It is confusing with so many people breeding the Bengal cat, the most popular short hair breed, where to go? Who to trust? What should you ask? As a breeder, I appreciate people who ask me questions and know in this way they are also going to be selecting the BREEDER not just the cat. Just so you have a beginning point, I am going to suggest some questions to ask and answer some of these myself. Always feel free to contact me with any more questions.
QUESTIONS TO ASK BREEDERS
- What is the goal of your breeding program?
- Do you show?
- Who gives your shots? Guarantees your cats/kittens health?
- Do you guarantee against FeLV?
- If a cat contacts FIP, do you replace the kitten?
- What about Tritrichomanas foetus ? (Tri-trich)
- Do you have written guarantees for health?
- Are both parents at your cattery?
- Where are the kittens raised?
- Pictures? Video?
- Are references available?
- Can I visit your cattery?
- How long have you been breeding?
- What is your main interest in the Bengal?
- How many cats are in your breeding program?
- What is your Responsible Breeding rating from The International Cat Association (TICA)? Or other Internationally recognized registry?
- Are you a member of The International Bengal Cat Society (TIBCS)?
- Have you signed the Code of Ethics of TIBCS and TICA?
- Are you a Breeder of Distinction from TIBCS?
MY ANSWERS TO: QUESTIONS TO ASK BREEDERS
1. What is the goal of your breeding program?
At A-Kerr’s our goal is to create healthy, well socialized, beautiful cats that become integral parts of peoples’ lives. Cats that are loved, raised and bred in the proper environment, and selected for health as well as beauty, offer one of the very rare things in the world… unconditional love.
2. Do you show?
Libbie has shown since 1991. Libbie and Sam are active with the different breed committees and associations. It is important to develop an eye for the breed, and be able to compare the direction of the bred to your own. Samantha is co-owner The International Cat Association’s Bengal cat of the Year of 2013, she also showed the International Cat Association’s Second International Bengal kitten of the Year in 2011, and TICA’s Second International Bengal cat of the Year in 2012.
Samantha is more precise in the TYPE (head shape, tail length, ear set, etc) while Libbie is much more interested in the color and patterning. So together they make an incredible team!
3. Who gives your shots? Guarantees your cats/kittens health?
My veterinarian then sees the kittens at 6 weeks for their first check up, at eleven weeks for the second check up, and often, another time before the kitten leaves. The receive one FPL-CVR vaccine and have been checked for cataracts, heart murmurs, leg and hip problems… etc.. I guarantee the health of my kittens and your veterinarian is given complete access to health records through my veterinarian on your kitten. I insist that your veterinarian call mine with any questions and allow the veterinarians complete access.
4. Feline Leukemia FeLV
FeLV vaccines are kept current on all my cats sot that I can guarantee that your kitten has not been exposed.
5. What about Corona virus?
I check the adults, but do not test kittens unless specifically asked. The reason is the controversy over the efficacy of the testing. The presence or absence of a Corona titer is not reliable as an indicator of Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which is a deadly virus among cats. It is estimated that as many as 80% of cats have an exposure and carry a titer, however, only 1-5% of those with titers actually succumb to FIP. Since testing is expensive and non-conclusive, I now test my adults annually and my vet will randomly select kittens to test. Kittens are raised in such a way as to limit or prevent exposure to the virus.
- Six weeks. CVR intranasal vaccine administered at cattery.
- Six weeks. Thorough examination of eyes, heart, lungs, and joints by Veterinarian.
- Eleven weeks. FPL-CVR vaccine.
- At new home
- Fourteen weeks. FPL-CVR and FeLV if you decide to give this.
- Seventeen weeks. Rabies and second FeLV
If a cat contacts FIP, do you replace the kitten?
Yes. FIP has occurred at A-Kerr’s and it is devastating to everyone. I replace the kitten with the first kitten available, and though I recognize the loss of a loved pet and companion cannot be replaced, I also know that life is uncertain. The most responsible thing I can do as a breeder is assure you that I do all that can be done to minimize the risk, and to stand by my contract on replacement.
