New and Clueless

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New and Clueless

Postby Dianie on Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:55 pm

Hi everyone. I'm from SW Scotland. 36 hours ago I seem to have acquired a bengal cat. What happened was I had the dog to the vet and when I went to pick him up I must have had my neon sucker sign switched on because I came back home with the dog and also a bengal cat called Tara. (My vet is quite charming and persuasive, and had put my old cat, Keith, to sleep last year, age 19, after he suffered a massive stroke so he thought it was time we got another cat.) A couple on his register had gone in to him 3 or 4 weeks ago with Tara and asked him to put her to sleep. For no reason, other than that she didn't get on with the 3 new cats they had just acquired. The mind simply boggles. The vet also believes Tara has been abused (he suspects the man used to clobber her with his walking stick), although she is healthy and not visibly neglected. She is 5 years old and has very short legs because she had rickets as a kitten. She is also very beautiful (I have never seen a bengal cat before). Anyway, my vet refused to put her to sleep and asked if he could keep her and find a home for her, and he would just charge them the cost of the euthanasia. They agreed. But Tara has been sitting in a cage for 3 weeks in the vet surgery apparently waiting for me as she's had no other takers. Since Tara was dead on the computer because of the euthanasia charge, she was duly brought back to life and registered to us.

By now it should be obvious to you all that I haven't a clue what I'm doing. But I also know the best place to go for advice is a forum, so I shall be reading everything avidly. I've usually had a cat for the best part of 50 years now, but they've all been moggies - loved - but it needs to be said I've always been a dog person. I need to find out how bengals are different. Tara is quite worrying - she just hides in her beautiful new bed and doesn't move. Ever. She doesn't seem to mind me picking her up, though I've tried to let her come to me but it just doesn't happen. I've already read the thread re scared cats and it was very helpful. Fortunately the dog (a working cocker called Alfie) is cat friendly and has been excellent with her. A few tentative sniffs whereupon she growled ferociously and he backed off and left her alone. I've never heard a cat growl like that! It was a growl worthy of a bull mastiff! I think she's getting used to him as she's growling much less now.

One question I don't want to take time to read up on just yet is: will I be able to let her go outside when she's acclimatised? Or do most bengal owners keep their cats in the house? I would really hate to do that and I hate litterboxes too. I like to see my cat strolling about the garden going about his cat business. (Keith only came in when it was freezing out or for a bit of company).

Second question is: do bengals purr? (Haven't heard her purr yet so presumably she has nothing to purr about yet. Early days.)

Sorry for long post and I can't get the smilies working yet to break it up. I'll post a photo when she comes out from under her blanket. You may be waiting a while for this. She did eat though, during the night, when I wasn't around.
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Enzosmom on Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:43 pm

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Welcome! You've come to the perfect place. There are very knowledgeable, kind people here that will be happy to provide lots of support, ideas, suggestions and (very humble) opinions. Feel free to ask away!

My story is very similar to yours flowericon When I adopted Enzo, I knew absolutely nothing about Bengals, and I was completely and totally lost & clueless :) I adopted him when he was 5 years old, and ours was his 4th home (his third home was at the kennel for a year, so he was NOT happy boy when he came to his forever home) BUT we have both changed a lot over the past year, and things are dramatically better.

I can share with you from my experience, in the beginning, it was: :-? :cry: eek noooo! nono :-? and now we are: punki (lol!)

To answer your initial questions:

(1) I know of many people that love to bring their Bengals outside on special jackets / harness for walks/hikes/having outings; but are not left outside to roam freely (since there are so many / too many dangers). Also, they have taught their bengals to use the loo instead of the traditional litter box; but at this point, from my experience, it's soo important to take things really slowly and work on getting to know each other, establish trust and love first before moving on to "bigger" things.

