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Three months ago I got a Bengal kitten meant to be a companion for my 11-year-old spayed female cat. (She just turned 11 on Halloween.) The Bengal kitten drove my older cat crazy. I guess I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. My older cat is playful and I am used to Siamese energy (those are the cats I have had in the past).

Note: Introduction method was slow. New kitten was in her own room, closed door. I did that first, then slowly did scent swapping on clothing, then room swapping, then allowing them to see each other via kitten in a carrier, then when she didn't hiss, I allowed short supervised visits (10 minutes a day), which extended into longer visits, etc. The process took much longer with the Bengal and only took a few days with the Siamese.

~~~

Two months ago I got a Siamese kitten to keep the Bengal company and hopefully then my older cat would have two kittens to watch. I hoped it would take the heat off her and the Bengal would leave her alone.

But the Siamese kitten doesn't have the same energy level as the Bengal. By the way, the Siamese and my older cat get along fine, unless the Siamese is playing with the Bengal.

So when the Siamese doesn't feel like playing, the Bengal has taken to following/stalking my older cat through the house. She once jumped on my older cat's back, as though she was in the jungle and my older cat were an antelope or a gazelle or other prey animal.

How I "discouraged" the Bengal of jumping at my older cat's tail was by giving her 10-minute time-outs in a room with a closed door. It has helped but not entirely eliminated the behavior. I also have largely eliminated the stalking behavior with this same technique. However I will hear hissing when I am in the other room so I suspect it is still going on.

I am trying to redirect the Bengal's energy when she stalks my older cat by firmly saying "No," and redirecting her energy by playing with her with a laser toy, or by placing her in a window to look out the window, or giving her a toy, or by putting her with her Siamese friend. If it doesn't work, she gets a time out.

I don't know how long it can take for the older cat to accept the Bengal or if she will ever accept the Bengal. It is not readily apparent to me if they will only just tolerate each other. I want my older cat to be happy and at peace in the household.

Just today, the Bengal used a stool to attack my older cat by standing on the rungs of the stool and attacking her as she stood next to it. I got so fed up I put her in a time-out that has lasted into most of the afternoon. I feel I am at the end of my rope.

My older cat seems to take to the low-energy Siamese kitten better than the Bengal kitten. The Siamese doesn't challenge her authority. She lets my older cat be the boss.

The Bengal, on the other hand, clearly wants to be the Alpha cat when she grows up. She is not intimidated when my older cat smacks her around and she doesn't learn any lessons from it, such as "stay away" or "behave."

I have also noticed changes in my older cat. She doesn't spend as much time during the day tucked next to me on the sofa, purring. Because the new Bengal kitten will chase the new Siamese kitten right past her, knocking her off. So she tries not to be anywhere near a flight zone. And that means usually not sitting anywhere near me. Also, the Siamese kitten has sort of commandeered my lap and will sit in it any chance she gets, which is nearly all the time. I can't seem to keep her out of it. The Siamese kitten is like velcro!*:wink

My older cat will sit near me sometimes. But never on my lap during the day. I can try to put her there, but she won't stay there. I don't think she feels safe. Or maybe she feels like the Siamese is about to jump there and commandeer my lap. (The Siamese is not the smartest Siamese I have ever seen. Sweet, but not smart.)

My older cat will also stand next to me on the sofa, purring. So she does spend some time next to me, by my head. And I do love that. But things have definitely changed, the dynamic in the house, and her behavior.

I sleep with my older cat at night alone, with the kittens in separate rooms, because the Bengal kitten has had an unbelievable slew of health problems, as in Demodex mites (most likely - I know; yikes!) and just diagnosed on Friday was Tritrichomonas foetus. It has been one thing after another. :roll:. I am trying to not have everything spread through the whole house but may end up having to treat everyone for everything anyway. This has just had the added effect of stressing me out even more. But at night, it's like I have my "old buddy" back because my older cat is herself again because she has the bedroom to herself. She purrs, and acts like the Serena I love so much.

