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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:18 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:07 pm
Posts: 3
We adopted a 6 year old neutered male Bengal from the SPCA almost 2 months ago. He is chipped and wears a collar with our info attached. Even so, we are afraid to let him out, with the danger of getting lost or stolen.

We are making an enclosure for him that he can access from the kitchen window, complete with 2 parrot cages on the ground, with a water fountain in one, and eventually, potted plants will be added on the outside. We've also tried to introduce him to walking on a halter. He will walk with it, but he isn't happy at all. We're going to continue slowly, in hopes that he will eventually accept it.

As the days go by, he seems to be getting more and more insistent about trying to go out and increasingly unhappy when we won't let him. Can anyone give me suggestions on what to do to make him happier? We have tried different food and he seems to like it; we run fresh water in the sinks for him to drink when he wants it; he has a great cat tree for scratching; he gets treats occasionally...... He even tries to open the windows himself, so we've had to secure the levers so he can't lift them up!!!

Any advice would be gratefully accepted.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:25 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8152
Hi Laurel, welcome the forum. I can relate to your problem. I took ownership of a 6 year old male bengal who was allowed to roam the neighborhood because the owner could not keep him inside. Raiden made a beeline for the door anytime it was opened and he cried and cried and the guy figured it was easier to just let him out and hoped he returned. You are wise for wanting to keep your bengal safe. Raiden got into several fights with neighborhood cats -- usually on the losing end and made many trips to the vet for infected cat bites. Once I took the cat, I decided he would not be allowed to roam free.

Raiden took to a harness and leash in minutes! Not every cat does that ... and the only thing you can do is put the harness on the cat and leave it on for as long as the cat will allow it. The type of harness you're using may make a difference to the cat. Harness jackets are popular, but they come with fabric that may feel uncomfortable to a cat. The H harness is probably the best and and figure 8 is the least restrictive since that one clasps at the neck rather than the back with the H harness.

Baby steps is what you need to take. You can try to distract the cat when you put the harness on by having a toy or treats available. Cats either lay down and act like they are paralyzed, or they start fighting the harness. If he just lays down .... you can try to get him up and walking with a treat so he realizes he can walk in the harness. If he fights it, try to distract him and if that doesn't work, remove the harness and try again later. You'll have to keep doing this until he accepts the harness.

You've mentioned an enclosure. My husband enclosed a 12'x12' portion of our deck and Raiden has a cat door in the dining room window that he can access the enclosure 24/7. I'll be putting his two cat trees out there for him and getting his cat house ready for spring. He loves being out there when the weather is not too cold or too hot.

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In the winter time, I have two heated beds that go out there. Just make sure you have something for the bengal to climb on and a place where he can sleep. We do have a roof on the enclosure but rain can come in sideways and I have plastic bags that I put over the cat trees when bad weather is approaching so they don't get soaking wet.

In the mean time, yes, your kitty is miserable and wants to go outside. Distraction is a great thing. Hopefully, he likes toys and will decide that is better than scratching at the door. However .... I'll warn you that even two walks a day (which I do with Raiden) and having the enclosure, Raiden still heads for the door and many times makes it outside. Thankfully, he's not so bright about running away. He will stop and smell the grass or head for an area that corners him in and I can grab him.

All you can do is make sure the cat is microchipped and has a collar with your info (which you have done). Know that when you finally get him out on walks, he will become familiar with your neighborhood and can return home in the event he gets out. We back up to solid woods where we can hear coyotes. There are multiple cats in the neighborhood that run free -- and Raiden is a fighter that will go after them. My biggest worry is that someone will see him and take him. Every time we walk, someone will stop and ask what kind of cat it is. People rarely see spotted cats. And they all say how beautiful he is! Bengals have been snatched out of their yards.