(2) yep! they purr but I'm not sure as a general rule! Enzo did not at first, but he does quite frequently now. And he is loud! :) He is also extremely active by nature and was cooped up in a kennel for a year prior to having room to play again - so after he came out of hiding, I played with him for at least 20 minutes every morning and night to help him xx

Here are links that I hope you find interesting. They are about the history/beginnings of our beloved Bengals and Bengals in general:
http://www.hdw-inc.com/ourcats.htm
http://www.hdw-inc.com/ourcats1.htm

Also, here is a link regarding what to expect when you bring your Bengal (kitten) home. Tara is a bit older (like Enzo) but from I've also learned, they pretty much all start out the same! crazy, wild, lovely, funny, intelligent, mischievous, active, demanding, & so loveable (at all ages)...it's amazing!

http://www.faroutbengals.com/expectations_main.html

Please let us know how you are doing!
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Boss Bengal on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:27 am

waveicon Poor Tara!! what an ordeal for her. Firstly do you know who the breeder was? There are many VERY reputable breeders out there who socialise their kittens to interact with dogs other cats and their human slaves, however there are , sadly, also breeders who are called back yard breeders, they keep the kittens in poor conditions and do not follow the proper protocol with regards to how long they should stay with mum and when to have injections (they rarely if ever spend their money on anything except food) she sounds very timid, but it could be due to the possible abuse she may have had. Bengals are very intelligent and if she realised that staying in the same place and being quiet meant she got less abuse.... well i think you see what i am saying. You need to be patient. sit next to her , talk to her, offer her treats. if your lucky you will win her round and she will be such a loyal companion. As we dont know the extent of her previous goings on its hard to say what she will be like in a years time. Time is a great healer and once she realises you are not going to hurt her she will start to trust. get her some toys, the Da Birds are excellent toys and it might help her with her rehabilitation in to your house.. I have to go to work now but will be watching to see if there is anything else i can suggest. good luck and well done xxx
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby heath on Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:34 pm

Aww, how lucky Tara was to find you!! I'm sure she will come around and acclimatize to her new home soon - cannot imagine how confusing the last several weeks have been for her let alone if she'd suffered abuse in her past as well. Patience and love will go a long way to helping her feel comfortable and safe in her new surroundings! And play time with you - that's a great way for them to learn to trust you. It might not happen in days, but it will happen with patience. She'll learn to trust and you'll learn what she's comfortable with & what her personality is.

Personally, I do not allow my bengals out at all except on leash - I wouldn't want to risk them being hit by a car or stolen or hurt by people. They are fine & happy indoors - they have toys, a cat tree to climb up and lots of spots to sit in the window to watch birds outside. If you feel comfortable allowing yours out, that's just a personal choice and also depends on the area in which you live. Here, it's illegal to allow cats loose - they can be picked up and once they've been picked up a couple times, you forfeit rights to have your cat returned to you and it will be put up for adoption or euthanized. Some people still allow them loose, but I'd never. Cleaning litter sucks, but it's a couple minutes a day to clean all the boxes and my mind is at ease that the cats are safe.

Good luck! :)
~heather

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Re: New and Clueless

Postby bengalbabies2 on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:02 pm

Agree with all the above. Im new to bengals, but did a lot of research before i got them. They r a lot of work, but very loyal and loving. In time she will become more comfortable with u, trust u then if anything like my pair, wont leave ur side. They do the dishes, ironing, washin, university work and try bath with me.
caticon
I dont let my 2 out. I live in a quiet road, but am very close to a main road so would be terrified if they went out. Also they r clumsy as hell and r bad enough indoors, so god knows what they will be like outside.
noooo!
Id like to take them out on a harness, but my boyfriend says he is not taking cats 4 a walk. dog run. They have got plenty 2 play with in the house, toys & cat trees & also find if i put the tap on in the bath slightly, that will keep them busy 4 hours
clapping
Glad that she now has a good home & am sure she will b fine in time.
hugicon

Good luck.
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Roxy81 on Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:59 pm

Hi Dianie,

Welcome to bengaltalk!! welcomeicon

Congrats to you on your rescue of Tara!! I am sure you'll be impressed by her vocabulary and vocal talents as you get the opportunity to know her better. You've gotten plenty of great advice so far from everyone, so, i'll throw in my two cents worth as well! Do give her time, considering everything shes been through, it'll take her sometime to get use to it all. Her bed is probably where she feels the safest right now, so spend some time with her, talk to her, pet her as long as shes tolerant of that, soothe her; build her trust. She will come around sooner then you think. I don't let my girls out either, i worry about whats out there for them, plus mine have had issues with vaccinations. The toilet training can come after shes comfortable and has bonded with you, throwing too many things at her right now, may be more then she can bear. Bengals do purr, mine are quite the little motors they also have a great range of cries that you'll learn what they all mean once she has you trained to her que. one of my girls does a gentle woofing when shes cuddled against me along with her purr. They are super intelligent, active and beautiful, once they bond to you, you'll never be alone again - there'll always be a little shadow trying to see what you are up to!!

best of luck, and keep us posted,
- Rox
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Dianie on Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:49 am

Thank you all so much for your replies. I knew I could rely on you all. (If I could just get these smilies working I'd do one here. I've checked all the settings I can think to check. Sorry, wobbling off-topic.)

