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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:52 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:40 am
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Hi!

Our family is planning for the arrival of our first Bengal kitten in early January. He's a silver and he'll be 12-13 weeks when we pick him up.

I've been doing lots of reading here in forums and the plan of keeping a quiet small space for the kitten to get used to us and the space. We don't have any other pets and one child who is 12. We have an unusual house though, so I'm hoping for some advice from experienced Bengal owners.

#1:
Our house has two floors. The downstairs has one door - to the bathroom. The rest is open space and it's large. Two of the rooms have high ceilings and one has beams. We spend most of the day downstairs but the bedrooms are upstairs as is my husband's office. Where should the safe room/place be? The most "safe" room is the upstairs bathroom which has a door to the toilet air that can be shut. Does this safe room have the door always closed?

#2
Can the safe place move? I'm wondering if a tent style large play pen with the door always open would work and we can move it around to wherever we are?

#3:
We're hoping that our little guy will want to sleep with us. How do we keep the safe room downstairs if he's upstairs to sleep? Or does he not get to sleep with us until he's used to the house and us?

#4 I'm planning on an upstairs and downstairs litter box. Can that box move or does it always have to be in the same spot? I'm imagining it needs to be in the bedroom to start if he's sleeping there and close to whatever room we are in downstairs to begin?

#5 Someone said that they'd wished they'd planned better for their new arrival. I was hoping to get a scratching post and maybe a tower and lots of toys. The scratching post/tower choices are dizzying. I gather that Sisal woven fabric is superior to all? I hate particle board and treated woods so that limits the choices but also makes them more expensive. Will one climbing or scratching element be enough in a large room? We have two large rooms that have couches. The one that has beams also has curtains.

Thanks for any and all help and advice :-) We are soooo excited! :this:


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:44 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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If you're like me you will only be able to leave the little guy in the safe room for about 3 hours :lol:

A safe room is most useful when you have other pets and they need to get used to eachothers scents. Otherwise, if your little guy seems confident and wants to explore (and sleep with you), I would let him, but that's just me! Stick near him and get him to play while he's exploring.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:47 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Also, the sisal woven fabric is by far the best - I have never seen cats attracted to a cat post like this one we got our cats recently!

http://www.purrfectpost.com/mondo.html


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:40 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:47 pm
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Location: UK
The big problem with allowing new kittens a big space is that they often get lost and forget where the litter tray is, so they find a place to go, just anywhere suitable. As kitten urine/poo is not really that smelly at first then it may not be noticed until you find a huge collection of it behind the sofa, under the bed or in some other enclosed darkish spot.
Once the notion of going wherever they feel like, is established, it may be difficult to shake. The carpet or flooring behind the sofa then smells of cat urine, very difficult to clear completely to the sensitive cat nose even with washing, so it may end up as the perfect place to go even as an adult...

The main purposes of a safe room is to minimise infection, to settle the kitten and to protect them from danger and dangerous situations.
Cats from catteries are often exposed to multiple bugs and parasites. The way cats are bred, with new cats coming frequently from all corners of the world into catteries, means cattery cats can be likely to carry multiple parasites and bugs. Bringing that into a normal domestic home can cause issues with the existing cats.
On here we have to speak to new kitten owners frequently about TF and other parasites that show up in the new kittens stool causing stomach and bowel upsets, as well as other types of infection.
That is why it is essential that new kittens are kept away from existing pers for at least 2 weeks to allow any illness to develop and for the kitten to get treated without exposing the existing pets/humans to it.
A new kitten under the stress of rehoming is going to be highly receptive to bugs and parasites from older animals too, so not only is it to protect the existing pets from the kitten, it is protecting the kitten from existing pet disease.
Whilst in the safe room, it is also easy to see if the kitten is eating or toileting properly, small kittens can become ill quite quickly, a kitten off its food or not drinking can be taken to the vet and get treated early, which may save its life.

Safe rooms should be cleared of hazards for the kitten. As new kittens can tend to hide away and can get up to mischief, so it is better they are in a safe confined space than end up under furniture chewing wires or peeing on electrical equipment. The safe environment allows the kitten to get used to it's surroundings and used to the new humans too, large unknown spaces can be stressful for kittens and whilst most kittens tend not to show they are stressed, it doesn't mean that they aren't. A kitten's best defence is, to show it is friendly, not to show fear and to show it is of no threat, showing stress may mean it is vulnerable and so kittens tend to try and hide any emotion, if they can.

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Last edited by junglerose on Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:40 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Location: Portland Oregon, USA
So, I think it's best to understand the purpose of a safe room, which I think will help answer your questions.

A safe room is a used so that your new kitten will not feel overwhelmed by all the new people, all the new smells, being lost and not knowing where his litterbox and food and water is, and allows him to slowly acclimate to his new digs at "his pace". Some kittens see a new home and immediately want to explore. But many just want a place to hide and deal with their fear, and sorrow, and loss. A safe room is also of greater importance if there are other animals in the house that may require a slower, more careful introduction (which sounds like it may not be the case for you?) and/or a quarantine.

Many people use a bathroom as a saferoom. It isn't ideal because it's not a very pleasant place for a cat, and there isn't much to interact with or explore once they get the urge to do so, and most importantly there often is no place for a scared cat to hide, but it might be preferable to putting the kitten in a huge open space where he is overwhelmed. To me, I think your best bet would be to use one of the upstairs rooms, bedroom or office rooms. What you need in a saferoom is food, water, litterbox, toys, and a place for the kitten to hide. Giving a kitten a place to hide and allowing him to do so if he needs to gives him a sense of safety. How long to keep them in the saferoom? For me the criteria was simple: as soon as the cat shows interest in what is behind the closed door, then he is allowed out to explore that space.

