What’s the best way to bond with your Bengal?
Bengals are play-oriented. They are active, energetic cats who love to play. The fastest way to a Bengal’s heart is by playing with them!
Here are some quick suggestions:
- Get a straw and wiggle it back and forth on the ground by their paws.
- Make a ball out of tinfoil, wrap a string around it and then drag the ball around the room.
- Get a long feather (or on a stick) and get them to jump in the air (ribbons are good too).
Be Gentle and Non-Threatening
Our daughter is constantly asking us why Xena is afraid of her, the simple answer is that she is loud and not so gentle. Cats learn and remember threatening situations. They pick up on your body language and queues (even when you don’t intend to – why do you think they “know” when it’s time for the vet?).
Constantly trying to get near them, trying to pet them (when they aren’t ready for it) can be considered threatening / aggressive; especially when they don’t know you!
Punishment for bad behaviour is not the way to go and usually only teaches a cat not to do something when you are around to punish! The other thing that it teaches them is that you are the cause of negative things! Not a good way to bond!
Don’t make the first move
Which leads us to not making the first move. When you go to them; try to pick them up and push yourself upon them – it can be scary! Big hands, big clumsy body and feet! Once they are used to you and your presence it’s different; however until then, let them come to you.
Let them come to you
Shinobi, our big boy, will never let you pick him up. If you pick him up and put him on your lap – he’s gone as soon as you let him go. However, if you find a nice spot; encourage him to come join you and he’s happy to lie on top for hours.
If you want them to be comfortable around you – let them get to know you, your scent and your behaviours – i.e. be there! The more they are used to you and what you are going to do and how you are going to behave, the more comfortable they will be with you.
Most cats are willing to be bought with treats (and yes, playing is a treat!); but in this case we mean food. Find a treat they really like (Shinobi goes nuts for Temptations treats – we know they aren’t great for him; so they are very limited; but, in small amounts, it’s a great treat for him!) and use the treats to interact and bring them close to you. You can even build an E.T. type trail to lead them to you!