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My Bengal <SIGH>

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
After doing lots of reading on Bengals we decided to get one for my son who had previously lost his cat of 3 years.
So we got from a reputable breeder, he was shipped to us at 12 weeks. We were very excited, such playful friendly cats Bengals are, or so we thought.
This cat is now 8 months old, he doesnt like people. From day one he has been skittish and I MEAN skittish, if you even head towards him he is GONE. If you do get to pick him up he will tear you to pieces <he doesnt mean to> to get away. He has never ever shown aggression, even when I once had to poke a pill down him, but I do still have the scars from that incident.
Now, he adores our other DSH cats, they play, sleep and eat together but he cant stand us.
We tried treats and gentle voice for MONTHS, we have tried Feliway, NOTHING <sigh>
He is such a cute fella and we just want to pet him and give him some affection. Right now he is just a fixture that eats and poops. The few times I have forced him to be petted he acted completely disgusted at my touch LOL
Im at wits end, vet says he is perfectly healthy and blames it on the breed, says the breed is skittish. That is NOT what Ive read and that is not what Bengal breeders say.
Any advice at all?
post #2 of 17
I'm not an expert on this subject, and this is just my opinion. It sounds like your kitten might have been poorly socialized by the breeder during his early weeks. What generation is he?
post #3 of 17
Also is he neutered?
post #4 of 17
How old is your son ?
I know a few people in person who have Bengals and all of them are good cats and you can pet them .
There are some members here on board who have a Bengal , maybe they see this thread .
post #5 of 17
Dear Bellabia,

I don't know what to say. I got my bengal from a breeder called Bengoria. I checked him out with other breeders. I have taken in a stray that is not at all socialize with humans. It has taken me months to get close to him. It takes time, time patience and persisitance.

Maybe it is better. I dearly love my Bengal, Curzon. But he can be a very bad cat. I just now brought him in. He was out all night. He heard me calling and he knew it was time to come in, but he doesn't care that I worry about him.

I would do some more research on the breeder.

Goblin
post #6 of 17
Bengals are not naturally skittish!! It sounds like the breeder didn't socialize him very well. What generation is he? The earlier generations are not as cuddly, do you know what gen. he is? My young bengal girl is certainly not a lap cat, but she is very friendly with people, even strangers, and very affectionate. It sounds like you will just have to keep taking it slow with him.
Your vet probably thinks bengals are skittish because they usually don't behave very well at the vets (mine included)!
post #7 of 17
Hi Bellabia,

I'm not an expert on breeds, least of all on Bengals. I just admire 'em in photos and such.

In general, though, forcing a cat to be sociable doesn't pay off the way you'd think. It seems as though it has been rather a long time that you have had sociability issues with your cat -- have you been in touch with the breeder during the course of the months past? I would definitely call the breeder and discuss the cat's behavior and so on with him or her.

You are pretty clearly, from the sound of your post, miffed at the rejection, and who wouldn't be? But I would not give up until I had had a long serious talk with the breeder -- find out if there's something you just filtered out when listening earlier about the breed and this cat in particular. I would also find a behavior-oriented veterinarian or animal behavior consultant, and try working with this problem with them. Some of what you are describing resembles the way that a "feral" cat would react and behave -- I DO work a lot with such cats -- and that behavior CAN be modified given enough patience and gentle persistence.

I believe that cats are very much like people: they form some habits and their own preferences and views, but they ARE still flexible, and they can and do change how they behave, given the right motivation and a supportive environment. I wouldn't be surprised if a Bengal cat required a different amount of interaction to bring out his best, than some of the more "ordinary" cat breeds.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellabia
After doing lots of reading on Bengals we decided to get one for my son who had previously lost his cat of 3 years.
So we got from a reputable breeder, he was shipped to us at 12 weeks. We were very excited, such playful friendly cats Bengals are, or so we thought.
This cat is now 8 months old, he doesnt like people. From day one he has been skittish and I MEAN skittish, if you even head towards him he is GONE. If you do get to pick him up he will tear you to pieces <he doesnt mean to> to get away. He has never ever shown aggression, even when I once had to poke a pill down him, but I do still have the scars from that incident.
Now, he adores our other DSH cats, they play, sleep and eat together but he cant stand us.
We tried treats and gentle voice for MONTHS, we have tried Feliway, NOTHING <sigh>
He is such a cute fella and we just want to pet him and give him some affection. Right now he is just a fixture that eats and poops. The few times I have forced him to be petted he acted completely disgusted at my touch LOL
Im at wits end, vet says he is perfectly healthy and blames it on the breed, says the breed is skittish. That is NOT what Ive read and that is not what Bengal breeders say.
Any advice at all?

