Frequently Asked Questions
"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." - Jeff Valdez
What is your philosophy?
As a lover of animals and of people, my job is to treat both with the utmost respect, love, and care to the best of my ability. I consider it a privilege to be a part of a special legacy continued today by many great people. Not only do I enjoy what I do, I also see Breeding as a great responsibility. My Bengals are loved as the family members they are the minute they come into this world, and forever after.
My job is to help improve the Bengal breed overall, and to place each kitten in the right home to ensure their safety and happiness.
What is the price range for your Bengal kittens? What factors go into determining your pricing?
Pricing on our Spotted/Rosetted Bengals ranges from $1,800 to $2,500. Our Marbles are priced differently due to the gradual development of their patterns, and range between $1,200 - $1,800.
Pricing is determined by the quality of the pattern as defined by the TICA Bengal Breed Standard. Kittens whose patterns exemplify this standard in an exceptional way will be higher in price, and can go as high as $3,500-4,000. Kittens who may not have all the ideal traits and characteristics sought after in a show ring usually have lower prices.
I always include lots of extra goodies to go home with each kitten, regardless of their price, to make the transition as smooth as possible.
High quality Bengals are bred and raised to have loving, friendly, and outgoing dispositions, so I don't consider this a variable in pricing. I love everybody, and they are well accustomed to being smooshed and kissed.
What generation are your Bengals?
We do not have any Early Generation Hybrids (F1-F4.) We have available purebred, fully domestic SBT Bengal kittens. After the fourth generation out, a Bengal does not have any wild blood and is simply considered domestic. A fully domestic Bengal kitten will have the wild look of its ancestor, the Asian Leopard Cat, and the gentle and loving nature of a domestic house cat. These, in our opinion, make much better family pets than their wilder counterparts in most cases. (There are always going to be exceptions, but this should be taken on an individual, case-by-case basis.) Here are a couple of helpful links about how to read a pedigree:
I'm only looking to adopt a Bengal as a pet. Will this affect pricing?
We often sell breeder quality kittens as pets, and offer a price break for that, as our true preference is that each baby be a pet in a loving home.
Do you sell Bengals as breeders?
I prefer to sell my kittens as beloved pets to excellent and loving homes. A Bengal kitten must meet TICA show quality standards to be sold as a breeder. Kittens that have "pet quality" patterns and/or characteristics are not sold with the option of breeding. (Details are included in your Bengal contact.) If you are interested in breeding, please contact me with your Cattery name, registration, years of experience, organizations you are registered with, your website address, and photographs of your current Cattery setup.
Do your Bengals get along with children and other pets?
Yes. I evaluate each case based on the personality of the individual kitten. If the kitten has a laid-back and big-baby personality like his father, King Casanova, I would not recommend him for a home with young children. If the kitten has a go-get-em and independent personality like his mother, Queen Aurora, then I would recommend this kitten for a home with children. HOWEVER, as with every Bengal family, I cannot guarantee anything until you come and meet them, and it's a solid good match. I need to see how you interact with each other and make recommendations based on that to ensure accuracy.
We have successfully placed kitties in multi-pet homes in the past, and the success was largely due to the family's efforts. We present you with a well-socialized, healthy, and happy kitty. Your job, once you get him home, is to introduce your current pet to this new bundle of joy. This must be done gradually, and as stress-free as possible. Designate a safe area just for your kitty to start taking it all in. He'll start getting used to the new smells, sights, and sounds. Give him lots of love and attention - this is so important! When you are ready to start introducing him to your current pet, do so slowly, in stages. Use blankets that have the smell of the other pet on it to start acclimating each one to the new smells, and bribe freely with treats, love, and play. Make it a positive experience, and take your time. Even if it takes 3 months (it generally doesn't take that long, but even so, be prepared for anything.) Listen to them. Observe their body language. They will let you know when they're ready to meet, and you can start to crack the door slowly to allow them to sniff one another. It'll be worth the effort when your Bengal joins your fur family. =^..^=
What questions should I ask a Bengal breeder?
I have compiled a list of questions below that you can ask in your search for your new Bengal love. Informed questions are your most valuable tool in your search for a high quality Bengal kitten.
Determine what you are looking for, and learn as much as you can before you make your decision.
There are plenty of caring, reputable breeders out there, and those are willing to take time to answer your questions, as well as make sure the kitten will be happy in its new home - just make sure you know who they are!
Do you cage? May I see pictures of your facility or take a tour?
