Buying a Bengal, Savannah, or Any Pedigreed Cat...
Thinking about buying a CAT?
I have always adopted rescues with my family growing up, so the thought
of purchasing a cat was very foreign to me, much less, spending over $2000
for one! It is a great privilege to own a pedigreed cat for several reasons.
For one, they are bred for health. Reputable breeders apply much effort and expenses
into testing and breeding out the genetic faults. Secondly, temperament will be favorable.
What is the use of having lap leopard that does not like humans, bites, and spits at you?
It's not a good situation for either party. A domestic cat should be your companion and
live a full life filled with love and friendship with your family. Thirdly, it's no secret that
Bengals & Savannahs are purchased for their unique beauty. A beautifully patterned cat is
a luxurious experience. Not only are they gorgeous, but they follow you around like puppy dogs
and cuddle with you during bedtime. However, to ensure the best relationship with your cat,
you must be prepared for some emotional and financial responsibilities. Keep the following questions in mind as
we go along.
**Have I found the right breed to fit into my lifestyle and household?
**Will you have enough time to spend training, grooming, and playing with a cat?
**Am I willing to spend the financials to guarantee the optimal future for a cat?
Is there a breed that has caught your eye and absolutely fell in love with, or are you indecisive about which cat to select? In either case, you should do some research to ensure that you select the right cat for you and your family. The bonus of choosing a purebred cat is their predictability in size, coat, care requirements, health history, and temperament. Knowing what your cute kitty will look like and the kind of care he or she will need as an adult is a key in selecting the appropriate breed for you.
You and your CAT
It's so exciting when you're picking out your new kitten. Unfortunately, common sense tends
to escape us when purchasing a kitty. This seems to be more evident when the decision is made by a
family with children. Buying a cat is like buying anything else; the more you research before you buy,
the better off you will be. This advice applies to all aspects of buying your cat, from selecting
the breed to deciding where to obtain the kitty. We strongly recommend that you spend enough time
investigating before buying. Remember, cats are for life.
Are you a new breeder? Join Cat Breeders: Newbies and Mentors.
If you're a Savannah cat fan, then you should join Savannah Cat Lovers.
An excellent source of information about raw feeding can be found in the Cats Completely Raw and Proud group.
If you're a Bengal cat lover, then join Bengal Cat Owners and Lovers.
During your research, always be honest with yourself. The Persian you fell in love with because of his luxurious coat is indeed spectacular, but do you have the time to brush this coat every day as it requires? Maybe a short coated cat better suits your hectic lifestyle. Think about the size of your house or your apartment. Will that Abyssinian be content in your studio apartment? The Abyssinian is a quite energetic cat who requires a lot of exercise. Do you have an outdoor run so he can go out safely? If not, can you afford to install such an outdoor arrangement? These are important questions regarding the safety of your cat and being a responsible neighbor. Always remember, it is okay to change your mind about which breed you want or if you want the responsibility of owning a cat at all. Owning a cat is a big responsibility! Talk to breeders. Attend cat shows and ask lots of questions; we all know there are no stupid questions. A responsible breeder will happily answer your inquiries and share his or her experience and knowledge with you. If you question the integrity of a breeder, obtain their vet information and call them as a reference.
Selecting a BREEDER
It's very imperative that your kitty comes from a responsible and well-respected breeder.
This cannot be stressed enough. Responsible breeders are concerned with the betterment of the breed.
Structure, health, temperament, and breed standard are all very considerable factors when it comes to
breeding. Once you select a breeder, screen the breeder. Ask to see at least one of the parents
(the dam or the sire) of your kitty. Also, contact their vet. Their staff will be more than happy to
reveal any medical or temperament issues they have observed. See how the cats in your breeder's home
interact with your breeder. Are they friendly and outgoing or are they skittish and unsocialized? What
are the living conditions? Are their litter boxes kept clean? Are the cats sneezing or have eye discharge?
The responsible breeder will be screening you, too, looking for the best home for each kitty. There are
breeders that will tell you they've been breeding for X amount of years. We started our breeding
program in 2012 and have produced a Supreme Grand Champion or two each show season since then. So, if
a breeder tells they've been breeding for 25 years and do no have anything to show for it, then they
are not breeding to the appropriate
Bengal or Savannah
breed standards or perhaps they are concentrating on the early generations, which are not allowed to show.
Ask how many different breeds of cats is the breeder breeding? If they have different breeds in various cat classes, then the focus on the Bengal or Savannah may not be appropriately concentrated. Many breeders that do breed multiple breeds usually breed within the same breed group or allowable outcrosses. So for example, we breed both Bengals and Savannahs, although not allowable outcrosses, they are both brown spotted tabbies.
Not all breeders show and that's perfectly acceptable; however, we feel that showing gives a breeder an extra edge because it allows them to network with other breeders, observe trends that adhere to the breed standard, and plus, it's a social activity for all cat breeders.