When I let the kittens out in the mornings, things change. My older cat Serena leaves my side and becomes more aloof. She does seem a bit more relaxed as time goes by, as she is hissing less at them. But the Bengal can attack her unexpectedly, or Serena will suddenly hiss at the Bengal or even swat at the Bengal, and I am reminded that she has not accepted her.

She seems to have accepted the Siamese. The only hissing that ever occurs is if the Siamese is playing with the Bengal. Then she might get a little miffed.

I have an agreement with the breeder of the Bengal that she can be returned within six months. But I am wondering: are things really going to change in three months? I have never met a breed like a Bengal before. They KILL their toys. They don't play with them. They "catch" them once, then chew them into piles of unintelligible goo. They definitely want to be alpha cats. They are very intelligent and stubborn. She didn't play nice with her new Siamese friend right away, either, although they are great friends now. So I don't know if the Bengal, who seems very stubborn and strong-willed, has it in her to change and be more lenient toward my older cat. Bengals are hybrid cats with wild in them, and I can really see that wild streak. My older cat won't even play with any toys the Bengal has played with. If she smells her saliva on them, that's it for her.

My older cat was here first. As far as I'm concerned, she is the queen. It is her decision to make, but how long does it take? I do love that the two kittens have each other to play with. I think the Siamese would be bored out of her mind without her friend. I'm really at my wit's end trying to figure this out.

Yes, it has gotten better, but it hasn't resolved.

There is a cat show next weekend. I could make arrangements to have the Bengal transported back to the breeder ... who is not local ... otherwise, the next opportunity wouldn't be until next March. I don't know if things could really be expected to improve by then. Meanwhile the Bengal has cost me and my formerly healthy household a fortune in vet bills.

Can these two cats learn to get along? It is VERY easy between my older cat and the Siamese. But it has been just "more of the same" for the past three months between the Bengal and my older cat.

What do you guys think? One day I feel hopeful, the next day I feel miserable. I don't want to get so attached I can't give her up. Thank you for your advice.
 

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Since I am considering giving up the Bengal kitten in less than a week, I could really use some advice!

It has been a lot of piles of vet bills and fights. It is very discouraging.

The problem is, the breeder lives nowhere near me. So I have next weekend as an opportunity, then I don't have another opportunity until next March at the earliest (if she comes to the local show), and I would have to keep separating them when something happens and keep paying the vet bills.

I have a strong track record on rescuing strays, which I have done because I have a love of purebreds. I used to have that mentioned in my signature, but that was before the forum shortened the profile/signature so I had to remove it.

I know it has only been three months. But I have never seen a breed of cat with a personality like a Bengal before. They have a level of intensity and a prey drive that is unmatched. It feels like the energy level of the house got ramped way up.

If I keep her until March, is there any likelihood that things will change, or will it be more of the same? Plus more likelihood that my other cats will catch her contagious diseases and keeping her locked away after a fight breaks out, or to minimize contact due to disease containment, is stressful.
 

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One can never fully predict or guarantee what will happen between cats in the future. However, it's already been three months now, so although I suspect you're not going to see a huge change in the next three months, unless you're willing to put an awful lot of time into their relationship (and even then you might not see too much in the way of results). I've never owned a Bengal, and can't speak to their personality. But, regardless of the breed, what you seem to be describing is a "personality clash" between the cats.

Only you can ultimately decide what to do, and a lot will depend on how attached you currently are to the Bengal. You should ask yourself, if the Bengal weren't with you next week, would you be happier? And would Sabrina and the Siamese kitten be happier? Based on what you've written, its sounds like the answers to those questions would be "yes". And even the Bengal might be happier in a home where she had more active kittens to play with.

Finally, kittens are not territorial (their territorial "alpha-cat" instincts don't fully develop until they're over a year...typically around 2 years old). So, the Bengal is not likely trying to establish her position in the household. She just wants to play "rough". That said, given the Bengal's personality, if you end up keeping her, you could have alpha-issues a year or so from now when the Bengal's territorial instincts mature.

As I said above, only you can make this decision...but, reading between the lines of what you've written, it seems that you would be happier if you returned the Bengal next week when you have the opportunity.
 

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I actually do not have any advice for you. I am also in the process of introducing a new female kitten to my 2 1 year old boys.