Anyway, Day 2 and Tara, bed, litter tray, food etc. are parked in the kitchen. Very unhygienic but it's a place we pass through all the time and so can stop and give her a pet whenever I pass. Plus I usually have the dog in tow and she's getting quite tolerant of him. (I don't leave them alone unsupervised.) I've not had much of a chance for a sit down today but for an hour this evening I moved her bed in front of the fire in the living room and she's quite happy there with the dog sleeping next to her. I don't think she's too keen on being picked up but once she's in your lap she's content and will stick her head out to be stroked under her chin. She did a faint purr today, though I felt it rather than heard it.

Am worried about the litter tray. She peed on my husband's Filofax and the new tax disc he'd left lying on the kitchen counter instead of going in the litter tray. (Vomit icon here though it wasn't where I ever prepare food.) I've put some of the peed-on paper in the pristine litter tray as encouragement and have plonked her in it several times, so fingers crossed. I'm hoping when she finally gets the run of the whole house it can go somewhere marginally more discreet because I still can't get my head round having to have a litter tray. Where DO people keep them? (The place we use as a utility room with the washer and drier is actually an outhouse so no good.)

Anyway, so far I think we're doing OK and thanks again. You all sound like super nice people. Off to bed now but will try to do some more lurking tomorrow. (Smilies)
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Boss Bengal on Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:30 am

may be she doesnt like the litter... did the vet say if he had had any problems with her? maybe a quick call to ask what litter he was using if she was ok.
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Enzosmom on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:06 pm

Awww it sounds like progress! flowericon That is fantastic! Slow, baby steps.

Just a lil' something: I learned that it's good to keep the food bowl separated from the potty.

I live in a small apartment, so I had to get very creative about Enzie's box(es). caticon I actually bought a Japanese screen and stuck his upstairs box in the corner with the screen surrounding it (for his own privacy - innocenticon ) - Nobody knows that the box is back there but us, and he has his own private loo :)

I love your idea about putting the pee paper in the box! so smart! Also, really good idea about calling vet to see what litter they were using. Enzo was really particular about his litter and changing it created some yelling (on his part :-? ) tazicon

Just as a side-note: IU it's not unheard of with our beloved Bengals! Enzie and I had quite a time of it at first. Please be sure to read the thread(s) on Inappropriate Urination (IU)...many of us have gone through it! Lol

(Oh, and Members recommended Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract to help guide kitty to the right place)

Keep up the great work and keep us posted! hugicon
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Makena's Mom on Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:07 pm

welcomeicon Diane
You found the right place! I am so glad you found Tara. She is a very lucky little bengal. I think if you just give Tara some time she will calm down and you will see a very different bengal over time. It took some time for us to hear our boy Makena purr, now he sounds like a 747 at times. We had the IU issue too. His was stress and anxiety of a new home plus he could still smell our previous cat. We put him on fluoxitine to reduce his anxiety and walk him twice a day. We would reward Makena every time we noticed him using his litter box. We still do and its been over a year just to reassure him he is doing the right thing. We dont let our boy out unless he is on a leash. We live on a semi- busy road and dont want to take the chance of him getting hit or getting lost or stolen. Hope by sharing some of our experience help. Just give Tara time and be patient. I guarantee you it will be worth every minute of it> Good luck and hang in there.

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Re: New and Clueless

Postby shamrockkitten on Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:38 am

Firstly LOL @ "neon sucker sign" - I shall use that myself!

