41 Comments

  1. Kristin Quail
    January 5, 2015 @ 9:49 am

    Holly if you are getting a cat because you want an animal that is more independent and low maintenance, then a Bengal is definitely not the cat for you. And you know what? That's ok. It's much more important for you to get a cat that works with your home life. Bengals are much more like a dog in that they need a lot of time and attention. They spend their days being playful, loud, and getting into everything. I love my Bengal, but they are not the cat for everyone and I think many are abandoned when the owners realize the kitten stage lasts about 10 years. In the next year there will be literally millions of cats in shelters and rescues that will need a good home. I hope you find the perfect cat for you.

  2. Iris Atkinson
    January 5, 2015 @ 2:25 am

    WHY would you get F2.. a Bengal domestic should be no less than F4. Its people like you that give Bengals a bad name. Get a true Bengal and not an ALC hybrid and you have the best cat in the world. Your vet friend should have known better. Cant be a very good vet. So stupid

  3. Iris Atkinson
    January 5, 2015 @ 2:22 am

    PS:- Michael Driver and anyone reading I am from the UK and we don't seem to have the problems like the US. Mainly because we have the RSPCA ( Royal society prevention cruelty Animals)and the PDA ( Peoples dispensary for sick animals) both charitable run. We also are encouraged to buy insurance at good rates for vet bills. They are chipped and registered too. My older babe who is now 2yrs 5mths fell and broke her leg, at approx. 9mths old she had to have a metal plate with a 'hospital' visit all paid by insurance. The place was like a luxury hotel and treatment was amazingly good.. She is fine now. When I read about the problems in US specially with the large cats which are owned privately. Specially Tony the Tiger been stuck on a gas forecourt in a small cage for more than 10yrs. The world wildlife have been trying to save him and give his remaining years a good life with them. Does it happen NO The powers that be will not agree to let him go. Yet they are trying to kill our Bengals, for no good reason. I could cry for that Tigers plight so where is the protest on this site about a real problem. USA wants us to think they are the greatest country in the world, well guess what you are one of the worst with your stupid laws on animals and gun laws. But will not leave our beloved pets alone…. Sorry Rant over

  4. Iris Atkinson
    January 5, 2015 @ 2:03 am

    Michael Driver :- I totally agree with what you say. They confuse Bengals with Asian Leopard cats bred with an exotic. True Bengal is several F's down from the source and are brilliant Breed of cats NOT designer hybrids as they like to say.

  5. Holly Hutt Viola
    January 2, 2015 @ 7:53 pm

    what do you mean?

  6. Holly Hutt Viola
    October 3, 2014 @ 3:54 pm

    I dont see a picture, do you have one?

  7. Holly Hutt Viola
    October 3, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

    Thanks for this. We were considering a Bengal but will not do it now. Also, I have been to your sanctuary when we lived in Tierra Verde and it is wonderful! Thanks for all you do. I live in Destin, FL where we have Feline Friends of Destin. They do the trap and release program of the many feral cats. Its a great program.

  8. Carole Baker
    September 23, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

    He's beautiful!!!!

  9. Stephen
    August 6, 2014 @ 6:39 pm

    and it’s ALDF, not ADLF.

  10. Stan Williams
    July 28, 2014 @ 8:11 am

    I have had a lot of cats, but never one of those.

  11. Marti Fenton Whitedeersong
    July 20, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

    I recently allowed an adolescent cat to come into the house now and then when it was raining. However, he was very persistent about wanting to be ours. We called him squeaky because his chirp sounded like a rusty hinge. At the time it never occurred to me that he might be a hybrid. He is extremely smart, very affectionate and quite athletic. He can jump four feet straight up as if floating on air. He's incredibly curious and is easily bored. He has rather large feet, his coat is tabby breaking into spots and he has white feet and and a mostly white face but his eyes have black eye liner. Thank goodness he uses a litter box and can eat cat food, although he eats a lot and flings it about as if tearing up meat. I have to leave him out at night because he gets bored and wakes us up with trills, chirps and bouncing around. Our main problem is a black part Persian feral cat that we adopted last year the same way we adopted Squeaky who I have renamed George as in "Curious George." The former feral is now a lovely gentle cat, a bit afraid of strangers but otherwise quite tame. However, George bullies her and tries to play much too rough with her. I forgot to mention that we did get him neutered last month for obvious reasons, but also hoping it would calm him down. He is very attached to me but we travel quite a bit and take the black feral with us. Does anyone have experience traveling with a fairly tame hybrid?

