Bengal Cats Need Great Socialization
by Deborah-Ann Milette
Find the kitty... sorry not a Bengal!
This is my response to the vets article: F3 Bengal Cat a Problem to a Vet. I am a true exotic rescuer through probably insanity (!) because of my love for the big/small cats. But one breed I sincerely am extremely guarded about any interaction with and especially when they reach the age of two is the Bengal.
I believe that mother nature kicks in, in full force, in any leopard cat breed. I call them my time-bombs of the cat world.
I have seen Bengals explode for no reason and attack a judge on many occasions and they were not just a little bite or scratches. I mean it required medical attention. This past year was the worst I have seen.
Yes other felines sometimes go nuts too but not like the Bengals. I have seen Bengals be as nice as playful kittens still in wonder with the world but have learned through talking with people in the cat fancy that lots of socialization is a true demand for this breed and that means more than just trust of it's owner.
Constant exposure with people and other cats is a necessity to help the leopard cat (Asian Leopard cat) mentality to not over power the domestication of the cat and to explode or for the cat to become a four-legged time bomb.
The serval is a very mild mannered wild cat and has a flight rather than fight nature whereas the Asian Leopard cat does not. But I try to prevent a possible nurture vs nature and expose my cats to anything and everything to have them be the best ambassadors of their breed, in case. From the first day I get them I spend time learning their personality, then the socialization of walks, meeting people, dogs children, whatever.
Then they do pet therapy to learn and see elderly people will not hurt then, then we progress to the reading programs that I think my cats have the most fun and express themselves more freely. If they show fear of something, we work through it and they learn what ever it is will not hurt them. My cats are not locked away when I have company, they are part of my family and learn that being social with people, dogs or cats they are still the number one animal in my home.
Also my breeders, A1Savannahs, had lots to with Motzie's first 20 months of his life giving him love and his children interacting with and allowing him to be important in the house by being the teacher, disciplinarian and acting father figure to the growing babies in the house.
So between Kathrin & Martin's way of raising these precious babies from birth to new owner makes for all the difference in how these cats are with others.
Yes, when Motzie goes to a vet he complains but never shows aggression, just in case, though, we do muzzle him but once the muzzle is off he smooches up to his vet as if to say, "thanks, no it didn't hurt but want you to know I was healthy and really wanted to grumble my two cents worth".
Even at a cat show Motzie does what I call a serval hum and I tell people he is just a typical male voicing his opinion that he would rather be home sitting on the couch watching the football, baseball game whatever but he thinks, "my mother had other ideas and dragged me here!"
Many people hear me explain the behavior and I put him in their arms and he hums for a minute and they sometimes get the message better that way.
I was very lucky that I had 12 servals and 4 caracals rescues live with me and I learned so much from them and not once did a fight ever break out. The most I had was a humming match between my Noah (who came from a very abusive situation including starvation) and Cleopatra (my New Jersey strip-joint cat) face off and all they did was hum to each other and paw tap each other and as fast as it came about it ended.
I rescued 2 Asian leopard cats that were totally off the wall and had to be tranquilized before moving them to protect me and themselves. I also moved 3 true (panthers/leopards) and 2 were totally psycho at about the age of 3. The other one was about 1.5 years and reaching that point where nature was ready to take over full blast and all of it was because of the lack of human bonding. So I am not all surprised by the lack of socialization in Bengals and going off unexpectedly with people. Hybrids need lots of work, time and effort and I am fortunate being a disabled vet (army veteran) to be able to dedicate my time to do what I do and I hope people see my gentle giant, Motzie as a proper gentleman.
Owner of the Best Known Savannah