Preparing for your quality bengal kitten

After many years of breeding cats, we 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.  We grind most of our own food.  We cannot seem to get all of our cats to accept the necessary organs that one must have to feed without supplements.  After a considerable amount of research, we feel the all-in-one supplement made by NuVet creates the best supplement with bioavailable minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Don't want to grind?  Don't worry.  There are many high quality pre-made raw diets. Please read "Different Options for Raw Feeding your Bengal Cat" to help you pick the best method of feeding raw for your lifestyle.  It is important to understand that feeding an unbalanced raw diet can be as dangerous as feeding kibble.  You can't just feed your cat whatever you buy for your family.  It must have all the proper nutrients that a cats' body needs.

Of course, the cat's most natural diet is whole prey.  We supplement with different whole prey species, most regularly rats.   We have found Rodent Pro to be the best source of whole prey. 

If you need the convenience of canned we recommend you look for one that has meat, bone, water, and organs and minimal other ingredients. If you cannot feed raw, the next best choice is canned food.  Look for canned foods that are less than 5% carbohydrate:
1. Ziwi Peak - at 2.5% carbohydrate  
2. Hounds and Gatos Pork - at 0% carbohydrate
3. Cats In the Kitchen Lamburger-ini  - at 2% carbohydrate
4. Tiki Cat After Dark Chicken and Duck - at 3.3% carbohydrate

We cannot recommend a kibble of any kind - even the most premium kibbles.  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 and will likely end up with kidney issues once it is 8+ years old.  

Read our Article on how Kibble is Killing your Cat for further information on why we feed raw.  

We start every litter on Cat Attract litter, but we use Dr. Elsey's Non-scented litter in all of our litter boxes throughout the house.  We strongly recommend you purchase Cat Attract litter for your kitten's arrival.  You may transition to a litter of your choice when your kitten is ready.  We recommend buying large Rubbermaid tubs with high sides to use as a litter box or a litter high sided litter box and removing the lid.  If, at a later date, you discover the lid doesn't bother your cat, then, by all means, use the lid, but lid use should be considered a privilege, not an expectation

Read about how to "Set up Litter Boxes your Bengal will Love"

Cat carrier 
Food Bowls
Nail trimmers 

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 no concern over bacteria growth.   We prefer human toenail clippers over any pet nail clippers.  We find them easiest to use.  It is good to have a few squirt bottles on hand for training the Bengal to stay off of items that you do not want it on.

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. If purchasing online, we have one go-to cat tree that we have bought many times over for is sturdiness, relatively small floor space, and options for high and low sleeping spots and play spots. Otherwise, we recommend buying from someone who makes them in your local area over most of the have stuff found in your common pet stores.

Yes, our cats love the cat wheels and they do use them a lot.  We recommend Ferris Cat Wheel for Ziggy Doo. If you decide to purchase one, please help us out and purchase through our link.  If we get ten purchases through our link, the cats at Quality Bengal kittens will get another wheel.

For quick access to the items we love, look at our Quality Products.


Lifestyle Preparation

Prepare Your Home
Quarantine is required for the full refund during the initial three days.  Set up a safe place - a small room - with all of your kitten's supplies and toys before she arrives.  This should be a room you would like the kitten to use as its home base - most likely the room with the litter box.  Ideally, this room will have as few hiding spots as possible.

Please read our article on The Safe Room and the Integration of your Bengal Kitten before bringing your new kitten home.

For precautionary purposes, you may want to put away any valuable family heirlooms.  We recommend using air canisters and ScatMatts to keep cats away from areas of your home where you do not want them.  But remember that for eery No, you must have a yes.  

Remove all toxic plants.  All lilies are poisonous to cats.  For a complete list of toxic plants, click here.

Find a Veterinarian

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 its first (Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis, and Calicivirus). The kitten will need one booster at or after 16 weeks old.  Your kitten will also need a rabies shot to comply with the law.  Administer the rabies shot and the booster at least two weeks apart.  We don't recommend any other shots.  Giving your kitten the FIP vaccine will void your three-year health guarantee.  

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.  Some of the vaccine risks are an 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.  What is the greater risk for your kitten?

In our opinion, seeing how your selected veterinarian responds to your request not to give the Feline Leukemia vaccine is the best first indicator as to whether or not you found a good one.  If your veterinarian listens to you, explains his perspective, and then ultimately allows you to make the decision, that is someone you want to work with.  If you feel forced to give the vaccines that we recommend you do not give, you should consider finding a veterinarian who listens and values the customer's educated opinion.  Looking for a holistic vet or a vet who practices eastern and western medicines is a good way to find an open-minded, thoughtful vet. 

Please read Simplifying your Bengal's Vaccines

Sign up for Pet Insurance 

Pet insurance is becoming a preferred choice for many pet owners.  Your kitten is more likely to get into mischief that could result in unexpected vet bills during the first year of life.  We send you home with 30 days of free pet insurance from Trupanion.  

Shortly before your pickup date, you will receive an email from Trupanion. You have 24 hours after your Kitten pickup date to respond to this email; otherwise, the offer is gone.  We strongly encourage you to accept this 30-day coverage - even if you decide to cancel it at the end of 30 days.  

Transitioning to a new home is a stressful experience for a kitten. In addition, kittens can get up to all sorts of mischief that you may not have imagined in your home preparation.  By accepting this 30-day coverage, you will be covered for any unexpected veterinary bills that may result from making a move into a new environment. 

Because we health-test our cats, Trupanion offers this coverage without an initial veterinary exam, so your kitten is covered from the day you receive him from us. 

If you decide to cancel the insurance at the end of the 30 days, we recommend you set up your own Cat- Health-Savings account and place the cost of an insurance policy into a savings account that is set aside for veterinary expenses. 

Picking up your kitten

It is best to pick up your kitten in person if this is at all possible.  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 pickup date.  If paying by PayPal, please add the 2.9% fee that PayPal charges to use its service. 

Due to the Retail Pet Law, we cannot ship kittens unless a friend or relative of yours sees your kitten prior to the final payment being made.  If you know someone in the Greater Sacramento Area, we will be happy to have them over for a visit or to meet them with your kitten at their convenience in order to comply with the law.  We will need you and your friend or relative to sign a proxy agreement.  Yes, you will likely find many breeders who are not complying with this law, but we are not open to that option.  We love raising Bengals and would not put our passion at risk by breaking the law - even though it is a ridiculous one. 

The first few days

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.

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 adjusts 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 used 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 roan 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. For more details on introductions, please read The Safe Room and the Integration of your New Bengal.

Read More about Buying from Quality Bengal Kittens
Thinking About Getting a Bengal Cat?
Why Buy from Quality Bengal Kittens?
Purchasing from Quality Bengal Kittens
Preparing for a Quality Bengal Kitten
The Difference between Pet, Breed, and Show

We've also started a blog about Bengal cat health, nutrition, behavior, and care.  You may find helpful information on our QBK BLOG.

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