Click here to go to the Home page Click here to go to the Home page Click here to go to the Home page Click here to go to the Home page Click here to go to the Home page Click here to go to the Home page Click here to go to the Home page


Child playing with an F1 Bengal

F1 Bengal Care

The F1 Bengal in particular is born hissing at humans. Please remember this as it will never change, they will never hesitate to give you a piece of their mind. The goal is to make that mind a little more palatable to the human than what they are born with. Simply put, if you do not early wean the F1, the cat will most likely turn into quite a wild little creature. If you do not early wean the F2s, some will be nice but you will most likely miss out and lose the temperament on at least a few of them. In essence, by early weaning, you become mom. Supplementing F3's and SBT's with additional milk from an early age can also make them a sweeter cat.

I take these babies from their mothers at 3 weeks of age. At this point, they can go a number of hours and be just fine (that means you do not have to get up in the middle of the night! In fact, I do not even try to feed them for the first 12 hours after taking them, as any such attempt will simply be a total waste of time. The problem is that they have been with mom for the first 3 weeks and it is mom's milk that they know and love. Whatever that other junk that you are trying to feed is not really worth bothering with, they will hold out for mom's milk. After a few hours, they will be getting a tad on the hungry side and it is now that so many will really try your patience. While some will take right to the substitute milk, other will spit it out as fast as possible and drive you to distraction. Good grief you are thinking, this is a tiny baby and I cannot let it starve to death!!! So you try and then try again. I prefer to take the babies on a Friday night and then work with them over the weekend. Hopefully by Sunday night, they will all be eating pretty well. However, some may be a little more stubborn. I personally use Breeders Edge kitten substitute and I use the Fox Miracle nipples. BTW, I have never followed the directions in terms of mixing the Breeders Edge with water; do not even know what it says. I just add Breeders Edge until it is pretty thick. Now this may not work for some of you but in truth, I do not measure a lot of things while I am cooking either, each to their own. (Some people worry about the lack of taurine and may want to add that to the milk. I do that now with all the kittens.) To get them started, you put in a little at a time, wear a towel so that you do not get turned into a yucky mess and then you try, try and try again. Pretty soon, they start taking some and then a little more, after all they are getting hungry you know. I chose to use a 3 cc syringe. Some people prefer to use a bottle. It is not what is right or wrong except in terms of what works for you. Before you know it, they are grabbing the syringe and sucking that milk down as fast as fast can be. As fast as you fill the syringe, it is gone. Soon they are running onto your lap and facing the correct direction. As I am right handed, they get on my right leg and then they all face to the right, after all, that is where it is going to come from. Next thing, you are having mini wars on your lap as they fight each other to get to the syringe. If I have a large litter of say 6 or 7, I will generally feed them in 2 shifts. There is an element of self-defense in this, as they tend to scratch up my hand while trying to get to the syringe. One of their worst little tricks is to grab my hand with those needle sharp little claws while holding my hand in close while they suck down all the milk. Ouch! I have developed the over the top and hold the front legs to the side technique. The problem is that if you have more than one, they are all trying to get there at once. It can be a little rough at times. Of course you could always take the sensible way and feed just one at a time but where is the adventure in that? (This is also a good time to start clipping nails.) The other reason to feed more than one at a time is the time spent socializing. When I am having mini wars on my lap; I tend to pick them up and plunk them down a lot! You try to clear the way a little so that only one at a time is getting to the syringe. Every time you pick up and set down, you are socializing. They are becoming totally acclimated to the human touch and they are thinking in terms of you as MOM. They will eat and eat until their little tummies are simply huge. You will look at them and think, there is soon going to be a kitty explosion and there is going to be milk every which way. I try to explain this to them but they simply do not listen and insist on eating to the point of the ridiculous. Finally, they will stop and either run off to play or curl up to sleep off that tummy.