  12. Herry Bourhans
    February 3, 2014 @ 5:29 am

    nite

  13. Bella
    November 3, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    Hi,
    After reading through all your warnings about hybrids and their problems, it came to my attention that I am lucky. I have 2 F4 Bengals and they are brother and sister, they are inside cats and are relatively well behaved. The boy, Eddie, has only stopped spraying but Nala never started. they use their litter trays and are happy to share their food. I agree in saying that they do have very wild tendenceies as they love to stalk anything that moves and ‘chirp’ at the birds outside. They are 3 years old and have a routine and only respond to my sister when she visits and myself. Eddie is a very anxious cat but we have sorted that we have sorted that with natural therapy. They do wake me up every morning at 5:25 (5 minutes before my alarm) and they are demanding food by 6. All in all they are very loving pets and they love my other two animals (a great dane and a english mastiff puppy)

  14. Brianna Flynn
    October 17, 2013 @ 4:59 am

    Because there are 0 'honest ethical breeders' with a 100% success rate in breeding those kind, loving, domesticated F5 Bengals – thereby producing many F2, F3, F4 and F5 cats that are NOT suitable as pets, and should NOT be bred. So where do all these 'extra' cats go? What breeder can afford an extra 100 cats that can't be homed, can't be sold as pets – either they ARE sold as pets (not very responsible), or they're euthanized (more responsible, but how responsible is it to breed animals knowing you'll have to put down hundreds of unhomeable cats?) Bottom line, there is no reason or purpose for the breeding. To achieve one lovely, domesticated Bengal with correct patterning you're creating many, many cats that can't find homes, can't be turned loose…why would any responsible breeder knowingly do that? You're also using captive wild cats to create this 'new' breed – also not terribly responsible. It doesn't matter if breeders never make a dime selling F5 Bengals – regardless of anyone's profit, this breed creates countless 'waste' animals, and that's just something I can't support. Every F5 Bengal comes from a long line of wild hybrid and captive wild cats – it's impossible to responsibly breed them, for every lovely house pet there are countless 'rejects' farther up the line. I wanted a nice cat, so you know what I did? I adopted a domestic cat that had been dumped outside my house. And she yowls and knocks things off shelves, but none of my dollars supported the purposeful breeding of cats that have no future like those unhomeable F2 and F3 great-grandparents of the 'fantastic' F5 Bengals.

  15. Brad Crawford
    October 11, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    She will cuddle you, not the other way around.

  16. Ayne Bales
    August 30, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    Kathryn Julia Whicker – reading comprehension isn't your strong point, is it?

  17. Bren Hicks
    June 22, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    well said Deb

  18. Michael Driver
    June 16, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

    What you write is a bunch of hogwash! I see a recurring theme here. Most all of these foolish people somehow got hold of *F1* Bengals, which DO NOT have any business as pets! Period! F1, F2, & F3 ONLY should be in the hands of RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS! PERIOD! Only F4 & SBT belong in the hands of RESPSPONSIBLE, WELL INFORMED, INTELLIGENT, & THOSE WILLING TO DEAL WITH THE QUIRKS OF BENGALS, ETC SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO OWN ONE. PERIOD! Many of the issues that you point out, and that your supposed letters, & emails from others complain about are issues present in many breeds of cats including DSH cats. Destructive, vindictive, killers by their very nature, usually form a stronger bond with one human over others, territorial, randomly pee or poop outside their box if upset, ill, or pissed off, there's ALWAYS an alpha in a home with more than one cat, ALL cats can be very vocal, some more than others particularly breeds such as Siamese, ALL cats can, and do wake you at ungodly hours playing games such as "racing kitty", "pounce on Dad's ties", and "stare at Mom until she awakens". F4, SBT, & beyond DO NOT require an "Exotic Animal Veterinarian" as their exotic genes are so dilute as to almost be absent! The letter from the "Vet Tech" that claims to have, irresponsibly, especially in light of knowledge they SHOULD have, obtained an F1 Bengal kitten because it "was amazing looking", and "bought it on the spot" from a "BREEDER". Sorry, but legitimate breeders DON'T SELL F1 Bengals as pets to ANYONE! Takes this kitten home, and complains about it yowling! Take ANY kitten from it's mother, and litter mates, of course it's going to cry for them! This "Vet Tech" stated : "I neutered…" ??? Really??? Then : "I had a four paw declaw done…" Declawing ANY cat should be outlawed in the US as it is in most, if not all of Europe where it is also a jailable offense in some countries. You are not only removing the cats defense mechanisms, their toes are AMPUTATED to the first joint, this is exceedingly painful which can, and does last for life of these poor kitties, many cannot even stand the feel of clay litter any longer, and have to use an alternative litter, or pads for life, they can no longer climb, ESPECIALLY with all four paws declawed, these poor creatures suffer for life for the convenience of their owners! An F1 is NOT a suitable pet in any way, shape, or form! I lived in the state of Florida for many years. This sort of thing is endemic there out of pure greed. It's not only hybrid cats. Look at the problem they're having with large, non native snakes. As well as many species of animals that were simply dumped in the wild by irresponsible people when they tired of their fad purchases. Florida is full to the brim with backyard "breeders" of cats & dogs, that are universally kept in deplorable conditions.
    I wonder, though, why do you say NOT a single word about the many wonderful, responsible, ethical Bengal cat breeders that DO NOT sell any cat that is not F4 or SBT as pets? That these breeders don't really make money at breeding. Their expenditures outstrip their income from selling these wonderful cats. I've seen the figures from a well known, highly respected, prominent breeder. He has the means to support him in his endevour. His wife would skin him if she saw the books! He makes nothing off selling the cats. Bottom line is : people treat EVERYTHING they have, including those other humans that are even the tiniest bit "inconvenient" to them, as disposable. Something else to be put away, done away with, thrown away. "Out of sight, out of mind." We are a "Throw away society" plain, and simple.

