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I try to keep my blog as an uplifting place on the internet, somewhere people can come for a sprinkle of positivity, a little motivation or a little escapism. But I also like to share my learnings and to say this last year has had its fair share of lessons is an understatement and some of the hardest have come in the last few months.

Grief is something that I am familiar with like most people, despite losing a friend aged 16 I considered myself one of the lucky ones as I had all my grandparents up until the age of 18 until when I sadly lost my Grandpa, the glue that held our family together. He'd had one of the most spectacular lives I've ever known and I still sit and listen to my Grandma's wild stories and adventures that they shared together. I think that was one of the things that made it something I was able to live with, I got him all to myself for 18 whole years, I was lucky to have had so long I tell myself whenever I experienced the pangs his absence still brings 13 years on (OK Woah, I can't believe its been that long). The day of his funeral we found out our family cat Millie was having kittens, we were only allowed to keep one so we named him Johnny after my Grandpa, John Millen.

It's weird having animals as a kid, I don't think I ever really appreciated like I do as a adult, I know I cried when Midge, our cat that my parents had from before I was born, became so old he could no longer look after himself so he had to be put to sleep. I cried but like my Grandpa, boy did he have a good life. My life went through an unsettled number of years after my Grandpa died, I didn't really know who I was or what I wanted from life. I travelled, I moved around and for a long time I didn't really have somewhere to call home. It was all I wanted in life for a very long time and meeting Ali gave me that.

We'd only been together a year when we bought our first home together and a year after being there I finally managed to convince Ali to let me get a cat. We were both Cat people but for some reason he just didn't want one, I still to this day don't know what it was that changed his mind but I didn't give him a chance to reconsider. Within 7 days of his change of heart we bought home Lumi, our Mink Seal Snow Bengal. I knew the moment I saw her that she was the one, Ali wasn't so sure which I still like to playfully remind him of from time to time haha! Nothing prepared me for the love I ended up feeling for that cat, I was having a tough time dealing with the fact that I was now an adult with responsibilities and I still to this day say, that little ball of fluff saved me. Both Ali and I had always owned Moggy cats but Lumi was a special breed, she required a lot of attention and her intelligence and loyalty really shocked us, still to this day she sleeps with us every single night. We always joked about getting another cat and I knew one day we would.

Two months before Ali and I got married on our 6th Anniversary, I was banished from the house for the day so Carrie booked in a day of meetings. I returned home that evening, walked into the kitchen (which was decked in cameras) to be greeted by our new baby Snow Lynx Bengal boy Ali recorded the moment I first met him and shared it on Youtube and today its the hardest piece of footage for me to watch.

It's approaching 2 months since Lynx went missing on the 15th August 2019. Despite both Ali and I being very vocal about him being missing, we didn't share how bad it really got for us. We slept in the living room waiting for him to come home, we went out searching at 3am until 6am, we spent thousands on trying to find him and still today we have no more information about what happened to him than the morning we realised he was gone. Lynx was 2 years old, he was our baby boy and we had no idea how bad the weeks that followed his disappearance were going to be. I had never experienced this kind of grief, the unjust kind where you feel as though someone has been stolen from you, where you feel like you failed, where it aches so deep inside that it becomes physical pain on the outside. It was a shock to both our systems.

When I first started brain storming this post, it was going to be my learnings about grief but i thought it tied in quite nicely to tell you a little bit more about the Breed of cats that we own as they are so unique and win even the most “anti-cat” guests who visit our home, completely over and when I asked on my instagram I couldn’t believe the interest. I think it goes without saying that there are so many wonderful fluffy babies in need of reforming, many of them Bengal cats so if you can please think of rehoming first but breeders do also play an important part in keeping animals safe, stopping the spread of disease, ensuring the animals are genetically healthy and more. I asked what you wanted to know on instagram and Ive answered the most asked questions below.

 

How to Bengals differ from the normal Moggy cat?

Well I could get into all the in-depth information about their breed but this is all readily available online. I wanted to answer these questions as someone who just owns then and what I found. Because Ali and I had done little research into the breed before we brought Lumi home and we soon realised and got to know their incredible quirks as a breed.

First and foremost they are very different to your normal moggy cat, from the outset they are far more dog like in that they require far more attention and are a very sociable breed. We do our best not to leave Lumi for long periods of time by herself because she is very clingy more so than Lynx was actually. But one thing they had in common was that no matter what, where ever there was activity in the house they would be there too. In fact they had their own very clear areas of the house that the other rarely went to. Lynx would often spend his days in the office with Cal and Carrie trying to steal their office chair from under them and usually settling onto the sofa and snoozing away whilst Lumi preferred to sit and snooze with Ali all day in his office. They are definitely not the kind of cat that you can leave with a few bowls of food over a weekend if you are heading away for a few days, we have house sitters and cat sitters who come and play, fuss and keep Lumi company.

