F1 Bengal Cat Callista Strike Force
by Keira Nguyen
Keira & Striker - photo copyright Helmi Flick - please respect copyright
|Anxiety - reduce it|
|FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages|
|Children and cats - important|
I would like to share the experiences and joys that my very special boy, F1 Bengal Cat Callista Strike Force, has brought to my life. When I first saw Striker it was love at first sight. At the time his name was Zephyr and he was born and raised during his first weeks at Callista Bengals, which is owned and run by Julie Calderon. Julie does a fantastic job of raising foundation kittens. I got Striker at 8 weeks of age because they have to bond with the owner first, not the other animals in the household. Striker's parents are Elias Of Callista and Crestwood Patience of Callista.
Before I adopted Striker, I couldn't resist looking at Julie's site. The picture that caught my eye was his face and belly. WOW, what incredible spots he had! I called Julie and we talked for what seemed like hours..LOL
The funny thing is I was originally looking for an Aby or Somali to add to my show cats and then I saw him. I remember begging my husband Truong to adopt him and I remember his price which was understandably a lot as he is such a special cat. Anyway I asked my husband again and again, in the same phone conversation, and finally he said "YES!" I also remember being a little afraid. What if I didn't know what I was doing. I had heard rumors about F1's and how they basically have a bad reputation for being tough to handle and that they were more wild than domestic. However, Julie told me that it was my rescue work that I did for years that gave her confidence in me. I guess she was impressed by my knowledge of feral's (which helped in raising Striker).
The breeder of my show Bengal (Dillinger - who is and 8th generation) also warned me that it would upset the balance of thing's especially for Dillinger. But it was all about bonding with him and keeping him separated from the other cats from 8 weeks until he has 12 to 14 weeks of age. What came of it was more than just amazing!
I took everything that Julie told me literally, doing exactly as she said. There was no contact with other cats or members of my family for at least for the first 24-48 hours. Fortunately, my bathroom was big enough (you could basically have a picnic in it) as a temporary home for Striker. So I took the seat pad from our outdoor swing and brought it into the bathroom that night. I remember my husband making fun of me for insisting on sleeping on the bathroom floor!
Maybe at the time he was even a little jealous of the total attention and adoration I had for Striker. This is where he got his name Callista Strike Force from - Striker is a force not to be reckoned with...LOL. But really he was a sweetheart from the beginning. Little did I know that even though I had setup a litterbox near the tub and made my bed next to it with comforters, pillows and the likes that he would pee on me because we were so joined at the hip. He slept so soundly he didn't get up to use the litterbox... Boy did I get a rude awakening! I had to get up at 2am and take everything, put it in the wash and start fresh. I just couldn't bear to leave him alone in that bathroom. I had to get special toys that he wouldn't eat because if he digested certain toys it could kill him. And I had to buy special wood pellets (which now all my cats are on because F1's are noted for eating their litter).
When I took a bath in that bathroom he thought it was so cool that he jumped right in with me and when he pooped in the tub I had to yell for my husband to get him out, drain the tub, clean it and refill it for my bath while my husband played with him! I had to laugh to myself as I remember Julie telling me this could happen, but I guess I didn't realize she meant literally. It was just a natural response, for him, as a throwback to his wild ancestry.
BTW he also fell into the toilet within the first week, which is when I realized why Julie had warned me that F1's LOVE water. Can you imagine Striker swimming in the toilet and then us having to give him a bath! Another funny thing about Striker as a kitten was, God forbid, you should touch him while he was eating his wet food which at first was his primary source of food.
Later we managed to introduce dry which was also something people said couldn't be done, then later raw steak which is such fun to watch him eat. However he would make this funny noise only Julie could probably describe. He doesn't do it anymore, but he would make this type of growly "rorororoummmummmmrororroror" and then if you let him go he would stop. It was not so much growling as happy singing while eating and being so into his food. We would laugh so hard we were almost crying and our sides would hurt. It was so incredibly sweet and amusing.
It's been constant fun and entertainment. Who needs TV with a boy like this? I had no idea in the beginning what I was in for but all the hard work and dedication has made him what he is today. The love of my life and my everything Boy. The sun rises and sets on Striker and everything about him gets better with age.
The one thing I remember most was my husband saying to me. "Why do you want to spend so much money on a cat you can't even show?" You can't show anything until the 4th generation I told him right then and there I wanted a leopard cat and wanted to make him special.
A cat that was as wild looking as his father but almost as domesticated as domestic cats people have or can relate to in their homes today. They all said it couldn't be done but two years later he is a Therapy Cat (part of "The Dillinger Gang Therapy Group" for the last year and a half). He visits schools and nursing homes.
A well known photographer, Jim Child, who had never been able to take photos of an f-1, due to many reasons, but not limited to normal f-1 preconceived temperament issues, was able to take some memorable images in what was told to Keira and many others that would never be possible.
A few people who felt it was very important for this photo session to be possible, helped by pulling some strings at a near by show, making it possible for this amazing cat to have professional photographs t aken of him. Jim Childs was thrilled to be able to photograph his first F1 and Striker didn't have to be picked up once; just lifting a toy got his attention and the results spoke for themselves!
Striker is going to be featured as winner of the foundation Bengal contest. Striker continues to love to jump in the water and take baths with me and my kids. He is very bonded with me and sleeps next to my legs under the covers at night and can often be almost dog-like. He was also featured in the local newspaper and Bengals Illustrated, as well. There is nothing like an F1 with small children. Forty-three students at The Waterford Elementary school wrote about meeting with him at our presentation.
