Bringing your new kitten home
Our kittens are ready to go to their forever homes at 12 weeks of age.
By this age, they’re on solid food, litter trained, have 2 sets of shots, and are very used to being handled and giving and receiving affection.
However, the kittens will be quite nervous when travelling and arriving home with you. They have never been outside of our home before this time. When you come to pick up your kitten, ensure that you have a comfortable and secure carrier for transport.
When you get your kitten home, have an enclosed room set aside for him or her, where you can place a litter box, food and water dish, some toys, a cozy place to curl up, and ideally a few high places to climb. Bengals love to be up high. Scan the room carefully to ensure that there are no tight places where the kitten could crawl in and get trapped (speaking from experience, here). Take a few minutes to show your kitten where to find the litter box, and the food and water. If you are able, spend some time sitting quietly with your kitten, allowing him or her to become comfortable in the space, and comfortable with you. Allow the kitten to come to you for attention and comfort. Calling occasionally, to reinforce this learned behavior, and rewarding with pets or treats.
This will be your kitten’s new home for the next few days so make it comfortable, and ensure you’ve removed anything that could get them into trouble — breakables, etc. Remember, your kitten doesn’t need a lot of space at this point. Just a place they can get to know and feel secure.
Sometimes, as a result of nervousness, your kitten may suffer from loose stools. We recommend feeding them a little canned pumpkin to help with this.
Introducing your kitten to a home with other cats
When you get your new kitten home, take it straight to the space you’ve set aside for it, and don’t let any other animals see it or come in at this stage.
Ensure you give your existing cat lots of attention, so they won’t start feeling threatened or envious.
After a few days, when you’re ready to introduce your existing cat to the new one, do so by allowing the existing cat to come into the new pet’s space. Don’t carry it in. Simply crack the door open, and let it come in on its own. Be on hand to carefully supervise, but resist the temptation to interfere.
There’s often a little bit of growling or hissing, but in our experience, both animals tend to get past this initial upset, and settle down with each other quickly if you don’t interfere, and let them work it out themselves. This can be especially difficult if your existing cat is aggressive to your little kitten — but the kittens will typically defer to the existing cat whose territory they are now sharing.
Don’t force your existing cat to stay in the room — it should be free to retreat if it’s not ready. And be prepared to cut the visit short, and try again another day if they haven’t started to settle down and are still acting aggressively after ten minutes or so.
How we socialize our kittens
We begin giving our kittens human contact very early. We are often on hand when our queens give birth, and spend time with the litters daily, monitoring their development. At two weeks, we spend time with them daily, simply petting them, or sitting quietly close by. Many kittens are attracted to your warmth, and will come and curl up next to a hand that is laid near them, even before they have begun to open their eyes.
At three weeks some of the kittens begin to purr when we pet them gently, and a few will roll over to expose their bellies for a pet too.
We introduce solid food around 4 weeks of age, and right after, their mother begins litter training them. They have their own dedicated litter box for this purpose.
We introduce the kittens to the rest of the household at around 5 weeks of age, once they’re a bit steadier on their feet. Pandora, our pitbull-cross loves kittens, and is very gentle with them. Both queens will take turns nurturing the kittens, grooming them, and playing with them.
Kittens get lots of lap time, and we spend time teaching them to come when they’re called with a sound and a light tap on the floor to attract their attention, then rewarding them with pets and treats. Our kids give kittens lots of play time, with toys and teasers, and the rest of the bengals in the house love to join in.