The following contains a paid advertising promotion for Whiskas®. All images and thoughts my own.
Meisha is, for all intents and purposes, my cat. Or rather, I’m her human. She tolerates Wayne in my absence, but she doesn’t much care for anyone else. Except for our dog, Quito, who she has a love/hate relationship with. (Our 16-year-old moggy Pablo she avoids like the plague.) But me? She’s claimed me as her own right from the start. I call her my leopard-print shadow, always around somewhere and very insistent of my attention whenever she demands it.
If you’ve never lived with a Bengal before, let me start by saying in terms of my experience in having a Bengal for the last 7 years and from others who also have Bengals, these are not your typical cat. In fact, they are more dog-like in so many ways and demand much more socialisation and play than other breeds. For those that want to get technical, she’s an F4 – which means that four generations ago, a domestic cat was bred with an Asian Leopard Cat so she has that ‘wildness’ in her genetics (it’s also where she gets those striking leopard-like markings) and while she’s fully domesticated, that wild assertiveness comes out in all kinds of wonderful ways.
I’ve teamed up with Whiskas® today as they’ve asked me to share all my cat’s quirks – and let me tell you, there are plenty! Meisha is strange, sweet, whip-smart and hilarious and most certainly has her own little personality.
As Meisha is turning seven this year (where has the time gone!), she’s now entering middle age which means her nutritional needs are going to be changing soon. While she may still act like a kitten 90% of the time, there are certain requirements she’ll soon be needing. She will happily eat a mix of dry kibbles and wet meat but I learned on the Whiskas® website that past the age of seven, she needs to eat a diet with higher levels of taurine for a healthy heart, as well as the right levels of phosphorus, which helps to keep her liver and kidneys functioning at their best! Her coat is luxuriously soft and combining zinc and linoleic acid will help keep it that way. Whiskas® has plenty of advice for good cat care at every age, from kitten to senior.
Speaking of kittens, when we first brought Meisha home, we knew almost immediately, we were in for a wild ride. I remember her climbing up on the newly installed cat tree (Meisha likes to get up high whenever she can) on the very first day. She spotted the little fluffy white dangling thing hanging from the tree, braced her tiny legs against the side and ripped it right from the string. Oh boy.
She’s the most stubborn creature you’ll ever meet. If she wants to do something, nothing can stop her. As a kitten, she would want to climb into the tiny gap behind the fridge freezer. I would stop her of course as I didn’t want her to get stuck there or hurt herself so I’d pull her away. She’d try again. I’d pull her away. She’d try again. I’d remove her from the room completely. It didn’t matter how long I’d remove her from the room. As soon as she was back in the kitchen – even a couple hours later – she’d bolt straight for the fridge freezer again. It was almost like her little brain went, ‘Oh yes, this is what I wanted to do while I was in here!’ – she just wouldn’t forget.
I gave up long ago trying to stop her from getting on top of the worktops too (yes, these get cleaned all the time). I’d read a number of suggestions online – from lining the entire thing with aluminium foil (didn’t work) to cutting up lemon and citrus fruit and leaving it all over the worktops. Apparently, cats don’t like citrus – except Meisha isn’t a typical cat. That didn’t work either, she simply got up on the worktop and started playing with the cut-up lemons, tossing them all on the floor in an enjoyable game. I told you she was stubborn.
She loves to get underneath things. Her happy place is under a blanket or my shirt. Yes, you read that correctly – under my shirt. Nearly every day while I’m working, she jumps on the desk for some attention. Now that’s not entirely unusual – ask any cat owner who works from home what their biggest issue is in terms of distractions and productivity and they’ll probably tell you it’s their cat. But once Meisha is finished walking around, playing with the things on my desk, generally getting in the way of my screen, she wants to settle down. On my lap. Again, not weird… except…
She can’t just settle on my lap. No, she needs to be underneath something so she will headbutt me and headbutt me (and sometimes go for my hands on the keyboard, biting and licking them depending on her mood) until I relent, lift up my top for her to settle against my tummy and lower my shirt, covering her completely. It’s basically like I’m pregnant with a cat. I told you she was weird.
She also enjoys being held for a bit, crawling up to rest her paws on my shoulder and me cradling her like a child. Yes, yes, I spoil her rotten. Work can wait, Meisha needs a cuddle. It’s just how it goes around here.
At night, she sleeps with me but she has to spoon! She will headbutt me until I relent (it’s very hard to sleep when a cat is doing her best impression of a battering ram). I have to turn on my side in a sort of loose fetal position and she will crawl under the duvet and nestle against my tummy. If I dare try to move positions, she will meow in such a way to show me she is not happy with my moving and I better get back in position immediately.
