Sakura Bengals kittens are available to approved homes only. Kitten adopters will be required to sign a contract abiding by a few simple rules for the health and safety of your Bengal. Bengals must be kept indoors, or in a secure outdoor play area only. We do not allow declawing. If at any point you are unable to care for your Bengal for any reason, you must return the Bengal to Sakura Bengals OR request written permission from us for a change in ownership if you plan to rehome to a friend. Usually if a Bengal needs to be rehomed, the current owners know the most about the Bengal's personality and what type of home would be best, however we ALWAYS need to approve a potential new home and know where our Bengals are. We never want our Bengals to have any chance of ending up homeless or in a shelter. We will always take them back if needed, no matter the reason. ALL Bengals are spayed or neutered before going to their new homes unless sold as show/breeding cats.
Our contract also includes our promises to you including our health guarantee! We offer a FIVE year guarantee against congenital defects as well as a FIVE year guarantee against Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). Our breeding cats are screened clear of HCM every 12-18 months, are negative for FIV/FeLV, and DNA tested with Optimal Selection Genoscoper tests to ensure we do not produce PRAb or PKDef affected kittens. PLEASE if you choose to purchase from another cattery, make sure they screen for the above disorders!!! Many breeders are not yet screening for PRAb because they've "never had a problem" however PRAb affected kittens are completely normal until they start to go blind around the age of 2 or 3. PKDef is a blood disorder that does not show any symptoms in kittens but causes severe anemia and possible organ failure or death around the age of 4 years. There is NO excuse for breeders not doing the test to prevent these terrible diseases! All it takes is a simple mouth swab DNA test (sent through the mail) costing around $80-$100 per cat!
Unfortunately, HCM testing is not so easy. There is currently NO DNA test to detect HCM in Bengals. The ONLY thing we can do to prevent it is to have our breeding cats screened via ultrasound of the heart by a feline cardiologist every 12-18 months. This is not easy or cheap but is 100% necessary. While HCM screening does not guarantee that the cat will never develop a heart issue, it does allow us to remove any problem cats from our cattery early. Some breeders decide not to HCM screen because it's not a guarantee that the cat will never have a problem. This is true - a cat that screens clear at 1 year old may have symptoms of HCM that show up at its 2- or 3-year-old screening or beyond. (The older they are when screening clear, the more likely it is that they are truly clear.) However, if the breeder doesn't screen, they have NO way of knowing if they are breeding a cat that currently has a problem. By screening we can remove the cats that do have heart problems rather than unknowingly passing the problem on.
For Example: Bengal Female Soleil is just over 1 year old - Breeder A screens her for HCM and finds out that Soleil shows signs of HCM. Breeder A purchased Soleil for $3500 and has spent an additional $1500 on her food/litter/vet care and heart screenings, but Breeder A is ethical and knows that with HCM being genetic there is a strong likelihood that if Soleil is bred her kittens will have heart defects. Rather than take that unnecessary chance, Breeder A spays Soleil and incurs the loss of the $5000 investment.
Bengal Female Mocha is just over a year old and is owned by Breeder B. Breeder B doesn't screen for HCM because it's expensive, it's inconvenient, and Breeder B "has never had a problem before." Mocha has 2 litters per year averaging 4 kittens per litter. Her breeder is charging $2000+ per kitten but doesn't want to spend $200-300 per year to screen Mocha for HCM. By the time Mocha turns 3 and has started panting with any exertion she has already had 16 kittens. By the time she has a heart attack and dies at age 5 she has had 32 kittens. Theoretically at least half of her kittens will have the same heart problems that Mocha had. That's statistically 16 families that will suffer an unnecessary and heartbreaking loss because Mocha's owner didn't want to invest the time and money in HCM screening. ***THIS is why at Sakura Bengals we always HCM screen!!!*** We know that it's not a perfect test since it only tells us what the heart looks like that day. But it's better that not knowing at all and sticking our heads in the sand and hoping for the best. That's not how we breed. We do the absolute best we can with what we have. We hope for the day when we can test for HCM with a swab of the cheek the way we do for PRAb and PKDef.
***I initially wrote this story as "hypothetical" but actually the part about Soleil and Breeder A is 100% true. Bengal Female Soleil is real, and I am Breeder A. It was a huge loss for us when she was screened and heart problems were found. The breeder who we bought her from (Michelle Wilbur of Coppertone Bengals) not only failed to honor her health guarantee, but never so much as offered any apology or response at all. It was a huge financial loss for us. Soleil went to a wonderful pet home and was very much loved. Unfortunately, her heart problems resulted in her death in 2021 shortly after her 4th birthday.***
Want to get started breeding Bengals? Be prepared to invest a LOT of money, time, and work! Breeding cats, housing, feeding, and medical bills add up fast - it's easy to spend $8,000 - 10,000 or MORE before you've had a single kitten born. If you plan to breed kittens in your home, you will still need an easily cleaned place for your Bengal male since male cats will spray urine to mark their territory. Females in heat will call loudly, even during the night. Sometimes the females spray too (like both my Lyra and Nola!). Things can go wrong, and emergency vet care is not cheap. A few years ago, we spent over $3,000 on a female Bengal and a year showing her only to have her end up with a uterine infection requiring emergency spay to save her life. She never had a single kitten. She was a beautiful Bengal (still is!) and has been a wonderful companion for two of my best friends. I am very happy that she has a great life and is very loved but was disappointed that she was not able to contribute to our breeding program. This is just one example of things that can go wrong. Another example is a breeding cat with a bad heart like the above story about our Soleil. Occasionally a kitten is stillborn or dies shortly after birth. Sometimes kittens get sick and require round-the-clock care. We once lost a seemingly healthy 14-week-old kitten during her spay surgery. Many things are completely out of our control and absolutely heartbreaking. We also have had a mama cat get sick with an infection and require expensive emergency surgery to save her life - we had to bottle feed her kittens every few hours for weeks while mama recovered.
We are often contacted by people who want their kittens intact so they can have "just one litter" to sell/give to friends and family. While this may sound like a good idea, by the time you factor in all the expenses and time involved, there is no way to recoup your initial investment on just one litter. It can take several litters and several years to recoup the initial investment even IF you are lucky and nothing major goes wrong. We highly recommend getting on the foster list at your local shelter or rescue if you want to have the experience of raising a litter. There are often pregnant female cats that need foster homes while they birth and raise their kittens. Being a foster is all the fun (and work) without the expense and commitment of full-time cat breeding.
Even when things go right it is a LOT of working taking care of the cats, updating the website, corresponding with potential clients, socializing kittens, and of course cleaning! We spend a lot of time cleaning - nobody makes a mess quite like a rambunctious litter of Bengal kittens! Still want to breed Bengals? Then you are crazy like us! We ARE willing to sell kittens as breeders to new catteries but be ready to answer a lot of questions from us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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