  19. Kathryn Julia Whicker
    May 20, 2013 @ 11:06 pm

    the entire point of the post is try to inform people that hybreds generally do not make good pets. its not trying to say that ever last bengal is a horrible pet, but a lot are. they are super loving, but they ARE destructive and food aggressive. Breeders don't tell you that they often do not get along with regular cats and will have bloody fights. people need to know.

  20. Brad Stonebraker
    May 18, 2013 @ 5:05 am

    I agree with what your saying but you contradict yourself a lot in all of that.

  21. Rene' Johnson
    May 18, 2013 @ 3:37 am

    You didn't mention Ocicat's or Cheetoh's; which are bred from an Ocicat & a Bengal. We have a Cheetoh & we love her. But, she has to have her outside time. She also will yowl if she can't see you, & until you answer her, so she can find you, she keeps doing it.

  22. Rene' Johnson
    May 18, 2013 @ 3:37 am

    You didn't mention Ocicat's or Cheetoh's; which are bred from an Ocicat & a Bengal. We have a Cheetoh & we love her. But, she has to have her outside time. She also will yowl if she can't see you, & until you answer her, so she can find you, she keeps doing it.

  23. Maggie Harris
    April 1, 2013 @ 5:20 am

    Pixie bobs aren't hybrids, actually. That urban legend was disproved by genetic testing. I'm thinking you may want to fix that.

  24. Jody Maurer
    February 28, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

    Re hybrid breeds. Please read!

  25. awfrost
    December 12, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    I grew up with a Hybrid cat (F3 Bengal) from a very young age. My parents bought him when I was two and our dog died from a rescue shelter that asked us if we would take him owing to our families background in handling difficult animals. Perhaps unusually the cat was easy to train as from the first week we worked out he would do just about whatever you want if you rewarded him with food and gave him plenty to do.

    the advice I would give to anyone considering getting a hybrid as a pet;
    – Don’t get one, unless you have experience handling animals.
    – Get it Neutered or spayed at a young age.
    – Expect it to kill things, We once found a pile of dead snakes outside our back door killed by our cat.
    – Don’t allow the cat to form bad habits when it is small that will get annoying when it is bigger. Mine
    used to insist on laying on my feet which didn’t bother me until he got old and started t complain quite vocally about having to move when I got up.
    – expect it to attach itself to one person, this person will have more control over the cat than any other and the cat will demand attention from them on a regular basis.
    – provide it with something to do, if not it will get bored and destroy things.
    – Remember that it is smarter than your average Cat, we thought we had our cat trained not to scratch the couch by yelling at it when ever we saw it. But then realized that the cat had just stopped scratching the parts it thought we would see.
    -They will mix with other animals but make sure they are introduced slowly and that you mix with animals the cat will not kill. eg. Dog’s of a larger size not the little ones like Yorkshire terriers. generally they will attack most animals at first so cation is advised.

    and finally if you just want something you only have to give a litter box, bowl of water and feed don’t get a hybrid get a normal cat. Hybrids are not as healthy and can vary greatly in temperament I would knowing the health issues they have discourage the breeding of these animals or the keeping of them by anyone that is not experienced in meeting the animals needs as these cats don’t like to be re-homed please remember that getting one can be a 15 to 20 year commitment


  26. November 23, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    I own an f4 bengal and a f7 bengal cat and they both have never had any problems and our female f7 was bred with an ocelot and even produced the first ocelot/bengal hybrid in the uk.


