In Thailand and among Bengal Thai breeders, there is the misunderstanding that the quality of a kitten is related to the size of the pattern rosettes.
The quality of a Bengal starts with their health, like any other breeds:
- The kind of feed that they give (raw feed + high quality dry feed)
- How do they raise the kittens and supplements
- Vaccination program
- Guarantee of health for a period of time
- PK Def and PRA-b genetic disease tested in parents or kitten
- HCM annual checks to monitor the possible carriers of this heart disease
- Follow-up and support from the breeder if there is any health or behavioural issue with the kitten.
Just all the health checks, vaccines, tests, feed and supplements have already a cost. If you want to buy a kitten that is going to be a pet for life, you should take in account that the quality of the kittens is mostly there. If the cat dies within the first 3 years due to genetic diseases, will the breeder take the responsibility? Is this quality? Almost no breeders are exempted of having cats carrying some genetic diseases, and the only way to ensure that the kittens is healthy is knowing what cats are carriers and planning the mating accordingly.
Another aspect that is very important is the character or behaviour of the kitten. This is some work that has been done among years selecting for the best Bengal cats to be breeders or breeding quality, and these need to be very social and also raised with love and lots of attention. A cattery with many cats and lots of cages cannot give the needed amount of time for the kittens’ good socialization.
Then, the beauty of the kitten, and the beauty here I state it as “impartial beauty”, not what a breeder might try to sell you, but the beauty that is described by the Bengal standards and that judges have said “yes, this cat fits into the standards beautifulness of a Bengal”. As all breeders cannot evaluate all their kittens by judges, titles gained in shows, bloodlines and knowledge of the breeder about the standards may play an important role and help identifying what is “beautiful” or what does not follow the Bengal standards. For example, a Bengal with big closed rosettes with long ears and a big head compared to the body does not follow the standard. All Bengal standards treat equally the size of the rosettes and the pattern; so small rosettes are as good as clouded rosettes. The development of the pattern is to avoid vertical alignments (or vertical rosettes) in a Bengal and to have a horizontal flow, with no verticals and having spots or rosettes even in the legs, or tail like the ALC, a leopard or even a clouded leopard have, instead of straight lines.
Finally, some more added costs to a kitten is the registration of the litter and the pedigree, something that is very important, no matter the kitten is going as a pet or going for breeding, as the pedigrees is the only way to follow the titles, genetic diseases and to proof that the cat is a pure breed cat.
Before taking a decision of purchasing a kitten, be careful with breeders trying to sell kittens very expensive and without guarantees of health! How would you trust them? Would you risk it? I hope this information can help anyone trying to find a kitten to avoid scams and buy responsibly.