Welcome to Bengaltalk, and congratulations on your new addition. You've already been given such good advice and it's amazing that she's already tolerating the dog. My prediction is you'll be thinking about adopting another Bengal this time next year smille
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Furyan on Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:43 pm

Welcome Dianie & Tara (and of course the rest of the family). Such a lovely story about how you acquired Tara and three cheers for your vet :)
Regarding the litter box, I agree with the others that firstly the stress of moving and perhaps that she doesnt like that litter box may be what the issue is. Something I have noticed is that our two respond very strongly to smells. Whether it is perfume or scented litter.
We keep our litter boxes in toilet area of the bathroom. Sometimes it a little busy but it has worked well for us.
It sounds like Tara is acclimatising very quickly. And you will get used to the growls and noises. Thing to remember is that is isnt always aggression, it is just a language. It is, however, rather embarrassing when your cats growl at visitors when they ring the doorbell.
Our two boys are inside unless out on their leashes. The risk is just too much for us to even consider letting them out. We have a small place but that is fine because our Bengals REALLY love interacting with their slaves. That is what is so awesome about Bengals. They are that piece of your life that you never knew was missing :)
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby Roxy81 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:18 pm

Hi Dianie and Tara,

How are things going?? is Tara doing better with the litter box? i remember living in a small space too, when we first got our girls we lived in a condo, we put their litter box in the second bathroom, which isn't the best spot either since guests of ours had to share a washroom with them.. LOL.. but we have moved since then, and finding the perfect spot for a litter box is always tricky. Did changing the litter affect her or are you still having some accidents?

take care, hope things are well,
- Rox
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Re: New and Clueless

Postby *Spotted Pranksters* on Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:45 pm

Hi Diane and welcome!

How is Tara settling in after the busy holiday season? Sounds like she is a lucky puss to have found you! I agree with the sentiments of all the other Bengal Parents I agreeicon Patience and love will win in the end. Our bengals took a while to settle into the litter tray. Our female Thembi would wee everywhere but in the tray. I think it was probably a mix of anxiety and scent marking as our old cat had not long before passed away so his scent was in the house when the kittens arrived. we changed litter a couple of times until we found one we all liked. we gave treats to reward good toileting (it's like having more toddlers in the house! :roll: ) we keep the litter tray in the laundry, and if for whatever reason the cats are in our room, we move a tray to the ensuite bathroom... i hate having litter in the house too as our old cat would just cruise around in and out of the house as he pleased and go in the garden for loo stops.

we have walking jackets for our cats (which my husband thought was a ridiculous concept). we gradually worked up to letting them outside for a explore off leash, but they get too distracted and end up wandering quite far from home. they love a good outside play, but strictly leash only now as our boy Ndali was recently bitten by a snake. we figure it is just safer for them and us for them to be inside unless on their leashes... they have plenty of play time inside and we try to take them out when we can. They would just eat too much wildlife if left outside, and then it's too expensive when the wildlife bite back spidericon

Hope to hear lots of updates on your lovely girl
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Re: New and Clueless - UPDATE

Postby Dianie on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:50 pm

Hi again - sorry I'm not the greatest forumite, having been absent for a year. Thought you might like to hear how Tara's getting on. She's no longer Tara. My husband renamed her Higgs - for the Higgs Boson Particle because, like said particle, we could never find Higgs (though I understand progress has been made on that this year, as have we with Higgs). So she answers to Higgs and all derivatives - Higgy, Higlet etc.

And here she is:
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inspecting my wallflower seedlings. I'm sorry, because I know many of you will disagree with what I've done, but when spring came and the weather warmed up, I started letting her out. It was nerve-racking at first as she had to learn to go out and come back in, and there were evenings when I was waiting up for her worried sick as you do over a teenage child. But, being a cat she practiced going out and coming back in about 40 times a day. She had a marvellous time all summer in the garden. There's a river running through it and she likes hunting frogs and dragon flies (never catches any) though I did find her yomping a mouse once.

In March this year we got a second rescue cocker, Genie, and Higgs and Genie really became best friends and are quite inseparable. Higgs actually instigates play and we end up with the cat chasing the dog, miaowing and batting her paws at the dog, while the dog thunders away barking and play-bowing. It's really funny. Higgs' worst times were when we had visitors staying because she's terrified of them and would go spend several days hiding in the bathroom. However, even that's improving and the last twice we had visitors (including our 2 yr old granddaughter prancing about), we saw Higgs parading around in the living room like she does when it's just me, Mike and the dogs. I can't believe this is the same cat as a year ago. Now it's winter again she's almost turned herself back into a house cat and is hogging the woodburner and generally ruling the roost. She still goes out several times a day but comes straight back when called or when I send Genie out to get her, or failing that just bellows to get back in.

Here's a picture of Higgs and Genie:
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I can't figure out how to make these pictures smaller. Can anyone help me? Sorry they're so big.
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