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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:08 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:51 pm
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Hey everyone,

So I have recently purchased two bengal kittens and I'll not sure what to do if this is in the wrong thread please let me know.

A little bit about myself first. I've had experience with skittish and even behavioral problem cats during my 25 years of living I work from home doing design work nowadays but I have worked with wild animals in zoos I have quite a lot of experience up my belt when it comes to felines. I've always wanted bengals not because of what they look like but the fact they are very intelligent and have nice temperaments. Our house has three dogs and two senior cats. Our Abyssinian x chinchilla is staying away from them preferring to watch from afar our Maine coon is an attention whore with the two which they reciprocate and enjoy his company it's quite adorable. They also like playing with the Pomeranian which is hilarious when they steal her toys and they are playing tug of war with each other.


Both kittens were purchased from breeders I went and saw the enclosures and it was a very welcoming environment as well as it seemed all cats were happy and well looked after. The problem with the kittens were they were not used to handling even though the breeder did spend time with them. Both bengals are female. I would like to have a bond with these cats. It they run away when I try to pat them. If I pick them up they meow and struggle to get out of my arms I know they aren't a lap cat but I want to try and train them for handling because I plan on showing. I know two weeks isn't enough time but I'm starting to lose hope they aren't interested unless they are getting food. The rest of the family says they follow me around the lounge room and into the bedroom but I just don't know I don't see it. I would also like to note that I'm also trying to harness train them for agility as well. They are around 14 weeks old now.

Do any of you have suggestions? Sorry I went on a rant I just don't know how to explain the situation.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:57 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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My $0.02 is that you quickly rid yourself of pre-conceived ideas of what "bonding" with them looks like, and that they be show cats. You have to embrace who they are, not what you'd like them to be. Bengals aren't "normal" cats in some sense. What I discovered with mine is that you find the things that *they* most like, and do lots of *that*, and that's how bonding begins. For mine, it was mostly play. Serafina couldn't (and still can't) get enough of chasing dabird and similar interactive toys around, practicing her hunting skills, while Gaga wanted (and still wants) to chase bouncy balls that I throw and she fetches. They also have favorite treats, and giving them those certainly greases the wheels. When someone new comes to the house, and wants to hang out with the bengals, I usually give them some treats, and give them one of the rod toys, and pretty soon they are friends :biggrin:

It's real common for bengals not to like being picked up. 6+ years in and my bengals still don't like being picked up for more than 30 sec or so. Both of mine have become cats that do like to cuddle, do like affection (petting, rubbing under the chin etc), but it did take them a few years to crave that.

As far as showing goes... I'm not an expert (I've only been to a couple of shows and never had any cats that performed at one) but what I've seen is the biggest barrier to a cat getting to be a show cat isn't their markings it's their temperament! And some cats just don't want to be show cats. There was even a "My Cat From Hell" episode about that. Sometimes you just have to respect that I think...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:08 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Hi! It took us well more than two weeks to be able to hold them, and one of them, even after two years can only be held against her will :-) which we do because we are evil, but she'll squiggle to distraction to get away. Mind you, she loves to cuddle and sits on anyone's lap when she fancies, but this started happening after months only.
Perhaps it's too early for harness training, and waiting until they feel 'at home' with you could be an option.

Don't lose hope, as Brianj said, bonding will be on their terms, mostly through feeding them and dangling da birds in front of them so that they recognise you as provider of goods!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:06 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Two weeks is nothing compared to the number of years you will have with your babies. Adding bengal kittens to an already bustling household with pets is never easy. It takes TIME and PATIENCE. Sometimes we expect too much from the new arrivals. They will settle in at their own pace and connect with your other pets when they are ready. Do not push the situation as it can only make things worse. Hopefully, you kept your bengals in a safe room for the first week and slowly introduced them to your other babies.

