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Bengal question(s) for breeders (mostly I think?)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hello knowledgable breeders ,

My question is: Is there such a thing as bad breeding? And apparently there is according to the thread about backyard breeding. Of course it seems obvious now after I read it, but I'm still appalled than anyone could do that, but that's a different subject.

The reason why I am asking is because I am now worried that my little Sheeba (12 weeks) might not have such great genetics/temperament. I thought that Bengals were suppossed to be intelligent, sociable and very loving cats - that's why I decided to get one!

The first week or two we had her she was very loving and preferred to cuddle up in our laps and snuggle. Now she primarily wants to play and if I try to pet her she'll bite my fingers or grab my hand with her front paws (like my hands are toys). There is another weird issue: when she's close to my face she will try to lick and bite my eyelashes or even pound at my eyes, which is not acceptable. A couple of times she has also pounced at my face, and I didn't see it coming so I was rather alarmed. Furthermore, she is not interested in lying in our laps or next to one of us and when she is not sleeping she is very 'hyper' and I can't get her to calm down.

Is this just normal kitten behavior, and/or is it familiar to other Bengal owners/breeders.

Could her temperement be of special kind because of genetics? And if so, how good chances do we have to influence her behavior?

A second cat or kitten is not an option for us right now, and it might not be. I am the cat enthusiast in the household, if you kno what I mean...

All comments and replies are very much appreciated

Here she is, the little rascal, at 8 weeks old


post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 
I forgot to mention that my kitten will also "escape" from me (I hope she's not scared of me) and when we have visitors over and they greet her, she bites their hands too. Not violently but still...?!

All we want is a happy, well-adjusted cat I'm afraid my boyfriend wants to return her if something doesn't happen, or someone can assure me that she IS normal. I would not like to return her
post #3 of 29
For starters, most GOOD breeders will not let their kittens go to new homes till about 12-16 weeks - pedigrees are usually 16 weeks. So the breeder you got your kitten from should have kept her longer. Did you get her at 8 weeks old?

During the time from 6-12/16 weeks is crucial for learning how to play properly with mom/siblings, and other adult cats/dogs and even people. When you adopt the kitten too young, they redirect that behavior to you with not so good results.

Some kittens grow out of it and the biggest problem is that since your kitten is an only kitten, you will have a harder time getting thru the important stages.

How come the breeder let the kittens go so earlY? And I'm kinda surprised that the breeder didn't tell you about Bengals and the need for companionship. As with Ocicats, its best to have other pets in the house (cats or dogs). Both breeds are not good as "only" cats.
post #4 of 29
Honestly, two cats are not really any more expensive or troublesome to deal with than one. My vet suggested I get two. I've seen the result of a kitten not having companionship and it's so bad. My friend's cat was a total monster until he went to live with her mother. I love almost all cats but he was one I just couldn't bring myself to like. He would attack HARD leaving bloody claw & bite marks. He shredded the bed's box spring AND the mattress from the inside.

I highly recommend getting a second kitten. They will make each other very happy and educate each other on proper cat behavior. On top of that, by the time you get home to play with them they'll be worn out from a day of play with each other and you can get snuggle time with them.

Some of what you described sounds like normal kitten behavior but a lot of his wildness can be helped with kitty-company.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
To dauntingfire:

Hmm...ok. If I can persuade my boyfriend to get a 2nd kitten...would they have to be same age, same sex?

I mean, one kitten, the one we have now is a handful (female, 12 weeks). The thought of a 2nd arrival just makes me stressed and feel exhausted already.

Is it possible to get an older kitten, that's already neutered?
post #6 of 29
If you adopt another cat, go with a neutered male. Females tend to be more accepting of a male then another female. Is this kitten spayed yet? If not, that would help some.

There are some Bengals that would be ok as only cats, but with kittens, it would be better if there was another kitty playmate rather then you and your bf. Bengals are very active cats and need attention. If both of you work outside the home during the day, then you really need another kitten for her. Otherwise, she's alone all day and when you come in, then needs to release all that built up energy.

