Everyone who follows my cat galleries knows Zephyr... what you may not know is that I saved him from being "put to death" because his original owner couldn't control him. He was 7 months old. Above - Zephyr - now 3 years old is calm, loving, litter box trained, and very well adjusted. But it took a lot of work. It took more patience. It took logic and understanding. And it took a lot of love.
If ANY of you are considering rescuing a Bengal or Savannah - (F1 through F4) - I have a solid playbook on how to successfully acclimate them into your home. Please ask me. I'm more than happy to share.
I've seen a lot of articles about the growing "epidemic" of hybrid cats being given up for adoption because they are "difficult".
It's true to an extent. A cat that is mixed in any proportion with a wild "big" cat - such as my Bengal Zephyr (he's either an F3 or F4 - due to his size it's safe to say he's an F3) will have a different set of character traits and instincts.
Hybrid cats are part domestic and part something larger and wilder.
The Bengal is a domestic and Asian Leopard Cat mix.
The Savannah is a domestic and African Serval mix.
The Chausie is a domestic and Jungle Cat mix (these are much more rare).
All I can say is that if you want to share your life with one of these amazing animals you have to be willing to put in the work. More importantly you have to be patient. Zeph - at heart - is a gentle giant. He's playful and willful, but his overall nature is sweet and loving.
THESE CATS ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE! If you have a really busy life, small children, small pets, or a small place (be it an apartment, home, or whatever) - then these cats are NOT for you. They are part wild. They are part BIG CAT. And they have a totally different set of instincts and a very different personality. They may require a strict meat diet - some F1, F2, and even F3 hybrids have the digestive tracts of their larger wild ancestors - they can't eat cat food or cooked food. They need meat - raw meat. Then you have the issue of them not wanting to eat raw meat they've not killed. They want to hunt. OH BOY - do these cats LOVE to hunt.
As the "logical one" in our relationship it's up to me to understand him and take the time to recognize his needs.
Not to say he doesn't have bad days. And not to say that I don't as well. But once you establish a healthy, respectful, loving bond with one of these animals you'll find it's possibly the most rewarding pet relationship you'll ever experience.
Most big cat and wild cat shelters are now turning away Bengals and Savannah Cats because there are simply too many to take in now.
I've got him past the chewing on things, shredding things, urinating on everything, and aggressive with other animals stage (ok - on this last one it'll always be a work in progress) - the very reasons his original owner dropped him off at a shelter.
It took a lot of work - yeah - probably more work than the average person is willing to put in. But saving his life and giving him a safe and loving place to live is so much better an alternative, for Zeph is an intelligent (I'll go ahead and say he's the smartest cat I've ever known), beautiful, loving, and silly guy - and my life is better for having him in it.