Trimming your cats nails

Cats nails grow quickly, as quickly as your fingernails.  They should be trimmed as frequently as yours do (at least once a month).

Some cats can properly maintain their nails (though they will be very sharp) and it won’t cause them any problems; however, a lot of cats can have problems if you don’t trim them (additionally they won’t scratch you as much).

You want to trim both the front and back nails (including the dewclaw (thumb)). You can start as young as 8 weeks old.  Talk to your breeder as to how they trim nails and how they can transition to you.

Select a quiet room with no distractions and calmly sit with your cat.  The basic process is as follows:

  • Gently press a paw to extend the nails:
  • Look at the nail from the slide and determine where the nail ends and the quick begins.
  • You need to avoid the quick as if you cut the quick you will cause pain and bleeding.  As well, it will make it harder to cut it in the future (your cat will struggle more).
  • Clip the nails quickly as it’s going to be hard to keep them still for long.
  • Give lots of praise / treats / scratches when finished, to create a positive experience and association with nail clipping.

Some tricks

  • Grab them by the scruff to show dominance if they try to run away.
  • Talk to your cat while clipping.  Give praise for being still (Good Girl/Boy!) or say NO if they try to escape, bite or growl.
  • Cover their head so they can’t see what you are doing.
  • Have a partner distract their attention while you clip the nails.
  • Lift them by the scruff and clip them while scuffed (this will usually work until they are 8 months or so).
  • Wrap them in a towel (only use as a last resort — your cats will hate this!)
  • If all else fails: bring them to your vet to get them clipped.

Cat scratching

Every cat has a need to scratch and if you don’t supply them with sufficient items that they can use for scratching then you will find your table, chair, couch, bed or rug scratched.  So what do they need?

Every cat needs

Both a horizontal and vertical scratching item.  Some cats like to stretch out high or long and some flip between them.  

Cardboard makes excellent material to be scratched.  Avoid carpet as it can confuse the cat into scratching things they shouldn’t (like your favorite rug). You can buy lots of great scratching items on Amazon or your neighborhood pet store.  Here is one of our favorites:

Pet Fusion Cat Scratcher

To encourage scratching you can use cat nip or play with them on /around the scratching post.  A laser pointer can work really well to direct them into the scratching post.

Destructive  Scratching

If you find your cat is destroying your favorite chair or table here are some tips:

  • Move a scratching post directly beside what they are scratching.
  • Gently lift and transfer the cat to the nearest scratching post any time you catch them in the act.  
  • Place tape or aluminum foil on the item being scratched.
  • Spray the spot with Felaway.
  • Clip your cat’s nails more frequently.

Spraying your cat with water usually won’t help as they only learn to not scratch when you are around.

Litter Boxes

How to choose an appropriate litter box

Cats prefer unscented, fine textured litter.  People prefer scented but cats do not, if you switch to a scented litter you may find the don’t use it as much or at all.

Cats like clean litter boxes.  If you don’t clean it regularly that can easily avoid it until it’s clean.

A good depth is 2-3 inches of litter.  Too much and they will spray it all over the place.  Too little and they can avoid it or make a big mess.

Make sure you get a box big enough for your cat.  Bigger cats need bigger litter boxes.  Overweight and large cats will like litter boxes with larger sides. This is an excellent choice as well for stand up pee-ers and those who like to play and dig deep.

Electronic litter boxes

Open Air Litter Robot

We’ve had both success and failure with these litter boxes.  We currently use an Open Air Litter Robot; however, these are expensive and only work for full grown cats. Additionally you need to user only certain types of litter. Quick clumping and fine litter is necessary.

Other electronic litter boxes we used still need to be cleaned really regularly and basically don’t twice the burden very much.  Just not worth the cost.

Flushable litter

Flushable litter is great and we use it for our kittens.  We’ve used a few different kinds and they all seem to work similarly.  The key thing is the cats liking them and the smell to you.


Like in real estate it’s all about location location location.  Find a quiet private location away from their food.

It needs to be easily accessible

You need multiple litter boxes (one per cat minimum and usually one more extra).  This is especially important with multiple cats to avoid litter box guarding.


Daily cleaning is important or they will stop using it.

You can use a covered litter box but not all cats will like it.  If it’s covered you need to clean it very regularly.

