It is certainly no wonder that you may be searching for the perfect little Bengal kitten to join your family. The Bengal is one of the most popular cat breeds in the United States — maybe the world. During your search it is very likely that you will be dealing with someone you have never met, that may live a long distance from you, and that you know little about. Such is the very nature of breeding.
You will surely want to know you are dealing with a responsible, ethical breeder, not an ill-informed “backyard breeder” or pet store clerk.
Where can I find a responsible, ethical breeder?
We hope that you will believe that we at Bagheera Bengals are the breeder you will choose exactly because we are ethical and responsible. Even so we think it is important that you have the opportunity to compare us with other breeders. We are eager for you to do so because we are convinced that Bagheera Bengals can stack up against any other cat breeder – anywhere! So we are willing to help you make the comparison.
There are many, many very honorable and ethical cat breeders. You can find the names and addresses of breeders in several places. Cat magazines such as Cat Fancy, Cats Magazine, Kittens Magazine, Cats USA, Kittens USA, Cats & Kitten, and others have listings of breeders. A quick search on the Internet will provide you with links to hundreds. You can also visit the web site of some of the cat associations and view a list of their member breeders. A partial list of these associations can be found on our Links page. Probably the best places to meet and talk to breeders is at a cat show. You can see all the different colors and patterns, learn about the characteristics of the breed, and ask questions. Face-to-face you can also read the breeder’s body language. It can tell more than you can hear on the telephone or read in an e-mail message.
A word of caution – newspaper ads are probably the worst place to try to find a breeder. Although, from time to time, highly reputable breeders place newspaper ads, poor breeders use newspapers as their primary, (and sometimes the only) advertising vehicle. Also, just because a breeder, or cattery, is advertised in a magazine, has a web site, or is a member of one or more cat associations, does not mean that they are reputable, honorable, ethical, or responsible. So, your work is not done. Once you have selected a few breeders to contact you can use the following suggestions to help you make your own informed decision about their character and ethics.
Adding a cat, especially a Bengal cat, to your family is a joy and a large and lifelong commitment. Experiencing the love of a kitten is definitely worth the effort and expense. However, it makes good sense to ask a lot of questions before making any purchase. You want the right kitten from the right breeder! A good breeder answers questions openly and honestly, telling you the good and the bad about the breed and offers to help you learn about proper cat care and training.
A responsible breeder
- Will ask you a lot of questions.
- Expects you to ask a lot of questions, believing there are no “stupid” questions.
- Is forthright with you about the best and worst parts of the Bengal breed.
- Will try to determine if the Bengal is right for you, and may steer you in another direction if they think not.
- Spends individual time with each of his cats/kittens.
- Demonstrates openly their concern for each and every kitten.
- Is very concerned with excellent temperament in his/her cats/kittens as well as excellent health.
- Is available for advice and help to other breeders, cat owners and throughout the life of the cats/kittens he/she has placed.
- Will explain that a guarantee is not a promise that a genetic health problem won’t occur, but a promise about what will happen if it does?
- Provides pedigrees, written health guarantees, and vaccination records with each kitten.
- Will show you the dam and (if possible) the sire.
- Thoroughly evaluates potential kitten buyers to be sure each kitten is put into a good home.
- Will indicate a desire educate help educate you on the Bengal and the appropriate care for them.
- Insist that the kittens be at least ten to twelve weeks before being placed?
- Will ask about your lifestyle, family, experience with cats and other pets, why you wanted a kitten?
- Will questions your ability to care for the kitten.
- Maintains sanitary, clean quarters for their cats.
- Is motivated by the love of their breed, and NOT profit.
- Will not offer to sell kittens without papers?
- Is active in showing their cats (or provides a reasonable reason why not).
- Will want to keep tabs on you and your cat for the cat’s life.
- Breeds for a reason — to improve the breed.
- Carefully considers each litter before it is created.
- Thoroughly checks for health and genetic problems before breeding.
- Believes the selected breeders are proven in some way to have the desired characteristics essential to improving the breed.
- Often keeps kitten from litter for his/her breeding program to use as future breeders.
- Requires that kittens be spayed/neutered unless they are to be used for breeding.
- Takes back any cat he/she ever bred if that cat loses its home.
- Is honest about the various setbacks their breeding program may have suffered.
- Is deeply knowledgeable about the Bengal, its history, weaknesses, strengths and the direction the breed is going.
- Will refuse to sell a kitten to a family that is unsuited to the breed.
- Provides advice, feedback, and other help to people who have purchased a kitten from him/her.
- Is willing to recommend to a family that adopting an adult cat of the breed might be a better option for them and helps them find a rescue group.
- Will ask you if you plan on breeding?
- Will make you feel comfortable about calling for advice or asking lots of questions.
- Will have introduced the kitten to children and other animals.
- Is concerned enough about the welfare of the cat to promise to take it back (no matter how old) if you can’t keep it? (Not necessarily pay you, the purpose is to avoid the shelter, ensure good placement)
- Will never be reluctant to, nor be defensive in, answering questions.
- Does not claim that his or her lines are entirely free of genetic health problems?
- Will never pressure you or offer you any extra incentive to buy a kitten.
- Considers themself to be a professional in the business of breeding.
- Does not charge different prices depending upon the sex of the kitten.
- Insists on being informed of any health, genetic or behavioral problems the cat/kitten may develop in it’s lifetime.