  27. November 23, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    I’m not so sure one can make sweeping generalizations about Bengals with complete accuracy. If these “truths” were carved in stone, then why would I have such a sweet, well-adjusted, loving and funny Bengal? I knew what I was getting into with this breed, and have adjusted my lifestyle accordingly. But it was no sacrifice! I can think of no greater joy than to live with such a super-intelligent, innovative and humorous companion as my Bengal–not to mention his beauty and the softness of his fur. I suppose some might react with horror when a cat sails through the air, kamikaze style, to knock the plug of the vacuum cleaner out of the socket to turn it off. Maybe I should say “EEK!” and run screaming from such a demon cat, instead of sharing in his twinkle-toed victory dance and delighting in the sparkle in his eyes as he implores me to plug it back in for another go-round. Perhaps I should be afraid when I feel the touch of his mind and look around to see him looking at me from a doorway, or from the top of a bookcase. But I’m not. I slow-blink to him, and he returns the favor. As far as I’m concerned, he is the embodiment of unconditional love. Sorry folks, but I just can’t hold with demonizing an entire breed of cat–ANY breed of cat.


    • November 23, 2012 @ 12:09 am

      Of course I did. But I’m not sure they make one large enough to accommodate Da Faj. Come to think of it, he has jumped up into the Panasonic I currently have, but it wasn’t what you’d call a proper fit.


  28. November 23, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    This reminds me of the one night we watched a friend’s bengal cat, which he had gotten from a friend as a kitten because she moved across country. We had watched him when he was a kitten with no issues but the second time he was an adult.

    He immediately started attacking our cats, tore up my hubby’s hand so bad he almost needed stitches, and sprayed our furniture. We ended up staying up most of the night to make sure he didn’t kill our cats. He ended finding the original breeder and returning the cat and now he’s a stud.


  29. November 23, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    I wonder if Lelu has asthma? In cats, this presents mostly as a chronic cough, with or without actual wheezing. You treat it with prednisone, a steroid that cats can tolerate fairly well. But the best way, IMO, to treat feline asthma is to administer Flovent, a medication formulated for humans, in an inhaler. To do this you should get a device called the AeroKat. It’s basically a tube with a muzzle mask on one end and an opening in the other into which you insert the business end of the inhaler. Shake the whole assembly very well, then place over the cat’s muzzle and depress the inhaler in one puff. In the AeroKat is a flap that lets you count the number of inhalations the cat makes. Your vet will tell you how many are needed, and how often. When finished, wipe the cat’s face with a moist cloth, dry, and then GIVE a TREAT. Better yet, show the cat the treat first so that he knows it’s what is coming to him, then administer medicine. The chief advantage of medicating this way is that the drug goes directly to the lungs without passing through the rest of the system. Even though cats can tolerate steroids well, over time systemic administration will have side effects–some harmful–on the cat.


  30. November 23, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    I have to respond to this email because my bengal does not do any of the above. My bengal is NOT destructive, gets along with dogs and cats amazingly, sleeps all night. He did have IBS which with a diet of high protein dry food and sometimes cooked chicken, is solved. This is the most amazingly smart and adorable INDOOR cat!

  31. Stephanie McNamara
    September 20, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

    This reminds me of the one night we watched a friend's bengal cat, which he had gotten from a friend as a kitten because she moved across country. We had watched him when he was a kitten with no issues but the second time he was an adult.

    He immediately started attacking our cats, tore up my hubby's hand so bad he almost needed stitches, and sprayed our furniture. We ended up staying up most of the night to make sure he didn't kill our cats. He ended finding the original breeder and returning the cat and now he's a stud.

  32. Cindy Ellegood
    September 20, 2012 @ 7:06 am

    I wonder if Lelu has asthma? In cats, this presents mostly as a chronic cough, with or without actual wheezing. You treat it with prednisone, a steroid that cats can tolerate fairly well. But the best way, IMO, to treat feline asthma is to administer Flovent, a medication formulated for humans, in an inhaler. To do this you should get a device called the AeroKat. It's basically a tube with a muzzle mask on one end and an opening in the other into which you insert the business end of the inhaler. Shake the whole assembly very well, then place over the cat's muzzle and depress the inhaler in one puff. In the AeroKat is a flap that lets you count the number of inhalations the cat makes. Your vet will tell you how many are needed, and how often. When finished, wipe the cat's face with a moist cloth, dry, and then GIVE a TREAT. Better yet, show the cat the treat first so that he knows it's what is coming to him, then administer medicine. The chief advantage of medicating this way is that the drug goes directly to the lungs without passing through the rest of the system. Even though cats can tolerate steroids well, over time systemic administration will have side effects–some harmful–on the cat.

  33. Ettina
    June 21, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    The cat in the story titled ‘it isn’t the cat’s fault’ has another reason for being aggressive besides being a hybrid – he was declawed.

    Declawing literally removes the tips of the cat’s digits. It’s like if you had the tips of all your fingers removed at the last joint. It’s a painful healing process and it’s traumatic for the cat.

