Generally, you get what you pay for. The cost of breeding Bengals is high and seeing kittens advertised at vastly cheaper prices should ring alarm bells.
Your kitten should be registered with TICA or the GCCF and, in fact, this is your only proof that you are buying a pedigreed Bengal kitten that is 100% Bengal. This also means that the breeder has the breeding rights to breed their cats. You are spending your hard-earned money, so you want to be certain that you are buying a pedigree Bengal. Buying top quality breeding cats costs a lot of money, and, buying pet quality cats, that should not be bred from, is one way that back yard breeders can sell kittens cheaply. Breeding from lower quality Bengals will produce kittens that can lack the striking, clarity of markings and unique physical structure that make a Bengal so breath taking and give it that wild cat look.
Our cats are in excellent health and condition before they are bred, and have been vaccinated, regularly treated for parasites and frequently health checked. They are tested negative for FIV and FeLV, DNA tested clear for PKdef, PRA Bengal, PKD and PRA rdAc, and screened regularly for HCM. Breeders that are not genetically testing have no interest in removing unhealthy genetics from their bloodlines and, therefore, the breed itself. Every pregnant cat has ultrasounds, as well as all her pregnancy checks. Health care, screening and testing is expensive, but dramatically increases your chances of buying a healthy kitten. This is one area that breeders cut costs. They also may not vaccinate their kittens, follow a rigorous parasite protocol or health check their kittens.
Cheaper Bengal kittens may be kept in cages, to maximise numbers for profit, with limited human involvement, producing unsocialized kittens. If a breeder has not invested a lot of time in a thorough socialisation program, you will need to re-socialise your kitten at home. Costs will have been cut and shortcuts taken that may have a negative impact on your kitten later, that you simply may not see right now. Diet plays a crucial part in your kittens health, and pregnant cats and kittens fed on poor quality food to maximise profit will have a real effect on your new kitten’s immune system.
A breeder that takes pride in their breeding programme, will boldly have testimonials on their website or Facebook page to give you a clear idea of what customers previous experiences were. You are spending money and investing emotion on a Bengal kitten that will be a part of your family for many, many years so please do your research and make sure you buy a documented TICA or GCCF registered Bengal from a responsible breeder.