Your cats must like being held and manipulated in order to do the shows. Judges handle the cats a lot, will engage them in play, they stretch them out -- a show cat has to be completely comfortable with that. They must like being caged for hours on end. Hopefully, you will attend a cat show long before you plan to show your babies so you can talk with breeders and see what goes on. Your babies may not be cut out for showing, no matter how perfect they are. It takes many shows and lots of points to get championship status, much less reach Supreme Grand Champion. It's a dedication for you and the babies.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:01 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Kittycat wrote:
I would like to have a bond with these cats. It they run away when I try to pat them. If I pick them up they meow and struggle to get out of my arms I know they aren't a lap cat but I want to try and train them for handling because I plan on showing. I know two weeks isn't enough time but I'm starting to lose hope they aren't interested unless they are getting food.


I was thinking about this some more last night (yea, I think about weird things sometimes). If you think about it, there are two ways to train a cat (or a person for that matter):

a. positive reinforcement (when they do something you want them to do, they get a reward)
b. negative reinforcement (when they do something you don't want, you punish them).

The people who do this for a living use almost exclusively (a), because it's both more effective and more humane. You picking them up is clearly seen as an unpleasant experience for them right now. So by doing it over and over, and holding them longer than they want to be held when you do pick them up, you are negatively reinforcing:

1. them being around you (because that often leads to you picking them up... something they hate)
2. more specifically them seeing you bend down and reaching for them which probably almost always leads to them being picked up.
3. them being picked up, because that is not only something they are not comfortable with, but also sounds like leads to a struggle trying to get back down again.
4. your frustration about it

Owch. That's a lot of negative reinforcing! And if you stop and think about it, that "training" is probably just reinforcing in them that they don't want to be too close to you, and certainly not touched, much less held. I think if you really want to do this, you should stop that immediately and be smarter about it. You probably first need to reinforce that you being around them always leads to things that they like. Then that you reaching down to them also always results in things that they like. Not something that you hope that they will someday like, but something that they like right now. Then finally give them incentives to make the choice to want to be in your arms. And then finally when they do, that it always be a good experience with you letting them down at or before they struggle to get down.

...just some thoughts on that issue. There have been a couple people in the forum who have trained their bengals to jump up into their arms. And a couple others who have gotten quite good at training all sorts of other cool behaviors.

One other random thought... one thing that I discovered really early on was that with my Serafina in particular, her demeanor changed a LOT after a really heavy play session. She didn't like to be touched either, but after she was laying down on one side, breathing hard after chasing around the toy and getting all tired out, she was a very different kitty, and much much more tolerant of being petted and scratched under the chin.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Definitely agree with the positive re-enforcement training:

Bengals respond heavily to play. If you pick one up - do so with a toy in your hand and play with them.

We just had 2 small children come visit our Bengals and the cats wanted nothing to do with them. Running away, hiding, generally wanted nothing to do with the new, scary small people. The solution was to give both children some cat toys (in this case "fishing rods" and sticks with feathers, etc.) and have them wave them around. It didn't take long for the Bengals to start playing.

Good luck with them - as many have already said - 2 weeks is short, so much time and love remaining!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:53 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

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I've resorted to using treats and they seem to be more tolerant. I have also noticed yesterday and today when I woke up they were snuggled under my arm when I woke up as soon as they saw I was awake they ran off. They seem to know when it's good time and they have been waiting in the kitchen or meow consistently until fed they won't eat from other family members (mom filled the biscuits and they didn't want it they just walked away so I took them back and put them back then filled them and they ate them) I'm going away overnight next week to see a show in nsw is there any way to make them eat from other people? It's not the first time either


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:21 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:50 pm
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What I learned about Bengals in the last 5 years is that they are completely different from other cats. While my moggie is content to be picked up and loved on, my Bengal boys aren't very receptive to it. They want love on their own terms. I learned that they will protest very vocally to being picked up so I just don't do it unless it's absolutely necessary. Whatever their peculiarities are, I adjust myself to them. Rhett likes running water, Romeo rarely drinks it so he gets it added to his wet food. Romeo follows me everywhere and Rhett mostly wants to be left alone by humans but he's great with the dog and other cats. In return, I get cuddles at night in bed and on my lap in front of the television.

