Dos and Don'ts: Caring for and Raising Your Cat or Kitten

Dos and Don'ts: Caring for and Raising Your Cat or Kitten

This is some of the best advice I can offer when it comes to raising your Bengal kitten or taking care of your adult house cats:

  • Get Your Cat Spayed, Neutered, or Sterilized: If the Bengal is not going to be used for breeding purposes, your male or female should be fixed by a veterinarian before it reaches sexual maturity. This helps to prevent them from marking territory by spraying and avoiding the litter box. (Once this behavior starts, it's a hard habit to kick in both males and females.)
  • Offer Many, Many Toys: Keep lots of toys out and put anything precious and destructible away!
  • Put the Toilet Lid Down: Keep the lid to the toilet down so they don't have an excuse to start flushing it.
  • Place Water Dishes Thoughtfully: Put their water dish on Linoleum or tile floor if possible to make cleanup easier.

 Socialize Your Kitten Early: Are Bengals good with kids? Yes, but an important part of raising your kitten is to socialize them early on with as many people as possible—kids included—to prevent your cat from becoming overly loyal and affectionate towards one person and developing additional personality problems. (Believe me, once they bond in this manner, they're usually petrified of everyone else for no reason at all.)

  • Introduce Them to Other Pets: Are Bengals good with dogs? Yes, but if you're going to have other pets like a dog, make sure you get your cat used to them while it's still a kitten.
  • Expect Chaos: Never expect a lap cat or a perfectly behaved pet. They're going to start trouble sooner or later, you just don't know how or when.
  • Consider Agility Training: If you want a weird hobby, try agility training your cat. Yes, there are tournaments for cat agility now and Bengals take the place of Border Collies as the most popular breed in agility.
  • Make Them Indoor-Only: Please keep all cats, not just Bengals, inside at all times. It's a big, bad world out there and everyone's better off in the house. Plus, they are less likely to be exposed to viruses like feline leukemia (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). If you want to bring them outside, Bengals are easily harness trained.


My Experience Living With Bengals

So, you still think you want a Bengal? They certainly are special. Once you go Bengal, you tend never to go back. They're just that unique! However, caring for one is like having a wrecking ball with a warped sense of humor in your home. Now it's time you hear some stories of my little rabble-rousers.

Meet My Male: Howl

Howl, as a kitten and an adult cat, continuously gets trapped in garbage cans, empty small animal and bird cages, cat carriers, and even closets, cupboards, and cabinets. Now that he's an adult, he can usually find his way out, but when he was a kitten, there was a rescue mission almost daily. Currently, he likes draining his bowl while Sophra repeatedly flushes the toilet.

Meet My Female: Sophra

I got Sophra as soon as she was weaned, but even before I brought her home, she started to show her true colors. She was out running around the breeder's house getting some exercise when we suddenly heard a horrible thump. There was Sophra, a little kitten at the bottom of the stairs. She fell off the banister and hit the hardwood floor with her nose, not her feet. It broke. Since then, her nose has always been dented.

Right after I brought her home she started manipulating me. She would only eat if I was standing there watching her, and since I didn't want her to starve, I caved for this cunning game of hers.

When she grew older, I started to believe my house had a poltergeist. Random objects would disappear never to be seen again—children's plush toys, bottles, hair ties, cough drops, hard candy, elastics, yarn—and anything that was light enough to lug off. Occasionally, I'd find them stashed in bizarre places.

My pet sitter once had a nasty surprise when she was staying over to take care of the animals. She pulled up the covers on the bed only to find that Sophra had plucked a pincushion dry and spread pins and sewing needles all throughout the blankets and sheets. (It's my personal belief that she did it to hear the pet sitter scream. She's funny like that.)

Why I Love My Cats

Still, I adore the two. I raised them from kittens and they keep me on my toes. Sophra can usually be seen darting full speed through the house with hard candy dangling from her mouth. We haven't had candy dishes out for more than a year, likely two. When Sophra gets bored of the candy, she likes to jump up on the furniture in the wee morning hours and push everything she can off like a little bulldozer. It doesn't matter if its paperwork or knickknacks, she'll still watch it fall with amazement. So, what do you think? Too much personality for you?