals (a domestic breed crossed with Asian Leopard Cat), Savannahs (ditto, with servals), Chausies, etc.

    DOA’s measures are so Draconian, in fact, that Hawaiian Bengal breeders were banned from breeding any more Bengals, I believe, nor were they permitted to sell, “gift” or otherwise transfer any Bengals they owned to another person. Basically, the Bengals who existed in Hawai’i prior to 2006 were “grandfathered”, but no additional Bengals – even American-bred, direct from the mainland – were permitted into Hawai’i since then.

    Ocicats who, like Bengals, are spotted cats, are wholly domestic cats with no wild blood, created from crossing, usually, Abyssinians with Siamese or other domestic breeds. They can go to Hawai’i. The lab who receives a cat’s blood for rabies testing for importation into Hawai’i do not screen the DNA (an expensive and time-consuming process), but the cat is examined at the Animal Control facility by DOA at Honolulu’s airport, and by authorized vets at Kona (and Lihue, I believe), under the Direct Release program. I don’t know how DOA could tell, say, a brown-spotted Bengal from a chocolate-spotted Ocicat without being a TICA judge (CFA does not recognize Bengals, but TICA recognizes both breeds), but if anyone has tried bringing a Bengal in as a DSH or Ocicat, I’d like to know.

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    E

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    Hi there,

    Extremely bummed out to learn this information! Does this include Cheetoh Cats? Given that they come from a Bengal (technically domestic) and Ocicat (full domestic) mating, do you think they would allow a Cheetoh Cat entry?

    Reply

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      Maggie

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      It all depends on whether the cat has any relative to Japanese breeding. Although I’m fascinated to discover that a Cheetoh Cat is an actual breed!! (Boy are they cute!!!)

      Reply

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    DIANE WASSMAN

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    DOSE THE BAN ON BENGALS IN HAWAII INCLUDE THE MARBLED BENGAL CAT?

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      Maggie

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      If the Marbled Bengal Cat has any Japanese descent, than yes.

      Reply

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    Maggie

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    If the Marbled Bengal Cat has any Japanese descent, than yes.

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    Donna

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    There are only 4 states with this ban. I can understand a ban on F1, F2 & F3’s, they have more wild, huge cats and are typically the size of a medium dog. I personally would not own one. But banning all hybrid cats is ridiculous when the % wild in F4 and below is insignificant! For example, I believe an F6 has around 1.5% of the wild left. They are nothing more than domestic cats with spots AND without a DNA test, how can anyone deny entry based upon characteristics?

    This is the US Dept of Agriculture, the law should be consistent across all states and US territories.

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    Paisley

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    Hi we live in Hawaii and we were looking for bangle cats for sale and found quite a few… Is it illegal to purchase one of these cats?

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      Maggie

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      I would definitely contact the Hawaii Fish & Game and ask them. I’d hate for you to purchase a Bengal cat only to discover that you can’t keep the precious animal that you fell in love with.

      Reply

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