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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:32 am 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 10:28 am
Posts: 40
Morning all

We are experiencing some completely out of character behaviour from one of our Bengals and suspect he is not well but cannot see what it is - I would welcome your thoughts. Story so far:

Completely out of the blue when we went to let them out of the dinning room on Saturday morning our nearly 4 year old Bengal was behaving in an uncharacteristic way toward his (very bonded) 3 year Bengal female partner. Hissing/ growling etc .This has never happened before and our thoughts were that either
1. something had happened during the night to spook him (they have continuous access to a secure enclosure through a cat flat in the dinning room)
2. He was unwell

We had a good look at him and, although we could see nothing obvious we reached the view that he was not 100%. This was due to his presentation etc - we just felt he wasn't "himself" - nothing we could put our finger on but a strong feeling

We took him to the vets who gave him a really thorough physical check over and ran blood tests. Nothing obvious bar slightly elevated temperature and the conclusion was that he may be in some pain around his hip/ back area. He had a anti inflammatory/ pain killing injection and 3 days worth of painkillers.

At first, things seemed to be better. They totally reconnected when he came back from the vets and spent the afternoon on the bed yesterday sleeping curled up with each other as they usually do. All seemed well until we settled them down for the night again last night when we heard an almighty ruckus and Malcolm was again highly agitated and growling/ hissing at her. We separated them for the night as we were so concerned about this out of character behaviour and risk of injury.

This morning they were back together again -they had been constantly crying for each other and all was well again for about an hour before the exact same thing again-Malcolm growling with non warning and Dany bewildered before then both fighting. Cue another separation with both really really crying for each other once situation had calmed down - it is so distressing to hear and I cannot stress enough how totally connected these two cats are - they are inseparable and have been for 3.5 years

My thoughts are that either Malcolm has something we haven't picked up or could Dany have something we can't sense that he is reacting to? Wee/poop / eating all fine with both of them (no change)and bloods were all fine for kidney/ liver/ infection markers etc for Malcolm. We have speculated in the past that he may have some issues with his right hip as he seems to hold it slightly stiff sometimes (we speculate he may have been kicked in a previous home)

Sorry about the long post and would be interested in people's thoughts- we are so worried and puzzled

Many Thanks :-)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:21 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8152
My instant thought is that there are other cats (or maybe other animals) outside and your kitty is not happy that someone else is in his territory! Bengals are especially territorial. And since this happened at night (and after a clean bill of health from the vet), I'm guessing there was an incident. Your cat is unable to get to any other cat, but cats can smell the other. A neighbor's cat would come around and antagonized my bengal who has an outdoor enclosure. I only have one cat, so there was nobody to take the aggression out on, but you have another cat. You can set up a trail cam to see what's going on when your eyes are closed. If it's another outdoor cat, it's very difficult to get them gone! My neighbors finally moved as they refused to keep their cat inside (it even attacked and bit me).

Honestly, this the only thing I can think of that could be causing the behavior since your bengal is not aggressive 24/7. There's something out there and you just need to find out what it is.

I don't honestly know about the hip thing. A young cat should not have a problem. And if your bengal is not crying in pain when he's being petted or held, then that's probably not it. You've got to do some detective work to discover if there's a situation overnight. Your kitties obviously love each other.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:59 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 10:28 am
Posts: 40
Sherry wrote:
My instant thought is that there are other cats (or maybe other animals) outside and your kitty is not happy that someone else is in his territory! Bengals are especially territorial. And since this happened at night (and after a clean bill of health from the vet), I'm guessing there was an incident. Your cat is unable to get to any other cat, but cats can smell the other. A neighbor's cat would come around and antagonized my bengal who has an outdoor enclosure. I only have one cat, so there was nobody to take the aggression out on, but you have another cat. You can set up a trail cam to see what's going on when your eyes are closed. If it's another outdoor cat, it's very difficult to get them gone! My neighbors finally moved as they refused to keep their cat inside (it even attacked and bit me).

Honestly, this the only thing I can think of that could be causing the behavior since your bengal is not aggressive 24/7. There's something out there and you just need to find out what it is.

I don't honestly know about the hip thing. A young cat should not have a problem. And if your bengal is not crying in pain when he's being petted or held, then that's probably not it. You've got to do some detective work to discover if there's a situation overnight. Your kitties obviously love each other.


Thanks Sherry - we reached the same conclusion that this may well be redirected aggression as we just cannot think what else it can be. I had forgotten to say that we have had a very well behaved chihuaua staying with us for the past 4 weeks - he's crate trained and they APPEARED unconcerned by him. They are never left unsupervised. I think Dany is positively curious abouthim but now speculate that Malcolm isn't as ok as he appears. Interestingly the majority of the incidents have triggered within the cat's safe space (dinning room/ enclosure) so he doesn't feel quite so safe there at the moment. Your theory about a night time scaremay also be correct.Right now they are cuddled up on their favourite place cleaning each other only hours after having to be separated! We will try to work through theories - thank you very much for your reply


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:42 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8152
Well, now that you've mentioned the dog .... dogs come with strange smells and noises (barking). Did this start after the dog arrived? Is the dog doing its business outside of the cat enclosure? If so, then that could be the problem. Is the dog allowed in the dining room? Perhaps Malcolm does not want to cross paths with the smell. It appears another animal of some type IS the issue!!! Either the dog or other cats coming around at night. Just hope Dany is not losing any confidence. Be particularly watchful of that because it can cause behavioral problems (not using the litter box, especially). Hopefully, you can discover what exactly is causing this and get it corrected. Doesn't sound like Malcolm is too happy some of the time.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:43 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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What I don't understand is that you are asking if your bengal isn't 100% right, but then you went to the vet who told you that your bengal wasn't right (in pain, with hip problem). So I don't understand what the mystery or confusion is.

