FOOD, TOYS and MORE
FOOD: KIBBLE -VS- RAW
It is always difficult to tell people what to feed their pets. Instead, we have decided to provide information as to what to try. Your kitten will be raised on a Raw diet. Your new pet will come with a sample of the food they are eating which we make here. Cats are not natural drinkers. They are designed to obtain their water through their food. A cat will become dehydrated on any type of kibble so, if you choose to feed your cat kibble you will need to have fresh water available at all times. A fountain is best as they love fresh moving water and it encourages them to drink.
We have believe it is healthiest for any cat, not just a Bengal, to be fed a balanced raw diet. Cats are obligate carnivores. They cannot get any nutrition from carbohydrates, fruits, or vegetables. So, when you pick up a store bought food and look at the ingredients, if it isn't meat, it is a filler that will pass through the cat's body with no nutritional benefits. Don't want to grind? Don't worry. There are many high quality pre-made raw diets. One we recommend is Rad Cat Chicken or Turkey which is available at Mudd Bay Pet Stores. There are also many Raw providers in Washington and Oregon. Just search Google for 'Raw Cat food' in your state.
We recommend Cat-Man-Doo Chicken Freeze-Dried cat treats which are also available in Salmon flavor. These are a great way to reward your new companion or to teach them new tricks. (They can fetch like a dog if you work with them.)
Litter Boxes and Litter:
We are in the process of making a change to Pine pellets for a few reasons, one being that baby kittens tend to chew on things and using clumping litter can be life threatening to their little tummies. There is also some issues with the dust from clay litters of all kinds. The dust produced from these can cause respiratory issues.
We have recently changed to a Pine wood pellet litter and would be happy to discuss this option with you.
Litter boxes come in all shapes and sizes and are readily available form just about any retailer. Many people also just use a Rubbermaid tub with a lid and cut a hole at the top for the cat to enter. This is a really great idea for those cats that really like to dig and spread all their litter all over around the outside of the box.....onto your carpet and floors.
We have two Litter Robots here that we have found to be really great also. They are a bit pricey but for those that want that option, we will gladly show you ours.
Other supplies and toys:
Food and water bowls (not plastic)
Cat Wheel (optional, but highly recommended)
If you buy a carrier that can be left out and about around the house, this will allow for the carrier to not be so scary when it is time to use it. Food and water bowls should not be plastic; other than that, choose as you wish. We feed raw on paper plates as then there is not concern over bacteria growth. We prefer human toe nail clippers over any pet nail clippers. We find them easiest to use.
Toys: As for toys, some of our favorites are as follows: The Original Da Bird, Dragonfly Cat Toys, sparkly fluffy balls, feathers on a stick, ping pong balls, and springs. Remember that any toy on a string must be put away when not in use as they are a choking hazard.
If shopping for a cat tree, height is more important than width. Bengals like to be high.
Cat Wheel: Our cats love the cat wheels and they do use them a lot. We recommend the Ferris Wheel by Ziggy Doo. After you click the link there is a place at the top left corner to select the correct currency. These are shipped from Canada and sometimes take a while to get so it is best to plan ahead and get your order in early. There are payment options and shipping is free. I have to say that after buying one of these and setting it up it is a absolutely the best built Cat wheel we have, a VERY stable unit. It can handle two cats at once and unlike other wheels we have had it does not tip over, pinch paws and is actually a bit bigger allowing for an easier time on the spine of the cat.
Water fountains: Some Bengals LOVE water and will play in a bowl of water and even disassemble it. We have discussed this at length with many breeders and clients who have used many different water fountains and we have concluded the one most would recommend is the Thirsty Cat Fountain.
Remove all toxic plants. All lilies are poisonous to cats. For a complete list of toxic plants click here.
Find a family veterinarian if you don't have one. Ask about his vaccination philosophy. Our philosophy is simple - less is better. Your kitten will have received two vaccinations by the time they are ready to go home with you (Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis, Chlamydia, and Calicivirus). Your kitten will also need a rabies shot to be in compliance with the Washington law. If recommend that you give the rabies shot and the booster (optional) at least two weeks apart. We don't recommend any other shots. Giving your kitten the FIP vaccine will void your health guarantee. We believe one of the first red flags for veterinarians is one who wants to over vaccinate. We would like to remind you to read 'Vaccines for cats' under 'about bengals' above.
Many vets will encourage the Feline Leukemia vaccine. We do not recommend this vaccine. Your kitten will be at its highest risk of contract Feline Leukemia in its first year of life. After that, most cats form a natural immunity. For your kitten to get Feline Leukemia, it must exchange fluids with an infected cat. For indoor cats, this is not likely going to happen. The risk of this happening if the cat is outside on a harness and leash is fairly low too. Some of the risks of the vaccine are initial sickness at the time of the vaccine and the formation of a tumor at the injection site. Tumors are common enough that most veterinarians will administer this vaccine in a leg or the tail to allow for amputation should a tumor form. Think about it? what is the greater risk for your kitten?
