MCFH: Cheeto the Bengal Stops Attacking

Show: My Cat From Hell
season 9, episode 1
Episode Title: Scout's Honor

Here's Cheeto when she doesn't get enough playtime.

Here's Cheeto when she doesn't get enough playtime.

Cat:  Cheeto

Cheeto is a 3 year old female Bengal domestic leopard cat.  Seemingly without warning, she will scratch and bite her guardian.

Guardian:  Allison

Allison is a young woman who bought Cheeto when she fell in love with the 'Bengal' breed of cat. However, she wasn’t exactly prepared to become a guardian of such an energetic pet.

How Bad Is It?

Allison lives in fear of Cheeto scratching and biting her.  She also can’t have friends over because of Cheeto’s behavior.

Issues

  • Scratching/Biting
  • Cat is trained to use the human toilet bowl
  • Chaotic behavior in the home

Physical Approach

Cheeto is a special breed of domestic cat. Bengal cats are more on the wild side compared to typical housecats. Without proper energy-releasing activities throughout the day, Bengals can redirect that energy onto their guardians.  Here’s what Jackson recommended to solve Allison’s problems with Cheeto.

DO NOT try to discipline cats with a spray bottle.  It will backfire.

DO NOT try to discipline cats with a spray bottle.  It will backfire.

Cease the spray bottle 'discipline.'  Trying to punish or discipline cats doesn't work.  What it does do is harm the bond between cat and guardian, increase stress on the cat, and make your problems worse.

Extreme play time.  Really be present with your cat mentally, Jackson instructed.  Be “into” the play session; be interested in getting Cheeto to stalk, pounce, run, and jump after toys as much as you can.  A bird-feeder, aquarium, or window that overlooks activity (a busy sidewalk or road) are other sources of stimulation that you should provide, in addition to one-to-one playtime. 

Tail in the air like she don't care; this Cheeto with her confidence ("cat mojo") on display.

Tail in the air like she don't care; this Cheeto with her confidence ("cat mojo") on display.

Walks.  Allison did well by purchasing a harness leash and taking Cheeto out for regular daily walks where she could get exercise, release that Bengal energy, and observe birds and bugs outside.

Trimming claws.  Allison also began clipping Cheeto’s nails, and at Jackson’s suggestion, did it at the end of a full day of energy-releasing play and a nap-inducing meal.  This is when Cheeto would be a little more docile. 

Litter box.  Allison had trained Cheeto to use a toilet bowl instead of giving Cheeto a litter box.

Jackson firmly recommends that all cats SHOULD USE A LITTER BOX, which their guardian scoops themselves, by hand.  NO TOILET-TRAINING CATS & NO AUTOMATED "SELF-CLEANING" LITTER BOXES.  There are three important, very practical reasons for this:

  1. Cats’ territorial security is in large part established by their scent, and a litter box ensures that scent.  Rest assured, the box must smell to your cat, not to you.  In other words, humans don’t have to smell it (thankfully!) for it to do its job of giving your cat territorial confidence, therefore precluding behaviors like marking or aggression
  2. A cat’s urine and feces are indicators of their health.  If you don’t ever see it, you will miss these important signs about your cat’s medical condition, and risk expensive, unexpected vet visits.
  3. Motorized, self-cleaning litter boxes can malfunction.  They can start up when your cat is still in the box, and scare them away from ever wanting to use a box again.  (HINT: that's bad for you.)

You can see how all three reasons not only help your cats, but you, too, to have as peace and stability in your home.

Emotional Approach

It seems Allison may have originally brought Cheeto home for self-centered reasons. She’d wanted a great looking animal, but didn’t commit to proper care of her. Her error was to put all her focus on getting Cheeto to adapt to her lifestyle.  Jackson addressed the reasons for having an animal companion and Allison’s motivation behind it.  For example, Allison had trained Cheeto to use the toilet, because Allison didn’t want to clean a litter box.  She also put out toys for Cheeto, but didn’t spend time actively playing with her or taking her on regular, frequent walks.  Fortunately, with insights from Jackson, and after learning more about the needs of a Bengal cat, Allison changed her attitude and habits, and the result was a happy pet, and therefore a happy guardian.

Holistic Approach

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, JACKSON ALSO USED JACKSON GALAXY HOLISTIC SOLUTIONS FOR ANIMALS:

HYPER HELPER

Jackson used this solution to help calm Cheeto, which helped tame the energy that manifested as aggression towards Allison. Although Cheeto was a pretty good cat to begin with, Hyper Helper brought some temporary relief while Allison addressed the underlying physical issues of the scratching and biting. This solution is formulated to balance out-of-control energy with softer, integrated actions.

A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM JACKSON:

“If you’re considering buying — or hopefully adopting — a Bengal, think hard about it.  Think about your ability to provide physical and mental stimulation to this cat before you bring them home.  Because if you don’t think about that, if you don’t commit to it beforehand, you will be in for an unpleasant surprise.  Cheeto’s a great cat, I had a great time with her, but Allison was woefully unprepared for life with a [Bengal].”