My thoughts/advice:

Was he mother raised or bottled?

I would tend to agree with the consensus, he was poorly socialized.

To further complicate matters, there were other cats of various ages in his new home, plus these strange creatures called humans(they prefer 'owner').

The cats he gets along with just fine, and the humans, well he doesn't need them for much of anything, all they ever do anyways is try to force themselves onto him. Food is always there, and so is water, and a place to go potty. The humans aren't really that necessary are they, they don't matter, and he's doing just fine staying away from them.

What I would highly suggest doing, is isolating him into a single room. Give him plenty of space to move around in, places to hide, places to climb, places to sleep etc etc. However limit his exposure to the other cats. Spend time in his space, but don't drag him out of a hiding spot without a good reason. Give him a chance to realize that you have a purpose, and that he needs to get on good terms with you, and that you are trustworthy. Give him a chance to get to know you, on a somewhat common ground.

Don't expect an overnight change. However I would expect to see some significant progress in a relatively short time period. If he seems overly stressed or you don't see a significant change, it may well just be how he is, but usually if you give him a chance to come around in a controlled environment he will. Just don't force him, give him a choice.


Spotz
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow thanks so much for all of the replies.
And some answers....hmmm yes he is neutered, he is an F4. The breeder states that all of his siblings are fine and very sociable. He also states that his belief is that the shipping <flight> made him this way. If he was stressed by the flight he has had 5 months to get over it LOL He doesnt have a stressful household here either. We have one child that is 10 and he is pretty mellow so the cat isnt frightened by him.
When he came to us there was already a neutered male in residence and then a baby female was added months later.
Im trying to think of what other info I could give
He will come and take treats from my hand but when he does and when he eats he shakes his food and growls like a wild animal LOL
He will also seek me out and stay in the room Im in unless I look at him and/ or speak to him, then he will leave LOL
He will come in the middle of the night and sleep behind my knees but if I reach down to scritch him he he flees.
So yes I am taking it a tad personal, I have gone out of my way to love him. And I do agree about the comment that we humans are really of no use to him. He gets food and a nice bathroom and lots of socializing from the other cats, so he doesnt need us. I have thought about isolating him I admit I just feel badly about treating him that way, he is VERY attached to our other male.
He has been this way since minute one so I disagree that it was the flight and think that he is just this way. We are not going to get rid of him for it though, our home is his forever home and so I am just hoping we can help him overcome his shyness or whatever it is.
Honestly I am hoping to hear from some Bengal breeders and/or someone that has had a Bengal that behaved this way and then hear a happy ending LOL I dont want to give up!
LL
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally posted by bellabia
Honestly I am hoping to hear from some Bengal breeders and/or someone that has had a Bengal that behaved this way and then hear a happy ending LOL I dont want to give up!
You said he was shipped to you from somewhere, so I was wondering if you actually went to the breeder's home and saw the environment the cats and kittens were kept in?

I have never owned a Bengal, but I did own a poorly socialized cat at one time. My cat was discovered wandering the streets alone at the age of 2 months and was rescued by a no-kill shelter. I adopted my cat from the shelter 6 months later. At first the cat trusted only me, and developed a very strong bond with me. No one else could get near her or she would either growl and hiss at them, or she would hide. It mainly took a lot of time, patience, and a calm environment for this cat to gradually understand that other people weren't a threat and could be trusted. I don't think you should give up either.
post #11 of 17
I am glad to hear you will keep your Bengal no matter what . I have herd of Bengals who are acting like that , but they were F2 Bengals and not a F4 .
I also think he never was really socialized by the breeder and with 12 weeks you really can't tell the personality of a cat any way .

