Preparation will help you have a smooth transition, bringing home your new fur baby. We will be here, to support you with any and all questions for the entire life of your new Bengal kitten. The support starts here, however, so please read all of these recommendations.
· Litter box/litter
· Cat carrier/nail trimmers
and other recommendations
We litter box train every kitten we re-home at Exotic Bengals of San Diego. Your new Bengal kitty will go home used to pine pellets litter (that you can buy economically at a local feed store), which is inexpensive and easy to maintain. However, you should use a cat attract litter additive or go home with a potty sample in a baggie (to add to your litter box) so that they smell immediately where their new potty area is.
We use an open litter box, which we encourage because Bengal kittens & cats often don't like enclosed litter boxes.
If you want to use a different type of litter than wood pellets (clay, corn, wood chips, etc.) you should very gradually move your new fur baby to the new litter (mix 20% of the new litter in each day until you’ve moved over to the new litter). Don’t switch litter the first month. Your new Bengal will have enough to get used to, and you don’t want them to start bad behaviors (going potty outside the litter box).
See the below section 'First Week's Space' for help keeping your new kitty from developing bad habits. Also meticulously keep your litter boxes clean and scrub them with an antifungal/antibacterial soap every week at least.
The type of carrier isn’t that important, since you won’t use it that often. However, a solid carrier (preferably airline qualified) that’s large enough for a grown Bengal cat is what we recommend.
Cat trimmers or human nail trimmers work well for cats of any kind. The important thing is to keep your new kitten used to the process. Handle their feet constantly, gently pressing to express the nails. Tap the nails with your fingernails and/or the clippers and gently and carefully trim them often so that your kitten grows up used to the process. We find wrapping the kitten in a towel and having a helper is easiest (have one person hold the towel-wrapped cat and have the other person clip the nails).
After many years of owning and breeding cats, we believe it is healthiest for any cat, not just a Bengal, to be fed a balanced raw diet. You can mix your own (see feline-nutrition.org for a recipe and information) or buy raw from local pet stores, and there are many delivery services such as Souly Raw in San Marcos. You can find tons of great information on feline-nutrition.org as well.
We find, however, that some families simply don't want to take the time to feed raw. Since that is the case, we supplement with a high quality dry kibble. You can start with the kibble and raw and gradually add in a high quality, grain-free, canned kitten food, supplemented with small amounts of human grade raw tuna, raw salmon & raw chicken (you can buy this economically at Costco, or ethnic markets). Please ensure your new fur baby eats the same type for an easy transition to whatever food you choose.
Please be deliberate about your new kitten’s food choices moving forward, and any transition of food should be done very slowly or a kitten's fragile digestive system is likely to end up in a tail spin which can and likely will result in horrible diarrhea or worse.
Your new Bengal kitten will need a snuggley, safe place. She's used to a bundle of litter mates, so a warm, soft bed is critical. It is also optimal to get a pet heating pad (which is a heating pad just for pets...it doesn't get overly warm) so they don't loose their body heat at night while sleeping.
As for toys, some of our favorites: feathers on a stick, ping pong balls, and lightweight balls with bells are always favorites. Remember that any toy on a string and any toys with fabric or feathers must be put away when not in use as they are a choking hazard.
Bengals love cat trees! Height is important because Bengals like to be high up. We have also found that rope on the pole is a good scratcher (and saves furniture). The carpeted types of cat trees (versus fuzzy material) are also better. Cat wheels are also good, though they do take up a lot of room.
Bengals off leash should never be allowed outside, for all of the reasons that any cat shouldn’t be outside, not to mention the abundance of coyotes in San Diego county. Bengals are also, sadly, a cat that is quickly snatched if left unattended by pet thieves. Beyond that, a Bengal cat thinks they are a tiger, and they truly won’t hesitate to go up against a coyote or car…with tragic results.
We strongly recommend getting a microchip just in case, but don’t ever let your new Bengal outdoors unattended. Bengals can be trained, especially at an early age, to walk on a leash, however. If you want to share this experience with your new fur baby, get her used to it very early in kitten-hood for best results.
We will only rehome one of our Bengal kittens to a person or family who intends that the kitten become a family member, sharing the home with the owners. That being said, the first week is unique, and the kitten should be confined to a very small space, preferably a bathroom.
A bathroom is large for a tiny kitten, who will be very lonely the first few days without their litter mates and mama Bengal. She will also not know where food and litter are in her new home, so having a small space allows her to find what she needs easily without getting bad behaviors started.
Your new Bengal kitten will be litter trained coming home, and you don’t want her to start peeing on your couch because she doesn’t yet know that this is her new home or where her new litter box is.
Having the kitten in a bathroom the first week also ensures she bonds with you quickly. She will get bored after exploring, and you will be her new toy and interest. This facilitates bonding, and Bengals bond strongly. After the first 5-7 days, you can expand her world to the entire home as by then she will know this is her place, you are her family and where her necessities are located.
Your new kitten is very smart, and she knows very well that you're a new human and that her environment is changed. Her littermates are gone, and she feels very alone and vulnerable at first. She scared and confused at first, very naturally. Having her in a small space and having her come to you (don't chase her) will help speed bonding. When picking her up, quickly pick her up for a kiss and put her back down (having a quick cuddle to get her used to it without her having to squiggle out of your arms to get down) helps as well, because it takes time for a Bengal to be comfortable with a new person holding them. Imagine how you'd feel if a stranger chased you down and picked you up for a cuddle? In a small space, tempt her with a toy cat wand, dangling. It won't take long for her to be tempted into getting close to you for play time. You have to give your new fur baby time to get comfortable their new space and to learn they can trust you.
We love to get updates, especially pictures of the kittens after they leave. They've become part of Exotic Bengals of San Diego, and each has a special place in our heart. Text (858)243-4916 us pictures of your new addition, so we can add your kitten to our 'Brag Wall'...and so we can bask in your happiness and that of your new Bengal Kitten!
There is a significant chance of death if a Bengal cat is put under with Ketamine. If anesthesia is required for future surgery, make sure to tell your vet about this because it isn't something most vets know because it isn't true for most cats. Bengals have a unique intolerance for this anesthesia.
Besides the fact that if you don't spay/neuter your sweet kitten will end up spraying urine in your home.... Intact males spray constantly to attract females, once they come into sexual maturity. Intact Females also spray when in heat every several weeks.
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Early generation & Championship Bloodline cats!