Sophia Gets Stuck with Some Bengal Cats

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BengalsAdoption - 1 (1)

By Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

1966-2014 R.I.P.

In my entire career as a vet, I’ve only been suckered into adopting two pets. The first was Meggie, a Scottie puppy with a neuromuscular disorder called Scottie cramps. The disorder caused her to randomly walk like a broken down robot. She was probably the easiest pet I’ve trained due to her general good nature and the fact that I got her when she was pretty young. The second was the Jonesy, the Jack Russell Terrier, my current dog. He was and still is the worst Jack Russell Terrier, and for that matter, the worst dog I’ve ever trained. To almost anyone he looks like he’s very willing to please. This dog, who, at 8 weeks of age was already aggressive to other dogs and independent, IS now willing to work and focus on people. But a slight error or lapse of attention on your part and he’s up to no good.

Given that Jonesy is sort of a 24/7 job, and given that I’ve been able to go 16 years while only adopting two pets, you wouldn’t think I’d be taking another difficult case. But somehow I got stuck with, believe it or not, two 9 year old Bengal Cats. Now, I have nothing against cats, it’s their litterboxes that I don’t like to clean. Plus I don’t really have enough room in my tiny house for additional pets and their litterboxes. If I were going to get a cat, it would not have been a Bengal, cats known for their energetic and devious nature. Let alone cats that needed to be rehomed because they were spraying in their previous environment-one in which a third cat was reacting to a neighboring trespasser by redirecting her aggression to her Bengal housemates. But to make a long story short, I have these cats. I took them with the idea that I would keep them until their spraying issue was resolved and then rehome at least one-since they do better when kept separately.

Their names are Oliver and Dante and they are surprisingly friendly. For instance on day 1 when I took Oliver out of his carrier and he was slinking around the room, as soon as anyone started petting him he became outgoing. Dante has the bathroom to himself but has access to people through the custom-made screen door (a custom-made window screen with a door handle and hinges added). Oliver has a kitty condo located in one of the offices. So far they’re doing well, although for Oliver it took a bit to get the litter box right.

BengalsAdoption - 1BengalsAdoption - 2Oliver illustrates that the standard litter box on the left is way to small and even the large cat box is only large enough to just fit him. Litter boxes should be 1.5 x the size of the cat. Notice all the litter on the floor. The sides of the boxes need to be higher.

They haven’t been the huge nuisance that I thought, mostly because they’re in a very controlled environment. I only let them out when supervised. They’re also really easy to train. They both know sit and target. Over the next few weeks I hope to run some litter box tests just for fun and hopefully train some additional tricks.

Any Bengal owners out there who want to share some information about their cat’s personality?

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7 responses to “Sophia Gets Stuck with Some Bengal Cats

  1. Hmm. Seems the 9 year old Bengals aren’t so bad. As a matter of fact, two 9 year old Bengals and one partially trained 7 month old Australian Cattledog are still easier overall than one JRT with arousal and fear issues:-).

  2. I am going to get an older cat from the shelter. While I was there i saw a few animals that have been there for a few months and I was told they don’t have much time left. Does that mean they kill them? How long is an animal at the shelter before they kill them? I do not believe in any killing of animals- i am a veagn- should I boycot the shelter due to the fact they kill animals?

  3. The length of time a pet spends at the shelter depends partly on the size of the shelter and the number of irresponsible people in the community who let their pets wander or just drop their pets off because the pets are no longer a convenience for them. I would recommend you boycott people who are irresponsible owners and can’t keep their pets through the pet’s entire lifespan. A pet is a commitment and not a convenience when things get rough. I’d say that most people who surrender their pet to a shelter really don’t know this.

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  5. However, not many breeds possess a documented wild heritage like the Bengal does. Bengal cats are indeed direct descendents of Asian Leopard cats (Felis bengalensis), bred along with domestic cats in carefully thought out breeding plans. As such, it is a relatively new breed, not as yet recognized by some major cat breed associations such as the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA).lingerie store

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