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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:35 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

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We have a two year old female Bengal who has "inappropriate" urinating and defecating issues. She started urinating in places other than her litter box about a year and a half ago (right after my husband deployed). I pretty much figured as a Bengal the drastic change in environment (her daddy was gone) stressed her and she was acting out. I was unable to stop her behavior no matter what I did - she was urinating on our leather furniture, in laundry baskets, mop buckets, sinks, and tubs. Of course, common sense things prevented the urinating in laundry baskets and the mop bucket, but no such luck with the furniture, sinks & tubs. It was making me crazy. A few months after my husband returned from deployment her urinating outside the litter box greatly reduced - and was really limited to sinks, which for someone with OCD still causes some problems, but is no crisis for sure. Well, we got new orders and moved - cue urinating and subsequently defecating outside the litter box! Here we go again, after hundreds of dollars in carpet cleaning and deodorizing to no avail, I had reached my limit (so I thought) and, on Thursday night, I started researching Bengal Rescues and no kill shelters. I also sent out a "Bengal Help" email to a Bengal Rescue forum and asking if anyone had any suggestions or knew someone who could take my sweet baby. The reality of this situation is that I really really did not want to re-home my baby girl, but being active military and therefor perpetual renters, the constant urinating outside the litter box poses quite the problem.

I received several responses, but the most important and help response came from Michelle at Avalo Cat Sanctuary. She not only emailed me, but got my telephone number and gave me a call. We spoke on Friday afternoon and again today and she provided some very valuable information, information that the breeder did not volunteer and information I had not uncovered on any of my internet searches. She referred me to "Roxanne’s List of “You should have known better” AKA “But Mom, it looked like a potty to me” which has been posted on this site before, but which also did not come up under my previous searches for Bengals urinating outside the litter box. She asked questions to gather information specific to my Bengal baby and gave several recommendations of things to try that may help reduce my girl's urinating outside the litter box. Being provided information that helped me understand her behavior coupled with suggestions I had not thought to try. have completely calmed my stress level and has given me a hope that we will be able to help our little girl potty in places that don't stress her mommy.

I wanted to share this for a few reasons: First, after speaking with Michelle I better understand my Bengal's behavior and feel like we will be able to stop most of her outside the litter box urinating. Although Michelle runs Avalo Cat Sanctuary her ultimate goal is to try to keep families together. Second, I had absolutely no idea (even though we did research Bengals prior to adopting our baby) that Bengals really do not "like" to use a litter box. I do not know any better way to share that very important fact other than to post it on a Bengal Cat Forum. This information is vitally important and breeders really really should let adopters know. Of course, there are things we can do to promote litter box use, but the reality is that Bengals are wild and depending on the generation may not ever completely use a litter box. Lastly, and probably most importantly, please help support Bengal Rescues/Bengal Sanctuaries. I say this because since Thursday night's search was about surrendering/re-homing my Bengal, I came across so many sanctuaries with pleas that hybrid breeding be stopped because the influx of surrendered Bengals is overwhelming the rescues/sanctuaries. Although I thought I could surrender my baby, I honestly do not know if that's true, but I am thrilled that Michelle helped me understand my baby and that is no longer an option I will consider.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and, if I am able to help just one Bengal guardian that's awesome.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:02 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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You can't let that beautiful baby of yours go! I'm delighted you found support and help. Bengals are not like a regular domestic cat. My Raiden has no problem using his litter box. He's an F9. You really have to make the box inviting for the cat to use it. Must be large enough, in a private area, you may need to offer up more than one box. They must be very clean. Cats can smell things that we can't!

I know you have suffered for a long time with this problem. However, the first thing that you must do is have the cat checked out by a vet to make sure there's not a urinary tract infection or crystals in the urine (very painful for the cat). If there's nothing medically wrong, then you do whatever it takes to make sure the litter box is the only place the kitty wants to go to the bathroom. There is no reason for something like this to go on for well over a year. You get it taken care of as soon as possible. There's a reason the cat is ignoring the litter box. Early generations may prefer to go outdoors, but by an F4, they are pretty domestic and should be able to be litter box trained.