The virus is similar to SARS… a corona virus. The confusion many breeders and individuals have on corona virus is how much is controlled through cattery management and how much is possibly genetic? As there is no simple answer to this question at this time, I find it best to work on a twofold process of eliminating the issue.
1. I use the latest information on cattery management.
- feed raw
- keep kittens’ litter box separate and non usable by mother and visa versa.
- clean, clean, clean!
- keep litters of kittens separate from other adults and kittens.
- test to know the status of adults as closely as feasible and litter test litters.
2. I select for lines of cats that do not have FIP mutations in them. Though this is not 100% predictable, it is a useful tool!
- There is a lot of information about this on line, much of it contradictory. Anyone breeding cats either has or will have this in the cattery. A cure or a DNA of the virus is close to being discovered.
6. What about Tritrichomanas foetus? Tri-trich?
This nasty little parasite has found its way into the gut of the cat. It was originally found in cattle and pigs and discovered in cats several years ago to cause diarrhea and other issues. At A-Kerr’s we have actively pursued treatment and testing and now have a protocol in place that can pretty much guarantee, as far as you can, that we are tri-trich free. Like corona virus, the protocol is around the litter box and it is also important to note that testing is not 100% accurate.
All mothers are tested when kittens are six weeks of age to further assure of no contact with the parasite.
7. Do you have written guarantees for health?
Yes, my contract guarantee kitten health and congenital health. The basic health guarantee suggests you have the kitten checked by your vet within the first seven days that you have the kitten. Since not all can be known when a kitten leaves here, or when it arrives at your home, I have one of the best health guarantees I know of in the cat fancy: contract
8. Are both parents at your cattery?
Most of the time, both parents are at my cattery… as well as aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, etc.. You will see all the cats and kittens at my cattery when you visit.
9. Where are the kittens raised?
Kittens are raised in the house until about 5-6 weeks of age. The nursery for this first period keeps the kittens isolated with their mother and protected from exposure to other cats. At six weeks after the first vet exam and check up, the kittens are brought into a special area where they can begin more socialization and interaction.
10. What about photos and videos?
I photograph kittens every three weeks so that you can see the health, the vigor, and see the kitten develop in personality (through the video) and appearance. If you want further clarification about kittens, I will do special comparison photos and videos for you. We work to make sure YOU are involved.
11. Are references available?
Yes. But I find it hard to keep up with all the photos, notes, etc sent to us! I find that most of my clients now after all these years are repeat clients or recommended to me through other clients. I think the years of working with these cats is also reference!
12. Can I visit your cattery?
Yes. You are encouraged to do so. We relocated in June, 2013 as Samantha begins to take over the responsibility of the cats and cattery. Libbie and Sam are working together to make this a smooth transition. As we build new facilities and work out the details, you will be kept informed.
Samantha works full time and is a young mother, so her life is very busy and visits must be arranged around her schedule.
13. How long have you been breeding?
Since 1989 for Libbie.
14. What is your main interest in the Bengal?
Temperament is what first brought me to the Bengal… I was intrigued at the idea of breeding for temperament and seeing the genetic link. It has revealed to me how much of what we are as individuals is part of our nature… and nurturing helps or hinders the full development of that potential.
15. How many cats are in your breeding program?
We keep at least 2 studs that are active, and some juveniles that are growing up. The females can vary, but in general at least 6. This number allows us to work with the genetics without risking too close a breeding.
16. What is your Responsible Breeding rating from The International Cat Association (TICA)?
Outstanding. 100% on the veterinarian evaluations. A-Kerr’s was the first Bengal breeder to have a certificate and am annually checked. I have been a Responsible Breeder and Outstanding Cattery longer than any other cattery of any breed.
I am also certified as a Breeder of Distinction with TIBCS.
17. Are you a member of The International Bengal Cat Society (TIBCS)?
Yes. I am active on committees and am the incorporating President.
18. Have you signed the Code of Ethics of TIBCS and TICA?
I was instrumental in developing the TIBCS Code of Ethics (would still like for a stronger one to be written) and was the first Bengal breeder to sign the TICA one.
19. Are you a Breeder of Distinction with TIBCS?
Yes. I have been an active participant since 1999.