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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

FEEDING?

Our Bengal is used to eating a little bit of raw barf and unlimited amounts of ROYAL CANIN KITTEN dry food daily. The dry food is available 24/7, and the barf is served once or multiple times a day depending on what we have had the opportunity to do. In addition to the above, the kitten has tasted ground beef, beef stew chunks, lamb, steak, chicken hearts, and various other raw meat parts. 

To further acclimate the kittens, they have also tried wet food pouches from Royal Canin (Gastrointestinal, Kitten Instinctive, Beauty, British Shorthair Kitten), which they appreciate very much, but it can become a habit, so be careful not to give them too much. Stick to raw food and dry food instead. The pouches can be good to have at home for special occasions, more information is below. I prefer beef over mixed meat, but I would rather have mixed meat than canned food. Beef and chicken seem to work better than pork for their stomachs - and they already get quite a bit of chicken from their dry food, so I try to give them more beef if I can choose.

There are other brands that manufacture and sell "barf," but few are of full-feed quality for cats (a cat needs certain parts such as heart, etc. to be nutritionally satisfied), so be careful to check that it is full-feed if you want to give the cat only one brand. A wild cat eats between 13-15 times a day, so it can be difficult to feed them only wet food or meat if you want their digestion to work as naturally as possible. We solve this by letting the dry food (which is full-feed) be available 24/7, but we try to give them as much barf as we can and have time for (without them waiting for the meat and completely stopping eating dry food, which often happens if you give them meat too often).

Royal Canin's wet food pouches "Gastrointestinal," which can be purchased online or at the nearest veterinary clinic, work as treats at home for the cats and are good to have when they need to take medication (to sneak it in). They are also good on hot days when they need extra water (the wet food pouches contain around 80% water) or when they are sick, or perhaps to bring along when traveling.


Raw food (or any raw pieces with bones) should absolutely not be cooked/heated due to the fact that the bone fragments that are ground into the pieces change during cooking. Cats are designed to eat and digest raw food, which is what their stomachs are capable of breaking down. Bone fragments can get a different consistency when cooked and become sharp, which can harm the cats that swallow them. Keep this in mind if you cook meat and give the cats a piece at home - cooked fillets or minced meat work fine to give to cats, but they can only eat raw bone pieces.

We usually serve the barf frozen so that the cats can eat while it slowly thaws. If you don't want to serve frozen barf (some cats tend to play with the frozen piece like a hockey puck throughout the house), let the meat thaw in the fridge for a few hours before serving. A tip could be to add a little water and mash the meat so that the cat gets even more water, especially during the summer.

If the cat is constipated, it is often the meat that is the problem, then it usually helps to just start adding a little extra water. If that doesn't help or it's urgent, the stomach can be helped with a little vegetable oil orally. Vegetable oil is less absorbed in the cat's intestines as they are primarily carnivorous and in this situation, we mainly want to lubricate the intestines and get rid of the stool. Ultimately, paraffin oil is best for this purpose, it can be purchased at some pharmacies and it is good to have at home.

Bengals are an active breed that should be able to move smoothly, so if you notice one day that the cat is starting to get round in the belly and a little too sluggish, or it no longer climbs and jumps as usual, then it's time to cut down on food. I think cats become more stubborn and almost depressed, more withdrawn when they are overweight. This may not always be something that the owners notice but we have noticed many times when I see a larger fluctuation in weight during growth, pregnancy, castration, and life in different families. Bengals should look slender and athletic, not like other typical house cats, and it's definitely not "cute" with fat Bengals.

As long as no overweight is noticed, let the dry food be available all the time, around the clock. If she becomes overweight, do not switch to any light options for dry food, rather keep healthy and regular food but stop letting the cat have free access to it - instead, calculate the daily ratio based on the number of calories that match the ideal weight. Ask if you need help. Personally, we are not supporters of "light" options, as they often contain substances to accelerate fat burning and thus stress the body. Cut down on dry food and increase the amount of meat, and make sure the cat is active or gets a friend if it doesn't already have one.

LITTER BOX?

Your kitten will be trained to use the litter box before leaving. 


