stillmeadow bengals

 

 

"God made the cat so that man might have the pleasure of caressing the lion ."

F. Mery

Home The Bengal Cat Bengals as Pets Bengal Kittens Bengal Queens Bengal Studs Previous Kittens Mike's Page

 

 

  INTRODUCING

  HEALTHCARE

  FEEDING

  LITTER BOXES

  TRAINING

  INSIDE OR OUT

  TOYS

  SPAY NEUTER

  DECLAWING

  MORE TIPS

  IS A BENGAL CAT THE PET FOR ME?
The Bengal cat is a unique domestic cat descended from the Asian Leopard Cat. This gives them some special characteristics. Some questions to consider to help you decide if a Bengal cat is the right pet for you:
  • Do you want an active, vocal cat? Bengals are very active and can be quite vocal. Most would not be considered 'lap' cats. As a general rule, most Bengals do not like to sit around and cuddle.
  • Do you want a cat that looks like a little leopard? One of the recognized Bengal cat colors is the brown spotted leopard.
  • Do you have time to keep up with the needs of a Bengal cat? Bengals are fastidious and particular about their litter boxes. The litter box must be cleaned frequently or they will no longer use it. They are also very active and curious and creative about getting into things and up into high places.
  • Do you have time to carefully watch the diet of a Bengal cat? Some Bengals have sensitive stomachs and require a stable, balanced diet of high quality cat food. Sometimes more meat than a normal domestic cat is required.
  • Are you willing to 'cat-proof' your home for a Bengal cat? Bengals are very active and love to run, jump, and climb. They will get on your shelves and knock over your knick-knacks. They will climb up your curtains and sit on the top of your door frames. They will learn how to turn lights on and off and how to open doors. Unrolling toilet paper is a favorite game.

Stillmeadow Bengals will stay in touch with new owners should questions come up; our goal is to have Stillmeadow Bengals in wonderful, forever homes with satisfied owners.

Owning a Bengal cat- or any animal- is a lifelong commitment. A sad fact of life is that circumstances may change, forcing owners to give up a beloved pet, as in the members of our military when they are assigned overseas. Or the owner who develops life-threatening allergies. Or the renter who must move to a new place that does not accept pets. Or, saddest of all, the person who simply says, "we just don't want him anymore." As a result, these animals may be dropped off in shelters or abandoned. Fortunately, there is an active group of dedicated volunteers who help find these misplaced Bengal cats new homes. Volunteers and foster parents are always welcome. Click on The Bengal Rescue Network for more information.

     

INTRODUCING THE NEW BENGAL INTO THE HOUSEHOLD

 

   

The Bengal cat is a unique cat, combining the beauty and intelligence of the Asian Leopard Cat with the desirable qualities of the domestic cat. Their inherited confidence when facing new situations helps them adapt quickly to new situations. The Bengal cat is cautious but usually not fearful. When given time to size up a situation, they will usually stroll in to investigate. At our home, our Bengals are raised underfoot as part of the family. This makes them desire human companionship.

The following steps can help ease the transition of your new kitten to your home: 

  • The new Bengal kitten will be scared from the ride to his new home and feeling lonely. Be patient and give him lots of love and attention. It is exciting to have a new kitten but visitors should be limited at first because it can be overwhelming to the kitten.

  • At first, keep your new kitten isolated in a small area such as a bedroom or bathroom. Have a box with soft bedding or some other type of bed where he can ‘escape’ and hide if he feels scared. The kitten will come out as he feels more secure. A litter box, water dish and dry kitten food need to be close. Use the same litter and food as he had in the past. This is very important! 

  •  The kitten should be introduced to the other household pets slowly and NEVER before an initial vet check.  It is best to have a barrier between the new kitten and other pets for two weeks. This gives him a chance to adjust to the new home, time to eat and use the litter box without feeling threatened by other resident pets, and keeps him from being exposed to the new germs that the household pets carry. Your new Bengal may sniff and play with your other pets under the door. This is a good way to let them get acquainted. Placing your new Bengal in a pet carrier and putting it where the other animals may investigate it is another way to let the household pets meet one another.