I appreciate your posting what you've found out from Michelle. Nobody wants to rehome a kitty, so I'm really hoping that you can turn your little one around into loving his litter box or boxes. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:36 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

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Hi Sherry:

She's been thoroughly checked by the vet it's totally behavioral. The thing is it's mostly normal behavior. She uses her litter boxes just fine, but she also urinates on the carpet - typically around her litter box. We think it's normal Bengal marking, but Michelle suggested Fizzion to eliminate the smell and hopefully prevent remarking. Since Bengals like to urinate in running water she suggested we try a litter pan with some water in it instead of litter. Our girl hates to touch litter that has been used - by that I mean she steps in her box, immediately squats, and then steps out. From the outside of the box she will sort of cover where she went but she hates to touch the used litter. We started using that Tidy Cats box with the non-obsorbent pellets over the grate that allows the pe to flow though and down to a pee pad so essentially her litter is never dirty. This helped a lot. Moving however did not, but that's military life. We are going to try a pan with water and a pan with nothing in addition to the Fizzion and go from there. We have no intention of re-homing her now. Michelle helped me understand that her behavior is not bad behavior it's her nature and we have to think "outside" the box ;) to get the issue resolved and make sure she's happy.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:22 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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MelissaG wrote:
Second, I had absolutely no idea (even though we did research Bengals prior to adopting our baby) that Bengals really do not "like" to use a litter box. I do not know any better way to share that very important fact other than to post it on a Bengal Cat Forum.


Melissa,

I'm actually a little bit puzzled in trying to understand what you are trying to say, and why. This is a forum of bengal owners, the bit about "bengals not really liking to use a litterbox" is anecdotal at best (and misinformed at worst).

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=20695

Nearly 80% of people here have said that they have few if any litterbox problems with their bengals, and that's particularly impressive considering that people often come here to discuss problems they are having. Not only that, but even if it were true, you're telling to mostly people who already own one or more bengals.

And you mention being given tips that helped (solved?) the problem, but didn't share what those are. Is your cat in fact still urinating outside the box? Are you requesting help with that? If it really is behavioral, then it ought to be solvable. There are books on the topic, and people here who have been through similar things, and products on the market (like cat attract litter and feliway if it really is marking), and the topic of frequent articles in cat magazines, plus you can also hire a cat behaviorist to help as well. But like I said, I'm really not real clear about the intention of your post.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:15 am 
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Bengal Kitten

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Brian:

The intention behind my post was to share our issues/experiences with "inappropriate" urination, which I had no idea was such a common issue. I am sorry you feel the post was uninformed, I am not, nor have I claimed to be, any sort of expert on Bengals. However, I do not think that making a statement such as Bengals not liking to use the litter box, should be taken as anecdotal or uninformed, I was making the statement based upon the countless forums I have seen on the subject and based upon the information provided by The Wildcat Sanctuary (as well as other sanctuary sites) whose website states that they receives more calls from owners wanting to surrender Bengal domestic cats than all other wildcats and hybrids combined and that the most common reason is not using the litter box, especially when housed with other animals. I am sorry you feel my post is anecdotal or uninformed at best, I intended it to be neither - it was simply intended to share with other guardians that there are people like Michelle who have more knowledge and understanding of hybrid cats than say someone like me, just a typical mommy of a Bengal, who are willing to reach out and help. I had hoped to maybe give another Bengal guardian the sort of hope I felt today, following my conversation with Michelle, since for the last year and a half I have felt like I was up against a wall with no choice but to consider re-homing because of the urination issue. It never occurred to me that it would be misread or taken as anything other than one guardian sharing with other guardians, especially since I have seen countless threads on this very topic in this forum.

