How To Buy a Bengal Cat
This short article on how to buy a Bengal cat simply covers some of the things that I would do if I was buying a Bengal cat. This is a very popular cat indeed and there are very many breeders particularly in the United States, where bling is king! And nearly all of them are going to be good. But we don’t know where the bad ones are. And we don’t know, initially, without some checks and thoughts, which are the best cats and which cats are going to turn out to be the healthiest.
Prices vary a lot depending on what kind of Bengal cat is being bought. I recently noticed that a super high quality and very successful show cat and breeding cat was being being sold for about $4,000-6,000 USD (at early 2009). But the usual prices will be the same for any purebred cat, $300 – $1200 (at 2008 £300-£500 in the UK).
How to start? I would do a Google search and the highest listed catteries are likely to be the most established. This is a good sign but not a conclusive sign. I list some catteries here, that I considered passed the Google search test as at 2008 (things change of course).
One thing that might not come to mind to a first time purebred cat buyer is that some breeds carry a greater risk of showing genetically inherited diseases more than in another breed. This is due to the historical nature of the development of that breed over many years. The “problem” may originate in the founding cats and/or be exacerbated by the breeding program. I would visit this page on Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats. For the Bengal cat these are the diseases associated with it, that I have found out about:
- Entropion(scroll down this linked page)
- Psychogenic alopecia
- Retinal atrophy
- Distal neuropathy (about 10% of cats – source: Fabcats.org)
- Bengal Nose (not confirmed as genetic but seems likely)
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Of these, in my opinion, the most important is HCM, a heart disease that also affects some other purebred cat breeds. In respect of health issues and these diseases I would ask the breeder for full, original and authentic documentary evidence that three generations in relation to the cat that you are buying have proved negative in relation to HCM. And if possible the other diseases listed but this is very unlikely to be produced.
If the parents have tested positive it may be handed down to offspring. It may be too early to test for HCM in a kitten but the parents should have been tested and not all Bengal breeders will test and of those that do not all disclose the test results for obvious reasons. HCM is a bad disease and it will affect you, the buyer (in terms of vet’s bills and worry) and your cat. This post explains HCM in simple language.
Without certificates from vets as to negative results on HCM I personally would not proceed. But this is matter of personal choice but is something that must be addressed in an article on how to buy a Bengal cat. The breeder will have a contract and all the papers to prove pedigree. The breeder may insist, in the contract, that the cat to be purchased be neutered. Sometimes unscrupulous buyers who present themselves as people buying a companion cat, in fact, want to breed and the seller won’t allow that. The contract should be read top to bottom despite the desire not to because of the circumstances. You might make initially enquiries and ask for a copy of the contract and vet certificates (mentioned above in relation to HCM etc.) up front before visiting the cattery as this will allow a more considered approach. It is essential to visit the cattery. An inspection of the cattery will tell a lot about the quality of care and socialization.
And socialization is very important too. Bengal cats are known to have active, slightly different personalities because they are, after all, a wildcat hybrid. Although 4th generation cats are true domestic cats some wild blood remains. Bengal cats must be non-challenging (under the breed standard) and well socialized so a little (or a lot) of time spent with the cats before buying is time well spent as you will be living with this little companion for a long time, all being well.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive how to buy a Bengal cat article but simply cover some points that come to my mind on the subject, which may help. Buying any companion cat is a very big step as he or she will change your life, for a good 15 years or more.
How To Buy a Bengal Cat — Photo of silver spotted Bengal cat is copyright Helmi Flick – please respect copyright.