When searching for your perfect Bengal baby, the main thing you need to do is to just be smart and use common sense. If a breeder is unwilling to share more information on his or her facilities and wants to meet you in a public place to complete the transaction, consider that a major red flag. If you go to the breeder's facility, look at how they live. Do the Bengals seem to be comfortable? Do they have plenty of room to move around and be free and happy? Are they safe, well-fed, and loved? Is the facility clean and well-kept? If they have cages, are they crammed in together in an obviously uncomfortable way? How many animals do they have altogether in the space available? (As a personal preference, the only cage you'll find in my home is the travel carrier I use to take kittens for their physicals. I don't have more animals than I can realistically keep up with financially and physically, so that can be something to look for, too.)
The easiest way to spot a Bengal that has been caged is to observe whether or not the kitten is exhibiting symptoms of a "caged personality." Bengal kittens are to be held and handled from birth to ensure a healthy level of comfort with humans. Caging causes the kitten to be skittish and very untrusting. The elevated stress levels caused by confinement also dampens the immune system and increases the chances of illness, particularly in a situation where there is more than one animal per cage.
There is a BIG difference between meek and terrified. I will say that personalities can be vastly different from one kitten to another, just as in people. Some are just naturally jumpy, but it shouldn't be excessive. As an example of a jumpy boy, I'll tell you about our resident monarch, King Casanova. I crunched on a potato chip one time, and Casanova sailed two feet into the air. Why? Does this mean he is abused and terrified? No - Casanova is accustomed to living in a quiet environment where he is very sheltered, babied, and spoiled, so he doesn't often hear loud, sudden noises. However, his favorite place to be is being carried around on his Dad's shoulder. Bengals have complex and very unique personalities; some are more mellow than others, and some are the BOSS from day one. A well-socialized Bengal will exhibit an outgoing personality, and even if the kitten is naturally shy, he or she will eventually come around once it gets a feel for you.
What is your policy on vaccinations and early spay/neuter?
PLEASE DO NOT OVER-VACCINATE YOUR BENGAL.
BEING INFORMED WILL ALWAYS HELP YOU MAKE THE BEST DECISIONS.
www.CatInfo.org provides a wealth of information on Vaccines, healthcare, and nutrition for your fur babies.
In states where the Rabies vaccine is mandatory by law, this vaccine should not be administered before 16 weeks of age, and we have STRONGLY recommended the PureVax 3-year vaccine. Some vets may not offer it, but it is the safest possible you can do, as it has the lowest risk for Vaccination Site Sarcomas.
Please note, however - upon discussions with our Vets, we have been informed that the quality of vaccines has improved significantly over the years, and are much less likely to be reactive than they were in the past. This is why it's so important to stay as informed and up-to-date as possible, and proceed only with what you feel comfortable with, after careful study. All vaccines/injections have associated risks, no matter what.
Another alternative that our Vet uses and recommends for Rabies is this one from Zoetis. They are the same company that manufactures Clavamox, which is the safest broad-spectrum antiobiotic that can even be administered to a pregnant mommy, and Revolution, the safest flea treatment on the market. You will notice that it says it is a killed virus, but your vet is not going to inject a LIVE RABIES VIRUS into your kid! Note the success and safety rates mentioned on the page - 99.9% of animals given this vaccine showed no adverse symptoms/side effects.
I encourage you to research your County's requirements on Rabies vaccinations, as this may vary by region. The Rabies vaccine is a requirement with vets before a spay/neuter surgery, but it is NOT recommended to have these procedures done at the same time, as it will put unnecessary stress on the kitten's body. Make a separate appointment for the Rabies at least week in advance of the Alter surgery, and again, after 16 weeks. Alter surgery should not be done until at least 6-8 months of age.
((FVRCP Vaccine - AKA Distemper or 3-in-1))
This vaccine is carefully administered to your kitten at 8 weeks, and again at 10 weeks. I prefer for them to be a minimum of 2lbs each before having this done. Once you have this done, booster shots are not necessary - the duration of immunity (DOI) for this vaccination is usually for the life of the cat.
I very strongly discourage any vaccines outside of the aforementioned, especially FeLV (Feline Leukemia), FIP (Feline infectious Peritonitis), or FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). Inoculating your Bengal kitten with these will make them very sick, and they will test positive for life, even if they don't have the actual illness. Needless to say, that will void our health guarantee. We are an FeLV negative Cattery, and provide the document to show your Vet if he or she has any questions. Please click here to refer to our Queen page and see it.