Change all the litter at least once a month and you should clean the entire box at that time.

If the litter smells or the bottom of the box is wet then replace the litter.

Replace the box when it’s cracked or smells and can’t be cleaned.

Understanding Cat Shows

So we when decided to show Xena and Shinobi in a cat show we had no idea what to expect. We scoured the internet and various resources trying to understand how a cat show works and it was super confusing. It wasn’t until we actually participated that we truly understood how they worked. This is our attempt to bring some clarity to the world of Cat Shows.

Shinobi and Xena at their first cat show

Where can you find a list of shows:


Here’s some basic information on Cat Shows:

Rings are individual cat judgings

Each cat show typically has ~4 rings (I’ve seen as few as 3 and as many as 6).

Each ring has its own judge and is completely isolated from the other rings.

Each day is separate from every other day

If the show goes multiple days then the only difference between each of the days are the judges. Each day will have a new set of judges — everything else is the same! So if you have a 2 day show with 4 rings each day you really have 8 completely judgings going on over 2 days.


When your cat is being judged they are first judged against the other cats of the same breed, sex and colour. It’s very possible that a cat may be the only cat of that sex, breed, coat and colour, especially with cats of lots of different colours. We have Brown spotted Bengals (Male / Female).

Next they judge against the same breed, coat and colour. We have Brown spotted Bengals.

Then they judge against the same breed. We have Bengals.

Finally they judge against all cats in the same rank: Kitten, Open / Championship, Premiership, Household Pet. Note that Open / Championship compete together; however, the rankings are Open -> Championship -> Premiership.

Read more about Awards / Ribbons

Xena finishing as the #2 overall kitten

How do I enter a show?

Once you have found a show and decided you want to enter the process is really simple. Just contact the clerk for the show and fill out the form. They’ll be able to tell you anything you need to know for requirements. Typically you’ll need to be registered with the association for that show (TICA, CFA, CCA), fill out the form and pay the entry fee. You can usually do it all by email.

What should I bring to my first show?

  • Cage (optional) — they will provide a cage in the show, you do not need to bring one. If this is your very first show — don’t buy a cage. You should wait until you see if your cat takes to shows (quite a few do not like it). The cage they provide is adequate.
  • If you don’t supply your own cage then you should supply the following:
  • Cage Curtains. You need to surround the cage with curtains so that your cat cannot see the other cats or what’s going on around then. Super important (and mandatory by the show)
  • Cage Floor. We liked to get a soft bottom (rug or something similar) that they can lie on instead of the table (note that the cage is sides and top only — there is no bottom to the cage).
  • Absorbent Padding. Basically if they have an accident or spill water you don’t want them lying in it all day — a padding on the bottom to soak it up makes it so it doesn’t spread and you can clean it up easily.
  • Bed (optional) — somewhere for them to relax — it’s going to be a long day.
  • Litter Box — the show will provide litter (though we’ve found that frequently it takes the show a while to provide it) however, you should consider bringing some of your own as they may not like the show’s litter. The show does NOT provide a litter box though and you are expected to bring one.
  • Toys — it’s going to be a long day — they need something to do.
  • Paper Tower — super useful for any messes that may happen.
  • Food / Food Bowl — it’s good to get something stable that’s not easy for them to knock over.
  • Water / Water Bowl — if you can get a water bowl that hooks to the side of the cage — that’s best — otherwise something super stable. We like the metal bowls with rubber bottoms.
  • Brush / Comb — something to straighten out their coat with

Anything beyond this list is really up to you. There are cleaning / coat sprays, baby powder, ear cleaners, the list goes on and on.

What should I expect to happen at the show?