Nial is one of the Bengal experts around here. Hopefully he will reply to this and help you out.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheeba07 View Post
To dauntingfire:

Hmm...ok. If I can persuade my boyfriend to get a 2nd kitten...would they have to be same age, same sex?

I mean, one kitten, the one we have now is a handful (female, 12 weeks). The thought of a 2nd arrival just makes me stressed and feel exhausted already.

Is it possible to get an older kitten, that's already neutered?
Honestly, my husband was really leery of it as well. But I was positive he would be more frustrated with a single crazy kitten than two well adjusted cats. You can get a slightly older cat, maybe 6 months to a year? If you go get to know some of the kittens at a rescue you may be able to find one that's active enough to play with a kitten but calm enough for you to handle it.

Also, just make sure you seperate the two cats for a few weeks and introduce them slowly. Also get the new cat checked by a vet to make sure they don't bring anything contagious from the shelter.

Golden has the right idea! Hope these ideas have been helpful.
post #8 of 29
2 kittens keep each other busy for a lot of the time. They will still want to play with you some, but a good deal of their energy will be expended chasing each other around and wrestling. They'll pounce on each other rather than on you! They will also teach each other some boundaries such as 'biting hurts' and 'don't use claws'. I think with 2 kittens of around the same age you will find you won't be the main subject for those sometimes painful kitten games
post #9 of 29
i'm in full agreement with the two kittens approach. i also recently got a bengal kitten. because i already have a papa cat at home and another adolescent, the bengal, cohiba behike is an absolute darling with people. but i have eyes and i can see how rought he can get with the older two. they teach him patiently most times. and he was already 16 weeks when he came home.
post #10 of 29
Is that what his official name is Alicia???? And Nail, FYI I help choose Alicia's new kitten based on YOUR cats
post #11 of 29
nope, that's what i call him. his papers are on the way. you should see him play. it is wonderful. canto gets as high as he can to supervise and kit and cohiba are like turbo charged lunatics!
post #12 of 29
I'm not a breeder, but have done a lot of research on Bengals before adopting one.

Please read this information, from Nial's website, talking about how nutty Bengals can be. (I adopted Penny from Nial, he is on TCS as Kai Bengals.)

They are known for their constant need for playtime, and can be quite destructive if their needs aren't met, because they need constant mental stimulation.

If you adopted this little darling with the thought that she would be an affectionate lap cat, I'm very sorry to tell you that you were misled. Most Bengals prefer to lie next to you rather than on you. They ARE affectionate, but on their terms, not yours.

The biting is just a kitten thing, and should be discouraged by putting her away from you and turning your back on her. If you ignore her after she bites, she will learn not to, because she craves your attention. Going after your eyes is because she doesn't know what they are, she is very young, and she thinks they are pretty toys, especially when you blink.

You need to stock up on as many INTERACTIVE toys as possible, and play with her for at LEAST an hour every day, preferably more than that.

A companion for her - preferably another Bengal that will have the same energy levels - is a really, really good idea.

Bengals are really wonderful little creatures, but you must understand them in order to best appreciate them. I think reading Nial's website info will give you a bit more insight into what it is like to own one of these little nutcases.
post #13 of 29
Don't worry about Alicia Betsy, she's well armed for hi- energy kittens, trust me on that!
post #14 of 29
thanks for the vote of confidence. mine is a little atypical in that respect though. strangely, cohiba loves splaying himself on your lap for stroking. he also likes being carried around by the kids. and he wraps himself round the baby's head at night and purrs. i think he thinks it makes for sweeter dreams
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abymummy View Post
Don't worry about Alicia Betsy, she's well armed for hi- energy kittens, trust me on that!
Hi Adilah

Actually, I was specifically responding to the original poster, Sheeba, about the female kitten she adopted that is biting.
post #16 of 29
My bad Betsy! But all you said is true re. biting!
post #17 of 29
Ok I have a bengal cat Nikita and she's an only cat. It can work but it's really a lot of work and it would have been better for me to have two kittens from the start. Now I'm stuck with a female Bengal that hates other cats so it's to late for me now. Please think seriously about getting another cat it could really make everyone's life easier.