I have linked a very helpful and informative article generously provided by our friend Terra Sinclair at Pocket Leopards in CA. Read it and see why we are apprehensive about vaccines and approach vaccines in a minimalist fashion. If it were up to me, I wouldn't expose these babies to anything at all. Did you know that there is a Feline Sarcoma Task Force dedicated to studying cancerous tumors that form at injection sites? That's more than enough for me to be very, very wary.
Early Spay/Neuter: We do not do early spay/neuter. We believe the ideal time to perform this procedure is between 6-8 months of age, and provide you with the blue TICA registration document when we receive the written proof of alter. If a Bengal is with us until that time, he or she will be altered before being placed.
If you are concerned about spraying, it usually happens in a situation AFTER maturity where there is a stressor involved. In the case of a male, it would be a female nearby that is coming into heat. It can also be another male in the vicinity that is competing for territory. (This is why I prefer not to sell two males together unless they are litter mates and will be altered at the appropriate time.) Female spraying is not common, but it can happen. It would be in the reverse - either there is a male nearby that she is trying really hard to attract or she may be coming into heat. Again, it is unusual. Consider also if you have had pets in the past that may have eliminated on your carpet or in a certain spot repeatedly. This would cause remnants of the smell to stay despite your best scrubbing, and would cause confusion. In this case, I recommend Zero Odor, which you can find at any Bed, Bath, and Beyond store. Just follow the instructions on the bottle. Make sure your Bengal has an easy-access litter box with plenty of clean litter, and knows where it is. (If you're not scooping your cat's box at a bare minimum of once a day, you may be creating a habit of inappropriate elimination. Think of it this way: How often do you flush the toilet?)
If inappropriate elimination continues and seems to be a little too unusual, there is a possibility of a urinary tract infection, and would ask the vet about it.
There are tons of informative and helpful articles available online on these subjects. I encourage you to research and find out as much information as possible, but this is what we require and recommend based on our personal experiences.
Do you ship?
I prefer not to ship because of the undue stress it can cause on a kitten. An unattended kitten that has been sedated and is shipped alone in a crate underneath the plane is at a major disadvantage, as he or she is not acutely aware of their surrounding environments and can't adjust or react efficiently to danger if it should arise. If the Bengal is going to fly, I usually prefer he or she goes with you as a carry-on, under the seat in front of you, so that you can comfort him when he is scared, and keep him company in this stressful situation. I don't sell to people unless they come in person and meet the kittens, anyway. I am sorry if this is inconvenient, but I doubt you would let your kids leave your home with a complete stranger! There are reputable Bengal breeders in every state, and I am certain that if you ask the right questions and do your homework, you will find one in your area! Please feel free to read my FAQs at length - I've already done a lot of the heavy lifting and am always expanding this database as my own experience does.
What do you send home with your Bengal Kittens?
To make a long story short, I always get attached to my kittens! This is why I want to make sure everybody goes home with all the things that will best help to make their transition easier. Visit our Kitten Starter Kit page to see what is included in the price of your kitten!
Do your kittens come with a health guarantee?
Absolutely. Your kitten will have had his first two physicals and up-to-date Distemper vaccines by the time he goes home with you, and his vet records are included in his notebook (along with tons of helpful information and his TICA documents). I am very confident that you will be happy with your Royal Bengal Baby, and offer a 30-day money back guarantee. If for whatever reason it is not working out, contact me and I will help and advise you in every way I can. If it is still not working out, bring the kitten back and we will refund your money. We are available to answer your questions, and want you to enjoy your new baby boy (or girl)! If you breach our contract requirements, you will render our guarantee void.
I am in love with your kittens, but I just can't afford one. Do you offer any kind of discounts or reward programs?
I offer a discount for those that have military experience, civil servants (such as Police Officers, Firefighters, and Teachers), and students that are currently enrolled at a college or university. (Valid ID required.) If you don't fit into any of the aforementioned categories, please contact me with more information about your current situation, and we can discuss your particular case further. My main concern is that the kitten loves you and it is a good match, so I require all my Bengal families to come in person for a visit and spend time with the kittens before anything else happens.
You must make a lot of money doing this! How hard can it be?