I hope someone will be able to give you some good advice.
Maybe it is a good idea to talk to the breeder this weekend about returning, or returning when they are not close to you (shipping cost and such).

Good Luck.
 

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imho, I really don't think the Bengal will change its stripes so to speak. That's their personality. Right now at 11 mos. old she's still in her teenage brat phase. She may settle a bit when she's mature, in another 6 mos. or so, but she may well be more determined to assert her alpha dominance of the house and be even more a misery to your Serena. And life with a cat that is always stalking and attacking is not serene! If I were in your shoes I would definitely keep the Siamese kitty as she's already a welcome catfriend for your older cat, and return the Bengal to the breeder. Life's too short to have to be stressed out and constantly "on guard" to keep things harmonious to my thinking. Let us know how things turn out whatever you decide. All the best!
 

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A lot of the stalking has calmed down, but what seems to have revved up is just these ... little cat "fights" out of the blue.*:sad: *

There will be a whole lot of the day with mostly peace, then when they are awake and around each other, I hear Serena hissing ...*


I don't know if the Bengal wants to play and she's bored, or what causes her to suddenly strike out with her paws.

Sometimes Serena will just walk by her and hiss for no apparent reason, as if to say, "I don't like you." Or "I remember the time you ..."

At other times Serena hisses because the Bengal is swatting her or stalking her. Any attempts at discipline by me are met by the Bengal purring at me or ignoring me.:?


But first thing in the morning, the Bengal will run to Serena and give her a kiss on her cheek.*:daisySerena hisses. :p

One thing is, I am SO STRESSED from dealing with: a sick Bengal who has cost me so much $$$ and has two communicable diseases: Demodex mites and now the dreaded Tritrichomonas foetus. TFFelines.com - What is T.F.? At the same time! It has me so stressed it is hard to think objectively just about the cat. And she has been sick ever since I got her.

Thank you for your opinions. Please keep them coming! I dread making this decision since it is irrevocable and I need some objective opinions. Thanks.*:kittyturn
 

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Thanks, Susan. You've given me a lot to think about. I hope others chime in. This is a big decision for me. One I hate making.

I've been taking her out places on her harness. I am attached to her. It is going to be awful if I have to let her go.:( I did not know that about the "alpha." I just assumed because she is so dominant acting, even the way she rough-houses with the Siamese kitten.

I can't say the Siamese kitten would be happier without the Bengal, because she came from a household teeming with kittens and cats to play with. I think the Siamese would be lonely without the Bengal. Serena tolerates the Siamese, but Serena won't play with her. Serena mostly ignores her. She did groom her one day, when the Bengal wasn't around. Over time if the Bengal wasn't around they might grow closer.

But the Siamese would not have a kitten buddy. I could eventually get her one, but it wouldn't be a Bengal! Frankly, she and the Bengal have gotten along great together. They play great together. They have fun together. The Bengal gets her into all sorts of trouble!*:p That is, when she isn't kicking her in the face. But all kittens do that.*:smile:

I'm not thinking very straight. Having a Bengal kitten this sick for three months has been a lot of pressure, and having it affect my entire household and get everyone else sick has affected somewhat how I feel about her. It would have helped if she had gotten along with everyone.

I have to admit there is a tiny bit of resentment in that she came into my home and got everyone else sick or potentially sick. And she's not getting along with my resident cat, Serena. So it's this sort of total upheaval. I would love to think, eventually she'll be well and healthy, the household will be healthy and she and Serena will work out their differences. I have tried to be patient.

But then you mention that she hasn't even reached her alpha stage yet. That is a lot to think about. Thank you for bringing that up! And thank you for responding!*:kittyturn

This is a huge decision for me and I really could use some more opinions, so I hope others will chime in! Thank you everyone in advance!*:daisy
 

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Thanks, koobe. I appreciate the good thoughts.:kittyturn
Good luck with your kitten introduction!:catmilk
It is awful when the household is not harmonious.