If you want to teach your cat to use the human toilet, there is a toilet training kit called "Litter Kwitter" that can make the learning process easier. Our friends taught our Bengal cats, Caiua and Athena, in just two weeks, and since then she has never needed a litter box or to buy cat litter. Here is a link to the training kit: https://www.amazon.com/Toilet-Training-System-Litter-Kwitter/dp/B0014N70QO/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=litter+kwitter&qid=1681421662&sprefix=litter+kw%2Caps%2C112&sr=8-2

Keep in mind that you should generally have an extra litter box than the number of cats you have at home. Many cats like to pee in one litter box and poop in another. If you have two floors in your house, it is a good idea to have a litter box on each floor. Do not place the litter box next to a scary appliance, such as a noisy dryer that may startle the cat while using the litter box. Also, avoid using the litter box hood for the first few days, even if the cat is used to a hooded litter box. In a new environment, they may want to keep an eye on their surroundings while doing their business.

One tip is to use a litter box with a cover and turn the entrance towards the wall. This way, the cat won't take a big leap a meter out of the box and bring half of its contents with it. Place a mat or towel in front of the litter box to make it easier to collect the litter that may come out. There are other litter box designs that are designed to prevent litter from coming out, such as Modkat litter boxes, which are quite popular for this purpose, but I'm not sure how natural they are for cats or how good they really are for the high price. If you're curious, here's a link: https://www.amazon.com/Modkat-Top-Entry-Front-Entry-Configurable-Tracking/dp/B079VSSP93/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=9TOJW2ZFW7VY&keywords=modcat&qid=1681421803&sprefix=modcat%2Caps%2C122&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExN0Y4OU1KWlNaUTQ5JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTg3ODM5MVpKU0hCUUozMDhNJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3MDUxNDMzMjExREk5NlhCODVVJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

At home, we currently use Fresh Steps cat litter and have an open litter box and a covered one. There are other types of litter, such as Cat's Best, which is a regular clumping cat litter that is also natural, eco-friendly, and compostable. Many cats find crystals to be hard and unpleasant, especially if they have short hair.

OUR BEST ADVICE?

If your Bengal cat has a dry nose, you can use regular Vaseline to moisturize it a bit. Google 'Bengal Nose' to see examples of how their noses often look. Another breeder said that he uses aloe vera, but I haven't tried it yet. Other tips I've heard include adding omega 3 and 6 to their food (available at pet stores), or alternatively wheat germ oil, which contains both. This condition is called 'hyperkeratinization' and is harmless. It often goes away with age. 

If their eyes ever become runny, regular saline solutions that you might have at home (the same as for humans, like Zilk-Eye from the pharmacy or veterinarian) work just fine, but I prefer Sentrix, which my vet and I find best. Here's a link to this product so you can choose the right one: https://www.orionpharmaanimalhealth.com/product-mainpage/aptus/sentrx-eye-drops/

Bengals don't shed much, at least not in the beginning. But brushing them with a soft brush can still be pleasant and cozy for them (and prevent some shedding). My cats' favorite is my own 'Tangle Teezer'. They come running to rub their heads against it when they see me bring it out, at all times. Some of them love to bathe, others just tolerate it. There are mild shampoos available, just be sure to rinse both shampoo and conditioner very thoroughly so you don't irritate the sensitive skin underneath.

Get in the habit of clipping their nails from the beginning, as they grow quickly when they're young. Cut too little rather than too much, as having an accident once can make it difficult to clip their nails in the future.

A tall and stable scratching post is appreciated. Ideally, one that you can attach to the ceiling so that they can jump on it at full speed. If you have a post, they are unlikely to scratch any furniture. If they scratch something you don't want them to, place a smaller scratching post next to it, and they will usually choose it instead. The post should be in a central location in the home. I recommend scratching posts made of sisal matting rather than sisal rope, as they last much longer and are worth every penny.

Lastly, never let your cat start running the show. It's your terms that apply. They're pretty sturdy and like to play rough, so feel free to do so, but be careful not to play too much with your bare hands, as the kitten will think it's okay to bite and kick them - always use toys instead. There are larger toys that are fun to wrestle with, such as the larger Kong variant 'Kickeroo Kong'.

A laser pointer is very useful to tire out your Bengal, but be sure to give them a 'real catch' at the end of the game so they feel they've had a successful hunt. This can be their favorite toy that they get to catch and bite in the end.

That's all I can think of right now. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. We're here to help and guide you.

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