How do I handle these kits? The main thing is that I HANDLE them! Do not "molly coddle!!" If you are forever holding them as if they are the most fragile little thing in the entire universe, that is what they will be used to! The first time that something different happens they are going to jump through the ceiling and cower in a trembling mass. I can't speak for you but that is now how I want my kittens to respond. I do things with them. I hold them upside down on their back; I scuff them, pick them up, set them down and occasionally give them a gentle toss! Yes, a gentle toss onto something soft is not going to hurt them! But what it does do is let them know that they can trust their human to appropriately care for them. That even when the human releases them, it is going to be done in a safe manner. Have you ever watched a mommy cat with her kittens? She does not handle them like the most fragile thing in the universe, not even close. Well, she does not toss either but that is probably because she does not have an available hand to toss them with! You gently get them used to being handled in all sorts of ways. If they start to frighten, you hold them close and let them calm. Hopefully, you are doing this with all of your kittens! Gradually, you can do more and more things with them as they learn that you are safe! This is so important so that when they go to their new home, they will enter with a self-confident purr! There are some cats that have a nature that does require gentler handling. Usually, they will evolve into a hardier cat with patience over time. However, some will be forever be timid. So here we are, is it nature or nurture? Many of us would agree that it is a combination of the two. If you are breeder, you have seen the personality differences within a litter, which has all been raised the same by you. There just is a difference in personality from one kitten to the next. Proper nurturing can bring out the best that each cat has to offer. That is the challenge to each of us as breeders.

The Litter Box

Oh boy, there it is!! The boogey monster of the F cat is according to many, the litter box. I have found that by predominantly cage raising a kitten until the age of 4 months, they will develop and maintain good litter habits. Certainly my ALC, Apollo, still uses his litter box as a 3-year-old breeding male and he lives in a bedroom, not a cage. When going to a new home, the owners will also play an important part in this process. If the kitten is less than 4 months old, It is important to house in a cage or a small bathroom etc. until 4 months of age. I really jump up and down, rant and rave and make a HUGE point of this. Ultimately, I look at the person in the face and I say this. You will never be happy with this cat if it does not use the litter box correctly. They look back, think and say, You're right, I will not. Ok, I say, this is an investment in the future. I know that when you walk out that door, you are attached and you want to spend your time with this kitten. That is great and I am happy for you. But if you do not do what is needed now, you are not going to be happy a few months from now or even a year from now unless we really step back and start again. Do this now and your cat should provide you with years of joy and proper use of litter box. This works and almost always they do it. If raised this way, the litter box problem vanishes. Am I saying that there will never be a litter box issue? Well, I would not go that far but then again, can you absolutely guarantee that for any cat? PERSONALITY...

When I got my first Bengal, I took him home, plopped him on the floor and went about my business. I looked back to see him splashing in the water bowl. That's weird, I thought, I have never seen a cat do that before. And so it is with the Bengal. They are clearly a different cat but can you tell me what the difference is? Oh yes, we can talk about the water bowl and the playing fetch but isn't there more to it than that? Isn't your Bengal different from other cats in a more subtle and hard to define way? Well so it is with the F1 and F2. They are different but it is really hard to put your hand on it and say, this is it! This is what makes them really different. Nevertheless, I will try. I have talked to other F1 owners and got a myriad of responses and everyone said the same as me, it is very hard to do. What we finally came up with is the word INTENSE! They are way more intense in everything they do than the SBT. They have way more energy, they are more intense and skilled in their trouble making skills, their curiosity is more intense and last but definitely not least, the manner in which they love their human is infinitely more intense. In fact, they almost have a physical dependence on the humans they love. I cannot explain it. I love my SBT's and am not deriding them, but the love you will receive from an F1 or F2 is so overwhelming and also demanding on you, that you simply can never understand it until you have personally experienced it.

A man called me and said, I will never, ever come home from a trip at night again. I will come home in the morning and I will let him yell at me for the entire day and then maybe I can get some sleep that night. The problem is that when the couple left for the weekend, this F1 was really lost without his humans. When they got home, they deserved and received a thorough telling off!!!!!! I have another friend that when she returns from a trip, if she gets out of her F1s vision for more than a couple of seconds, he goes ballistic. You cannot believe how much they miss their human! A young man I know bought an F2 kitten. Circumstances came to play and he left him with his parents over a period of time. When he came to visit, his cat would sit in the window after he left and cried and cried. It took time before he would let Chris' parents handle him but he is now thoroughly Chris' mother's cat. She says, she never saw a cat carry on like this one did when Chris showed up or grieve so openly when he left. However now, it is Chris' mother he loves best and he is very insistent on his games being played daily! And so it is. They are a most remarkable animal. They are different from the SBT and whether you view that difference as good or as bad is going to depend on you, your experiences and your expectations of a cat. Some of us will fall more in love with the SBT and some more in love with the F Cats. That's OK, there is room enough for all of these love affairs!



Copyright 2000-2016 Patty Bingham - All rights reserved
All text and photographs are the property of Patty Bingham and may
not be copied, reproduced or reprinted without written authorization.