Most of the time it is harmonious, but the times it isn't ... well it just plain isn't. And it is clear to me how Serena feels about it. (Although Serena has calmed down about it. It is the Bengal who keeps insisting on pushing the envelope from time to time.) And it is equally clear to me that the Bengal is very smart and very trainable; she just doesn't feel like learning this particular command of "leave Serena alone.":? So when she reaches the bratty teenager stage of two years old and she is feeling her alpha oats, what then? And Serena by then is 13 years old ... I'll bet she would make a great punching bag.:( I wouldn't put up with that.

I should add -- it is not always clear to me how Serena feels about it. Serena to me has seemed more accepting of the Bengal as time has gone on. But the Bengal has continued her attacks on Serena. They have just gotten more sneaky. She has learned that I will punish her, so she tries to do them when I am not around. They don't seem to happen as often ... but is it because I am in the other room? I will hear hissing and not know what happened. If I go in the other room, I will find the Bengal cornering Serena and I will have to rescue her.

Thanks again for the well wishes.
 

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catloverami,

A question for you (or anyone else):

Why would a two-year-old cat want to assert its alpha dominance over a senior cat who at that point will be 13?

What threat will Serena pose to the Bengal once she is in her prime? And Serena just wants to sleep in a sunny window?

Sigh. I don't understand. I could see if she was younger ... but why bother an old cat?:(
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Some things I really like about my little Bengal:

--She is incredibly smart. (!)
--She can learn voice commands very quickly and I am sure can be clicker trained in a snap. Serena is clicker trained and it is a fun pasttime that cats can really enjoy.
--She has been a great friend to her Siamese buddy.
--She is a good lap kitty. She purrs and purrs in my lap. Very loveable!:kittyturn
--I can take her on a harness to places like PETCO. It's fun and enjoyable to take her out as a companion.

Things she is a pain about:

--Once she catches a toy, she never lets go of it. Ever. Until it is a pile of mushed up goo. She basically ruins all of her toys. :p*:wink
--Not leaving Serena alone (although she has gotten better than when I first got her)
--She is a "high maintenance" cat. Has been from a health standpoint. And behavioral standpoint. Finicky eater; if she doesn't like it, won't eat it. Didn't like the litter; she peed in my bed on my mattress and on all the soft towels and kitty beds (there was nothing wrong with her; she did not have a UTI and there were litter boxes all over the house).
--Has to dominate the Siamese kitten in everything they do. Has to hoard the toys, takes the toys away from her, etc.
 

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I know this is a rough decision for you to make. I don't think the Bengal's going to change. If the older cat were able to stick up for herself, the Bengal might stop, but it seems as is that's not her nature. I'm so sorry you're having this problem.

I had this situation between two of my cats years ago. One of my cats had to hide from a stray (Checkers) we took in. Finally, the one being intimidated fought back, and there was a stalemate from then on. The stray did not bother my other two cats. One had seniority, and never had to fight for her position (she was quite dignified, and was very special), and the next stray was a kitten who loved to play with Checkers, and always went back for more.

I don't know what to advise. I can only commiserate and wish you the best. Good luck!
 

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Cats don't think the same way you and I would. You're right...if you and I were living with an old person who just wanted to sit and look out the window, we would just let them be, recognizing they weren't harming anything, and of course out of respect for their age. But that's not how a cat will think. When the Bengal reaches social maturity (around 2) and the Bengal wants to be alpha, then she will assert her authority over all cats in the household, young and old alike. And if the Bengal views the sunny window as a "prime piece of real estate", then she'll want that too!
 

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As a breed, Bengals are high maintenance; that will not change as the kitten matures.

Have you spoken to the breeder about the Bengal's health issues? So many issues so soon after bringing her home raises a red flag to me. Between that, the Bengal's natural high maintenance requirement and the personality conflicts (although the hissing and swatting is fairly mild stuff), I think you'd be better off returning the Bengal and adopting another kitten the same age/size/energy level of your Siamese, perhaps even one of the Siamese's siblings.

Just my off-the-cuff thoughts.

Good luck!