The hip problem totally explains it imo. Your bengal is hurting, and when he knows he is not 100% (the hip hurts), and knows that he is not up to the usual rough-housing that he would usually enjoy, so he is saying "back off, leave me along now, I need to get better" to the other cat. If your vet is correct, and let's assume he is, then the actual problem is that your other cat isn't picking up on that cue, and respecting it, and is continuing to rough house. What you would hope would happen is that when the non-hurt cat approaches the hurt one, the hurt one would give a big menacing hiss and growl, and the other one would back down "ok, ok, I hear ya, I won't bother you now, I'll try back later" kind of thing.

A similar, but slightly different interpretation is that it's a territorial thing. The hurt cat had established some "ownership" of various things/places, and now that is being challenged. That does happen when a former "alpha" can no longer defend the territory that he had, in moments of weakness, that territory gets challenged. He essentially says "I'm still tough, don't mess with me or I'll put a whoopin on you" and the other cat either backs down or says back "No, I don't think you are, and I'm going to find out". And of course it compounds that when your cat comes back smelling like the vet. Many times that can be very upsetting since cats rely so much on their sense of smell.

You should be able to figure out what the deal is through careful observation of how (as well as where) these disputes "go down". Which cat is doing what, what is the trigger, what are the two cat's reactions etc.

Either way, the solution may be that you have to separate them for awhile. Until your cat's hip problem improves, and also the smell of the vet goes away a bit.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:51 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 10:28 am
Posts: 40
Hi

Thank for both for your replies. To answer your queries(in no particular order :-))

The vet wasn't sure if he had anything injury wise as there was nothing obvious - it was a "best guess" from her. Our thoughts were that if that was correct then that would account for his behaviour for the reason's you state - certainly I can recognise Dany's behaviour in what you describe - she is obviously confused on the occasions when he has growled at her

No the dog doesn't do his business near the enclosure and he has been kept out of the dinning room. They have shown no obvious reaction to him at all bar curiosity and the first time we had this behaviour from Malcolm was Saturday morning - nearly 4 weeks after the dog arrived

Apologies if the title was ambiguous - it was my attempt to sum up our feeling that we hadn't necessarily got to the bottom of what is wrong in the requisite number of characteristics in the title!Sorry for any confusion


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:48 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8152
I'm weary of a vet who may make a diagnosis of a problem that may not be there. There are ways to diagnose a "hip problem" if there is one. Xray, c-scan -- I know both are expensive, but I'd question a vet who would simply state a possible diagnosis without going through all the appropriate tests. Was the cat limping at all? Any visible signs of something wrong? The vet gave a shot and medication -- and wasn't even sure about the diagnosis. It's been a couple of days, so I hope things are better with Malcolm and Dany.

I think any "doctor" hates to scratch his/her chin and say, "I have no idea what is going on." It happens to humans as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 5:17 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 10:28 am
Posts: 40
Sherry wrote:
I'm weary of a vet who may make a diagnosis of a problem that may not be there. There are ways to diagnose a "hip problem" if there is one. Xray, c-scan -- I know both are expensive, but I'd question a vet who would simply state a possible diagnosis without going through all the appropriate tests. Was the cat limping at all? Any visible signs of something wrong? The vet gave a shot and medication -- and wasn't even sure about the diagnosis. It's been a couple of days, so I hope things are better with Malcolm and Dany.

I think any "doctor" hates to scratch his/her chin and say, "I have no idea what is going on." It happens to humans as well.


Hi Sherry

I think you are right about the vets trying to find a physical reason - there was no limp just a possible "stiffness" I think I was so worried about what had happened that I may be didn't question as much as I usually would

The more time goes on and we investigate via watching behavioural indicators etc the more we are convinced that your first thoughts about something happening in/ about the enclosure were correct. The two of them being in there yesterday triggered another reaction from Malcolm and it seems to be only when she is in there too and then he directs the behaviour to her/ at her. It is VERY location specific - everywhere else they are as normal with each other.

So..... we have temporarily closed off access and in fact put a board across the lower half of the French doors that open out onto the enclosure so that Malcolm doesn't see out which seems to have really helped. We are needing to have our drains dug up and replaced on Wednesday in any event (part of drain system runs under enclosure area) so there will be an extended period without access which will allow for a good clean/ tidy up in that area before we consider how we reintroduce them successfully (any suggestions gratefully received:-)

We have been focussing on rebuilding their relationship - all today they have been back to "normal" with each other. Lots of snuggling up and mutual cleaning. Right now they are asleep together with him resting his chin on her back - they've been inseparable all day

Thank you again for your advice - really appreciated


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