I still have the pictures and letters. People said it couldn't be done, he couldn't be domesticated enough to be around young children or elderly. Thanks to Julie and the work we've done with Striker this has become possible. He is also now signed with a Talent Agency in NY and awaiting word on possible print work for the likes of Calvin Klein and others. He is truly a "DreamCat" and will always be my first love :-).
More to come on F1 Bengal Cat Callista Strike Force...Striker's work as a Therapy Cat.
I can start by saying that I was assured that she was sweet and loveable and loved everyone at the breeder’s home includig her husband and children. Well she loves me but not my husband who is the biggest animal lover I know. I believe it has to do with the fact that he gets so stressed when she jumps on Bob, our old boy.
She is only wanting to play and desperately needs another kitten or young cat to hang out with. She is not trying to be mean, I thinks she is lonely for another cat to play with. Bob on the other hand has never been around another cat unless you count the ferals he has encountered on our 10 acres in the woods. He has been in several fights over the years but now stays close to home. He is an indoor/outdoor cat of his own choosing and it has never been an issue because our home is so isolated. He just hates the kitten and now does not want to come in the house at all. I realize it is not fair to him and it breaks my heart.
Mielikke, is so full of energy and all she wants to do is go outside like Bob and Emmie(my yorkie). I did not want her to ever go outside but she is so vocal that I finally ordered a walking vest, no way to escape, and out we went. She loves going for a walk around the house and hiding in the landscaping.
On about the third day she figured out how to escape from the walking jacket. She did not run away but just went for the walk and stayed fairly close as usual. Now she goes out for her evening walk wearing a bell on her collar.
She knows that after we finish eating she gets to go out for her walk and yells at me loudly until I put her collar on. Then out we go and she has a ball. I have to keep a close eye on her because If I get distracted she may take off. She doesn’t go far but I am terrified that will change as she gets older. Right now she never wants her human to far away.
Outside she loves to play in the hose and jump up into the birdbath and lay in the water. She stalks the dog and pounces out at her and then lays in the grass wanting to play. She also follows Emmie to the woodpile to search for mice. She has not seen one yet but winter is coming and Emmie is quite the mouser.
We have to stay out until she is tired and then it is easy to get her to come back in. Yesterday it was very hot and humid and she was panting heavily so I was able to pick her up and carry her in. Most days that is not an option. She will follow us to the door but refuse to go in. I shut the door and wait a couple of minutes, while watching out the window for her to start yelling at me. Then I open the door and she comes in.
She is a very picky eater and will not touch her dry food. It must be mixed with wet. She will eat Bob’s dry food for old cats and Emmie’s food when she is done with hers but I thinks she just wants to see what they are having. We have to protect Bob while he eats because she wants to get next to him and eat out of his bowl too. She also can not resist attacking his tail.
She sits on a barstool and watches me cook dinner. She knows she is not aloud on the counter but has a hard time controlling herself. All in all she is pretty good about it and looks so cute sitting there watching me.
She has never had an accident and always uses the litter box. She likes me in there when she is going and will call loudly for me to come. Very Strange. She also jumps on my lap when I using the bathroom. We are going to start on toilet training soon.
She plays hard and loves to crawl up into my lap and sleep when she is tired. She also likes to sleep in our bed at night. She has a cat condo with a tall perch where she sleeps during the day.
I was told she was removed from her mothers care (her dad was the ALC) at three weeks which explains why she loves to nurse on a special blanket that used to belong to Emmie. It is now hers. I find it sad that she needs to do this but it makes her happy and there is no real way to stop her.
All in all I love her very much but do not feel like she is in the proper environment. I am not home enough and she need other cats to play with. She need lots of attention and I do not have the proper time to give her. I thought that it would be shared with my husband but that has not worked out. I really want what is best for her and have feeling of guilt that neither her nor Bob are getting what they need. I takes a very special situation to do justice for a special animal like an F1 Bengal. I also fear that she will get lose and end up far away in the woods where a hunter may end up shooting her. She makes such unusual vocal sounds and calls and she looks so wild.
Thanks a lot for this, June. It is nice of you to take the time to write it.
I think it is important because people tend to have misconceptions about the character of some first filial wild cat hybrids.
They can be a handful. I remember Ken Flick (Helmi Flick’s husband) saying their F1 Chausie was a like a cat on crack!
I will create the article in about three hours time or tomorrow (GMT)
Hello, I have an almost 5 month old F1 female who looks just like Striker. I am overwhelmed with her and afraid I am not giving her the home she deserves. I work long 12 hour days and she is home with my husband who she has not bonded with and our 2 older pets. The 9 year old yorkie tolerates her but our 13 year old cat (we got him as a feral kitten) hates her and he is so stressed out that it is ruining everything. I don’t know what to do. She is so sweet and all she wants to do is play but she jumps on him and he hisses and wants out and hisses and my husband stresses.
Hi, June. Wow… is my response. Shame. I think the F1 Bengal cat is not a good domestic cat. Less good than the Savannah cat because the wild cat parent is the leopard cat and the leopard cat is a very independent minded cat not predisposed to dometication wheres the serval is relatively friendly and is often domesticated.
I have a page that refers to the independence of the Asiatic leopard cat:
Wild Cat Parents of Domestic Cats
I wonder if you would make another comment adding some more information about your cat’s behavior etc. and then let me turn it into an article where your words will be more visible.
I think what you say is important. Thanks for visiting and posting.
i like the bengal cat im from phillippines i want 2 pair male and female but i know buy in your country i have no money very expenssive but i take care the animals like my baby…:)
Nice to hear from you. I like to hear from people in different countries. The F1 Bengal cat takes a bit of caring for. They are quite wild in character. Remember that. They are a rare cat and illegal in some parts of America.