AC
 

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Ah, the curse of the extremely smart, energetic, adorable Bengal. I didn't have my Bengals as kittens, so I've never had some of the problems you do. I got my Teddy when he was about a year old, but he was an only cat at that point. My biggest issue was keeping him out the trash and the dog food bin at my parents' house when I would visit them. He still had a LOT of kitten energy until he was almost 2 then he started to mellow out a bit. I've also haven't had problems with toys that have been chewed to goo. I've had gutted toys with fluff thrown all over the place but not chewed beyond recognition.

I got his littermate from the same breeder a year ago they are now great friends and often sleep together. HOWEVER, at least two or three times a day they will get to chasing eachother about the house pouncing, grabbing, kicking, and swatting at each other. They both seem to enjoy it, but it is very rough play. I think that is just how Bengals are.

Just one question, how much do you actively play with the Bengal kitten? A good, long tiring play session with an interactive toy like Da Bird may help even her temperment out a bit.

If that doesn't work, she may just not be the right cat for your home. She may just be too energetic and rough and tumble for your older cat. I have to say that I love the Bengal breed, but will be the first to say, they are not for everyone.
 

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Because that's her nature? Your Bengal has a dominant nature. She wants to be the queen of the house, Serena is so far, but the Bengal keeps wanting to knock her off the throne.
The problem with this kind of constant stress in a senior cat, always having to be on her guard, never knowing when an attack is coming, is very hard on Serena mentally and physically, and will likely result in a deterioration of her health.
This happened to me with two cats where a neutered male hated his spayed half-sister and did exactly like your Bengal does with stalking and vicious attacks. The male ended up getting a bladder tumor and died at age 15, but his half-sister got cancer in her spine. When he died she did have a few years more of peace and was a very happy and contented cat not having to hide and much more affectionate to me knowing she could come in my lap for cuddles without getting an attack later. I found it a big relief too and realized it was causing me a lot of stress, even tho I loved the male as he was a very sweet cat with me that I'd raised as a kitten. I don't know if that helps but that's my experience.
Sometimes it just doesn't work out in a household where a cat is just a s---t disturber and the other cats and owner are under stress. You might read thro the thread in Cat Chat of Marie73's experience with Gigi in "Life with Gigi" and "Update on Gigi".
 

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I'd return the gorgeous vivacious (and unhealthy) Bengal if the breeder is willing to take her back. YOu will never forgive yourself for the damage that is happening to your older cat. I think you're lucky that the breeder will take her back.
I think Serena will thank you !!
 

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Thank you, Jeanie. Today was very difficult for me.

I went out and bought an inexpensive carrier in case I decide to return her.*:-(

I also called an animal behaviorist, the same one who evaluated Serena and said she would be a good match for a kitten -- although she had recommended a Siamese. Ironically, their energy seems great together. Tsuki is my Siamese. I think Serena tolerates Tsuki ... I won't say she is in love with her, but for the most part she doesn't hiss at her unless she is playing with my Bengal.

The animal behaviorist said if I decide to keep my Bengal awhile longer, we could try some behavior modification techniques. They will never be the best of friends but may be able to co-exist under the same roof.

The breeder did give me until next year. But I don't live anywhere near her. And I will only have access this weekend, and then not again until either March or April or May, depending on when the breeder comes down my way. But by that time I felt I would just be too attached. Already I almost feel like I can't give her up. So I feel it was best if I tried to make a decision now. But in a way the decision almost feels forced, as if I haven't tried everything I can yet.

I could try the animal behaviorist route ... and see if their relationship could be mended.

I am pretty exhausted with trying out all these scenarios in my head, and trying to figure out which one is the best one.

Tsuki, my Siamese, wants to cry all night when she is by herself. So I already know that would be a problem if she didn't have her friend. Of course I could get her another friend. All these things keep running through my mind.

Another thing complicating the cat dynamics is that one of Serena's favorite rooms, the only one that gets sunlight in the daytime, is blocked to her right now because of the Demodex mites on the Bengal. It is the room that the Bengal sleeps in and stays in because she is contagious, although I do let her out. I can't let anyone else in there. I can't explain the situation to Serena ... but it probably creates more resentment on Serena's part. When Serena lashes out, the Bengal is going to retaliate. But given the Bengal's nature, she is probably going to start something anyway!

