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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:14 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:30 pm
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Hi all

I wonder if anyone has any ideas on how I can sort out my small issue with Leo, my Bengal. I live with my husband and 2 children (18 & 9) and Leo. Leo definitely thinks he rules the house. If he sits on my lap and I want to get up, he will attack me. He generally decides on my neck and will sometimes launch himself at me. Its quite laughable after the event as I am usually shouting out to "come and get the cat, he's trying to kill me" but whilst he is in full attack mode, I am genuinely quite scared as he's so fast.

I've used a water spray, shouted "No", thrown him off but he will come back for more.

Another thing is his morning routine, which is now waking us both up at 5am every morning - he will wake to be taken down to his food bowl. There is usually food in it but will not shut up until he has been escorted down to the kitchen. If we trying to ignore him, then he generally climbs up on anything he can and will knock things off until he has our attention and has us out of bed.

Unfortunately we are in a mezzanine level and therefore do not have a bedroom door, so cant even shut him out. If he does decide to make it to the kitchen unaided then he will just knock something off a shelf or sideboard to get us up. Any ideas for both please?

Thanks very much,

Michelle


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:20 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:24 pm
Posts: 147
michelleliza wrote:
Hi all

I wonder if anyone has any ideas on how I can sort out my small issue with Leo, my Bengal. I live with my husband and 2 children (18 & 9) and Leo. Leo definitely thinks he rules the house. If he sits on my lap and I want to get up, he will attack me. He generally decides on my neck and will sometimes launch himself at me. Its quite laughable after the event as I am usually shouting out to "come and get the cat, he's trying to kill me" but whilst he is in full attack mode, I am genuinely quite scared as he's so fast.

I've used a water spray, shouted "No", thrown him off but he will come back for more.

Another thing is his morning routine, which is now waking us both up at 5am every morning - he will wake to be taken down to his food bowl. There is usually food in it but will not shut up until he has been escorted down to the kitchen. If we trying to ignore him, then he generally climbs up on anything he can and will knock things off until he has our attention and has us out of bed.

Unfortunately we are in a mezzanine level and therefore do not have a bedroom door, so cant even shut him out. If he does decide to make it to the kitchen unaided then he will just knock something off a shelf or sideboard to get us up. Any ideas for both please?

Thanks very much,

Michelle


Michelle, are you sure he's the troublemaker, not you guys? ;) His pictures say he's an adorable disciplined cat. However, you didn't specify for how long he's been with you. If he was adopted directly from a breeder, shelter or another home... but nevertheless, clearly you have an issue with his behavior.

We do have members who have longer experience here than me. But I studied Bengals for three years before having one eventually. So until others chime in, allow me to share my thoughts.

Clearly your cat has developed a good bond with you since he chooses your lap and depends on you to walk him to his food. That's a good thing. My advice is:
1) Stop free feeding him. Depending on his age/weight, set the numbers of meals and time for each. This is the first step for disciplining a cat as behavior specialists claim. Make sure he sees you preparing his food and putting it for him, to learn you matter much in his life.
2) Everynight set a routine for playtime followed by a meal before his sleeping time. This way his energy gets drained before bed time and accordingly you're setting his timetable. Make sure his night meal is sufficient to keep him full and waking up late.
3) Some use spray bottles, some use timeout in a carrier or a closed room... I use bath time. Hitting two birds with a stone. If Snickers misbehaves I say "NO". If she insists and goes out of control, I give her a bath. She learns a lesson and I enjoy her smelling good and clean. Trust now, just saying "no" to her is enough to stop her doing anything wrong.
4) Seeking your attention by knocking things down is very normal for many breeds. That's why you need to child/cat-proof your home as much as possible.
5) Does your house have the essentials to entertain your cat while you're away, asleep, busy... etc? Do you have a tree-mansion? Toys and balls? Window hammock? One Fast Cat wheel? Unconventional Cat Furniture? If not, start buying stuff gradually as required and as fits your house space and budget.
6) Petsonnaly, Snickers wakes me up gently. And if I don't wake up, she'll start her day without me and start playing without creating disturbing noise. But in your case, you may eventually need to lock him at night in a room so he doesn't get to your bedroom... although I'm sure he'll nag and whine until he wakes you up. But you need to ignore him then. If you answer his whining, he'll win this war for good.

That's what I could think of. I hope others can be more helpful.

PS Welcome to the forum.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:23 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
Before having bengals, I wouldn't have even comprehended the idea of a cat getting "physical" with you for doing something like getting up and knocking them out of your lap. My serafina doesn't take it quite that far, but I'm frequently growled at for example if I need to nudge her over to make room for me in the bed, or knocking her off my lap as you say. That clearly pisses her off and she tells me about it, like I was another cat encroaching on her territory!

How exactly are you doing it when you get up and have to dislodge him? If you are not already, I'd suggest trying to pick him up, and placing him off to the side. Does that work? Or is that when he attacks? If it's just not working out, then I think the practical suggestion is instead of having him on you lap, have a nice, plush, desirable cat bed right next to you, and have him sleep there. Mine are very fond of these: https://www.etsy.com/listing/235669718/ ... ?ref=hp_rv. He still gets the same amount of company, comfort, affection etc., just not on your lap, and you are then free to come and go as you please without disturbing him.