    Furthermore, cats feel insecure without their claws. A declawed cat is more easily frightened than a cat with claws, because they know they can’t use their claws to defend themselves. If they’re allowed outdoors, they will be bullied by all the neighborhood cats because they can’t hold their own in a fight without claws.

    And since their only weapon is their teeth, declawed cats are far more likely to bite. They’ll often bite when other cats would claw, or because of their emotional issues they may even bite for no apparent reason at all. Trust me, I’d rather get clawed by a cat than bitten! A bite has a greater risk of getting infected, and is usually more severe.

    I knew a declawed cat once, who belonged to a friend of my Dad’s. This cat (completely domestic, by the way) would come up to you and rub up against you, acting really affectionate, but if you made a wrong move he’d suddenly turn and bite. Mostly mild bites that didn’t break the skin, but still no fun, and I always worried if he got really upset he’d do worse. This kind of behavior is often typical of cats that have been abused, which just goes to show how traumatic declawing is.

    It’s far kinder to just give your cat a scratching post and teach them to use it, or else if you let them go outside they can just use a tree. In terms of them scratching humans, best to avoid provoking scratches and make sure you have a cat that is tame enough to make a decent pet. And don’t use fingers as toys – use a string (supervised only, so they don’t eat it) or something you can roll along the ground like a ball.

  34. Sonjadore
    May 8, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

    Hey BCR:
    Love the work you do. Regarding hybrids, I’d like to share my cat’s story. Rascal is part Chausie, and was rescued in the fall of 2006.
    We first saw Rascal in our neighborhood in August 2006. He was unsuccessfully attempting to hunt. He was a very striking cat, but his fur was matted and he was emaciated. A fellow animal-loving neighbor set a humane cat trap for him. He was so skinny that the trap had to be weighed in order for Rascal to trigger it.
    Rascal lived in our neighbor’s garage for a while. He was absolutely terrified of us. Any attempt to approach him resulted in hissing and spitting, and we quickly decided that he had no owner (the unanswered “Found” ads confirmed this). He was likely an abandoned kitten.
    Despite his demeanor, I became attached to him pretty quickly. When our neighbor moved, I did not want to see him go to a shelter (his feral nature was pretty much a guarantee that he would not be adopted), so I offered to look after him. I set up a bed for him in my old playhouse, and began to feed him a steady diet. I also attempted to socialize him.
    Just a week later, Rascal looked like a completely different cat. He had gained a good amount of weight, and his bones were no longer visible. His coat had become soft and glossy. He was still afraid of most people, but he had bonded with me. Sending him to a shelter at this point was out of the question, and my family made the decision to adopt him.
    About a month after he had been adopted, we discovered that Rascal was part hybrid.
    Rascal is a bit like Jekyll and Hyde. At times, he is incredibly affectionate and snuggly. At other times, he will destroy the house if left unattended. He is also the most possessive and territorial cat I have ever met. He’s got in in his head that I am “his”, and no one else can have me. In short, he is a handful, but I would not trade him for anything.
    I don’t like to think about what may have happened had we not taken him in. I don’t think he would have survived. I am so glad that we were able to give him a home. To anyone thinking of purchasing a hybrid cat: don’t. The hybrid cat trade leads to staggering amounts of animal cruelty. Rascal’s abandonment as a kitten is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many cats in shelters that are waiting to be adopted. Give one of them a home. It will be the best decision you will ever make.

  35. gabriela zancaner
    March 2, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

    I Agree that hybrids are dangerous, but I own a F1 bengal and she is much more domestic than my siamese cat. All the things that has been said in this article is perfectly applicable to my siamese instead of my sweet bengal.
    I guess it all depends on the temper of your cat. I had a bunch of siameses and I can really affirm that they are pretty wild animals. They bite, spray, destroy everything, kill other animals, open doors and all those nasty things you are saying about bengals. The funny thing is that I never saw my first generation bengal do any of those stuffs.

  36. Kim A
    February 15, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    I want to thank you for this article about hybrids.

    Just over a year ago we adopted a shelter kitten. She was among a litter of five that had been turned in to the shelter, fostered out, and then returned as being adoptable. I liked her spunky personality, widespread ears, and unusual coloring–white paws, chest, flanks and chin, but the rest of her was covered in spots, golf-ball size rosettes, and marbling. When I brought her home the first thing my teen daughter was said: “mom, you bought a baby snow leopard!”

    The kitten integrated well into our household and became a playmate to our 4-year old cat, who had lost her companion–a feral I had successfully rehabilitated. The kitten and cat played and had a great time.

