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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:54 am 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:41 am
Posts: 2
Hi, we brought home our Bengal in October and she’s an absolute sweetheart....but I’m concerned about how she interacts with my partner.
She is always very sweet loving and playful with me, but with my partner she is all of the above some of the time and the rest terrified. Her eyes go wide she flattens herself and her ears, but she never bites or hisses.
The last couple of nights it’s been so bad it’s distressed me to see her react this way. He has in the past disciplined her very strictly or over disciplined which I’ve told him and one his friends told him, he shouldn’t do. Is there any way to rebuild her relationship with him?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:42 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8487
Sara, welcome to the forum. I am sorry you're going through this. You didn't mention the age of your bengal. Disciplining a cat is not like disciplining a child. Obviously, the discipline has been hard on your bengal and she is now terrified of your partner. If the discipline was physical, then I don't blame her. Verbal discipline is one thing and fine at times -- but to strike a cat (if that happened), is another. Once a cat has been traumatized, it takes a very, very long time to overcome that, especially if the perpetrator is still in the house.

About the only way to attempt to overcome this is for your partner to STOP with any discipline. Cats are cats and bengals have traits that other cats do not have. They get into things. They are smart. They test you -- just like a child, but you cannot use the same disciplinary measures on a cat. No spray bottles for one thing as that puts distrust in the cat.

If you want to see change, then have your partner become the caregiver. Have him feed the kitty. Have him engage the cat in play. He may be a man's man and not into cats. In that case, you shouldn't have a cat!

Obviously your kitty is not aggressive and is sweet as almost all bengals are. Look at this from the cat's point of view and the discipline that is being given. Would you tolerate that if the partner were saying or doing those things to you? Cats do remember. And it can take a very long time to instill trust in a cat again. Your partner will have to EARN the trust and the cat has to trust that your partner will NEVER do the things he has done in the past to her.

I really feel for you in this situation and if you really want it to get better, you have to try the things I've mentioned. I'm sure if it came down to the cat or your partner, you would chose your cat, right??? I don't get involved in relationships between humans, only humans and cats, but you might want to think about your future and the possibility of human children, who are much more of a handful than any bengal. I would have a serious conversation with your partner over this -- and I agree with his friends! The question is whether or not your partner will listen and change. Most men think a cat is just a cat and easily disposable. In the end, if you care anything about your cat and her happiness, you might need to give her to a happy, loving home. Most partners/boyfriends/girlfriends would say you are choosing the cat over them -- and it leads to a sticky relationship. You have to decide what or who is more important in your life. An overly disciplinary partner, or a sweet bengal.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:02 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 4245
Location: Portland Oregon, USA
Sara wrote:
Hi, we brought home our Bengal in October and she’s an absolute sweetheart....but I’m concerned about how she interacts with my partner.
She is always very sweet loving and playful with me, but with my partner she is all of the above some of the time and the rest terrified. Her eyes go wide she flattens herself and her ears, but she never bites or hisses.
The last couple of nights it’s been so bad it’s distressed me to see her react this way. He has in the past disciplined her very strictly or over disciplined which I’ve told him and one his friends told him, he shouldn’t do. Is there any way to rebuild her relationship with him?


Yea, you can absolutely turn that around, if there is the dedication to do so. But what it sounds like is that he abused her pretty badly. A cat doesn't do that unless they've been hurt and scared pretty badly. And not only that but people have advised him about it, but apparently he knows best. Sheesh. I think probably a bigger concern from your standpoint ought to be to get the abuse to stop. Seriously. It's also very character relealing imo, that someone can show zero empathy for a pet.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:41 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:41 am
Posts: 2
Thanks for the advice. We're trying the above and she's already responding positively.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:22 am 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 73
One of my Bengals is a rescue and was abused previously. He was terrified of all humans. We did earn his trust but it took a very long time (about 9 months until we could touch him without him showing fear). It took a few years for him to fully normalize. He still has post traumatic stress at times but it is now rare. He does not trust strangers and it has been 7 years so he never will but he is fine with us.

As long as she was not disciplined for very long or injured she can regain trust but he has to earn it now.

Cats do not respond well to discipline and nothing good will come from those actions. If a cat is scratching furniture you need to buy a lot of things more enticing to scratch and put catnip on. If a cat is jumping on the counters try feeding them away from that area or feed them on a table that is designated for them. Just some common problems and ideas for shaping new behaviors. However cats are cats and one must just accept some things.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:26 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8487
Sara, I'm glad you are working things out. I'm hoping for all things positive. Just make sure you give your kitty the time she needs to come around. Your partner is going to have to change his behavior around her. Cats don't always misbehave. For example, cats will jump on kitchen countertops. You can smack, knock them off onto the floor, beat them, spray them with water and the cat will return to the countertop. It's just easier to pick up the cat and place the cat gently on the floor and repeat as necessary. A little humor there. :biggrin:

I know this is serious business for you -- but you've got a cat who doesn't understand everything that is going on. Bengals get into things. Bengals do things you don't want them to do. They are perpetual two-year old children. Sometimes humans have to change their behavior and not the other way around.

Hang in there and update us on the progress being made. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:01 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:48 pm
Posts: 249
The Bengal mix that I rescued came from a neglectful home where a pack of children relentlessly tormented him. It took years to get him back to a place where he wouldn't turn tail and run when he saw another person. In his later years he actually got to a point of being social with the neighbors. But, and this is an important point, I would never have let him be in the same room with young children given his experiences. He could not have been adopted by a house with children.

It's not that all damage from abuse is permanent, but it may take so long that literal years will go by, and not many people are that patient.


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