When researching for the perfect cat for your home, one way of determining a quality Bengal or Savannah is their pedigree. If the parents, grandparents, and great great grandparents are International Winners (IW), which is the highest title other than the Lifetime Achievement (LA) and Supreme Grand Champions (SGC), then you are looking at a cat that is probably Show and Breeder quality. Showing can be very stressful on a cat and not all of them enjoy it, which is fine as long as their general temperament at home is friendly. It takes one bad experience that can ruin a show career of a cat, no matter the breed. Just because a cat isn't showing, it does not make it a bad example of the breed. It just prefers to stay home!
Buying a KITTY
How Much does a Bengal or Savannah cost?
If you're searching for a "deal", then you will most likely run into health issues in the future. Backyard breeders do not test, vet, or properly care for their cats. Their biggest concern is the money factor. Here is a simple vet bill broken down:
Vaccinations: $15 (x3) = $45
Health check: $50
Office visit: $25 (x3) = $75
This does not include any fecal, URI, litter, food, or any other health issues that may arise. So, at minimum, a kitten out the door already costs the breeder on average $295 without any health issues.
This also does not cover the following for each parent:
HCM Screening: $500 (in office visit) / $200 (HCM clinic)
UC Davis Color test: $60
Pk Deficiency: $40
So, for a set of parent testing, there is an investment around $1300.
This also does not include their
health checks, health issues over the years, emergency healthcare, annual wormings, and flea prevention.
Unfortunately, there are breeders that do not breed for health and therefore do not breed out HCM and other
medical issues tied into the the Bengal and Savannah breeds, which make it necessary that reputable breeders
exercise this responsibility. Our Cardiologist recommends HCM screenings once every two years. Dr. Kyle Brayley, DVM is a very respected veterinarian that graduated top of his class at Texas A&M and
of his readings are very accurate.
Spay/neuter, vaccinations, and homing kittens at 12 weeks of age are all obligations that a reputable breeder practices. Some breeders do not have the luxury of early spay/neuter and will allow the pet buyer take on this responsibility in exchange for registration papers after receipt of the appropriate vet records. This is where contracts are critical. They are designed to protect both the buyer and the breeder.
Some breeders require deposits and some do not. If your heart is set on a particular look, color, pairing, trait, etc., then you can always request to hold a kitten in exchange for a deposit, which is typically nonrefundable. We do not require deposits for our kittens, but will grant one if you are absolutely positive that you want a particular kitten.
Scammers and Backyard Breeders
Sites like Craigslist and Hoobly are filled with "to good to be true" prices for Bengals, Savannahs, and
many other purebred cats. These are usually backyard breeders and scammers.
Here are a few things to note while purchasing your kitty:
**Avoid sending money via Western Union. These are usually your scammers.
**If you Google the phone number provided and a bunch of different species or breeds of animals they are selling populate, stay away.
**Same day delivery to all 50 states and multiple countries is not possible. Cat/kittens need a health check by a vet and their rabies before any flight activity.
**Pedigreed kitten is offered at less than $500 - this is way too low and a scam.
**Unable to visit or see the kitty before purchase? There's no excuse for this - this a huge red flag!
**Email in choppy English that makes no sense? This is typically a scammer.
**No health guarantee offered. This is an obvious sign they do not test genetically or healthfully. We do not recommend if you want a happy and heathy kitty.
**"Text only" - so they don't want to speak to you? Why? Another Red Flag.
Can you afford a KITTY?
The purchase price of your kitty is not the only cost you have to consider. Be aware that the kitty you bring home will need proper care: food, health care, (a cat needs annual shots), and city fees. Your kitty will also need little things like toys, bowls, litter, litter pans, and a possibly a leash if you plan to walk them. Evaluate your budget; ask yourself if you really can afford a cat. Cat Ownership = Responsibility.
Being a responsible owner means considering your cat's lifelong health care needs, whether for preventive care or for unexpected accidents, injuries and illnesses that could happen at any time, however well you look after your cat. It is sensible to consider planning for these. There is pet insurance available for these unexpected possibilities.
Check your local shelters. Bengals and Savannahs often get dumped at shelters, so if you're lucky, you may be able to save one!
Caring for your CAT
All cats must be cared for daily. This means proper diet, litter box cleaning, exercise, grooming,
and veterinary attention.
There are many excellent guides on all facets of cat care. We recommend you have these or some other
authoritative reference source available. Do not attempt to be your own veterinarian! All cats should be
regularly examined by a veterinarian and inoculated against the major infectious feline diseases.
Pet health insurance offers options for coverage toward these essential items, as well as toward preventative
Your CAT and your neighbors
All cat owners must be aware of their responsibilities to their neighbors, both those who live in the area immediately around their residence and their neighbors in the broader sense of the community as a whole. Cats, for all the pleasure they are, can be a nuisance to your neighbors if not contained. It's also a safety issue to allow your cats to roam freely. Predators, cars, and unfortunately, evil people are just a few of the outdoor problems you may encounter. Cats do not need to be outside. They are domesticated and perfectly happy inside the home. Keeping them inside helps prevent flea, injury, tick, and other possible infestations.