  • If you have cats already, they may not want the newcomer to use their litter box and eat from their bowls, so the new kitten will need one of his own. As a general rule, you should have one more litter box than the total number of cats in the household. See LITTER BOXES FOR BENGALS.

  • A new home can be a confusing maze at first. Gradually take him on trips through the house, until he learns how to find his way around.

  • Young children should be supervised at all times around the new kitten. They can inadvertently hurt or scare the kitten.

  • As your kitten becomes comfortable in his new home, he will begin to explore and play. This is when he can get into quite a bit of mischief. Bengals like to be up high and are excellent climbers and jumpers. They are VERY athletic. It may be necessary to pack away some of the knick-knacks and delicate valuables on display. Unrolling the toilet paper and then shredding it is especially fun. It is important to provide him with toys and a cat tree so he does not play with forbidden objects and does not scratch the furniture (see TOYS FOR YOUR BENGAL CAT).

   

 

HEALTHCARE FOR THE BENGAL CAT

 

   

Your new kitten should be checked by your veterinarian within 72 hours of receipt of the kitten. This is for your protection, as well as ours and the kitten.

The kitten vaccinations have been started. See his medical record for the list of vaccines already given. Bengals require the same vaccinations as a domestic cat. Vaccines may make a kitten feel lethargic or feverish for 24 hours after innoculation. At the initial vet check, your vet should set up a schedule for boosters. Generally, a kitten receives three boosters, about 3-4 weeks apart, then annually thereafter. This series starts between six and eight weeks.  A rabies vaccination is given around 16 weeks although this may vary by state.  FeLV and FIP immunizations should be considered carefully and discussed with your vet. If your cat is kept indoors, and never exposed to other cats, these vaccinations may not be necessary. If  you have cats that roam freely outdoors, you may wish to vaccinate your kitten against these serious diseases. Your vet should be able to help you decide whether or not these vaccinations are necessary.

The litter of kittens is checked for worms during their first visit to the vet at around 8 weeks; however, your vet will probably want to do an examination for parasites. Some parasitic worms are common in animals, but easily treated. An examination will also include a check for fleas, ticks and ear mites, common external parasites.

A kitten get get sick quickly due to his small size and developing immune system. Any signs of illness must be taken seriously. Contact your vet immediately if the kitten develops any of the following: diarrhea or bloody stools, vomiting, loss of appetite, sneezing or runny nose, fever, coughing, weepy or swollen eyes, patches of hair loss, rash, itching ears, or listlessness, or behavior out of the ordinary.

   

 

FEEDING THE BENGAL CAT

 

    Most Bengals can eat the same food as other breeds of cats. A high quality pet food is highly recommended. Bengal cats can have sensitive stomachs and any changes in diet must be made very slowly to avoid causing stomach upset and diarrhea. He should remain on the same food he had previously for several weeks while he is adjusting to his new environment. Meat should be the main ingredient of the kitten food whenever possible. Try to avoid corn/corn fillers. Do not give your kitten table scraps or milk, no matter how tempting. This can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. He can remain on kitten food for a year. There must always be a readily available source of fresh water for drinking.

There are many schools of thought as to the best food for your Bengal cat. The internet is filled with information. Some Bengal owners feed meat in addition to the cat's regular diet.  Others feed meat exclusively. Some breeders feel that Bengals are allergic to corn and/or corn fillers. Many avoid dry cat food altogether. What works best for you and your Bengal may not be the best for another Bengal due to individual differences and availability of various cat foods. Research into this subject is recommended. Just remember- always make changes in diet slowly, mixing the new food into the old food in tiny amounts to see how it will be tolerated.

