Bengal cats are known for being energetic, wild, and intelligent! Today’s guest is @basil.goes (and his owner Corinne) who is one of the hyperactive cats I’ve ever seen, even compared to other Bengal cats!
What is Basil’s personality like? Does he require a lot of attention?
Hah, strong start. Long answer short, yes – he requires a lot of attention. Basil is the feline equivalent of “hold my beer,” and is always making poor choices. He is as good as the attention he is getting, so if he is getting 100% of the attention he is 100% good. If he is bored and left to his own devices he will make his own fun, and I probably won’t like it.
All of that being said, Basil is a deeply sensitive and communicative cat. He is a single-person cat and won’t work or walk for anyone but me. We’ve managed to build an extremely strong relationship based on a lot of trust and a LOT of patience and I guess he’s turned me into his partner in crime.
What was Basil like as a kitten? Did he mellow with age?
I like to describe bengals as flying toddlers with knives for hands and bagpipes for lungs, and kitten Basil was all that and more. I’d done my research and was prepared to put in the time and training to make it work, but we had a few rough patches.
He stole things, trashed my house plants, and terrorized my elder rescue cats. He was a nightmare to live with and I eventually developed a mental library of the sounds things made in the house when he broke them, so I could decide if it was worth getting up to check on.
One time he pulled toilet cleaner out of the cupboard under the sink, dragged it onto the vanity, and dumped it down the sink, corroding the drain. That was actually impressive. He was a TERRIBLE kitten and I genuinely believe he could have ended up a problem cat in a different household.
Things started to change when I went out for groceries and came home to a kitten with a broken tail. He was so good in the car to the emergency vet, we kickstarted his adventure cat career and started harness training.
I guess you can say he’s mellowed in age, but he’s still an extremely dramatic, dynamic, and demanding cat. Most of his issues as a kitten were caused by boredom and lack of communication, both of which harness training and adventures have helped with.
Basil makes a face with wide eyes which is known as “thought crimes”. Do you have a funny story of Basil’s crimes?
Basil’s whole life is the story of minor, hilarious crimes. He likes to announce his bad ideas before he actually follows through on them, which generally allows me time to intervene. He went through a phase where he would steal everything from toothbrushes to full loaves of bread and stash them under our couch. He was also a big fan of tortilla shells — not to eat, just to hoard.
One of my favourite Basil stories is the time I answered the door and my neighbour was holding Basil. This was strange because Basil was SOAKING wet and is an indoor cat. It turns out while I had run upstairs to have a shower, Basil had snuck out of the house. It was a lovely summer day and my neighbour had his sprinkler on to water the lawn. Basil, being the junior scientist he is, had to check out the contraption that could control the water and my neighbour found him frolicking in the sprinkler.
Basil also walks on a leash and harness. What is it like walking Basil? Are there any challenges you are working on?
Basil is an absolute superstar on his harness and leash and walking him really helped our relationship blossom. He’s generally suggestible (unless he sees a squirrel) and it’s a great outlet for his curiosity and energy.
Walking Basil is fun and hilarious and probably the highlight of both of our days. He’s a very social boy and likes to give headbutts to strangers if he’s in the mood. Other times he’ll be on a mission and I won’t even have a moment to talk to neighbours without him pulling me forward. He refuses to get in a carrier or backpack so we do what he wants. He’s overly confident and I like to joke that I’m not his owner, I’m his risk mitigation officer.
Right now we’re working on getting him used to adventuring with his sister, Rosie. He often has an adventure agenda and sometimes he doesn’t appreciate his doggy friend scaring away the birds before he gets a chance to.
Do you have any scary stories from walking Basil?
We’ve had a few close calls with off-leash dogs while out walking and I’m looking into ways to protect him in case of future incidents. Thankfully he just sits in my arms if there is an aggressive dog, but I’m worried we’ll both end up getting mauled someday.
One time we were out for a walk and the weather started to turn, but he doesn’t really care about rain so we kept going. We didn’t get far when the wind really started to pick up, and my phone started going off. Turns out there were a series of tornados headed for my city, and I was out blissfully and ignorantly walking my cat in a duck-shaped raincoat. We got home just before the hail hit and the power went out for three days.
Corrine also has two older cats, Batman and Mu, who are domestic shorthair cats. How different are their personalities from Basil? Do they get along or play together?
Batman and Mu are old and love the comfortable life. They do not like Basil, at all. Batman is actually what inspired Basil’s original Thoughtcrimes face – he wanted so desperately to tackle Batman, but knew it would end in getting smacked (by Batman). He generally did it anyways.
Basil also got a doggy sister, Rosie, around 5 months ago. How is their relationship going?
Basil and Rosie started off as best friends but as the pandemic shutdown started affecting Rosie’s socialization and I started spending more time training her, he started to get a bit jealous. She’s also a bit bigger now and steps on his tail occasionally, something he hates. I’ll put them firmly in the “siblings” category and I’m pretty sure they’ll go back to being friends once Rosie learns to manage her limbs a little more carefully. I’m making sure Basil gets his own special adventure time that’s just me and him – no Rosie’s allowed.
What personalities of people do recommend a bengal cat to, and what people should not get a bengal cat?
If you laughed at the idea of training a cat, do not get a bengal. I feel like the right bengal owner has the time to commit to teaching the kitten appropriate outlets, a good sense of humour, and the patience of a saint. Bengals aren’t the cat for everyone – Basil was far more mischievous and destructive than our puppy and a lot of people get them without doing their research. If you’re on the fence about whether you can provide the proper enrichment for a bengal cat but have your heart set on a bengal, consider getting a pair of kittens. Bengals are extremely social animals and really benefit from having a buddy to constantly entertain them.
If you’re willing to put in the time and effort you’re going to end up with the most loving, loyal, and weird best friend.
Where can people follow Basil’s adventures?
We’re generally posting stories over at @basil.goes on Instagram. We’ve also got a Facebook page and TikTok (both @basil.goes), but we’ve been less active since we got the puppy. Turns out training a pup and keeping Basil happy is a lot of work.
One thought on “Meet Basil! From Thought Crimes at Home to Superstar on the Leash”
Oh my goodness, I never expected to see a cat described as “the feline equivalent of ‘hold my beer'”, and I’m all for it xD This was a delightful read; you go Basil!