Basically Bengal cats are very social and intelligent usually, however their being social is more in a "wants to play with you all the time" sort of way rather than "wants to snuggle with you lots"

You have a spotted (or marbled) dynamo of fluff now. Your kitten NEEDS to get a healthy outlet for her energy. It will either be by you playing with her for hours every single day or by getting another kitten she can play with. If you ignore her and don't play enough with her she'll get destructive. It's not that she's a bad cat, it's just basically imagine someone getting a border collie from working lines and then being surprised when the dog wants to run around herding sheep all day instead of hanging out in front of the fireplace.

So yeah having a bengal as an only cat can work but it requires a lot of work and it's a huge commitment of your time and energy.

Bored cats often start biting and attacking feet and hands because they need to hunt and feet move around and behave a tiny bit like prey from their point of view. Young active cats are usually a lot more interested in running around and playing than being pet and snuggling, that's completely normal.

Anyway good luck and please keep us updated on what you decide to do and how it goes.
post #18 of 29
Siggav is right - they can be a real handful. If anything, your kitty's behaviour is typical of a well-bred bengal more than of one with poor bloodlines !

I've got two and I'm so glad of it. I can't even imagine what destruction only one would cause if they didn't have each other to keep them busy during the day. It's bad enough as it is! Mine are best buddies and came as a set - although not from the same litter, they are from the same breeder and had been inseperable since they were little kittens (Lily is actually Rajah's aunt, although she is only 6 weeks older than he is). In fact, Lily comes from very good lines, her father being a champianship show cat, yet she's the least snuggly of the two and will not tolerate being picked up (oddly though, as she flails about with claws extended while you're picking her up, she's purring the whole time - can't figure that one out). She loves attention and being petted, but she is definitely not a lap cat. Rajah on the other hand, will snuggle up on you for a bath or a nap, but is still far from being as much of a lap cat as my old tabby, Eliza. They're very typical bengals from what I understand. If you want a snuggly lap cat, the Bengal breed is NOT what you should choose
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good advice everyone. I will keep you updated on what happens next

I must say that I'm disappointed that the breeders I've talked to don't inform potential buyers better. Then this could all have been avioded. I have talked to 4 or 5 different breeders, from different parts of the country, over a longer period of time before buying a kitten. None of them said anything in particular about the Bengal not thriving as an only cat OR mentioned that they were not "lap cats". Of course they have the "About" link on their site, but they primarily say the same.

We are considering a second cat, but because of other reasons can't get one until two weeks from now. And then there's the introduction period and everything which also takes some time. Who knows if the two will even get along if we buy one?! Anyway, we will do our best regarding the biting, and her destructive behavior and see if she improves.
post #20 of 29
Well, I have one really cuddly bengal, who demands my lap, lies down in bed and traps me there, and demands attention from everyone she meets. She will also willingly let people, any people, pick her up, cart her around and basically do whatever you want to her PROVIDED YOU ARE NOT THE VET.

That being said, our other Bengal is a touch me not (he's an F3).. when he growls he sounds like a demon possessed him and he *hates* new cats, unless, of course, they are kittens and then he fathers them to death. Sit still kid, your ears need cleaned.

Okay, that being said, I absolutely have to play with them every single day or they are lunatics. Sometimes, I'm really not in the mood to play with them, but I have to say, I'm a lot less in the mood to go zipping around the house after them, removing them from the top of the curtains, bookshelves, furniture... I like my feet to *not* be used as good footing for their makeshift racetrack when they're busy zipping around the house at speeds faster than lightening over every obstacle jumping 5 feet in the air and changing directions midleap, body slamming themselves into any various number of obstacles because it doesn't occur to them that they can't stop...

Yeah, I have to play with mine or we get the above result. Oh, I forgot the digging things out of the trash, finding things i never even knew existed in my house, clawing and shredding any available paper including but not limited to toilet paper, paper towels, newspapers, mail, magazines.. dropping things in water, playing in the toilets, figuring out new and various ways to get their toys from the highest places, how to open doors, turn lights on and off, make the drums on the walls make noises..

