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Cats/Newly adopted Male Bengal


Hi Norman
We recently adopted a male bengal (Maximus) from a rescue organization. He was raised in a cage from birth from an ill breeder. He's very shy and depressed although the lady from the rescue said she thinks he'll come out of it. He's not aggressive at all; he cowards down to other cats and humans. If you try to pick him up he poops or pees himself. My assumption is maybe he was abused as well....
It was a week on Sunday (26th) when we got him. He's still hiding but has moved to 3 different spots. He's eaten on and off, but the past 2 days i've just been bringing it to him under the bed because he's looking thin. He sprayed in 2 of the rooms in the house (the one he's in and our other spare room next to him, he is fixed though). We do have feral cats underneath our house that were trying to get out. I'm thinking that has something to do with his behavior. I know it can take a week or two for him to adjust, i just want to make sure were doing all we can to help him adjust. I feed him wet and dry food, but it's been more wet because i've been taking it to him. I change his water and liter daily. We got him toys and a cat tree. He lets us pet his head and play with him a little bit but he keeps his distance and stays in his hiding place. He does talk to us (meows a lot) ha.
Are we doing the right things or is there anything else we can do??


Having only had the cat for a week, this fellow has just not had enough time to adjust. Cats are creatures of habit and very, very territorial, so being rehomed to new digs is a very traumatic experience that turns the cats world upside down!

Add to this that the cat was confined to a cage and now has lots of room to roam. Cats, by nature, are agaraphobic (i.e. afraid of wide open spaces, so all the freedom and space is a bit daunting at first.

Where this boy has sprayed, should be cleaned thoroughly with a good enzyme based cleaner specifically for pet stains and odors. These are available to most pet supermarkets. You might also try a Feliway diffuser in the rooms where he sprayed.  Feliway is a pheromone based spray that seems to have a calming effect on many cats.

You should make sure you are using a litter he is used to. Some cats are really upset by a change in brand or type of cat litter. To encourage him to use the litter for urination, etc., you might try using Cat Attract litter.

One other tip, let him decide to come out and approach you.  When he is ready and trusting, he will probably come out of hiding. Cats do best when they think a behavior is their idea. So, let him approach you, and let him decide he wants to be petted. In time, he should come around. I would expect it would take more than a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months.

Bengals are usually high energy cats, so when he does decide to come out, some play therapy will be helpful (See:

Also, providing the cat tree is an excellent idea, but along the same lines providing your boy with a pathway well above floor level around the room in which spends the most time will help him adjust a great deal. Most cats, especially Bengals, like to be off the floor where they can look down on the world (See:!

Please let me know how it goes.

Best regards... Norm.


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Norman Auspitz


I can answer most non-veterinary questions about cats. My particular expertise is pedigree cats, breeding and showing. However, I am versed in feline behavior, cat breeds and their characteristics, general feline husbandry, and the like.


I judged for the Canadian Cat Association from 1975 until 1982. I am currently an approved allbreed judge for the Cat Fanciers'' Association (the world''s largets cat registry), and have been judging for them since 1991. I have been breeding pedigreed cats since 1971 and have been exhibiting pedigreed cats in shows since 1970. I obtained my first pedigreed cat in 1970 and have never looked back. In 1971, I obtained my first Abyssinian which has become my primary breed. In addition, I have bred Manx and Persians. Currently, besides the Abyssinians, I am also breeding Maine Coons.

Cat Fanciers'' Association, inc. (CFA) and the Manx, Maine Coon, and Abyssinian breed councils. I am currently Abyssinian breed council secretary.

Cat Fancy Magazine, The Abyssinian Chapter in The Cat Fanciers'' Association Complete Cat Book, and Articles for various editions of The Cat Fanciers'' Association Yearbook

I received a B.S. from Drexel University in 1968, a M.Math from University of Waterloo, in 1970, a Ph.D. from University of Waterloo in 1975, and a MBA from McMaster University in 1980. I received my approved allbreed judging status in the Cat Fanciers'' Association in 1999.

Awards and Honors
We have produced a number of Cat Fanciers'' Association (CFA) National winning Abyssinian and Maine Coons. We have produced a number of Abyssinian and Maine Coon Distinguished Merit females (an award for a top producing cat), including the first Distinguished Merit Abyssinian in the red (sorrel) color. I am the CFA Abyssinian breed council secretary and belong and/or hold office in a number of cat clubs. I am also a member of the CFA Judges Association.

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