Adelhills Bengal Cats 

Dietary

Because many Bengals love water, they will often use their water bowls as “kiddy play pools” therefore to ensure good health, your Bengals will need a couple of water dish options in the home. You will also need to clean the bowls and refill them daily. We recommend the use of filtered water.  A great choice is to get a cat water fountain, but remember to clean it regularly.

We prefer a holistic grain free kibble for our cats, there are a couple brands out there to choose from, we have had good success with BlackHawk grain-free seafood.  There is also IvoryCoat as an option that you can look into.  Giving your cat a properly formulated food that has the essentials they require, like Taurine, is very important.  We also feel that Bengals need to have a meat feed each day, so while our cats have access to dry kibble 24-7 they get a once a day meal of a meat be that tuna, beef, kangaroo etc... Kittens also need an extra feed and we recommend a wet food like Royal Canin Kitten.  We raise our kittens with free access to their kibble 24-7 with a wet Royal Canin kitten food in the morning and a meat meal in the afternoon. IMPORTANT: Wet pate mousse foods for cats should not be given past the age of 9mo.  Once your kitten has all their adult teeth in, you want to only give them their kibble and meat meal and to stop giving them wet pate mousse foods as this will stick to their teeth and cause tooth decay.

In the litter box

It is recommended that you have one more litter box in your home than the number of cats present. It is also recommended that if you have a large home that you should have easy access to litter boxes on all levels and main areas of the home. Daily cleaning is crucial to keeping not only your cat happy but the other residents of the home. A dirty litter box will turn away the best trained cat from using it.

We use deep sided litter boxes that are open to the top so that they can dig around without spilling anything out the sides.  Some cats can be highly sensitive to the air quality around their litter area so keep this in mind. If the area smells strong to you imagine how much stronger it is to their sensitive noses.

There are many types of cat litter but we recommend that you use the same litter that your kitten has been potty trained to. You should continue use for at least the first eight weeks after their transition from our home to yours. This helps them to feel confident in their potty habits when dealing with relocation.

If you choose to discontinue use of the recommended litter you will want to do it over time. Cats are very sensitive to the smell and feel of different litters, if your cat rejects the new litter we highly recommend returning immediately to the original litter that they were used to. You do not want them to learn bad litter habits due to an unsuccessful change.

If your kitten is going to have an accident it will most likely be in one of three as I call "smelly" locations in your home.  These are areas which your cat will recognize as a "strong smell" zone that you have "marked" with your sent.   Regardless of how clean and freshly made, our beds hold our scent and are one of the three locations that can create confusion for cats best habits.  I recommend keeping the bedroom doors closed for the first 3-6mo of bringing your kitten home. The second most likely spot is your dirty laundry or laundry basket.  Obviously this is smelly having been against our skin and even the residual scent of perfumes and colones (which often have pheromones) draws their attention, and if it's nicely in a basket even more tempting for your cat, as the smell and access is a perfect mimic of a litter area.  So keep the laundry in a closed hamper or better yet not accessible to your kitten. And lastly the place that kittens can have accidents is the couch, yes our couches where we curl up watch our shows and read our books very much hold our scent and are in the high smell zone category.   So if your baby has an accident... that very day you reduce access by reducing their roaming area, close doors etc... and give it a week before you start to open their access up again.  if you're just reading this now and it's been 4 weeks since their first accident, that means 3 months of reduced access to retrain correct behavior! 

If your kitten has been using the litter tray and then has accidents it will be usually due to a couple of things. Firstly you've not kept the litter box clean, this means picking out solids and clumps of wet every day and once a week dumping the litter sterilizing the litter box and putting in fresh new litter.  If you have been 100% on top of the cleanliness of the litter tray then the other possibility is that you've given them to much access to a large area (whole house). Immediately limit their access again.  You only want them learning positive behavior.  It takes three times as long to untrain a learned behavior than to train it in the first place.  So if you Kitten has an accident and you change nothing, and then they have another accident 6 days later that is then a full week of "learned behavior" and you will need to spend three weeks of limiting access and retraining.

Treats

Since Bengals are highly intelligent and able to learn many tricks we recommend that you buy some treats for reinforced positive learning. Make sure that the treat you select is all natural and does not contain any artificial colours or preservatives. We highly recommend dried liver treats.

Play Time

Your kitten needs your companionship and interactive play to help stimulate their minds, exercise their bodies and build a bond with you. This can also happen with other pets in the home. It is a beautiful thing to watch a friendship build between your pets.