Definitely don't move litterboxes!! Once you have a cat that gets used to peeing and/or pooing outside the litterbox, that is a huge problem. A lot of cats are re-homed because of that, and it can be challenging to re-train them to use a litterbox. So you don't want to go there. So my suggestion is have at least one box on each level (maybe more depending on the size of the place, and whether or not the box may be closed off from him from time to time). Use very large, open boxes ideally. And start with the litter he is used to from his breeder, then change over to one you prefer if you like. And definitely you want to strive for consistency. Cats are creatures of habit. Litterboxes are always kept clean and in the same location and with the same litter (once you've established the one you want to use), and always accessible.

Cats love vertical space, especially bengals. The desirability of a spot to sleep in is often defined by how high it is off the ground (and it's proximity to his "people" and things like windows or other interesting things to watch). I have one tree and many high perches in each of the rooms that I spend much time, and they are always in one tree or another pretty much. Criteria for selecting a tree: It's height (taller is better), the stability of it (cats hate climbing rickety things that can't support their weight), and the material (sisel is good, as are well carpeted surfaces). Also when you buying a tree, fix your eyes on the top perch in the tree (which will be where your cat spends all his time :lol: ), and see if you can trace a way down from there for your cat without what I call a "crash landing" (where they are compelled to basically plummet all the way back down to the floor in one jump). Some trees are incredibly poorly designed in that aspect, and to make them useful you need to put other structures next to them so the cat can climb down reasonably.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 7:03 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8017
As usual, Brian and Elaine have covered all the bases. Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! Ask all the questions you want because you will get some great answers. Hopefully, you can post some pictures of your baby at some point. Continue to do your research on the bengal breed. They are not your ordinary cat -- but they are one in a million and you'll have so many enjoyable moments. It won't take very long for your new baby to get used to their surroundings. It's just a little overwhelming in the beginning ... but you can spend as much time with your new kitty as you want. It's not like you put your kitty in the safe room and never go in there again. Feel free to bring you kitty out into a main room and sit him on your lap or beside you and start to interact with him. It's fine. Sometimes I think new parents overreact -- and your kitty will let you know when he's ready to hop into bed with you.

Since you seen to have multiple living areas, make sure your little guy has a cat tree, scratching post and litter box in each area. Sisal scratching posts are awesome and Raiden uses his constantly. It's always good to have more than one -- as you can get the posts with a cat tree or separate. Raiden also has one that I pick up at Walmart for $10 that I can reverse when he wears it down on one side. He loves that as well.

Don't be moving litter boxes around. As I said, it's best to have one in each floor of your home. Once your kitty gets used to the locations and it's suddenly gone, then he'll be going where the box used to be rather than seek out the other one.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:24 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:40 am
Posts: 7
Such great advice from all of you, thank you so much. I will rethink the "safe room" into a roll-out of the house rather than a close-out. That will work much better in our lifestyle and my head :-)

For Trees I'm sensing more and taller is better, so I'm looking at the major rooms we spend time in and finding the perfect high spots. It was really helpful to hear about considering getting down from the tree/perch. It's obvious thing but I hadn't considered it when trying to make a decision. So happy to now go and look at my top tree choices with new eyes.

I was looking at the Purrfect sisal wrapped post. It's a great suggestion, looks so sturdy!

Litter boxes on each floor and don't move them - exactly the info I needed :-)

Junglerose - your note on stress was super valuable. I hadn't read that anywhere I'll be making extra sure there's time and space for anti-stress relaxation.

As soon as we get the little guy home I'll post photos - and probably more questions!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:34 am 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:40 am
Posts: 7
So appreciated all of your input on bringing home our new kitten. We managed the transition very well but unfortunately lost the darling little guy to FIP at 16 weeks. Terribly tragic. We miss him so. I feel very informed now about FIP - our poor little guy had the wet kind and deteriorated very quickly.

The Good News:

We are now proud parents to two new Bengal kittens and all of your advice was so appreciated! They are doing well in the transition to their new home. Feliway I think has been a great comfort zone creator. I have the spray downstairs and the diffuser upstairs.

The safe room we decided on is my son's bedroom upstairs and the adjoining bathroom. For the first 2 days that was their domain. Feeding/Litter in the bathroom and sleeping and play in the bedroom.

From their we rolled out one room upstairs the third day another the 4th then 3/4 of the downstairs. They still have one room to go and are getting curious about it.

We've been doing 2 litter boxes one up and one down as they have been used to sharing and that seems to be going well. They are used to Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat and I added the Kitten Attractant and they haven't had any trouble (fingers crossed) finding the box.

The boys are also raw fed and that's been a transition for me, but we are doing really well with managing that. They eat Cornish Game Hen and Chicken organs with a rat pup for lunch (although I'm currently waiting on my RodentPro order so I've been supplementing more hen instead until it comes.)

The silicone mats from Petfusion are really working for me as they have a tendency to drag dinner chunks off their plates.

We got them 2 http://www.purrfectpost.com/mondo.html Purrposts and they love sleeping in the upper turret of the larger one.

We need to get them something very tall - and sturdy as climbing is important to them - but there are soooo many choices.

Anyone have a favorite cat tree/ climbing tower that is made in the USA and preferable made of wood?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:14 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8017
I am so very sorry you lost your other kitty! That's just sad! But now you have two gorgeous kittens. They look like they are best friends at this point. Glad our advice worked for you and hope you can enjoy these kitties for a very long time.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:39 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:34 am
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Great pictures - both such cuties!


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