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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:25 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Location: Portland Oregon, USA
Woratnac wrote:
Believe me, I've had many, many cats in my long life, and Bella is the very first who shows absolutely zero need for demonstrating love. No head-butts...


We're used to seeing all type of people with all types of bengals come through the forum. Usually, we see either someone who recently adopted a bengal, and wants to share the joyous experience, is extremely excited, and wants to get some tips (best food, best litter, best cat trees etc), and look at and/or post some pictures. The other type that we get here is the person who has a bengal that they dearly love, but has some sort of problem that they desperately want help solving (very often a digestive problem or a behavior problem like being too loud or being too rowdy, or peeing outside the litterbox).

But what is really really rare is to see someone come in here merely to vent and "call out" their bengal cat. To complain bitterly about how their cat has let them down, and how much they regret getting him, and enumerating all the ways that the cat is sub-standard. You're not the first, but in the 7 years I've been here, I can definitely count the number of people who have done that on one hand. It's that rare.

Here's the really important thing to realize about this... it's not your cat that is the problem! She sounds like a great cat! Your cat is virtually the same cat as all those people who come here excited, wanting to share stories about their wonderful bengal and how great it is she came into their life. Honestly, she sounds more affectionate than an awful lot of bengals that we've seen/heard about here (neither of my bengals have *ever* licked me on the nose). You have a very very narrow view of what "affection" looks like. It consists of a purring cat in your lap, and giving you head-buts. Period. There are bengal owners who have exactly that, but I think that is the minority to be sure. I was the one that started that poll, and one of the things that I learned going through that experience and having hundreds of bengal owners comment on their bengals, is that affection is difficult to quantify, and a lot of it is the perception of the owner (and the owners are usually inclined to give their cat the benefit of the doubt... and quite rightly so!).

If it's really important to you (and it sounds like it is) to elicit that behavior from your cat, I think that's a pretty achievable goal. Here's how I'd do it:

1. Make your lap a great place to sleep: how about a wool afghan on your lap? How about some catnip on your lap?
When the weather gets colder, you could even use a heated throw.

2. Treats. You feed her "jackpot" treats from your hand, but the treats always are fed with you sitting down and her eating them out of your lap.

3. Avoid negative interactions. She never gets "put" anywhere she doesn't want to go: in your arms, in your lap, on your bed, etc.

4. Play more with your cat! Honestly, the biggest gains I made with my Serafina were right after a playtime. Their whole demeanor can change drastically after they've had a really fulfilling play.

5. Patience and Perseverance. Behavior changes are not made overnight.

6. The most important thing: stop saying how disappointed you are with her!!! Stop thinking it, stop talking about it, stop dwelling on it. Stop looking for new ways that she is letting you down and what other "horrible" things you can complain about to your friends and acquaintances. At this point, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. This will work out great if you let it, but a positive attitude is the only way of achieving that!

And no... nobody was taking you to task before. But I am now! Because you need it. Otherwise you're just going to keep wallowing in self-pity and digging a deeper and deeper hole for yourself and your excellent bengal cat.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:26 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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OK. Thanks for the feedback.


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