About Our Cats
Sakura Bengals is an in-home cattery located in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. Our Bengal kittens are raised underfoot as a part of our family where they have lots of playtime with my husband and I, plus our two children. Our breeding cats have lots of attention as well! Breeding males each have their own outdoor "catios" where they can enjoy the fresh mountain air, view of the mountains, and wild animals passing by - including deer, pheasants, and wild turkeys! A "catio" is basically a screened patio designed with our cats' needs in mind. The catios have natural branches for climbing, shelter from rain/sun/wind, and heated houses for the winter. I do wish our boys could live in our home with us, but intact male cats spray urine to make their territory. So unfortunately it just isn't possible to keep them in the house. We provide them with lots of room and attention! My husband and I both work from home so we are able to spend a lot of time interacting with our Bengals throughout the day. Our breeding females spend their time rotating between our home, our climate-controlled cattery building, and the outdoor catios depending on their individual schedule. We love taking our breeding cats to shows when we can! It's a great way to ensure that we are working towards the standard of perfection for our breed as well as getting to show off our cats and meet other Bengal breeders and enthusiasts. We also only keep our adults as breeders for a few years to ensure that they will be able to spend the majority of their lives as pampered house pets after being spayed/neutered.
Kittens Raised In-Home
Kittens are born in a cozy spot in one of our bedrooms or in their own nursery room and stay there for the first few weeks. This ensures that they can get used to the sights/sounds/smells of people while remaining in a safe space with their mother. We are present during birth but remain hands-off unless absolutely necessary. We do check kittens frequently and handle them from day one, but in the first few weeks the kitten-mother relationship is most important! Once the kittens are climbing out of the nest box, they are ready for lots more handling and attention! They leave the nest box and start exploring at around 3-4 weeks old and are introduced to the litter box at that time. They stay with their mother in one room until they are using the litter box reliably. Within the next couple of weeks they are ready for more freedom and are given full access to the main living area of our home where they can play and run amok! Unlike mass-producing catteries where kittens are raised in cages, our kittens enjoy climbing all over our furniture, snuggling with people, running from the vacuum, and getting used to all the sights and sounds and handling that prepares them to be well-adjusted pets. Kittens also stay here with us for a minimum of 12-14 weeks. This ensures that they have had the time to learn through play with their siblings. This sibling play is essential for helping the kittens learn to play without excessive roughness and hard biting! Additionally this allows them time to meet the weight requirement for their spay/neuter and recover fully before going to their new homes.
Health and Diet
The best diet and health testing are top priorities for us! We feed all our Bengals a high-quality raw meat only diet that we prepare ourselves from human grade meat including pasture-raised chickens from our own family farm and raw meat sourced from www.simplyrawsomeus.com. Our adult Bengals are tested for PKDef and PRAb using Optimal Selection genoscoper DNA testing and are also screened for HCM via ultrasound by a feline cardiologist every 12-18 months. We are also an FIV/FeLV negative tested cattery. For more information on our health and genetics testing, see our Policies page. Any new Bengals we acquire and Bengals returning from shows or trips to the vet are kept separate from other cats for a minimum of two weeks. We are happy to show potential kitten-adopters photos and video of our in-home cattery as well as Facetime. Cattery visits are by appointment only.
We use and recommend Catalyst Cat Litter! It is all natural, scoopable, biodegradable, and controls odor well. All our kittens come with a 10 lb bag of Catalyst!
Kittens can be picked up at our home which is just north of Asheville, North Carolina or we can meet you within a few hours' drive if arranged ahead of time. *We do not ship kittens via cargo* You are welcome to fly into the Asheville, NC airport and take your kitten back with you as a carry-on. Asheville is a great place to visit! We also work with Haulin Paws and Furbabies Express pet transport teams that will pick up your kitten from us and deliver him/her right to your home! Price for transport varies based on distance.
A Brief History of Sakura Bengals
Sakura Bengals began in 2008 with the purchase of our first Bengal "Ming Yao" who was to become our first Bengal stud. At the time my husband Travis and I were living in Alabama and had only been married a few years. We added our first female "Pixie" and their daughter from our first litter "Gia" before we imported our show star "Eclipse" from Canada. I spent several months showing Eclipse and our new snow girl "Luna" throughout in the Southeast before becoming pregnant myself. Eclipse became a Triple Grand Champion and at that point I retired from showing (temporarily). After our son was born in 2010, we continued breeding Bengals while a very good friend showed our homegrown Sakura Midnight Sun aka "Max" to Quadruple Grand Champion status!
While our Bengals were doing extremely well the next year and a half, we had to reevaluate our cattery due to some life changes. I became pregnant in 2012 with our daughter and at that same time my husband accepted a promotion at work. We made the tough decision to retire from breeding - not knowing if we'd ever have the time or resources to give it another go. All of our beautiful breeding cats were spayed/neutered and went to their forever homes. I thought that was the end of Bengals for us.
However, a few years later we made a major decision to change our lifestyle and move to North Carolina to start a farm! A few years after that, the stars aligned and we made the decision to jump back in, even though that meant starting from scratch. So we started our Bengal adventure all over again in 2017 - older and wiser and with a couple of kitten-crazy kids to help out! Now several years into "Phase two" of our cattery we have found that our past experiences have helped guide us while we continue to learn and improve our program.
The photos below are of our climate-controlled cattery building we added in Summer 2019! It took a lot of work (mostly from Travis, though I helped paint). We still have some finishing touches to do like painting the access panels to the attic storage and will be adding climbing shelves. The old cat furniture in these photos has already been replaced. We are so excited to have the extra easily-cleaned space for spraying cats and young kittens who aren't fully litter box trained yet. We spend a lot of time in the cattery building. I have my office there and do most of my correspondence, website updates, and record keeping there with cats in my lap or kittens underfoot. There are 3 individual rooms, but any of our cats that are in the rooms also spend time in the main cattery space (which includes my office) every day. None of our cats live in the cattery full time. They all rotate to our home and outdoor catios depending on their breeding schedules. All kittens live in our home full time as soon as they are using the litter box reliably! This ensures they are very well socialized and ready to be fantastic companions for their new person/family. Our breeding females only have 1-2 litters per year and all our breeding cats are retired by the age of 5 so that they can spend the majority of their lives being spoiled pets.