Food wise they eat A LOT more, when we first got Lumi we fed her like a normal cat morning and night. Baring in mind she was a house cat but she was just so skinny and also more vocal than we were expecting, she was vocal because she was hungry and as soon as we realised she was communicating with us to let us know she needed something, we realised how intelligent Bengals really are. We now feed Lumi whenever her bowl is empty or whenever she demands a new sachet despite there being an entire bowl of food in front of her. Needless to say, Bengals are a little high maintenance haha!

 

Do Bengals Shed a lot?

Bengals are actually said to be “Hypoallergenic” and we have tested this a number of times with friends and their symptoms are far more manageable around our cats than normal, however Ali’s niece still suffers quite a lot around them and so I think it really is something that is determined by the severity of the sufferer but with regards to how much fur they leave behind it does depend on the cat. Lumi barely sheds at all and considering she sleeps on our bed every night with us, there is no fur left behind. Lynx was different though, he did shed quite considerably more and would leave a little white veil wherever he liked to sleep but I would say it was minimal still.

 

Are bengals affectionate?

Extremely! But in their own way. Neither of ours ever liked being picked up, but if they chose to come and sit on you or with you that is their affection. They love being brushed, stroked and fussed over at all times

 

Are Bengals house cats?

From what I can gather, a large portion of Bengals live as house cats quite happily. Ours unfortunately did not. For a long time we had struggled with Lumi going to the toilet everywhere but her litter tray. We had trays everywhere for her but nothing stopped her, when we got Lynx he did the Same and when we moved house we had to devise a plan because we could see they weren’t happy and we had our garden secured to the cats could go out onto our land happily and not be cooped up in doors which immediately stopped the issues we were having with them. But obviously it does open up other problems which we have now realised with the loss of Lynx. Bengals are striking looking and CAN BE worth a lot of money if un-neutered and especially kittens so people can steal them, or they can be hurt or killed on roads and many other potentially dangerous situations which was why we had our land secured but unfortunately there are still risks. We could see our cats needed to be able to go outside and their happiness was more important to us because at the end of the day, you cant explain to a cat the dangers that lay outside, they just want to act on their instinct. But each bengal cat is unique therefore  you may well be able to keep your cat inside without issue.

 

How vocal are bengals?

The long and short of it is, bengals are vocal and for me, it is one of the most wonderful aspects of their breed because as I mentioned earlier, they do communicate and tell you when they want something its just down to you to work out what that is. Some people have mentioned whether it’s annoying and Id personally say no. I love hearing their meows and all the different types of meows they have in their range, I’m sure if you watch my vlogs you can have seen the smile that spreads across my face as soon as I hear Lumi meow or whenever I heard Lynx’s.

 

How did you get Lumi to come on walks with you? Did you train her?

Perhaps we did without knowing but it isn’t something we set out to do. Ali and I often go for walks or runs and it was whilst heading out for a run one morning that Lumi followed us out of the gates of our land without us knowing. It wasn’t until we turned around that we realised she had been running with us the whole time and followed us without straying. This started to become a regular thing and we soon realised she was safe to come with us. Even during our searches for Lynx she came with us and she was amazing, not just for keeping our spirits up but also, one meow from Lumi and Lynx would come running so we knew she was a powerful tool to have with us on the searches. We used to take Lumi on walks when she was a house cat but she was always on a lead and perhaps that is where she got used to walking with us.

 

How destructive are they?

Unfortunately, very! Well ours were anyway and Lynx far more than Lumi. He scratched EVERYTHING, door frames, sofas, chairs, anything soft, carpets (but only soft high pile carpets, luckily all our wool and jute runners and rugs were safe) and when searching for him in our woods with our Pet Detective we found he’d even been scratching the bark like a wild cat! I’ve had a few jumps pulled and handbags scratched but it doesn’t change anything, they are such incredible animals its just an eye roll because you cant stay angry at them for long.

 

Where to Adopt or buy Bengals?

Well before you do make sure you do a lot of research into the breed because like I mentioned they need a lot of TLC and stimulating throughout the day. Lumi is 5 and still plays like a kitten! For example, I wouldn’t recommend getting a bengal as a house cat if you work full time and they are going to be left all day at home alone.

By doing your research you should be able to also understand the determining features of the Bengal breed such as their 4 black paw pads, if they don’t have this, they aren’t a thorough bred Bengal etc.

There are so many gorgeous little furry faced Bengals waiting to be rehomed on places like pets4homes.co.uk but be sure to understand the full medical history and situation before hand. For breeders from what I understand there are only about 10 reputable breeders in the UK and we got both our cats from Glitterglam in Peterborough who were amazing. As mentioned I am fully aware of how many fur babies need rehoming so I have listed both options above as both have their place in this world.

LYNX HAS BEEEN MISSING SINCE 14/08/2019 HE IS WHITE/CREAM WITH BEIGE/BROWN MARKINGS. If you have any information please email info@lydiaelisemillen.com

Do you own a Bengal? Are there any other questions you want me to answer about Bengals? Let me know in the comments below?