When playing with your kitten NEVER use your fingers or toes directly as “bait” for a pounce. While this may be cute as babies, kittens grow up and you don't want a large bengal pouncing and chewing one you because you trained them as kittens to do so. We do not want to teach our kittens that they can put their teeth or claws into us ever. Always use extension toys to tease, bait, play and have fun with.

If your bengal gets the "crazies" and just wants to pounce and chew on you, walk away do not continue play, this is a reprimand as they are not interacting acceptably therefore they don't get to have the iteration.  If you've got a particularly insistent kitten then you can put them in "time out" with toys they can self entertain with while they get the "crazies" out of their system.  Do not accept or allow rough play, remember teeth and claws just don't allow from the beginning.  Cat's are not like dogs, reprimanding and pushing them away, they can often see this stimulating and it's "game on".  You do not want to engage in this "bring it on" game with your cat.

We recommend getting three sets of three toys that you can change out every three days. This should give you nine days of fun interested activity before you start over with the original set. This helps ensure that your kitten stays stimulated and interested in their toys.

Training

Bengals are amazing in their learning abilities. We highly recommend finding a cat training book that looks fun to practice with your Bengal. This is a great bonding time for you and your kitten and their progress will amaze your dinner guests. For best results start working with your kitten from the time they arrive. It is best to keep training sessions fun, positive and short. A five minute session with treat reinforcement two to four times a day is perfect.

Nap Time

Kittens are just like babies and need many naps throughout the day to ensure healthy growth patterns. If your kitten is having a nap, do not disturb them. It is important to teach children to not wake their kitten up during nap times. A sleep deprived kitten is a cranky kitten and isn’t much fun to play with anyways.

You should make sure that there is an easily accessible quiet location that your kitten can get to for naps that is our of the way of young family members or rambunctious puppy family members.

If you have a busy, noisy house like mine you may find it easier to take the kitten out of the main living zones, to a quiet place where they can have breaks and naps.  Or invest into a nice high cat tree with a cubby bed up top that they can use as their nap station.

Alteration (desexing)

We believe in responsibly breeding. In consideration of the unwanted cat population we have been practicing ES&N (Early Spay & Neuter) since the very beginning. We have had personal experience with ES&N for the last 15 years and feel that the benefits far outweighed any perceived negatives. We have truly only experienced excellent results with ES&N.

Our Top Quality Pet kittens and Altered Show Quality kittens are altered (desexed) at 11 weeks of age. This allows the kitten to be mature enough to handle the surgery but early enough to be healed by the time they leave us for their new homes. This cost is included in our kitten pricing.

Congenital vs Hereditary Genetic defects

As a responsible breeder we strive to not breed any known hereditary genetic defects on in our cats.  This means that the parents carry some genetic fault that is then genetically passed onto the offspring.  Issues that are heredity genetic defects are HCM, PRA, PK Def, PKD.  However it is important to be aware that we are not crystal ball readers and in the case that a kitten does develop a hereditary genetic defect you are required in your purchase contract with us to notify us so that we can made necessary changes to our breeding program.  Further to this notification from buyers, we offer a 5yr hereditary genetic guarantee on our kittens to cover you of this possibility. While some defects like PRA are DNA testable so we can KNOW we aren't sending out any affected kittens, there are things like HCM that do not have DNA testing so while we can take precautions to breed with awareness and care we can not always know if a cat will have inheritance a hereditary defect.

Congenital defects are defects that happen in utero (during pregnancy) for unknown reasons and are not based on a genetic component.  While some defects that can happen you can see from looking at the animal or how the animal behaves, but in some cases you may not know of a congenital defect till months or years later.  As a breeder without a crystal ball we can't always know if something went wrong in utero when everything looks and acts normally from birth to 12 weeks when they leave us.  For this reason we sign up all our kittens with a 6wk pet health insurance policy for you.  it is the responsibility of the owner to make the decision to maintain further  insurance or take the risks of having an uninsured pet.   We do recommend at a minimum that families keep a policy for at least the first 12 months, this gives you time to live and get to know your cat and their health and needs.  This gives you time to then make that decision as to whether it's of value to you to continue carrying insurance or not.

About HMC

HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Mutation) is a disease of the heart in which a portion of the wall is thickened without any obvious cause. HCM results in a reduction of chamber volume, thereby reducing the volume of blood that the heart can pump with each contraction and in severe cases premature death can occur.