    However, we noticed some strange behavior with our new kitten, and as she grew older, the behavior became more severe, as opposed to less. She began chewing paper towels (on the roll) at night and shredded them to pieces. She ripped and tore with her teeth all the muslin lings under our box-spring mattresses, and climb inside. The linings were pulled up inside the box springs. She chewed on boxes and left piles of shredding all over the house. She would meow for hours, staring at the curtain rods (actually, poles) in our 10 foot ceilings. Sometimes she would jump and land precariously on top of the poles. On two occasions she climbed a corner shelf and stared at the ceiling fan and cried pitifully, wanting to lunge onto the blades.

    Most of all, she grew. By the time she was 9 months old she weighed 13 pounds. The vet couldn’t figure out what was happening. She was scaring the willies out of our older, 5- pound female cat. Any surfaced that could be could be climbed on, anything that could be knocked over, would be knocked over. She follows us to the bathroom and tries to play with the (ehem) stuff in the toilet bowl.

    Now she is 1 1/2 years old. She weighs 17 pounds and has an immense barrel chest, big torso, extremely long tail, and huge muscular (but short) legs. We have no idea when she will stop growing. Her facial features have never changed, and she still has the odd ears, wide eyes, and triangle shaped face. She is a very lovable cat in her own way, but there is something strange about her. She does not cover her (gigantic) poos, ever. She licks us incessantly and loves to eat anything shiny–ribbons on Christmas presents are a danger. She meows–yowls?–and chatters and clicks whenever she is bored, which is when she is not asleep. Last night as I sat in the recliner she leaped onto the back of it, then jumped from that onto our floor lamp, which came crashing down on the rug. She carries her favorite toys and from room to room and puts them in all sorts of odd places for us.

    She is an entertaining cat but we know something is “off’ with her, and our other cat suspects it, too. I did a bit of online research and found a post that someone else in our area (Sarasota County) adopted a cat from a local shelter around the same time as us and her description was identical to ours.

    My guess is that there are unscrupulous breeders in our area who are experimenting and dumping the rejects. I don’t know how this practice can be stopped. Don’t get me wrong: we loves our cats for who and what they are; it would just be helpful to know when you are adopting a cat that you are actually getting a domestic cat, and not some unpredictable hybrid that is going to grow to be as big as a house.

  37. Anny Meton
    November 15, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    We were looking for a male companion for our female, wanting something “different”, when an ad came up on a local site for a two year old white, male, devon rex. He had been a past breeder, came from a grand line, and we were just thrilled at the prospect of a devon. Neither of us had ever met one, we’d only seen them online. This one was just within out price range too, and my husband bought him for me as a first year anniversary gift.

    When we met him, we both knew we were instantly in love! Curls all over, and the biggest eyes..one blue, one yellow. Pure white fluffy fur. The face was kind of odd all together, oddly shaped muzzle, super wide nose, and the eyes were oddly placed on his face. His ears and eyes were some of the biggest I had seen (having always had siamese in my life, that’s saying ALOT!), And his body shape was so odd…long-legged, but barrel chested, wide, pudgy body, and heavily muscled. And he made the oddest expressions I had ever seen, almost like he was part human! But we loved him, bought him, and brought him home.

    We learned almost immediately that from posts from the breeder online after that point that something was wrong. Not only was our boy acting like a nut case…he yodeled, he made the strangest sounds we had ever heard, leading to the neighbors congratulating us on our “new baby”…but they thought WE had had one! And our boy sure did sound like an angry human child when left in the bathroom for the first few days! When he’d get angry, he’d splash in the toilet, “for attention” we thought. He’d sleep in the sink, even though it dripped, and he took to toilet training like he’d always gone in the toilet all of his life! We figured it would calm down when he got out of the bathroom…which came earlier than we wanted, but he had learned to open the door himself and there was no stopping him then.

    It got worse! This is when I began really researching that breeder! We found out she had kept him locked in the basement with no socialization short of her two young children. He wasn’t allowed to touch the kids’ toys and would be locked in a 10x8x6 cage if he did where he had no kitty toys and a foot tall “cat post” for entertainment. He’d never seen a window before, and had no idea what to do when seeing ours for the first time! He instantly fell in love with the view from the fourth story floor. His only knowledge of other cats was being thrown into that cage with a female in heat…which made his intro to our girl a real pain. He would stalk her like prey. And the “reputable” breeder said this was NORMAL for breeders to not socialize their studs, though she claimed he was “raised under foot and around children and dogs”! I was horrified. He didn’t know how to be a cat…he didn’t know anything! He didn’t know how to play, or what a toy was. He was afraid of everything, and he only knew that he HAD to climb and that birds outside and children playing with the coolest thing in the world to watch.

    She had supposedly had him on a grain free diet, but admitted he “had bowel problems” and medicated for this. We don’t use medication on ourselves or our fur-babies! So he had withdrawals immediately. We also found he had over 6 kinds of worms and other ear and eye parasites…which we attributed many of his problems to. And he couldn’t meow right…or so we thought. He barked, yodeled, and talked in the oddest ways, which we associated with being raised around small dogs and young children.

