[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f you’ve ever wanted to get a Bengal cat or already have one, you probably know how important it is to have a companion for them. These gorgeous felines are well known for their active and playful temperament, and sometimes, that means they get bored easily and become mischievous, in case there is no one there to entertain them. That’s why most people decide on getting a pair of Bengals or choosing this unique breed precisely because they already have a dog or a cat they want a companion for.
There are many cute and quirky Bengal friendships out there, but this story definitely is one of the most interesting and unusual ones. Instead of gushing over a pair of Bengals, or being endeared by a friendship between a Lab and a Bengal, I came across an Instagram profile that celebrates an unlikely friendship between a Bengal cat and an otter! The two furballs are completely inseparable, playing and cuddling together all the time. I was amazed at how adorable their friendship is! What’s even more unique about this story is that the furry duo has two more friends they seem to get along with great, a pair of Caique parrots! Seeing them all together seemed surreal and, of course, unimaginably cute. This peculiar friendship goes to show how Bengal cats are affectionate and loving, far from the aggressiveness some people might associate them with.
I never expected to see such a harmonious, lovely relationship between a Bengal cat and an otter, let alone the Caiques. It melted my heart away!
Cuteness overload aside, I was really intrigued how this unusual household with multiple exotic pets works. And Pia Cuijpers, their owner, was kind enough to share her amazing story with me.
What pets do you have at home? How did you come to adopt them and do they get along?
Our house is called a small zoo sometimes. Next to my boyfriend and me, there are four awesome animals that live with us together.
- Bengallegends Sam, the Bengal cat
- Pip, the Asian Small-clawed Otter
- Red and Silver, two black-headed Caiques
I work as a Zookeeper, and, naturally, I love animals. Last year (2016) the otter couple at the zoo gave birth to 5 young and healthy otter pups. Very lovely of course, but a mother otter only has 4 nipples. So after 3 weeks, it was very clear that one of the pups was not getting enough milk. She definitely wasn’t going to make it without a little help. That’s why I brought her home with me. For a few weeks, I fed her every two hours, day and night. It was a struggle, but the tiny furry baby, who I named Pip, became a healthy little otter.
I was still living with my parents at that time, so I’m very glad they didn’t mind all the energy and time needed to take care of this little baby.
My boyfriend and I were very busy getting settled into our own home. All my life, I knew that when I finally would have my own house, there would be a Bengal cat in it. At least one (of course, I’d love to have more). Not only because of their beauty, but, as a zookeeper, I just love the ‘wild’ looks they have.
Otters are very close to their family. And because they are such social animals, I was in a hurry to find her a BFF, someone who will always be around her, especially when we are at work. So that’s when the dream of having ‘my own Bengal cat’ came a little closer to becoming reality. I already knew some very good Bengal cat breeders and visited the ones who had kittens available. That’s where I met Sam.
I thought Sam had the perfect personality to become Pip’s best friend. He is very social, loves to play, has a lot of energy and wasn’t very focused on food (unlike otters).
Pip and Sam shared our new home with us from the first day we slept there. I remember the first day Sam saw Pip…. It was like… What the HELL are you?! Pip didn’t care at all, as usual.
After they got used to each other, they were doing better than I hoped. Two days later, I took the risk of letting them be alone in their own room. And happy me, mission accomplished! When I came home I saw them playing together. YAY!
After that, it was only getting better. They were playing together, sleeping together, grooming each other and even sometimes eating together.
And then we have Red and Silver, two Caiques that came 4 months after Sam. I couldn’t have guessed how Pip and Sam would react to them. But believe me… those birds have balls! Pip and Sam both leave them alone most of the time, and if they don’t… they will again after that :P
What are the things you like or don’t like about your pets?
Living with an otter is not only adorable and easy. She had a rough start and it was hard to teach her to use the litter and make her listen to some commands (like ‘come here’ and ‘UUUHHH!!!’). You need to be very consistent, because they are very smart animals. They try every little thing to make you do what they want. Every second of the day you need to be faster and smarter than they are. And believe me… that requires a lot of energy.
They chew on everything, break everything, spread water and food to the whole house, they always want to eat (and get fat very fast), always want your attention like a child even if they are older, they need to swim every day…. And I can go on and on to tell you what they all need and do. They aren’t normal pets like cats or dogs. I do not want to motivate people to get an otter because they’re so cute. Believe me, there are not many people who will be happy with an otter in their house/garden.
Bengals are also not like other cats. They are full of energy, run through the whole house and also can sometimes break things because of their sudden bursts of energy. They play a little more rough than other cats and I believe they need more space.
That’s why Pip and Sam have their own room in our house, and when we are at home, they have the whole house to play and run together. And in a few weeks, our garden will be ready to become their playground, as well. And then we’ll have a very happy Pip with her own water pool, and a very happy Sam with a bigger area for running.
And don’t forget the birds, Red and Silver. Because the whole garden will be a big aviary! So they can fly more, chew on things other than our ears, plants, and furniture. And last but not least… I don’t need to clean their droppings everywhere. Yes, our whole life is adapted to our animals and I love it!
Do you take your Bengal or Otter on outdoor adventures?
Pip loves taking walks with me. Most of the time, she walks on a leash for her own safety. But for small distances, I take her with me without a leash, and she always walks very close beside me. Every day I take Pip out for a walk. And every time, there is always someone who approaches us while we walk. It’s always a surprise how dogs react to her. And don’t forget all the cats…
I always need to be careful. Pip reacts differently to every human and animal. It depends on the feelings of the other animal, I think. A person that’s very nervous and a little scared could never touch her, because she feels that immediately. There is a big chance she will bite such a person. People who are very comfortable, she would never bite or react wrong. And there’s no difference with animals.
Sam thinks the harness and leash are a little scary. I tried to walk with him very often but he still isn’t relaxed enough to walk with me. I hope he will love it in the future!
Sam has his own way to exercise. As I told you before, he loves running at least a few times per day. He jumps and runs over everything and everyone. We are searching for a cat wheel for their own room and maybe one for the garden too. I’m sure he and Pip will love it! Most of the time Sam and Pip are playing together. They make sure that they both get their exercise ;)
Besides running and acting like a wild cat, Sam loves to play with almost everything. He’s a very playful animal and he loves to cuddle. And his favorite place to sleep… is in our bed… under the sheets.