You are doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS! If you've been trying for two months in attempting to get him used to a harness, you've been doing it wrong as it should not take that long. I believe even the hardest cat to train on a harness will come around within a matter of weeks if you are continually putting the harness on him. Try several times throughout the day. At some point, he may get the hint and once he gets to walk outside, then he will associate the harness and lead with getting a walk. Also know that cats do not walk like dogs~ You will go three steps and the cat will stop. In the beginning, your cat will probably stick in your yard. Over time, he will want to expand his territory. Raiden will walk a couple of blocks down to the park. He wants to spray every shrub we come across. In the beginning, keep the walks short. We usually are now out 45 minutes to an hour each walk. I carry keys to our back door and when I "shake" them, Raiden knows it's time to come in. Sometimes he will automatically walk toward the door, other times, he cries because he does not wan to come in, but a morning walk and a later afternoon walk is about all I have time for in a day. The rest of the time, he can go out in his enclosure if he wants to.

You've obviously read up on the bengal breed and you are going to do your best to see that he can enjoy the outdoors. You will always have to keep an eye out when you open a door as these bengals are fast and will be through your legs and a very small space in an instant. Raiden got out twice on Friday!

Keep us posted and good luck!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:56 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:38 pm
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Sherry that's a great set up you have made for Raiden. It has everything out there. Cat trees, litter box, even a cat door in the window. I am still trying to figure out a way my cats can come and go through the sliding doors when I am at home without having a cat door installed. It is so hot and humid now too. I purchased strong magnets and a clear hookless shower curtain. I rigged that over a small opening of the door with an opening at the bottom. For now that's the best I can do. It's in the 90s today so they came in to cool off and nap.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:18 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:07 pm
Posts: 3
Hi Sherry,

Thank you for your reply. I love your deck area! I wish we had something as nice as that. Our arrangement is constructed out out a wire enclosure over the windows, with an opening for a ramp going to the 2 parrot cages. I have photos, but don't know how to insert them here. We bought the decking boards we need today and will be getting more wire tomorrow so I'm hoping to have it completed within the next few days.

We've only used the harness maybe 3-4 times, and not consistently. So, I need to get back to working on that more regularly. Shere Khan will walk in it and doesn't fight it either, so maybe it is just a matter of persistence.

We live very close to a high speed rail line and a neighbor's cat got killed near it just in the last couple of days. So, I'm even more adamant about him not roaming. I'll just keep going and hope he will come to terms with it after a while. Man, can he talk!!! I've had lots of cats in my life but he is my first Bengal and I've never had a cat like him!! I've even checked with the neighbor to be sure they can't hear him in their house because he sounds like someone is murdering him! LOL. He is such a character......it does get aggravating listening to him, but I love him to bits so won't give up. He's the most beautiful cat I've ever seen so I'm also concerned about someone taking him.

Thank you so much for your help!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:44 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8152
Oh bengals can vocalize! Sometimes Raiden cries so loud, I also am afraid the neighbors will think he's being murdered! It just comes with owning a bengal. Cat enclosure come in all shapes and sizes -- there are a zillion images in Google. People are so creative!!! Today I thoroughly cleaned Raiden's enclosure, got fresh bedding in the cat house and will have my hubby move the cat trees back out there for Raiden to enjoy. He has only used the litter box one time -- he prefers an uncovered one and will come back into the house to go.

As for the type of insert we have for the window, my husband bought a piece of clear plexiglas, cut it to the width of the window, cut out the hold for the cat flap. The cat door was made for something thicker, so he took it apart, cut down the nubs and screwed and glued it to the front and back of the plexiglas. We then inserted the plexiglas into the channel for the screen. We had some foam siding from making the cat house, so hubby put some in front of the plexiglass to insulate. We can close the window and lock it any time and the cat door stays in place. Note it took two tries for my hubby to get this right -- the first piece broke!

Check out the gallery section on how to post pictures. I have mine hosted on Image Shack and can copy and paste the link. If you want the picture to appear in your post you just put a [img]in%20front%20and[/img] at the end and it should show up fine. Would love to see a picture of your finished project.


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