     

LITTER BOXES FOR THE BENGAL CAT

 

    Bengal kittens are taught by their mothers to use the litter box, so your kitten will be trained when he arrives. Remember that in a new environment, the kitten may not be able to find the litter box alone. He is very small and your home is  confusing at first, especially if there are several levels. This is why your Bengal kitten should be restricted to a small area at first (see INTRODUCING YOUR NEW BENGAL INTO YOUR HOUSEHOLD). Soon he will learn his way around. If you have a multi-stored home, you may wish to have a litter box on each level.   

A flat uncovered box is an excellent choice. Some kittens are afraid to go into covered litter boxes. Clay litter is a good choice; clumping litter has been suspected of causing bowel obstructions through ingestion. It is important to use the same brand of litter that he has already used.

Bengals will not tolerate a dirty litter box. It should be kept as clean as possible. Solid waste must be removed daily. The litter should be completely discarded and replaced frequently.

If your kitten does not use the litter box readily or quits using it at some point in time, don't punish him. He will only become hostile and avoid coming around you  (See TRAINING THE BENGAL CAT). There is usually a reason for this behavior. A few questions to consider:

  • Is the cat ill? A trip to the vet is needed to rue out a medical cause; frequently, cats with urinary tract infections quit using their litter box.
  • Is the litter box in a private, quiet area? Make sure the litter box is in a secluded, low-traffic area where he won't be startled.
  • Have you changed the type of litter you were using?  Strongly scented litters may have too strong a smell for the cat's sensitive nose.
  • Has the litter box been used by other cats? If you have several cats in one area, you will need one more litter box than you have cats (i.e., two cats, three litter boxes).
  • Are you keeping the litter box clean? Solid waste should be scooped out at least daily, and the used litter completely replaced frequently. It is a good idea to clean the litter box thoroughly when the litter is completely changed. Good habits on your part will insure proper litter box use by your cat.
  • If the cat is using a place other than a his litter box, is there a reason why he thinks it is ok? Potted plants have sand and/or dirt that is attractive to cats; you can cover the soil with decorative stones to discourage this (make sure you do not have any poisonous plants in your home!) Some Bengals will use the bath tub as a litter box. If a medical cause cannot be identified, this could be due to an inherited instinct to use the bathroom in running water as the Asian Leopard Cat does.
  • Are the feces just outside of the litter box? Remember that Bengals are longer than your average housecat. He may be in the litter box but cannot fit in it entirely. A large plastic box available at most discount stores will be the solution to the problem.
   
TRAINING THE BENGAL CAT

 

    Kittens are full of mischief and fun, especially the intelligent Bengal. You will be amazed at the things they can get into while you are not paying attention! It is important to teach them good behavior. Bengals, because they are highly intelligent, are easily trained. As a first step towards having a well-behaved cat, you will need to provide your active, intelligent Bengal with toys to help him stay out of mischief (see TOYS FOR THE BENGAL CAT).

You should never use force or strike your cat with your hand; this will make him scared of you. He will not forget and will avoid being around you. A water pistol is useful as a discipline tool. You can also use a flyswatter or rolled up newspaper to slap the table or ground, making a loud noise when you need to get his attention (again, you should NEVER strike your cat). Kittens should not be encouraged to play rough or to bite. Avoid putting the kitten on his back and tickling or rubbing his tummy because this action gets him excited and encourages biting. Any behavior which gets the kitten overly excited should be avoided. Your kitten needs to learn that hands are not toys. Give him a toy to play with if he continues to bite or attack your hands. Children should not be allowed to play rough or tease the kitten, because when he is grown, he will play too rough.

Bengals can be easily trained to walk on a leash, especially when this is started as a young kitten.

 Be consistent in your training, and firm. Remember that the Bengal is self-centered, and will attempt to have things go his way. Bengals do not do things to deliberately upset or punish you. Often, a cat will develop a bad habit but he might feel that what he is doing is natural or logical. In these situations, you need to ask yourself why is he behaving in this manner? Once you find an answer to this, look for a constructive way to change his behavior.  

