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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:20 am 
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Hello,

I will be receiving my first bengal kitten in early January. When he arrives he will be around 9 weeks.

I have the entire month of January to spend at home to get the kitten comfortable with my home and household. I live with my fiancee and we have no other pets. We have been preparing for our new kitten, and purchasing all of the necessary (and not-so-necessary) things to completely spoil our new kitten.

He is going to have a ~5 hour drive. What type of carrier is best? How often should we stop for food/drink/potty breaks? What do you do if he whines/cries the entire time, anything to comfort him?

I have purchased the type of food that my breeder is feeding, but I prefer to switch him slowly to a more healthy food after he has acclimated to his new home. How long should I wait to switch after he begins to feel at home? How often should I feed wet food, and should wet foods be mixed while transitioning? My breeder is currently using purina kitten chow and feeding friskies canned. I feel that those foods contain too much carb filler, and don't have a high enough protein content, especially for the high nutritional demands of the high energy bengal kitten! I have considered brands such as Blue Buffalo, Royal Canin, etc. but I think I may have decided to go with Earthborn Holistic cat and kitten food. Has anyone used this type of food previously - what is the opinion on this specific brand? Also, I have not yet decided on a type/brand of wet food to use - but I do know that I will NOT be serving Friskies for any longer than I need to (CRINGE)! I have read quite a bit about the benefits of a raw diet, and I think I may give daily supplements of some type of meat, but I would prefer to have it cooked at least partly. If I have a steady supply of dry food, how much should I provide to my kitten daily between cooked chicken/eggs/rabbit and canned food?

I would like to make arrangements with my vet to have my kitten screened and vaccinated for everything that is important. For bengal breeders and/or experienced bengal kitten owners, what are the most important things to have done? So far, I plan to complete the vaccinations started by the breeder, rabies vaccination, FIV/FeLV testing/vaccination, fecal testing, general examination, and microchipping. Are there additional testings/procedures/vaccinations that should be performed?

Safe Room:
My safe room for the new kitten will be a medium-sized bathroom.
-Major Concern: Older style heat registers! Along one wall, there is a boiler heat register that has an opening of about 3 inches that a kitten could easily squeeze into and find trouble. In addition to the line of access throughout the register, at each end there is an easily removable cover. I haven't placed my hand inside of these things so I am not sure if the parts are hot or sharp, but I imagine that my kitten will be fearless and extremely curious! What have others done to kitten-proof their heat registers? (Note: after the kitten is exploring past the safe bathroom, the heat registers are in all other rooms in the house!

Litter Preference
Do bengals generally seem to prefer silica gel litter or traditional clumping litter. I have read nothing but good reviews about silica gel litter, and I was wondering if anyone had first-hand experience with it. It seems that it has a lower dust hazard, better odor control, less pokes in the feet when stepped on, and cats seem to like it. I am willing to pay more for this type of litter than traditional clumping litter, but only if it is as good as the reviews make it seem! I am not looking for a solution to cleaning my litter box, I have had an indoor cat for 5 years previously and I was responsible for keeping the litter box fresh and clean!

Outside Timing
I would love to leash-train my bengal and go for walks around the area. I live in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. We have moderately cold winters, and I do not want to freeze out my poor little kitty, but I would like to begin leash training as soon as possible so that he is more comfortable/natural feeling with the harness/jacket outside. I will begin by placing the harness on indoors for short periods of time until he is comfortable, and then I will begin walking indoors and eventually move to a quiet park or garden later on. But, how cold can young kittens safely handle? With a good warm jacket, what age/temperature would be best to begin the outdoor adventures?

I think I have some additional questions, but my list is quite long already!

Thank you in advance for your feedback :)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Can I ask why he will only be 9 weeks old?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:11 pm 
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I'll try to answer a few of these.


>>He is going to have a ~5 hour drive. What type of carrier is best?

I would get the largest, sturdiest one possible, thinking ahead to when your bengal is older.

