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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:50 am 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:21 am
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I'm looking for some advice on strategy with the one of the two bengal cats I have adopted. They are F2 bengals with papers from a breeder, two brothers now aged eight months. At first I was going to only adopt the one (super friendly!) kitten (Hunter), but I dreaded the thought of splitting the two brothers up so I agreed to adopt them both. I adopted them at 12 weeks, and they were neutered at six months. They are indoor cats living in a two-story apartment, with a small enclosed outdoor area that I let them go into occasionally when supervised.

Bambi is the bigger of the two but exceptionally shy. I figured that this was a natural part of the process of rehoming, and was not concerned initially that he would always hide and did not like to be approached. However, as time has gone on it has turned into more of a problem. His brother (hunter, much smaller) started to hiss at him when he came near him, so I got them separate litter boxes and made sure they had access to separate food, water, and bedding locations. Hunter and I have bonded extremely strongly, and I am concerned this has caused the anxiety issues that Bambi is having.

He has always hidden under my bed all day and only comes out to eat/drink/toilet. If someone approaches him when out, or gets to close to him under the bed, he starts shaking and pee's and has sometimes even pooped. Luckily my apartment is mainly polished wood floors, so only one room (my bedroom) has had a big problem with the urine. I sought the advice of the breeder who recommended the usual strategies, spending time with him on his terms, then recommending that I regularly cuddle him. Initially he was somewhat tolerant of cuddles but now holding him for longer than a few seconds is not possible (certainly not without lots of peeing and scratching!). I haven't tried picking him up (except to collect him for vet visits) for the past two months.

I've tried feliway (both the diffuse and sprays), vet checkups, even took him to a pet neurologist! Switching diets, separate food & water, separate bedding options, different litter boxes, etc... I've also experimented with different play options, toys, and more outdoor time (both separately and together). He is now no longer playing at all, even on his own, which greatly worries me. I have tried several different vets and they can find nothing wrong with him, although noting that he is very anxious.

I've been asking vets and the breeder for advice but they just don't have any suggestions. I have been working mostly from home for the last four months so we could all bond/acclimatize to me better and this has certainly resulted in me and Hunter bonding very strongly - but Bambi just seems to be going from bad to worse. Hunter knocked one of my computer screens off my desk when he became caught up in a cable, and Bambi got so scared he run directly into the glass door and caused a bleeding nose (along with an impromptu vet checkup! The pee (and poop) is starting to become a real problem, and while he is not aggressive I am unable to handle him to do anything such as clipping his nails, collecting him for the vet, etc... without getting scratched badly. He doesn't scratch out of aggression, simply he is trying to get away with all his might!

It's now been four months, and Bambi just seems to be getting worse. He is terrified, and there seems to be nothing I can do to help it. You can see he is absolutely petrified - so scared that he starts shaking and pee'ing on the spot. It's awful and heartbreaking to watch, and I'm not sure what I can do to help him. Some good friends of mine, a couple, have two bengals and I enlisted their help but what we have tried has not had any positive impact.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:11 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:47 pm
Posts: 3809
Location: UK
Your kittens are not Bengals, they are EGs (early generation hybrids), huge difference temperament wise.
An EG is a specialist cat that needs very experienced handling to make it anywhere near a pet.
F2's are only 2 generations away from the wild, they carry a lot of wild genes and with that comes "wild" behaviour. The ALC is a timid wild cat, so the problems with "wildness" in EGs can be fear and anxiety.

Hunter has probably inherited more domestic genes and Bambi more wild genes.
Bambi is essentially a wild cat living in your house, by the sounds of things.
Hunter has probably intensely bonded to you and that is a very common EG trait too, some EG owners can hardly leave their cat, due to anxiety levels in the cat if they have to go out, or leave them for any period of time. Many of the real issues in EGs start when they grow up into adults at 2-3 years, but yours seem to have started early. How were they raised by the breeder?

Noise, soiling, timidity, anxiety, anxiety fueled aggression, fear of strangers, bonding with one person alone to the exclusion of anyone else, territorial marking, intensity, obsessive behaviour patterns, pica, unable to cope with any change, are all recognised EG traits.

Is Bambi bonded to Hunter, or Hunter bonded to Bambi? If they aren't particularly close, then I would suggest that you look for a specialist home for Bambi, someone who understands wild cat behaviour and is willing to put every day effort into raising a wild cat, someone who has loads of time and someone who will give of their time for the cat.
NOT someone who just has some airy fairy notion of "wildness" nor someone who just wants to own an exotic pet.
But someone who may have a lot of outdoor space to make a zoo enclosure if necessary, would be ideal, someone who is willing to give commitment to taming him, and reducing his anxiety levels otherwise he will just end up being put down.
Being put down is not fair as he didn't ask to be put in the situation he is in, his behaviour is normal, the position he finds himself in, in a domestic house is abnormal. This is not a reflection of you, but I feel Bambi needs is own space, his own person/animal to bond with, and his own territory.

The breeding of EGs mostly for profit is one of the aspects of the breed I am least proud of. Some EG breeders are very good, they consider very carefully the homes they place their cats in, they prepare their owners for all the problems, but it seems you are unaware even of the fact you have EGs and their potential issues and that I blame the breeder for.