I just got a Oriental Shorthair from a breeder what come from that breeders partner ( breeding partner ) and they supose had a huge house and "Onyx" the cat was never really socialized by the breeders partner . The partners had to move and the breeder took her in . Well now I got Onyx in my bedroom and she is so scared and worse then a cat who was abused . I have a silver shadet persian that was abused , he opend up to me very quickly . I could even pet him in a very short time , like days . But Onyx , gosh she keeps just running and hiding all the time . I did made some progress though and I can walk by her with out her running and hiding , but if she only is seeing my hand she is gone . So I don't know about her , if I ever get her to pet or not .
But any who , a small room can work really good for a cat who was not yet bin socialized . But remember there ar no guaranty with a Bengal , they are different at least I think so and hopefuly I am wrong . Keep us posted how things are going .

I also like to welcome you here on TCS , I hope you stay and enjoy yourself .
post #12 of 17
I have never owned a Bengal (but I think they are beautiful) but it sounds like your baby is acting like other breeds can do too. I have always found that the furrbabes always make their own rules up, and we have to follow. I may be wrong but I would never force a cat to be petted, I always wait until they feel confident enough to come to me. I talk to them from a distance first. When I got Felix and Buttons they were only 8 weeks old, very self confident and played with everyone. When Tara and Pebbles came to live with me they were 7 months old and very timid. I put them in the dining room away from the others and visitors. I used to go in there to feed them and I used my computer in there. I would talk away to them without even looking at them. They were very frightened and hid. Pebbles on the book shelf and Tara behind a magazine rack. After a week of this Pebbles came to me and I didn't see her she touched my arm very gently. Now they are both so soft and love to be petted, but will only let me touch them. They still do not like visitors, even my daughter cannot touch them. But they have made the rules up and we have to stick by them. Just love your baby like you are doing and wait and see what happens. Good Luck to you both.
post #13 of 17
Dear Bellabia,

"he is an F4."


Genetics are a tricky business. From what you discribed, I am willing to bet that this cat has a lot of wild blood in it. Don't push it. You can't.

What has worked for the wild "domesticate" cat that I took is to ignore him. Go about you business. That also works for wild animals also. I had an understanding with a wild skunk. I left him alone and he let me alone. (as long as I kept putting cat food out)

Goblin
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goblin
Dear Bellabia,

"he is an F4."


Genetics are a tricky business. From what you discribed, I am willing to bet that this cat has a lot of wild blood in it. Don't push it. You can't.
Actually, I think that this is an incorrect statement. I found a breeder's website that had a good explanation of the matings (crosses) that occur to produce an F4 bengal.

http://www.bengalkitties.com/bengalkitties.htm

They state that F4 cats have only 10-12% of wild genes. Although it's possible that genes negatively affecting socialization and aggression can be passed to the F4 generation in this 10%, it's extremely unlikely because the crosses are performed to maintain positive domestic cat traits such as sociability as well as to maintain the wild look. Overly aggressive or antisocial animals would not be used in a credible breeding program.

And yes, before you ask, I do know about genetics-I have a Ph.D. in the field.
post #15 of 17
You just need to give him time and try to play with him. Get a wand with the feathers and shiny foils at the end. We have 5 bengals, and ours are not like that. It's possible he was not socialized well, but I dont know.
What does the breeder say?
I have a friend in California, who has an F4, who was similar to yours, and is just now starting to come around. It may just be that he still needs time.
post #16 of 17
I would agree with not letting him outside. Nor would I confine him in a room as punishment and let him out for a treat. Ignoring him as long as you know he is healthy always works. See to his creature comforts and of course if he is ill take him to the vet. Invest in cat ramps, cat shelves www.katwalllks.com cat condos give him plenty to occupy himself and just let him come around. It will take time. They are a highly spirited breed and quite active- keep his mind engaged, make a ball bin for him- take a large cardboard box throw some ping pong balls inside and let him chase them around inside the box. You can cut the flaps off one end, and also make cat size doors off the ground for him to jump in and out of.
post #17 of 17
Dear Okeefed,

Perhaps you know my brother, or have read some of his papers?

Goblin
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