Introduction to Existing Pets
Gradual is the name of the game
Create a United Front
Once the introduction has taken place, and you are confident that it is going well for the most part, leave the door to the safe room completely ajar for all of the pets to come and go as they please. Continue to observe and monitor the interaction. Leave a litter box and your kitten’s tree in there so he can go back into the room when he feels like it for comfort and add a few more litter boxes to the other areas of the house. ** Best practice is to bring the litter box he’s been using in the safe room out into another area of the home for easy recognition, and replace the one in the safe room with a new box.
For at least another week or so, continue to put the kitten in his safe room when you need to leave to do errands or go to work, etc. You don’t want to risk undesirable behaviour such as unsupervised brawls (unlikely, but you never know!) or peeing accidents while you’re unable to monitor. For an even longer period of time, keep placing the kitten in his safe room overnight to rest and use his litter box. We have some adult cats in our home that we continue to do this with. This is a sure way to avoid waking up to broken lamps, torn papers all over the desk, and a host of other “bengal mishaps”.
A messy, unkempt house is like a giant litter box to a bengal. Keep your home tidy, items picked up off the floor, bags, drawers, lids and doors closed, and you will not experience what we call “offsite peeing”. You are ASKING for your bengal to pee inappropriately if you allow him instant access to a large, unfamiliar home, with unfamiliar smells and items present – all are begging for him to pee on them. Leaving your bengal to roam free in a MESSY home is just like putting icing on the cake for him. You will never have been so tidy as you will learn to be once you own a bengal or two!
Trigger items for a bengal kitten include (but are certainly not limited to!) the following:
- Sinks, showers and bathtubs. These places are seen by bengals as a natural place to pee as they are aware that water runs in these places (they’ve probably seen you turn on the tap or step out of the wet shower – they are SMART, don’t forget)
- Goose or duck down comforters and pillows on beds (beds in general are a hot ticket item – keep bedroom doors closed! We still have one adult female bengal that will run into our bedroom and pee on our bed as soon as she sees the door left open. Some bengals will do this for life. It’s just a simple fact). Unmade beds are especially inviting. To a bengal this just looks and feels like a giant clean litter box!
- Leather items – shoes, jackets, couch cushions, purses. These items are often soft and cushy, and smell like animals. A bengal will leave its scent on these items to ward off intruding animals. Put shoes and jackets away in a closet, prop up couch cushions, zip up purses and bags and don’t leave them laying on the floor.
- Wool and other natural fabrics with “animal” scent on them (as above).
- Pet beds for your dog or cats. Cats like to sleep up high on a cat tree or high shelf. There is no need to put a cozy fabric bed that looks like a litter box on the floor for them. If you must, use pet beds (for your dog) that are easy to machine wash and dry as your bengal will most likely pee on these at least once.
- Plastic or plastic shopping bags. These items have a nice crinkly sound and texture – not very unlike the sounds made while scratching in the litter box. They shouldn’t be left laying on the floor – pick them up and keep them in a closed cupboard.
- Recycle boxes left full of newspaper or other items. Again, obviously a large litter box in the eyes of a bengal.
- Laundry baskets with clean or dirty laundry in them. This one should be obvious. Empty laundry baskets, for that matter. Again, obviously this is a giant, clean litter box! Turn them upside down when not in use, or close them off in the laundry room.
- Messy piles of clothes or other items left on floors or in children’s rooms. Pick up or keep doors closed. Anything that the kitten can dig around in (ie piles of clothes or bedding) will present itself as nice soft litter material to him.
Potted trees and plants. Some bengals will never touch these items, but some will be instantly attracted. Use your judgement – if they go for it once, it will likely be an ongoing trigger item and should be removed.