As my post stated, I spoke with Michelle yesterday and today so no, we have not had a chance to implement many of the suggestions she made, or should I say we are starting today. I said in my post that she gave me information that helped me understand my sweet girl's behavior, i.e. Bengals like to urinate in running water, hence her draw to the sink. Since our girl likes water and likes to pee in sinks, she suggested a litter pan with some water in the bottom instead of litter, which we have set up now. Since she likes to pee in buckets, we are also setting up just an empty litter pan. We ordered the fizzion and feliway today. It was my intention to share any successes we had as the process went along; however, since we are just starting things today, I really do not have much to share along those lines. She gave many suggestions, and rather than list them all in the post, I thought it would be better to post them as we tried them. Again, my intention was simply to share in the hopes of helping anyone else dealing with this issue to maybe not feel as I felt on Thursday night - hopeless and like I had no choice but to consider re-homing.


Last edited by MelissaG on Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:28 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Well I hope it goes well. Let us know so we can all learn if it goes well, or help if it doesn't. I think if you approach this with some patience and determination you can definitely see it through. Keep this in perspective also, in that throughout the life of your cat you will very likely face much tougher challenges than this.

I still don't agree about the scope of the problem though. Keep in mind that bengals are the most popular breed of pedigreed cat in the world, more popular than the next two breeds combined, so it's not as if bengals are an unknown quantity, or some curiosity that people are only now discovering.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:48 am 
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Bengal Kitten

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Thanks! I hope it goes well too. I love her to pieces and though I know there will be other hurdles, since we are military and move often the urinating outside of the litter box is fairly big since we have to rent - it's one thing if it's my house and I can work through it with her and replace carpet as needed, but I feel like it's a bit of a bigger issue when it comes to someone else's home. That said, I am holding firm to the hope that the Fizzion will get her away from the spot she is marking most and that maybe one of the other litter box choices will appeal to her more than the three choices she has now, which she uses of course, but she still returns to those same areas in the living room and marks.

Fingers crossed. Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:43 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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MelissaG wrote:
Hi Sherry:

She's been thoroughly checked by the vet it's totally behavioral. The thing is it's mostly normal behavior. She uses her litter boxes just fine, but she also urinates on the carpet - typically around her litter box. We think it's normal Bengal marking, but Michelle suggested Fizzion to eliminate the smell and hopefully prevent remarking. Since Bengals like to urinate in running water she suggested we try a litter pan with some water in it instead of litter. Our girl hates to touch litter that has been used - by that I mean she steps in her box, immediately squats, and then steps out. From the outside of the box she will sort of cover where she went but she hates to touch the used litter. We started using that Tidy Cats box with the non-obsorbent pellets over the grate that allows the pe to flow though and down to a pee pad so essentially her litter is never dirty. This helped a lot. Moving however did not, but that's military life. We are going to try a pan with water and a pan with nothing in addition to the Fizzion and go from there. We have no intention of re-homing her now. Michelle helped me understand that her behavior is not bad behavior it's her nature and we have to think "outside" the box ;) to get the issue resolved and make sure she's happy.



Basil has issues from time to time. He gets urinary crystals, which became regular at the age of 2. So his reasons are often medical. He is on special diet for life for his crystals which has helped SO much. He still urinates on things other than his litter box from time to time (usually once every couple months nowadays), which the vet suggest may also be behavioral. One of the most common things he pee's on is wet towels, or things that are shaped like boxes.
We have had to throw away 2 couches, countless cat beds/pillows, and have spent over 300 dollars in urine remover for clothing,shoes and towels in the last 4 years. I sort of can relate to the situation! I love basil and have never given up, no matter how tough it got. Having been a college student while going through this, things got really tough, and really,really expensive. but I wouldn't ever give him up, not for anything. With time, patience, love, and dedication, things eventually got so much better, and I'm glad they have started to for you as well!

We have had best of luck with Tidy Cats clumping litter. But have never thought of using non-absorbent pellets with a pee pad. That is actually very very interesting and I would like to see how that works for us. Thank you very much for sharing this information! That's sort of genius!