Meisha is vocal (okay these pics are of her yawning but it still illustrates my point ;)). I have never met another cat who’s vocal range was so broad as is Meisha’s. There are so many different kinds of meows from little brrrr and meh sounds when she’s happy to a strange little reh reh reh when she’s in a chatty mood to insistent and urgently loud meeeoooow meeeeowwww when she wants something from you (I call her my little ambulance when she does that one as its a similar noise and well, in her eyes, clearly an emergency).
She even talks in her sleep, little guttural mews that emanate from her body, blissfully unaware (I often say at night, between her and Wayne, I’ve got snoring in stereo). If I am downstairs and she is upstairs, she will insist I go upstairs to hang out with her. Loud, incessant and quite sad pathetic meowing is very difficult to ignore which she uses to her advantage. We have full-blown conversations all the time – not that I have any idea what we’re talking about mind you but she seems to enjoy it.
Early morning cuddles with these two is very much the norm.
And she likes to talk ALL THE TIME. She makes her presence known as soon as she enters a room like she’s in mid-conversation with herself or announcing that she’s there so everyone can lavish attention on her. This is partly why she loves our dog, Quito because if no one else can give her the attention she feels she rightly deserves, he will certainly entertain her endless requirement for adoration.
They are cute together – like impossibly Disney-film cute. She leans up and rubs her face into the thick hair under his chin when she thinks no one is looking and I watch them chase each other around in the garden all the time, taking turns between who plays the part of the chaser and the chasee. Meisha rolls on her back, Quito snuggles his face into her spotty tummy or gently nibbles at her until she jumps up and runs, beckoning him to start the game again. They say that cats only speak to humans with meows (they don’t make the same noises to each other) but I hear her ‘talking’ to Quito all the time so either she sees him as a small furry human or she simply isn’t following the rules of cat behaviour which is more likely the case.
She loves water too. In the wild, Asian leopard cats will only drink free-flowing water (stagnant water holds the risk of bacteria or other nasties) and Meisha has inherited this predilection. I realised early on that she refused to drink from a bowl, instead, she’d jump on the sink in the bathroom or kitchen for me to run the water so she could drink straight from the tap. After doing this multiple times a day every single day, I resorted to purchasing a cat fountain for her which allows the water to run continuously from a spout at the top. Problem solved and now, happily, she gets plenty of water and I can actually get work done! ;)
She also likes to play with water, swiping it, sticking her front paw into it and licking it from her paws. This is fine in her cat fountain, not so great when it’s my cup of green tea. The amount of times I’ve had to toss out the contents of whatever mug I’ve had on my desk because she’s decided she wants to put her paws in it is ridiculous.
She’s endlessly curious. If we are working on anything in the house, Meisha has to get right in there and see exactly what you’re doing which is why you’ll often see her photobombing my shoots.
I know working on your home can sometimes feel disruptive and unsettling for a cat but I think because she’s known the noise and upheaval all her life, it doesn’t seem to bother her.
In fact, she finds it all rather exciting.
Here is just a few more of Meisha’s quirks: Every pencil I have on my desk has bite marks courtesy of Meisha. I cannot open a box or a bag without her wanting to get inside. She always rubs her face against the fruit bowl on the worktops (yes, we wash it before eating it). She allows me to rub her fluffy spotty belly – but only me (she never ever bites me but I can’t say the same for anyone else so there’s your warning). She’s incredibly affectionate, always wanting to give me a bath. She misses me when I’m away and always seems to know when I might be leaving her for a bit. She loves some good catnip, practically wrestling it from me before I get the chance to put it down for her. She is allowed outside but never wanders very far beyond our garden and that’s usually only to sit on the neighbour’s shed, surveying her kingdom. She comes when I call her. She’s a very messy eater, regularly pulling the food away from the plate and leaving it all over the surface area.
Yes, this is an old picture but the only one I could find with her allowing me to snuggle with her with a camera around!
I could go on and on about Meisha’s little strange personality quirks but this post is already long enough. The truth is, I adore Meisha and just want her happy and healthy and to feed her curiosity and if that means treating her as the diva that she is, well, I’m not going to argue with that! What strange quirks does your cat have? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear all about your own cat!
Thanks so much to Whiskas® for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting the brands that support Swoon Worthy. All images and opinions are my own.
PS. If you’re considering adopting a Bengal, then please do follow Bengal Cat Association on Facebook. I have no commercial connection to them but they regularly share Bengals that need new homes.