Of course EGs hate change, that is one of their foibles, so if you find a great home for Bambi, then Hunter's world may collapse, so be prepared for a rough ride then, it may not, but be prepared.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:32 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8005
F2's don't generally make terrific pets. Elaine has stated everything perfectly! All websites regarding EG's state that it does take specialized care. Many of them cannot be socialized. Note, there are many areas in the world where, by law, you cannot possess anything below an F4 unless you're a registered breeder. The breeder should have alerted you to all the problems you could face with an F2. I can tell you love kitties .... but Bambi is going to take a lot of work to become social. This will not happen over night, in a few weeks, or even months. It's obvious she is terrified and completely stressed out. You can try some holistic remedies that can be added to food or water that may help in relaxing him a little bit. If you're willing to put in the time and effort, you may be able to transform Bambi. If not, then he may need to be returned to the breeder to be rehomed. I hate using that word. I wish you much luck.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:44 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:21 am
Posts: 2
Thank you all for your feedback. Since my initial post it has been an extremely difficult time, during which the breeder has now stopped replying to to emails asking for advice.

Hunter became acutely sick with an unknown neurological problem that nearly resulted in his death. Initially intoxication was suspected (light trace of methamphetamine was found! but turned out to be a false positive). Toxoplasmosis was then suspected but two tests came back negative. He lost the use of his back legs, he stopped eating and drinking, he would make no noise and simply lay with his back legs splayed. He spent a whole week in the hospital in intensive care with the expectation that he would die.

While I was on a visit with Hunter to the hospital, Bambi (who was by then under even more stress with the disappearance of Hunter) attempted a disastrous escape my apartment by climbing the curtains and trying to exit via a slightly open top window. His weight pulled against the window and he became trapped. He passed away quite tragically. I attempted to resuscitate him when I arrived back but it was mainly out of panic as I realize it was well to late for that.

So it's been a very terrible time. Hunter was placed on antibiotics, then switched to another antibiotic, and then the neurologist put him on an anti-histamine when auto-immune problems were suspected. An infection or auto-immune damage to the nervous system is suspected. He is now a very different kitten. He barely ever makes a sound and does not move much. He "head presses" against things very often, which is quite disturbing in itself. He no longer uses the litterbox and goes to the toilet on the floor. I've hired a friend of mine to house sit during the day and also nights if I have to travel for work as I am worried he will be getting lonely. Generally speaking I am still feeding him water with a syringe, but he has been eating food himself. For some reason he seems to ignore the water but eat the food?

If anyone has any experience with neurological conditions, please let me know. The vet has been extremely helpful (they all think he is the cutest thing in the world!) but his problems have largely stumped what is one of the biggest vet clinics in Prague. I'm fairly angry at the breeder, whom I expected some sympathy or advice from as I sent my updates.

If I am honest I believe I should have handed Bambi to someone with specialist knowledge. I ignored the poor little guy as Hunter became sick and dying, and simply left his food for him and let him hide. It's certainly been difficult being in a city where I don't speak the language. If in the future anyone else comes across this post with similar issues, my recommendation follows the theme of the advice I was given in the posts: hand a difficult animal off to someone with the required experience. If I had done this Bambi's life would have been saved.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:04 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am
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Location: Portland Oregon, USA
Geez, really sorry to hear about that. I hope Hunter is able to make a recovery. It sounds like you are doing all that is possible, and thanks for posting this followup. I know that must have been hard, but I think it's a learning opportunity for a lot of us. I know I certainly won't be getting any early generation cats now, even though I think I'm pretty good around cats, I'd rather deal with cats that are a little more domesticated from the start :eek:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:46 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:47 pm
Posts: 3809
Location: UK
Bengal polyneuropathy - or it is also called distal neuritis - get him onto steroids ASAP.
Tell the vet to contact Prof Danielle Gunn-Moore in Edinburgh
http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments ... gunn-moore

As a young cat his prognosis will be good.

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Elaine


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:10 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:22 pm
Posts: 730
So sorry to hear about Bambi, it must be such a horrible time for you.

Hope your other kittie gets better soon.

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Oscar and Jasper (or one ear and two ears as dh calls them) black rescue mogges

RIP my sweet baby Dexter, Snow Bengal 19/5/14 to 5/3/15 and my lovely dear old friend Muskey, Brown Burmese put to rest aged 15 on 14/11/15.

Debbie


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:25 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:03 pm
Posts: 1048
I'm so sorry to hear about Bambi. Please talk to your vet about the condition Elaine posted, we just went through what we believe was a mild case of it with our boy. It may help save Hunter. I feel for what you're going through - I'm sure this has been devastating for you.

It's so disappointing that the breeder was not more responsible :sad:

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Diesel - snow Bengal born 09/01/2013 adopted Feb 2014
Tuck, Chloe, Buddy, Lewis & Tia - rescue kitties
Clyde, Bleu & Coal - Great Danes


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:19 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:51 pm
Posts: 27
that is so sad!!
:sad:


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