Actually...no. Most times, we break even if we're lucky. Breeding is a basically an expensive, full-time hobby that can be very exciting, joyful, heartbreaking, exhausting, beautiful, stressful, and at the same time, very rewarding. Not everyone is cut out for doing this, and the best candidates are those that simply love the cats themselves, and are not looking to make Bengals their primary source of income. I promise you, you will starve to death if you try to live off of what you earn from Bengals. This is a huge mistake that will suck the joy out of your life, but more importantly, the lives of the Bengals that are in your hands. These are living beings, NOT money machines. If you want to breed as a hobbyist, go to cat shows first. Learn all you can about the Bengal breed, talk to as many breeders as you can, LEARN, and be serious about it! Breeding Bengals is like building Mac computers. You have the best quality materials (parents) and craftsmanship (genetic traits), and create the best of the best. You not only make a huge initial investment in quality, you are making a continual investment into the care and maintenance of your kittens and adults. My Bengals cost me over $8,000, and monthly expenses can easily reach over $500, just for TWO adults and their kittens. This is money, this is time, this is hands-on experience, this is sometimes making mistakes you'll never forgive yourself for, and this is tons of reading, research, and self-motivation. If you want to make massive profits, I encourage you to check out Than Merrill's Real Estate classes, and learn how to make your money that way. If you mess up there, it would have been with other people's money, and no lives will be lost.
I just want to have one litter, so that everyone in my family can have their own Bengal kitten.
I worked at a local NC Bengal Cattery for two years before I ventured out on my own, so I had two full years of hands-on experience and a mentor willing to answer my questions and help. If you have no prior experience, I really don't recommend doing this. So much goes into having healthy, well-adjusted litters. Work starts long before your Queen's first heat roll, and continues for the life of the kittens. If you love your animals, this is an automatic response. People say that "nature will take its course," and breedings are really easy and automatic. I hate to burst your bubble, but running a clean and excellent Cattery is a full time job, and a failure to plan is definitely planning to fail. Bengals are not your regular barnyard cats - these are pedigreed, health screened, hand-picked Feline Rolls-Royces. Responsible breeders need to have a plan for kitten placement as early as conception.
Food for thought: Let's say that our current litter of Bengal kittens is up for sale, and for whatever strange and random reason, nobody gets adopted. I am prepared to keep EVERYBODY and have them all fixed, including my breeding adults. That would pretty much be the end of it for us. Would you be willing/able to do that? If you can't honestly say YES, please don't breed.
Please do not contribute to the already terrible problem of abandoned cats in shelters, and if it is truly in your heart to share your love of cats this way, go to a local shelter and ADOPT! I'd rather see a kitten rescued than dozens more lost to inexperience.
What questions would a reputable breeder be asking me?
Don't take it personal if a reputable breeder seems to be asking you a bunch of questions about your life. We are not trying to steal your identity (we actually don't have time for one more thing to do)! What we are doing is analyzing your current situation and determining which Bengal kitten might be your best match, and even if getting a Bengal might be right for you. I've had to tell people it is best for them to wait before getting a Bengal for different reasons including a brand new baby, a recent cat or beloved pet death, even severe allergies.
Baby: First of all, congratulations on your brand-new baby! We know that while a baby is one of the biggest blessings that come around in life (along with grandchildren), they are expensive! At this point in your life, we recommend that you wait until your baby is a little older, or even consider adopting your Bengal before you have your baby. Bengals are protective, highly intelligent, and very loving creatures, and they do get along with babies if they were there first and are gradually acclimated. We are just looking at it from the perspective of making two major investments at once. A quality Bengal is expensive, and we have found that it works best when focusing on one large investment at a time. We are not saying no, we are saying, "Plan it out and take it slow!"
Beloved Pet Death: We know what it is like to lose a pet, and our hearts go out to you. Before considering adopting a new Bengal, please understand that your beloved pet was unique and can never be replaced, even if you find another that looks just like him/her. As long as you have made peace with that fact, you will be able to achieve a healthy closure and move on to your next pet. In this case as well we are not saying no, just to take your time and act only when it it feels right.
Allergies: Bengals do not shed like a regular cat. When you comb a regular cat, you will get a wad of hair in your comb. When you comb a Bengal, you get nothing, perhaps a stray hair or two, no matter how many times you go over them. I have seen only two rare cases of severe allergies that were so awful, they couldn't have a Bengal. I can't help you there, I'm sorry. :(
We want our kittens to grow up up healthy and happy, so we do ask some general questions to make it easier for everyone.
This is a lot of reading! Would you be so kind as to summarize some of this stuff!?
This IS the short version. :)