Wanting more than one?
I'll be the first to tell you, you're not crazy for wanting more than one.
Bengals are very social cats and having a playmate is ideal especially if you will be away from home during the day or value your toes at night while you're sleeping.
Bengals want to play and engage in fun activities like chasing and hunting things to play with. What better way to do this than with a sibling.
We generally recommend opposite genders but if your set on two of the same gender I can tell you it has been done with a couple of our clients.
The reason we don’t recommend two of the same gender is because cats are territorial animals. You may not see this in kittens but as they age it can become more apparent that one of them is more dominant and may take aggressive measures towards the competition. The same goes for two females.
We have had several clients that have one of each gender without much issue. When they grow up together this is especially true.
THE SAFE ROOM:
Introducing a new kitten to a current pet household?
We are often asked how to introduce a new kitten to other pets.
The general rule of thumb is to start by creating a safe room, even if there are no other pets in the home. This gives the kitten(s) a safe place to decompress to get ready for their new forever home. Up until now, all they have known is their siblings and our home, so this is an important first step, often called the ‘quarantine’ period, which is written into our contracts. This period is not to be taken lightly and can mean the difference between a successful integration and an issue in the making.
The benefits of the quarantine period is 1) the prevention of potential infectious illnesses, and 2) creating a safe, less stressful transition for the kitten(s) into their new home.
The Safe Room consists of a litterbox, food, water, toys, a small scratching post or cat tree for sleeping or even better, the carrier and blanket he/she arrived in. Having a cave to hide in helps them feel safe until they have adjusted as well as making them comfortable for travelling to their first vet visit.
It is a good policy anytime a new pet is introduced into a new home and it is also part of our contract that your new kitten(s) be quarantined from the rest of the house and especially, other pets for two weeks. Some of these pets may be indoor/outdoor pets which can present a health risk to your new babies. We address this in our contract because we have absolutely no control over what illnesses or viruses your kitten could potentially be exposed to through the other pets.
During this time, it is a good opportunity to get to know your new babies and allow them time to learn to trust you and adjust to their new house sounds and smells.
We always suggest sitting quietly in the room with them a little each day and use a wand toy to engage play with the new kittens. This will create a better bond of trust between you and allow them to have less stress. A few treats handed out is also a good way to gain their trust and keep the stress low for them.
The transition of the kitten(s) into your home through a safe room will be a more successful integration if you set things up ahead of time and spend a little time with them each day.
Don’t worry if your other pets and your new kitten(s) play under the door. This is all part of the transition.
SMELLS-THE SCENT SOAKER:
Smells are huge for cats and kittens. You may have noticed this when you come to visit your new kitten(s). They react a little put off when first smelling you because all they have known is their momma’s smell and our home. Having a blanket or towel with them in their safe room for them to sleep on will help in the transition to the rest of the house and pets. This will have their scent on it and later you will use it to bring out when they come out of the safe room to your existing pets to smell and get used to so they know the smell of the new family member before he/she has ever officially been introduced.
Introductions to the house
Bengals are a very curious and will likely have made friends under the door with any other pets in the house to some extent. This is not the time to just allow them full access to everyone and everything. Take it slow and be sure you are there as a guardian. Some other pets might be a little put off by the intruder and lash out so you may want to put them away to allow the kitten time to explore safely.
A good way to ease any tension is to use a wand toy and play. The wand toy is a great tool for getting the kittens to come out of the safe room and explore a little. They will generally follow it anywhere, even back into their safe room when playtime is over.
This is the time for monitored playtime.
This is not the time to walk away and leave the house. (Once they have had a few days of supervised playtime, and you’re assured they know where their box is at and the safe room if they get scared, then you can consider leaving them for a shorter time.)
Keep the introductory playtime to short 10-20 minute sessions. It can be sensory overload for longer periods of time. Once the time is up using the wand toy to entice them back into their safe room and play with them for a couple minutes in that room before shutting them back into the space to rest. This teaches them how to navigate to their safe room.
Now you can let your other pets back out and allow them to explore where the kitten has been to become more familiar with his/her scent. Repeat this process at least twice a day during the quarantine period.
Introductions to the other pets
After the two-week quarantine period, begin to leave the door cracked open to the safe room and stand back and observe. Watch to see who comes to the door first, the kitten or the existing pet to meet the new occupant. Either way, closely observe the meet and greet, from a bit of a distance but not so far away you can intervene if need be.
Once the introduction has taken place and your confident that all is going well, leave the door to the saferoom completely open for all the pets to come and go. Continue to observe and monitor. Be sure to leave a litter box and your kittens tree in there so he/she can retreat into the room when he feels like it for comfort. You’ll also want to add another litter box to the main part of the house just for your kitten. It’s a good idea to use his current one in the main part of the house for easy recognition and replace the one in his safe room.
For at least another week or so, continue to use the safe room when you need to leave to do errands or go to work.
You don’t want to risk unsupervised brawls while your away or peeing accidents because they are lost in your house.