HCM can be found in any breed of cat, so make sure you ask your breeder what testing and breeding practices they use to as much as possible ensure the health of their cats and kittens. If your breeder does not know what HCM is or claims that they don’t need to test because they have “clear lines” be VERY cautious.

Right now there is no DNA genetic test available for HCM in Bengals. However they have been working on a DNA test for the Ragdoll and Maine Coon cat breeds. Unfortunately it is only one genetic marker that is at this time able to be tested. While the test is available to these two breeds the results can be quite limited. More studies are required and are being done, notably by the Washington State University in the USA.

For humans there are well over 130 genetic mutations that can cause the HCM disease. It’s likely that this may be true for cats, too. Therefore a 100% DNA test resulting in eradication of the disease is highly unlikely.

So while the efforts to develop a DNA test for the Bengal breed will be helpful, it will still be of limited use as it is only one of possibly many markers that contribute to the cause. For this reason just because a cat tests negative via the DNA test does not mean the cat will not develop HCM from some other mutation; it just means the cat does not have that particular mutation.

Of course gaining the ability to know more about our cat’s genetics and the ability to test for known mutations will help breeders continue on in breeding responsibly. So while it is a step in the right direction it is not going to be a substitute for ultrasound screening of breeding cats.

Ultrasound screenings are necessary and will continue to be necessary for detecting HCM. In our opinion HCM testing of all breeding stock is part of “best breeding practices” for any responsible Bengal breeder.

For this reason Adelhills strives to select our Bengal breeding stock from HCM ultrasound tested lines and do ultrasounds on all our breeding cats that are in our program. Having multiple generations of negative ultrasound results helps responsible breeders ensure, as much as possible, that they are breeding healthy lines.

You should be aware that HCM in cats most often does not show up until they are between the ages of two to five years of age but can present earlier or later than that. For this reason we commence testing of our cats around the age of one year and before the age of two years and then biannually during their time in our breeding program. When possible we also secure test results on the sires and dams of our lines.

Just because your kitten is from HCM tested lines is no guarantee as there isn't a genetic test we as breeders can use.  For this reason I give a 5yr hereditary genetic guarantee on all my kittens with a replacement or in the case when you're keeping kitten a 50% refund of purchase price.

We hope that you have found this information educational and helpful.

bengal kittens
Handling

Kittens can be fragile, especially in comparison to puppies.  It is important that if you have children handling your kitten that you teach them some good guidelines to follow. 

We recommend that children should, when learning to handle a kitten, sit on the floor.  This ensures that if the kitten crawls away from them that the kitten does not get dropped.

You will need to show your child the appropriate pressure when holding the kitten, so that they don’t “love on them too much”.

Kittens when young do not retract their claws properly to release things like clothing, blankets and skin.  You will need to show your child how to lift the kittens paw up and forward to “unhook” any little claws. Never just pull the kitten straight off an object that they are “velcroed” to.

As a new owner you need to ensure that you handle your kitten often when they are awake and continue on with the early desensitization training we have already established with them.

Kittens should be handled, carried, touched and caressed often and all over to ensure that they are well socialized and desensitized to being handled. 

This will help in future when you need to clip nails, have vet exams, clean ears or medicating them. 

If your kitten struggles or kicks to "get away" DO NOT let them go, rather use the clipnosis technique to calm them.  If you let them go when they struggle or kick you teaching them that if they want down just kick and struggle!  You don't want that.  You want them to relax and be calm and then set them down.  that way they learn that if they are realized you will set them down and it's positive training.

Set your kitten up for success not failure.  Just like kids picking the right teaching moments is essential.  Wait for your kitten to have had a run and play and get all their energy out before attempting to do your handling desensitization routine.  This ensures that you aren't trying to chill out and handle a kitten who's just woke up and just wants to play.  Always pick your timing so that it's a positive learning experience.

bengal kittens
Companionship

Most cats and kittens love companionship and will enjoy human or other species or feline friends. If you find that your cat is not getting enough companionship from you alone and is lonely, it is important that you consider a pet companion for them.

A cat that is lonely can become bored which can lead to destruction of property, in an attempt to entertain themselves. They can also become depressed. If your cat is displaying signs of depression you will seriously need to consider another pet companion for their mental health.

We all want to come home to a happy, healthy pet and just like some people, some cats need constant companionship.

bengal kittens
Pet Insurance

As part of our healthy kitten plan for new homes, we secure a free 6 week insurance policy though PetPlan for your kitten from the date that they leave us. This gives us and our families’ peace of mind during the transition time from our home to yours. We do encourage that you consider maintaining this policy after the 6 weeks expiry.