  • When you arrive you will check in with the clerk who will tell you your seat assignment, your cat’s assigned number, give you the schedule and take your money if you owe it.
  • Take your cat(s) to your table and setup your cage. If they are providing you with a cage and one isn’t there, go and ask the clerk. Leave your cats in the carrier until you have fully set up your cage.
  • Put your cats in the cage, try to settle them down. Give them a chance to go the bathroom, eat and drink.
  • Checked the schedule and look at each ring and when your times are. They should be spread out throughout the day.
  • Wait for your number to be called — they will announce the numbers and the ring to go to.
  • Take your cat to the ring and put them in the cage with your number on top.
  • Close the cage and get out of the judging area — they don’t want you hanging around.
  • Feel free to watch the judging and when the ring clerk takes your number down that’s your cue to take your cat back to the cage.
  • If you won any ribbons (congratulations!) they will be on the cage before they take the number down.
  • Wait for your number to be called again.
  • Talk to visitors, talk to neighbours, check out other cats, read a book — there’s a lot of waiting.
  • If you are in a multi-day show then it’s expected to leave your cage setup for the next day. Take your valuables; but it’s fine to leave your litter box or other inexpensive items at the show.

Finding a Cat Breeder

Do they belong to a respectable association or society?

There is no reason any reputable Cat Breeder wouldn’t be a member of a respectable association or society.  They don’t cost a lot of money and they make sure that you are getting the pure bred cat that you are paying for. There’s no reason they (or you) shouldn’t be able to register a kitten.  It costs very little (under $20) to do so.

In Canada they should be associated with TICA (The International Cat Association) or CCA (Canadian Cat Association).

Do they provide a pedigree with your cat?

You should be able to get a 5 generation pedigree with any Bengal Cat.

There are 2 large problems without a pedigree:

  1. Frequent medical issues.  Frequently “kitty mills” or “backyard breeders” are producing cats that don’t have clean, pure bloodlines.
  2. Are you sure you are getting a purebred cat?  The whole point of these registry is to guarantee that they are purebreds and to monitor the breed.  It costs a very minimal fee to be a member of these associations and registering a cat / kitten is a fraction of the cost of the cat itself.  You have to wonder why anyone would pay a large sum of money for a purebred cat which isn’t actually a purebred.

Do they provide a health guarantee?

There are lots of congenital defects for various breeds.  Bengals are prone to: PRA (blindness), HCM (heart disease), PKD (kidney disease) among other congenital diseases.  There are tests for all of these conditions and a responsible breeder will test for and ensure that they are not breeding cats with these conditions.

All cats can have FeLV, FIV, Coccidia, Giardia, etc., which are easily tested for and can be avoided.

It’s absolutely horrible when someone brings home a new family member and then has to watch them die from one of these conditions.

How old are the kittens when they leave their mother?

Everyone wants a kitten as young as possible.  Ideally as soon as it’s weaned!  While it seems like it would be awesome and cute to have a young kitten, understand that it’s very vulnerable – the immune system of a kitten doesn’t kick in until 8-10 weeks, before that it’s entirely from its mother; it’s not socialized – kittens learn behavour from their mothers and their littermates.  The most important age for this is between 6-11 weeks old. Separating kittens too early will make them socially maladjusted and can easily lead to behavioural issues.

What do the breeders feed their cats?

There is so much information now on cat nutrition that anyone who breeds cats has a responsibility to know about it.  Cats are obligate carnivores (meaning that they do not have the ability to make certain amino acids and vitamins that are found in meat.  A simple well-known example is the amino acid Taurine.  Cats must get this in their diet and without it they will suffer from blindness, bone decay and eventually heart failure.  This is why you can’t feed dog food to a cat – it doesn’t contain Taurine).  A good breeder will know something about cat nutrition and be feeding a high quality diet to their cats and kittens.

Here’s some basic information on what to look for in Cat Food and what to avoid:

  • Avoid dry foods as much as possible.
    • Cats get most of their water from food (despite having a water dish they are usually under hydrated if they eat only dry food).
    • Carbohydrate content in most dry foods are too high.
    • Many Dry foods contain high plant-based protein instead of animal protein.

Try Raw Food

Wait, did you say Raw?  As in uncooked?  That – Is – Disgusting!  Perhaps, but what do you think cats are eating in the wild? Do they have a little campfire and cook their mouse, fish, bird? They do just fine on raw food. Their digestive track is very different from ours and they simply don’t have the same problems we would.  For more information, see our  information on feeding Raw Food.

Do they monitor who breeds their kittens?

Any ethical breeder will not let just anyone breed more cats.  As you can see from these points, it’s not just as simple as have a boy and a girl and letting them make kittens.  If the breeder will let you buy a breeding cat without any questions and ensuring that you will be a responsible breeder, then you should probably stay away from that breeder.