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FOOTHILL FELINES MILD THING!!
Jay and Christine D. right here in Sacramento had given us a kitten deposit, and been coming to visit our cattery off and on for almost a year, hoping for the right timing and the right Bengal to add to their special family. Jay is a professional photographer, and Christine is a librarian, in addition to their many other interests and hobbies. They had had their hearts set on a brown spotted male Bengal, and had also let us know that should we ever retire one of our big handsome breeding males here at Foothill Felines, that we should be sure to let them know.
It was an extremely difficult decision for us to retire our Mild Thing, one of the most unique and spectacular Bengal kittens we've produced here at Foothill Felines, without him having yet sired any kittens for us. As a small breeder, we are often faced with the challenges of ensuring the optimum quality of life for our Bengals, in addition to making the best decisions for the future of our breeding program and goals. We still have Foothill Felines Metallica, who is Mild Thing's sire, and we also still have our CH Foothill Felines Mr. Big Spot, whose dam is Foothill Felines Malarki, the same as Mild Thing - both these males are proven, top quality studs. In addition, we had recently brought in a needed and exciting new bloodline in our Gogees Michabo of Foothill Felines. So, since we knew we were planning to retire Mild Thing when Michabo came of age anyway, we decided to put Mild Thing's best interests ahead of our own desire to have kittens from him, and to have him neutered at just under a year and a half, and placed in a special home where he would be loved and pampered, and have much more room and freedom.
Christine has been wonderful about keeping us updated, and sharing with us how the first few days went. "Mild Thing is adjusting to his new home. After spending an interesting
evening with him on Saturday, his first day with us, he slept very soundly, probably because we wore him out playing! Sunday morning was not wonderful for our new boy, who seemed to realize that
Saturday was not just a brief adventure; he was scared and stressed and
retreated to the quiet darkness under our sofa. We left him alone for the most part and only occasionally peeked at him talking in soft encouraging tones. By the evening, he ventured out of his "quiet" place and cautiously explored the living room. He eventually gave Jay and me a little attention, rubbing on us and letting us stroke and pet him. Our friends bought him a pack of little furry mice toys, and he played with one of them like a frisky little kitten, bounding all over the room. He really tried to have a fun evening, and we both felt heartened by his sweet efforts."
"My grandmother gave me a lovely woolen tartan blanket years ago that we snuggle under on chilly mornings and cool nights. We spread it out on the wing chair, and Mild Thing adores it! He likes it to hang over the side a bit so he can hide under it, and he spent the night on the chair. As a concerned new parent, I bedded down on the sofa for the night, and I was pleased that he slept quietly all night. He did not eat much on Sunday, but I remembered that you told me he might not want to eat much at first. I took much of the day off work on Monday and after some encouragement, which always includes being on the
floor at Mild Thing's level, he allowed me to pet him and finally even
decided to discover sitting in my lap for a moment. He also ate very well, and Jay and I spent the evening sneaking looks at him (he is just the most beautiful boy!) and playing with him and his toys when he was interested. He also loves his brush!"
"Tuesday was wonderful. I took the entire day off work. I went about completing some household chores. He made himself comfortable on the blanketed chair and dozed most of the morning. By the afternoon, he seemed quite interested in my attentions and stretched out on his back for some chest scratching. His purring can be hard across the room. Each day he seems bolder, but he does retreat to the spot beneath the sofa if he gets too scared. When he decides he feels comfortable enough to be around us, he gives both of us some attention. We are being cautious and careful to not overwhelm him. I must say that Jay and I are both sensitive to his feelings, realizing that he has to become accustomed to new people AND a new place - daunting for anyone! You and Wes have, indeed, done a fine job with our beautiful new boy, Holly,
because he remains the gentlest guy. When I have left him alone, NOTHING is disturbed in our home, and we hope he enjoys the soft jazz station that we have playing for him. His litter box habits are wonderful and really cute! The first couple of times he visited his box, we heard him spending quite a long time making certain all was tidy. After he came out of his box, he went back for a second look to be absolutely sure all was well!! Just too cute! Besides being just lovely to behold, he has the sweet temperament it seems all your Bengals are famous for, and we remain delighted to have him. Trust that we will continue to be patient. We truly want him to be a happy
And, after Mild Thing had been with Jay and Christine for a week, Christine updated us again: "Thank you for your very informative e-mail. Jay and I have both read many books about kittens/cats, and we were aware of the thinking that it is best to introduce a new feline by first starting him out in one room. I must say that we both regretted introducing Mild Thing to our living area at first, realizing too late that such a large space could be intimidating, but I am delighted to give you an update! I went home again early yesterday. Mild Thing jumped off the chair he has claimed, stretched and yawned, and walked over to greet me with a little rubbing. Okay, I thought, this is good. I stretched out on the floor with him and invited him over for a little brushing, which started that loud motor of his just running and running. Although he was a tad skittish when I got up to open the back door, he did not dash under the sofa. He then spent quite a long time looking out onto the backyard through the locked screen."