But overall they are well worth having and most of what you're describing is kittenhood related. The first year is the hardest. The f3 has calmed down considerably but Joyeux still isn't a year old yet. She's got another kitten to play with though (another high energy breed).. so..yeah, at any given time you might find four cats zipping around here like lunatics.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheeba07 View Post
We are considering a second cat, but because of other reasons can't get one until two weeks from now. And then there's the introduction period and everything which also takes some time. Who knows if the two will even get along if we buy one?! Anyway, we will do our best regarding the biting, and her destructive behavior and see if she improves.
In my breed many breeders do suggest getting two kittens if you don't have other cats in the home. I have one cat, but also have inside dogs that serve as outlets for play time, which helps a lot, more than I know probably.
Since your kitten is still young the intro phase shouldn't take long I wouldn't think, go with an altered male and try to find one that matches her energy level.
post #22 of 29
It's much much much easier to introduce a cat when they are under a year than when they are older. Really if you need to wait a few weeks thats no problem, just play with her a lot and come to a decision with your husband.

Bengals are -AMAZING- but I specifically didn't get them because of their high energy level. >_>; I just couldn't handle it, I don't think...I managed to find a Siamese/Thai breeder who listened carefully to my personality request and when one of her kittens showed that personality she told me right away. It worked out well!

This is a great chance to go to a local shelter and rescue a baby, btw.
post #23 of 29
I know talking to the Ocicats breeders most ask if you have other pets (dogs/cats) and we were told beforehand that Oci's need a friend to play with if you are not home to entertain them

So at the shows, we do recommend that you don't get an Oci unless you have other cats or stay at home. I'm surprised that the Bengal breeders you talked to, didn't ask. I've heard some Bengal breeders in our area tell people the same thing - get 2 kittens if you have no other cats/dogs at home.
post #24 of 29
By the way, I forgot to say what a beautiful baby she is!! Just adorable (which is good, because she'll need to get by on that overwhelming cuteness when she's sitting at the top of your curtains on the curtain rod like Pogue was this morning).
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
HAHA...thanks CatsAreBetter. Everyone say that when I show pics of Sheeba, and my reply most often is:"Don't be fooled by her cuteness, she's a mischievous energy-bomb"
post #26 of 29
Bengal's are extremely high energy cats, but in my opinion, they are so much more fun than a relaxed, quiet, cat. Yes, they do some crazy things. Simba can be found hanging out on top of the doors. He plays in the kitty water dish, and he has fun pouncing on top of the other cats. When he plays, he plays with vigor and intensity. Here's a pix of my Simba when he was about 6 months old, playing with a catnip filled toy. Note, the wild eyes.

post #27 of 29
Will agree with your active cats statement and being more fun. I've had rexes and ocicats - both very active breeds. I'd be bored to death with a cat that was too laid back and laid around the house just looking pretty
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Will agree with your active cats statement and being more fun. I've had rexes and ocicats - both very active breeds. I'd be bored to death with a cat that was too laid back and laid around the house just looking pretty
Hey, that's my persian you are talking about.

That's all he does basically. I think persians would be a great cat for someone elderly as they are very laid back, but I am not elderly yet. I am thinking of something with a little more energy for my third cat, but I don't want the cat to go crazy and destroy everything either.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferd View Post
Hey, that's my persian you are talking about.

That's all he does basically. I think persians would be a great cat for someone elderly as they are very laid back, but I am not elderly yet. I am thinking of something with a little more energy for my third cat, but I don't want the cat to go crazy and destroy everything either.
I don't know how well your Persian would appreciate getting a high energy cat like a Bengal, though. I don't know if an Ocicat would have quite the energy level of a Bengal, because I've never been around an Oci or a Rex for that matter. However, I can tell you, that my Bengal's especially Simba, can out energy my Siamese, and I believe Siamese are not considered laid back cats.
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