I wish Serena was like your dignified one and didn't have to fight for her position. She does fight back, and I wish it has ended in a stalemate like your situation did, but it doesn't seem it is in a Bengal's nature to let things end in a stalemate.

Thank you for your kind thoughts!:kittyturn
 

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Susan, I hadn't thought of it that way. The room does have enough sunny places so that more than one cat would have sun ... or, frankly, I could lock the Bengal out of the sunny room and let Serena have it! She only has it now because I had nowhere else to put the Bengal, but I have lowered the shade so there is no sun, so I have taken away that fringe benefit. In fact, I really should switch rooms and give the Bengal the Siamese's room, which isn't prime real estate, and give the Siamese the Bengal's room. Except that the Bengal, fussy princess that she is, requires two giant litter boxes. Why is this? Because otherwise we might go outside our box. Yes, we need one to urinate in and one to defecate in. So I give her two, just to be very, very and I do mean very safe.:wink Tsuki, my Siamese, is very happy with her one box. Why are Bengals so high maintenance? Honestly, I have never met such a high maintenance cat in my life.

Don't get me wrong; I know the rule about one box plus one per cat. I'm just saying that my Bengal as a kitten was the first to have a GIANT clean litter box and immediately start peeing and pooing outside of it. I had never had a kitten do that before. So much fun.
 

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I had a somewhat similar problem when I adopted Abby, since she scared the heck out of Muffin. In my case, however, it wasn't because Abby was so rough or high-maintenance (like your Bengal)...Abby was just a normal, playful kitten. But Muffs was a scaredy-cat. I think a Bengal would have given poor Muffin a heart attack!

Anyway, I ended up hiring a behaviorist and went through a behavior modification program with my two girls. It worked, since Muffs and Abby are now good friends. Through the program Muffs learned to stick up for herself. But, it was a LOT of work. It took three months. I work full-time and, for three months, my life consisted of only two things -- work and cats! Except now and then when I'd turn on the vaccum cleaner, which kept both cats quiet!
 

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Thank you, Auntie Crazy, for chiming in.:eek:nekitty

I have not been able to reach the breeder (I've left three phone messages; I think she is out of town) to tell her about the T. foetus. I wonder what she will say. I think she should pay for treatment of my household, though I am worried about how it will affect my oldest cat.

High maintenance; you are not kidding! There are rewarding moments when I think it is worth it, but they are high maintenance. And unless they all get along, it won't be worth it.

The Siamese's siblings are all spoken for, unfortunately.

And these two have really bonded. I know it makes for an odd combo, a Siamese and a Bengal, but they are cute together and play well together! Except when the Bengal is stealing Tsuki's (the Siamese's) toys:p or when I try to play with one with a feather stick toy and the other with a feather stick toy and the Bengal ends up with both feather toys in her mouth.:wink Poor Tsuki. I almost have to lock up the Bengal to give Tsuki some quality play time. Of course you can imagine the yeowling that commences. I have to say though that the sight of the Bengal with two feather toys in her mouth is fairly hilarious. Removing them is extremely difficult.:p

I could also get an Oriental Shorthair, which has a similar personality to a Siamese. At this point it probably wouldn't be Tsuki's age. It would probably be younger, maybe by a year or two, but Tsuki came from a household of cats and kittens of all ages.

Something else I am considering is an animal behaviorist as an option to bring peace to my home. It wouldn't make Serena and the Bengal best friends, but maybe they would at least be able to share the same space comfortably. If it doesn't work, I could give her back to the breeder next spring and at least at that point I could say I have tried everything and nothing worked. But the downside is, at that point the Bengal will be older and I will be even more attached to her. I am already so attached that I am wondering if I can even give her up now. Can anyone even pry her from my arms now? What about in four months? I am a real softie and every rescue was always so hard for me to let go of.

So do I go off the evidence I have, make a quick and hard decision, but then wonder if I did everything I could -- or make that last-ditch effort to dig in and bring in professional help? Will it always be nagging at me, that "what if?"

Today really has been exhausting.

Thank you for your good wishes!:kittyturn
 
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