I don't have that much advice for the 5 hour trip. Serafina and Gaga took about a similar length trip, but they were a bit older. Like 3-4 months old. They really didn't have much interest in using a litter box or drinking, and only ate a little, so my strategy became to get the driving over with as few stops as possible, and get them to the destination so they could take care of all that there. But a much younger kitten may have different needs. Hopefully someone else will comment.

>>I have purchased the type of food that my breeder is feeding, but I prefer to switch him slowly to a more healthy food

Good idea. But one mistake you are making is falling in love with one food before your bengal has even tried it! One really important aspect of cat food is it's it's taste/smell to cats, and your cat in particular. So I think it's a mistake to plan that out so specifically in advance. Much wiser imo to think in terms of a group of foods that are acceptable to you nutritionally, and then see what sort of preferences he has. The other thing is that cats seem to get pickier and pickier about food with age. So something he is "ok" with his first couple months with you, there is a good chance he'll hate 12 months later :lol: I think if it ends up being your 3rd favorite food that he loves, that would be par preferable to your 1st favorite food that he is "meh" about.

In terms of my particular cats, yes, I've tried them on Earthborn Hollistic. I agree that it's very good nutritionally. My cats did not like their dry food at all, but like the canned and fish and chicken flavors pretty well (although it's not really a favorite). So it's part of the "rotation" of food that they get.

In terms of amount, you don't really have to worry so much about amount for at least 6 months or so, then you have to start evaluating your cat based on his body shape. But just feed him as much as he wants until then.

>>I would like to make arrangements with my vet to have my kitten screened and vaccinated for everything

I'm sure some will disagree, but I think at some point you have to develop some trust and rapport with a particular vet, and so this is the type of thing I would leave up to the vet. Schedule an appointment for your first week with your vet, and let him/her sort out which vaccinations and tests are appropriate for your cat.

And yes, I too will question the wisdom of bringing home a kitten at 9 weeks. That's considered pretty irresponsible of your breeder, and puts your cat at higher risk for behavioral, litter training, and health problems.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:25 pm 
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The litter only has three kittens. Two marble boys, and one snow rosetted girl. The breeder said that she anticipates that the litter will mature more quickly since there are only 3 of them but that we would play it by ear. She said that the kittens may be ready as early as about 9.5 weeks, but she may wait until they are closer to 12. For the purposes of the forum, I thought it would be better to ask about the extra precautions necessary for a younger kitten than an older one.

This is my first bengal and my first kitten, so I am not completely sure when it is an appropriate age to bring the kitten home. I have been doing my homework online and I have seen a range of ages where kittens are separated from their mothers, and found that a majority of people say around 12-13 weeks. I do not want my kitten to have issues with lack of socialization or leaving the breeder too early, so I will discuss this with her more closely. Thanks for the advice! :)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:08 pm 
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A good breeder would keep all the kittens until a week after their second vaccinations (at 12 weeks) to ensure no adverse reactions, which is also the TICA recommendation.

They learn so much in those vital 4 weeks, it is worth the extra wait! :biggrin:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:41 pm 
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I have done some additonal homework, and the extra couple of weeks with mom and siblings are more important than I had originally assumed. It is definitely worth the wait for the welfare of my kitten!

(now I will have more time to come up with a name!)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:35 pm 
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Kudos for doing all this research and asking all these questions -- and especially for deciding to wait those extra weeks to get your baby.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:47 pm 
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Sherry wrote:
Kudos for doing all this research and asking all these questions -- and especially for deciding to wait those extra weeks to get your baby.


Yea for sure. Usually the first post on this forum is "omg, I just got an 8 week old kitten, and he's scared, and doesn't want me to touch him, and sick, and peeing outside his box" :sad:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:08 am 
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The LAST thing I want is a stressed kitten!!

I called my breeder this afternoon, and she is pleased to wait until 12 weeks for me to pick him up.


Does anyone have any advice on my other questions? All inputs are greatly appreciated!! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:15 pm 
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Here are a few updated photos.

Does it look like he has a receding chin? I know that it is a big deal for showing, which I would like to give a shot.
I know that these pictures aren't the best angles for that, I've asked the breeder to send photos that show his face/chin better.


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