    On a grain free diet he became another animal all together…he became something we had never seen before. He lost all of that fat and out came this long legged, almost comically long legged cat with thick, meaty legs and tiny dainty paws (we call them his “hooves”). We learned that he had the longest claws we’d ever seen on a cat, and they curved like little fish hooks. And the longest fingers, almost like a raccoon’s with no webbing between them. He became more and more vocal as he learned that this was allowed. And he had to be taught that the bed was ok, but even over a year later, he still asks “permission” to get on the bed, the couch, or anywhere else where people have “claimed” it first. He claimed one couch for his own after we moved the first time, and would get very vocal and irritated if you walked near it or sat with him…we had to train him not to bite or get us with the claws. He learned that he liked to be on the desk and in the highest place in the room: on top of the computer monitor. Telling him no got the dirtiest looks, and a reminder of how intelligent and keen he was…especially when HE had decided it was time for HIM…no matter what we might be doing at the time, we had to stop and entertain him, “or else”.

    He never took to raw meat like our female, unless it was something like deer, or wild animal. When we had a litter of kittens, one of our vets wanted to test their bloodlines…he was shocked as we were to find a rosette spotted and thickly tiger marked tabby from a siamese mother and a pure white albino father! This is when he turned to me and calmly said he had never seen anything like this after the initial tests came back. He sent the results off to an exotic specialist, and sure enough, our male, white, fluffy, devon rex had turned out to be half asian wildcat!

    Upon doing some research, things began to fall into place for us…like his obsession with fishing for the goldfish, or how he would even climb into the fish tank to chase them when we were not home. Or how he LOVED a warm bath and had to be locked out the room when one of us was taking one…because he’d climb right in the tub to soak too (you can imagine the yodeling and heart-rending cries for being denied this pleasure!). The distinct yodel and human infant sounds. The weird chirpy voice he had. The facial features were obvious then. The feet didn’t make much sense, but his bloodline is undoubtedly devon rex. And when I researched further into the only cattery he could have come from originally, it suddenly made sense why the breeder we bought him from later admitted she had no papers for him (she first claimed she would mail them…not that we cared about papers either way though!)…it was because the breeder she bought him from had had an “accident” litter…their devon rex got to the asian wildcat. She could not sell them in her area because the law prohibited the sale of f1 kittens to anyone but a licensed breeder. When checking her page, there was a period that fit the time frame when she had claimed to have two different litters at that time: a set of devons and a set of bengals…two days apart. Having done some research before this point in what a devon SHOULD look like, it made sense…he was built like a lumberjack on steroids, and the only part of him that was devon was the tiny feet and the curls.

    We got a crash course in what it is like living with and loving a severely neglected cat…but also what that does to a bengal. We are still learning and growing with him and his litter of amazing kittens. They’re certainly different, and most certainly not for the faint of heart! We’re also teaching the children who come around that our kitties, while cute and slightly bigger than your average house cat are still “kittens”. They are wild animals, and if you don’t listen to them, they will let you know their displeasure. Our male doesn’t hurt the kittens, but when they were first born, he’s get in the box to clean them, and when our girl would get mad, he’d steal a kitten, go hide, and snuggle it half to death. We’re still not sure if this was hunting or not…he never hurt one, but he’d definitely get angry when denied time with them. Someone told us that some asian leopards are like that, and the males are more protective and the female hunts, or they take turns. It was certainly a shock for us the first few times though! And other cats know there is a difference immediately…most regular cats he meets are terrified of him, though he’s only friendly with other cats; we believe it’s that odd, musky smell he has, something that very much says “wildcat” to me. (he’s territorial but not aggressive unless our girl is in heat…then he’s a monster to any male of any species). We’re very careful who we adopted our kittens from him to, and he’s only had one litter for this reason. There wasn’t a bad one in the litter, but they are all certainly bengals! We made sure the respective adoptive families knew this and knew what to expect! We also made it more than clear: if they ever needed to find that kitten a new home, to contact us immediately and we would do it for them, taking the kitten or cat back home if it was an emergency or that important. One adoptive family already knew what to expect, one had no clue but is enjoying the adventure, and the third was rehomed to a family who is learning themselves just how strange, wild and often unpleasant, a wildcat mix can be but loves their giant kitten!