We also believe in ESN (Early Spay & Neuter). There are some breeders that claim that it is harmful to do this at a young age of 11-12 weeks of age. There is no medical proof of this! Many, Many breeders provide ESN before kittens leave their premises. The ones who do not are just pocketing extra money and expect YOU to cover this cost and state so in their contract before you can get the kittens registration slip. Let's think about this for a moment. For how many years has the local shelter in your area been doing ESN? Have there been any reports of health issues from ESN? A male or female can start spraying and showing signs of coming into heat as early as 5 months of age, sometimes earlier. Providing ESN will ensure your Tikka Sky kitten will not have any hormonal issues and will integrate with other pets and your household better. It also decreases the risk of mammary gland cancer as well as the risk of unwanted litters by ensuring that these kittens will not have accidental first litters.
Introduction into your home:
Taking a kitten into a new environment will be traumatic. Initially, your baby will be homesick. Different kittens are going to adjust at different speeds. They may be shy at first and they have been known to go without food until they adjust to their new environment. If you keep them in a small space to start with they will feel much more at home as they slowly get to know your home, sounds and smells.
New changes are always a little scary for them. New people, new sounds, no littermate, new smells are just some of the things that can be intimidating for them. We spend a great amount of time socializing our babies but once they leave the safety of our home and go to another it is a new learning curve for them. Give them time, love and attention and they will adjust. Playing with them helps create a bond that ensures trust and helps them become more comfortable in their new environment.
When you first take your kitten home, you should take him out of the carrier and place him in the litter box. This way, your kitten explores his new home from his litter box and knows how to return to the litter box. You'll want to keep your kitten in his safe room for the first few days while he adjust to his new home.
If you have other pets, you will want to have bedding that you can swap with your kitten's bed. Have your kitten on one bed and your other pet on another. After the first 24 hours, swap the beds around twice a day. This allows each of the pets a chance to get use to the other pet's smell. After a few days, allow your pets to explore the other pet's territory without the other pet there. Allow your kitten to roam the main part of the house and smell everything, and allow your other pet to roam the kitten's safe room. Finally, allow the introduction to take place in a neutral space - not in the safe room or the room where the original pet eats or sleeps. Play with your pets during the introduction as a distraction.
It is very important that you do not make any initial changes in diet or litter.
Picking up your new kitten:
It is best to pick up your kitten in person when they reach at least 12 weeks of age, not before. This way you can meet mom, likely dad, litter mates and see how the kitten has spent its first twelve weeks of life. We pride ourselves on how we raise our kitten - as members of our family - and we want you to experience the difference firsthand. Please bring a carrier with you. You may also want to bring an extra towel or roll of paper towels in case kitty has an accident on the way home.
If your kitten is not paid for in advance, please bring the balance in cash or a Cashier's check. If you'd like to pay by personal check, please pay two weeks prior to the pick up date. If paying the remaining balance by PayPal, please add the 2.9% fee that PayPal charges to use its service.
Although we do have an Import/Export license with the USFW we do not ship kittens. This can have added, unnecessary stress to your kitten and we do not believe it is necessary to ship kittens when we are open to having you come and visit our cattery, see the parents, visit the habitat in which we keep our breeding cats and most importantly meet us. We like to get to know each of our new pet parents so that we may provide support after your kitten has gone to it's new home. Many big catteries do not take the time to do this. Once you leave their premises and you run into an issue they cut all ties or tell you to list your baby on Craigs List. We pride ourselves on keeping in contact with you after you leave with your new baby. Sometimes integrating a new baby into an existing home with other pets can go wrong with improper introductions and cause people to have to re-home their kittens. Introductions are very important and we are here to help with any questions or needed advice.
Visiting your new kitten at 9 weeks of age:
We will be happy to have you over for a visit to meet with your kitten when the kittens are 9 weeks old. We will need you to sign your kitten contract at that time, place your second installment, visit the cattery and inspect the cleanliness, see the Catio and see the parents.
This is an exciting time to meet the kittens. They are often shy at this age and can also have the fuzzies which makes it hard to see what their coats will be like as adults. We ask that for the best experience on your visit, you remain calm and allow the kittens to adjust to your smell. Bengals are not like domestic tabbies. They are highly sensitive to their mothers smell and outside smells and noises at this age. Some can be shy while others can be bold. It takes time for them to gain their self-confidence. Rest assured, they will be ready to take on the world when they are of age to go home.