In short, serve them and they'll love you forever. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:55 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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It's been a bit over 2 months since we've had Miko and he is definitely not a lap cat. I am very lucky though because he is a shoulder cat! But like everyone else said, only on his terms and only when he feels like it.

The way I approached it at the beginning & the way I've shown my mum to do it is this: At first when I picked Miko up in my arms or on my shoulder, I would immediately go to an elevated surface and offer to let him off. At the beginning, most times, he would scurry off. But over time, he has learned to trust being up on my shoulder & will stay sometimes if he is in the mood. I will often walk around with him for a bit if he decides to stay, but every so often, I will still kneel down near a table or cat tree and offer to let him down. That way, I always let him off before he struggles and the experience ends on a positive note for him.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Kittycat - it sounds like your two kittens didn't get much socialisation when they were at the breeders - they were in enclosures rather than being part of the family.

Having had 2 kittens myself ( though they were brought up with a family ) they can be quite self-reliant for a lot of their play, I can imagine that is even more so in your case - they have each other and there is, in their minds, safety in their companionship.

It is going to take some work to overcome that, but the good news is that you are smarter than they are, so you have the upper hand in terms of making yourself awesome to them. Get a Da Bird and other toys that require interaction with you - bouncy balls and springs work for mine - and engage them in play as much as possible. They will love chasing each other, but you will be the source of really excellent games that perhaps might even end, when they are completely worn out, with a treat and a little stroke - from that start, you can give them a stroke or two more, a casual tickle under the chin and slowly build up that bond.

I'm sure you know that when you pick them up, if they want to get down you let them, immediately, rather than restraining them and trying to keep them in your arms where they don't feel safe.

Time will tell and perhaps they are not destined to be show cats with all that entails, but you can bond with them with play and patience.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:04 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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cranberry wrote:
It is going to take some work to overcome that, but the good news is that you are smarter than they are, so you have the upper hand in terms of making yourself awesome to them.


REALLY????????? My bengal is 10 times smarter than I am! He can outwit me any time! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:49 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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My bengal is 8 years old and still doesn't appreciate being picked up :rolleyes: :lol:
He will snuggle next to me, but will not sit on my lap.
He's all over pats though, you could pat him for hours and he wouldn't have had enough.
Take your cues from the cats. Play and treats and pats before anything else. They may never like being picked up/held.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:34 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Sherry wrote:
cranberry wrote:
It is going to take some work to overcome that, but the good news is that you are smarter than they are, so you have the upper hand in terms of making yourself awesome to them.


REALLY????????? My bengal is 10 times smarter than I am! He can outwit me any time! :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:


Heh, yea, sometimes I think they are little evil masterminds. Like:

"c'mon, drop that tuna on the floor and I'll purr. C'mon do it. Good. Now go get some more. C'mon, I'll rub against your leg if you do it. I might even let you scratch me on the head if you bring enough... and some turkey too. No more. MORE. That's it... good boy." *small purr*

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:31 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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You just have to be the evil-er mastermind. :wink:

For example, my 2 haven't worked out the the extra special treat of The Red Dot Which Must Die is only seen when they are being particularly difficult in leaving a room I don't want them to be in - for example my bedroom when I am trying to leave for work ( they aren't allowed in there during the day time ).

You can see them thinking "right, we can hide under the bed and.... ohhh RED DOT MUST DIE".

*zooms*

Whilst they are busy down the other end of the hallway, the bedroom door gets closed.

:biggrin: :twisted: :biggrin: :twisted: :biggrin:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:34 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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I hope the cat show you visited went well. Know that the vast majority of cats have one caregiver and one who feeds them. It's the same here -- my husband can put food down for Raiden and he just walks away. Hubby feeds the cat once in a blue moon when I'm not here.

If you have a gorgeous cat, it doesn't take long to get points for a champion. I know a breeder that took her stud to a cat show a few weeks ago and he didn't get CH, but got some other ribbons and point. She was at a cat show this weekend and he not only got CH but Double Grand Champion. She is hoping for Supreme this summer.


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