I also have a question for you. What is Fizzion? Is it a formula used to remove urine stains/odors? I have never heard of it. We use Natures Miracle but it doesn't work all that great. Sometimes when I wear my shoes, I often still get random sniffs of cat pee, -Haha. I'm sure you can relate.

Here are some tips I've learned, if you havn't thought or been told of these already:
For repeating spots, try to cover them. If its a corner, I've put a flower pot there. If it's a specific pair of shoes, Ive put them in containers on shelves that leave no space for the cats to get to. With couches, you can cover them with waterproof picnic blankets so that way when she pees, they do not absorb into the couch. With towels and clothes, I make sure there in a covered basket or hamper.
The rule is 2 litter boxes per 1 cat. But my vet suggested to put a litter box in every open room of the house. 1 in each bathroom, and 1 in the living room. So that way she has easier ways to get to her litter box.

My vet also suggest Feliway plug in's that often help the cat de-stress during times that are stressful. Behavioral can also mean stressful. It sounds like your cat may have originally started miss-urinating from stress, as you mentioned environmental change happens more than she may wish it to, because territory is huge for cats. But I would suggest trying Feliway for a month or so and see if it may help her stress levels. It uses scents that attract cats which harmonize their moods.
^^ I volunteer at an animal sanctuary, where 2 Florida panthers reside. Feliway is often used to help their moods! They purr and rub against their enclosures and roll around on their bellies. If Florida Panthers react to Feliway, just imagine how our kitties do.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:03 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

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I hope the non-absorbent pellets work for you! Amira prefers these two litter pans and uses them more often than not. The system is made by Tidy Cats and we get the stuff at PetCo. Fizzion is a cleaner that is supposed to neutralize and clean pet odors including cat urine. After Michelle told me about it I researched it and it is also recommended by Jackson Galaxy I figure if he endorses it then it has to be worth a try. It has not yet been delivered so I haven't been able to try it yet. The Feliway came today so I have that plugged in and will see if that helps at all. She has not used either of the two new pans (one with water and one empty) so the next step is to try the pine dust. She didn't like the pine pellets but maybe she'll like the pine dust. We will of course keep the pee pad pans b/c she uses those. Hope they help you as well. Let me know.

I have covered her spots but she either moves the cover or pees around it thereby making the spot bigger. If the Feliway and Fizzion don't work we are going to pull up the carpet and clean the concrete , replace the pad, and clean the carpet again to see if that helps. Since we got the non-absorbent pellet system she has not used the laundry basket, mop bucket, nor leather furniture, which is awesome. She just marks a few areas around the fireplace. So we'll keep working with her to be sure she's her happiest self and pray that she stops peeing in the living room :).


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:25 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Have you tried putting the litter box in a spot she frequently pees in? I have tried it once. Basil continued to pee on the couch, so I took the litter box and put it on the couch. Gross I know, but it was desperate, so I try everything.
I put the litter box there for a few weeks, and he used it. I slowly moved it to the ground by the couch, and then a little farther over to the wall closest to the couch, and he continued to pee in the litter box, instead of the couch.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:31 am 
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Bengal Kitten

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We tried that first and when the urine escalated I moved it as far away from the area she marks as possible. I cannot tell for sure if she has cut back on the amount of times she marks the area or not b/c the area pretty well just reaks at this point, but it seems like since we moved it there are some dry days, but that could be in my head as well. I even put her litter box on top and surrounded the area with pee pads, she would move the pads or shred them so she could mark the areas. The Fizzion came this afternoon so I have cleaned and polarized the area and going to hope for the best.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:23 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Melissa, I certainly give you props for everything you are willing to try -- and you're willing to try everything!!! Every cat is different -- and frequent moving to a new home can absolutely stress out a cat. Your little girl is simply stunning and I love coming back and reading your posts on this topic. You're doing all you can do and that's wonderful.

And, thank your husband for his service to our country! It's obvious in your picture that he loves the little girl so much!


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