Friday, January 9, 2009

Bengals Gone Wild

BikerDude and I were lounging around the living room the other night watching the playoffs on TV and watching our two Bengal Boys wrestling. Kaos tried to escape Razor by jumping onto the coffee table, but he only succeeded in clearing it of an empty plate, a stack of mail and a dish containing random change and small objects. A few minutes later, Razor abandoned his attempts to eviscerate his brother and jumped on top of the TV and tried to nonchalantly step over onto the mantle. I said his name, so he withdrew... and promptly fell off of the TV, taking our three NetFlix DVDs with him. BikerDude opined that of the many ways in which we are compatible, how many people would find our Bengals' antics funny and not immediately send the little buggers packing to the shelter?

For those who are not acquainted with the Bengal breed, they are a designer breed of cat that have become disturbingly popular in recent years. The original goal of the breed was to produce domestic cats who look like wild cats. This is accomplished by cross breeding a small wild cat-- Asian Leopard Cats, a small jungle cat found in Indonesia and Thailand and thereabouts-- with a domestic cat. Bengals have to be at least four generations removed from a wild ancestor to be considered a Bengal-- everything prior to that is considered a hybrid or foundation generation cat. They are domestic cats. They are not wild cats. But they do retain some traits from their wild ancestors, not only their striking looks but also their athleticism.

I am always amused when I read something about Bengals and run across euphemisms like, "This is a high energy breed." Ha! No kidding! They are the Jack Russell Terriers of cat breeds. Anyone looking for a cat that will sleep quietly on the couch needs to look elsewhere-- Bengals are into everything. The tend to be very people-oriented, so they will likely be wherever you are, and they raise curiosity to an art form.

We got our two guys from Bengal Rescue last May. They were both about a year old at the time and came from very different backgrounds, but they had been together in the same foster home and played well together, so we got them both. They look nothing alike even though they are both brown marbles, and their personalities are very different, but we have discovered that in addition to playing well together, they also conspire. Working together, they first figured out how to get into the cabinet where I kept their dry food, eventually breaking the toddler latch. Yes, they figured out how to work toddler latches, at least from the outside. They let themselves into the cabinets, but sometimes get stuck and one of us has to let them out.

Since they were making such a mess of the cabinet by spilling kitty crunchies all over it, I bought a food locker from PetSmart:

Razor quickly figured out how to pry the door open (even though it snaps shut--he has long, monkey fingers instead of toes), so we started to find a cat butt sticking out of the food locker while happy munching sounds echoed in the kitchen. I retaliated by putting a small screwdriver through the tab in the top of the door (it's made so that you can put in a lock or a latch). That took him about 24 hours to figure out. I've stopped bothering because he just walks up to the locker, smacks the screwdriver out of the hole, flips open the door and starts eating, even though these are the exact same crunchies that are in the bowl not three feet away. Apparently kitty crunchies taste better if you hunt and kill them yourself. Next step is a padlock, although I wouldn't be surprised to see Razor with a little set of lock picks.

Here's a photo of the little delinquents. They are, from left to right, Cinnamon, Razor and Kaos:

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