"As I went about changing clothes and tidying, he followed me upstairs. Jay came home a bit later, and we both sat on the floor sneaking glances at our new boy, who finally discovered the joys of running up and down the stairs. He is just adorable! He would run upstairs - thumping loudly, because he is a big boy - and he would then sort of creep down looking through the stairway railing. We bought him a toy that is a big plastic disk with densely packed corrugated cardboard in the center for scratching with a trough around the circumference that holds a ball that can spin around freely. As he peeks through the railing, we spin the ball - he then bounds down the stairs and attacks the ball, tumbling all over his toy! After a
few spins and tumbles, he dashes up the stairs again for another round.
Holly, we played this game for over an hour, after which he flopped on the floor probably worn out from running up and down the stairs. What fun!!!"
"After dinner and showers, we spent a little more time with him before heading upstairs to go to bed. Jay called him from the bedroom, and he quietly came upstairs into our bedroom, where he spent the entire night, part of the time he snoozed out under our bed, which is a big four-poster that is high off the ground, and part of the time he slept ON the bed with us. Feline lovers that we are, we were delighted that he spent the night "bonding" with us, and there is always a place on the bed for our boy! Jay got up before I did to start the coffee downstairs, and our "kitty" stayed in bed with me for some quiet petting. He went downstairs with me, and when Jay and I sat on the sofa with our coffee, he started to play the stair game; after he ran up the stairs, he called out, meowing, until Jay figured out what he wanted. Jay spun the ball, and he came running down the stairs just like last evening! What a smart boy!!! I dare say that I think he is
adjusting better and better every day, and we are so pleased that he is
acting like a happy "kitty"!! I cannot wait to get home today!"
"I live so close to work that I have been able to drop by at lunch time every day this week, except for my day off on Tuesday, and the first thing I do when I get home is call out for Mild Thing. (Right now, his name is Sweet Boy, Sweetie, and even Spooky, because we are still becoming acquainted and want to pick a new name that seems "right" for us.) We leave the stereo on, playing soft jazz, which I hope keeps him company and stress-free. He is just the gentlest, most sensitive sweetheart! And he is so curious. I do
know that he has explored part of upstairs, although I only have one of the three bedroom doors opened, which is our room. Because we want him to sleep with us, his little bed is under ours, and, when I went home yesterday at noon, one of his toys was in his bed - we didn't put it there, so we know HE did. And, I do leave a little pile of t-shirts, etc. that I would normally put in the wash basket for him to remember our smells."
"Yes, Holly, Jay and I both feel so protective of him right now, realizing that he is learning to trust us new folks as well as to adjust to a new place with new smells, new sounds, and lots of territory. We do expect that, before long, he will revel in the fact that all that territory is his domain!! As I told you, he adores his brush. We bought a soft one that does a fine job but is gentle enough that he rubs his precious face on it. You can trust that Mild Thing will be totally
spoiled by his two humans, who are enamoured. Bengals are delightful, so intelligent, and great fun to watch. We have never had a feline with such charm! Should you wish to cut and paste ANY of my comments for your homepage as testimony of our joy with our new boy, please feel free. We could not be happier with our new Bengal!!" Below, Mild Thing at 15 months.
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