    While they all have amazingly good natures, they are wild animals…they are intelligent beyond that of a regular cat and far more resourceful. They can’t eat what a normal cat might and when they do, they’re violent and hard to handle. While young, all but one of the 4 kittens is well over 20+ pounds of screaming demon when they want something, often times just affection at 4 am on a weeknight. These cats whine with the expression of a child, they are vocal, mouthy, and the attitude is miles wide! When they’re happy, they can still turn off and on to any mood instantly and back, and play often goes from funny and cute belly tickles to your hand is becoming hamburger and their eyes are glittering while they try to decide if your hand might just be edible after all. And the biggest mistake we made was giving kisses in front of them…they imitate us. It started with their daddy, who saw our female lean in close and touch her nose to our lips. He wanted some too. The kittens picked it up. Which is ok…until one of them decides half way to your face that it’s “time to play” or they are angry…then the poor victim finds claws in the sides of the face and ears and being drawn in close for nips to the mouth and nose. Not meant to hurt, but it does! Our male doesn’t spray other than when TRULY angry at us for something, like not coming home over night without “telling” him. He doesn’t see us pack or we say “Be back later!” and then don’t come home…he marks the door.

    Some might say here “Oh, they don’t understand human speech!” and let me tell you, you couldn’t be MORE wrong! They understand far more than people give them credit for, enough that it pales regular cats and most dogs. We have taken to spelling out some things he knows, usually food related, or he can be a handful. And if he knows his favorite snack is somewhere, like the cabinet, or the fridge, it had better be locked, and I mean LOCKED, or he will find a way to get to it. The fridge is no competition.

    So to make a really long story short, and I could go on for DAYS here…I don’t see a problem with breeding bengals and wildcats for people who are responsible and KNOW what they are getting into and are prepared to handle it. But there is more demand for them by people who aren’t as patient as we were, and I hate to imagine our boy if he had been taken by someone else! His previous owner HATED him and she never knew him or spent time with him. I can easily imagine this cat being put into a home expecting a house cat or the devon temper and getting a bengal..it makes my stomach turn. I know people who have adopted and bought bengals knowing what they were getting and STILL couldn’t handle it. Every cat is different, and when you get a wildcat mix, you’re in for all manner of hell, no matter how sweet, cute, or loving they are. Our boy is “cotton balls and razorblades” all at the same time. And when you imagine that the average breeder keeps their cats locked in cages all day and all night, then later spays and sells them to homes as pets…that makes me sick. But it’s common practice, accepted and even suggested for bengal breeders by bengal breeders and big name associations to raise them this way. These cats need, desperately, socialization and tenderness and patience…and most people just don’t have the right personality for the bengal cat…not the other way around.

    • becki
      March 1, 2014 @ 8:39 am

      There is no genetic test available to determine level of “wildcat”. Intact males get jowls. They howl for girls. Sounds like your issue, the solution is neutering. Why did you breed unknown cats?

  38. dan b
    October 8, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    I don’t understand this..These are wild animals not children… I found a starving almost dead kitten under a house where i stay sometimes..It would only come to a mother cat call which I can imitate quite well ..finally caught it like this and once I started scratching and stroking it gave in..It was very sick in the stomach.. been surviving on scotch finger biscuits I feed to birds .. fed it chicken livers then necks.. it started digging up roots and eating them dirt and all… must have fixed its intestinal flora because it sure is hell on wheels now.. was so unusual I hunted info and turns out it’s a Bengal.. so pretty so smart so athletic so affectionate and that fur coat is the softest thing ever.. and the eeriest cry.. it talks to me in cat.. won’t answer to english but comes instantly to cat.. I’m sure it thinks i’m it’s mum transmogrified.. tries to groom lick me but that sandpaper tongue is a bit much.. I don’t give it medicine.. it fixed itself ..no problems at all now ..strong and fast as.. i don’t put up with power games ..I tell it in cat if I’m peeved and if it persists I grab it’s head and rattle it dizzy.. it’s learned .. still attacks full bore but keeps the claws and teeth to itself.. total violence but no blood and its purring all the while… loves fight games.. knows that if I have gloves and trousers and boots on it can attack with teeth and claws and really goes for it.. had its first thunderstorm this morning …was in a major panic until it saw i wasn’t bothered and lost interest.. smart cat… so clean .. took no time to train.. I take it through it’s paces with a rag on an elastic on a fishing rod and the speed and athleticism is astonishing.. serves double duty as local birds can see it and know they know what it can do so it has no hope of catching them.. There are drains and trees nearby full of black plague rats and there have always been feral cats around there eating them… numbers never seem to change .. supposed the weak are killed by the strong and the snakes.. water dragons eat rats also and it has a dragon as a friend ..they sit in the sun together and it helps the dragon fight rivals .. bush turkey tries to kill it but it’s very fast ..too fast for the turkey.. more like a dog than any cat I know ..follows me .. waits for me to come home .. i think that’s got a lot to do with refrigerators and chicken necks though .. practical cat… absolutely admirable and interesting creature

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