     

INSIDE OR OUTSIDE FOR THE BENGAL CAT

 

    Cats should stay inside due to the dangers of the automobile and infectious diseases carried by stray cats and other animals. If a cat is allowed to go outside, even if it is very rare, he will start sitting by the door, ready to dash out every time the door is opened. Then he will no longer want to be indoors with you.  A cat that stays indoors all the time is perfectly content. In addition, cats that are allowed to roam outside may start spraying to mark their territory even if they are neutered/spayed. . This is a territorial behavior trait, not sexual. When going outdoors, they develop an awareness of the presence of other cats and so they feel the need to mark their territory.
     

TOYS FOR THE BENGAL CAT

 

    Bengal cats love to play and interact with their owners. They are not loners and usually seek out companions. These cats will be curious about almost everything so it is easy to find toys they will enjoy. Even simple things like paper bags, cardboard boxes, and wadded up newspaper will do. Avoid using small items that could be swallowed and cause choking. Feather teasers are always enjoyed. Even a single large feather such as a peacock feather is fun to chase. There are fake mice available in stores with pet supplies; Bengals love to 'capture' the mice and frequently hide them in a special place. Ping-pong balls in the bathtub or on the floor are great fun and chasing a laser pointer can entertain your Bengal for hours.

All Bengal cats need a medium to large cat tree. Cat trees can be used for climbing and for cat 'manicures'. Wild cats use tree trunks for grooming and sharpening their claws; your Bengal cat needs a cat tree so he can remove the older outer sheaths of his claws to expose the sharp new claw beneath. All cats enjoy the stretching and pulling activity associated with sharpening their claws. This natural activity is necessary; if a cat tree is not provided, your Bengal cat may find something else to use for sharpening his claws like your furniture! When buying or building a cat tree, make sure that the base is sturdy enough to keep it from tipping over when your Bengal climbs to the top. Some cat trees will brace against the ceiling for added stability. A cat tree with tall posts wrapped with carpet or sisal rope are an excellent choice. The cat tree should have at least one post that is tall enough to allow the adult cat to stretch all the way out. There are elaborate scratching posts with hammocks, tunnels, shelves, and different levels that go as high as the ceiling that Bengals especially love because of their athletic abilities and love of climbing to high perches. It is fun to watch your cat climbing his cat tree- and, as an added bonus, he will be much less likely to scratch the furniture.  

Bengal cats usually have a love of water. They enjoy splashing in running water from a faucet and may even get in the shower or bathtub. Many Bengals enjoy chasing balls or other toys in the bathtub.

     

NEUTERING OR SPAYING THE BENGAL CAT

 

   

Neutering (males) or spaying (females) is highly recommended. Many vets do this at a young age. When Bengals are purchased as pets, they must be neutered/spayed. It is critical for you to neuter/spay before your cat reaches sexual maturity, to prevent undesirable sexual activity, such as spraying. It can be very difficult to stop a cat from spraying once he starts. It should be noted that female cats spray as well.

In additional to preventing unwanted urination outside of a litter box, neutering/spaying has other benefits:

  • Spayed/neutered pets are less distracted by sexual instincts and bond more to family members.

  • Spayed/neutered pets do not try to get outside and roam to find mates.

  • Spayed/neutered cats do not feel the need to fight other cats for mates and territory.

     

DECLAWING THE BENGAL CAT

 

   

Declawing involves permanent removal of the cat's claws. Stillmeadow Bengals does not support declawing cats. With proper toys and minimal training, cats will sharpen their claws on a cat tree or other suitable item. See the website declawing.com for more information.

     

ADDITIONAL TIPS ON THE BENGAL CAT

 

    For more TIPS on raising, training, and caring for your new Bengal, you can order Gene Ducote’s book, "Getting to Know the Bengal Cat.". This book is a must for the new Bengal owner, as it explains all details of caring for the Bengal kitten. It covers topics such as selection of a kitten, the different colors, diseases and immunizations, plus many more. Go to her website at Gogees for more information.

For more information e-mail stillmeadowbengals@gmail.com