I think of the two, the morning routine is going to be the harder of these two to manage. And I suspect you know the answer to this already... cats adapt to household routines, and become extreme creatures of habit. And they will try to push the limits. You've now trained your cat that 5am is now wakeup time, and that in order for him to earn his breakfast he needs to make a fuss and he'll get it. You need to re-train him (obviously), and that means that you need to never, ever, ever, ever... give in when he does that. Ever. Even if one time out of 10 you do it, you are reinforcing the behavior. You need to sleep, in bed, until an appropriate wakeup time. Even if he wakes you up, you can't give in to him and give him attention or play or breakfast any sooner that you want to.

Also, if you haven't already, giving him a snack, or even leaving out some dry food in his dish can help with the night-time munchies. You could probably even get one of those feeders on a timer if you need to.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:19 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:11 pm
Posts: 1178
Sounds like Leo needs to be reminded you are in charge and not him! You need to be gently assertive to him. If you want to get up and he's on your lap, move him to one side and if he goes to attack you push him gently to the floor, stand up and make sure you are higher than him and tell him no firmly and walk away. You are pack leader, not him. You don't need to be rough but be very firm.

I'd like to help on the morning wake up call, but I have the same issue with one of mine, usually 5.30am, although when he's had a very busy day and is tired, I'm lucky enough to get to lie in until 6am! I think it being summer is the main issue, he wants to get up and outside etc. Try extra playtime before bed and wear him out, laser pointer or flying frenzy and then give him a small meal and see if it helps. I have tried the ignoring as well and I think it would work if we didn't have two bengals. The problem being he will pick a fight with Hendrix as that is guaranteed to get me up. Make sure you have put everything he knocks off etc somewhere he can't get to it. I tend to put everything away or close him out of the front room as playing with the blinds is a known trigger to get me out of bed. If there's nothing he can knock off that will bother you it's easier to ignore.

We've managed three mornings in a row to 6.30am by doing these things but don't think I'll achieve anything later!

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:00 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8146
Welcome to the forum. You didn't say how old Leo is or how long you have had him. Bengals are not like your ordinary cat. First of all, using a spray bottle with water is not a good thing. It becomes a trust issue for your cat. Let's face it, Leo depends on you for love and food and spraying him is (first of all), NOT going to work.

Cats are prone to knocking things off for attention. Mine gets up on my make up table at 4 a.m and will proceed to knock things off until I get up and see what he wants. Yes, he has me trained, but if I want to go back to sleep, I'm going to have to deal with it.

As for the attacks -- it is clear that he does not want you to get up. Be thankful that you have a lap bengal. Many are not. That being said ... is this new behavior? If you have had him for two years and this just started, then it could be something medically wrong with him (or dentally). If he is a kitten, then this is pretty standard behavior for a kitten. I hope you are engaging him in play time at least two to three sessions a day. You have children -- they can handle this if you don't have time. Bengals have a ton of energy they need to get out.

I suggest you have a cat toy of some type -- wand preferably -- and when you want to get up, lead Leo off your lap with the toy. This should prevent any attacks from happening.

The biggest issue we have is sharing our environment with a bengal! A cat with wild ancestors. Bengals can be trained with lots of patience. They are very smart creatures. Hopefully, you've gotten some good advice from us.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:56 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:30 pm
Posts: 2
Oh yes, sorry, Leo is 3, straight from the breeder and had him since he was 12 weeks. He has attacked me for the past 2 years. I generally do just pick him up and take him off my lap, gently and without force as such. I'm really stuck as what to do with him. Thanks for all your comments so far! I've got some ideas from you all. I think I need to be firmer in the way I say No! He is a menace!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:19 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:26 pm
Posts: 724
Leo sounds like Oscar! A right little toad. Oscar has attitude and can go for me in certain situations - never drawing blood but still unpleasant. I second Clare's (Tabitha) advice. You need to be assertive but in a calm way. Leo may sense you getting anxious when it's time for you to get him off your lap, which could make him think he is boss and has the upper hand/paw. I used to be exactly like you when I got Oscar as a rescue a few years ago. I was very wary and I'm sure that communicates to them as they sense everything. Try and be super confident around him and move with purpose. Don't hesitate and if you are worried to pick him up off your lap then just stand up and let him jump down. Keeping a large stuffed toy as Sherry said is a great idea as you can use it to fend him off if he does start. I don't think Leo seriously means you harm - it sounds like he is a typical Bengal with ideas higher than his station!! Good luck and remember you are the boss!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:18 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:48 pm
Posts: 214
Leo is adorable!

One technique many of us have used successfully with bites and other playful attacks is to completely overreact verbally, a loud 'OWWWW' and miming a pain reaction. This can work really well because cats don't really want to hurt you. So they learn to pull back.

The neck biting is a real concern for me, tho, I don't think I've heard anyone else talk about that. That has to stop right away.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:37 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8146
I have a moggie cat who likes to "play" and wants to bunny kick my hands. I simply tell him "NO" in a firm voice and "be nice." He hears "be nice" a lot because he and my bengal do not always get along.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:19 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:48 pm
Posts: 214
My little DSH loves to do that to my hand and arm as well. Unfortunately, I let her do it because she was so tiny when I got her and now it's too late to break that habit! Although I haven't tried one of these kick toys, that might work.


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