Hobby Breeders vs Commercial Breeders vs “Backyard Breeders”

I am a Hobby Breeder. Hobby breeders usually have only 2-3 small litters of kittens per year for the purpose of furthering certain traits and because they enjoy spending their time with their cats. As a hobby breeder, I am employed full time at a regular job and I don’t rely on the sale of kittens to support me financially. I spend between $2400-$3500 to purchase a quality kitten from unrelated blood lines that I raise to become a future breeder in my program. Purchasing quality food, maintaining quality veterinary care for my cats, maintaining appropriate housing for the cats can also be expensive. My cats eat grain free food, Blue Buffalo Wildnerness is dry which is available all the time. I also make a raw homemade chicken based food which my cats get twice a day. Regardless of what kind of cat you have, please take the time to study about the needs of obligate carnivores like cats. They can’t digest corn or other vegetable proteins which form the basis of cheaper cat foods. The sale of kittens who will not be kept for future breeding helps me to continue to my hobby program and continue to produce a few high quality kittens each year. I wait at least 6 months between the weaning of a litter and the next breeding of a queen, so my queens are usually only bred once a year. I would be perfectly happy if I produced one kitten with the traits I am seeking in each litter that I could keep for future programs – usually the smallest litters are 2-4 kittens in size. As kittens are born that I choose to keep for my future program, I often retire the parents by the age of 3-4 years of age, spaying/neutering them and making them available as companion animals to loving forever homes. I interview everyone that seeks to obtain a kitten from us and I only sell kittens to individuals, never for resale. If I do not feel the placement of a kitten is in the best interests of the kitten, I will not sell a kitten to that person. Even though I am a ‘hobby’ breeder, I am registered and licensed through the Colorado Department of Agriculture by the Pet Animal Facilities Care Act.

Commercial breeders produce kittens for the purpose of maintaining themselves financially. Breeding cats is a business for them, not a hobby. They usually have larger facilities, with a much higher number of cats. Once they find a successful breeding pair, they may keep them and continue to breed them for 8-10 years as long as they produce quality kittens for sale. They produce more litters and often strive for larger litters of 8-10 kittens per litter. I am sure they also have expenses similar to those of a hobby breeder – they simply are larger in size with the goal of selling kittens to support themselves financially. Some of the larger commercial breeders sell their best kittens to individuals and then sell the rest to pet stores for retail sale. There are good commerical breeders and bad commercial breeders. It is up to you to determine if you are comfortable purchasing a kitten from a larger breeding facility.

“Backyard Breeders” – Sadly, there are people who breed animals irresponsibly and with little or no care for the animals themselves so that they can make money from the sale of the kittens. These individuals do not have appropriate cattery space and often their cats live their lives in cages. Their cats do not recieve appropriate health care or proper food, and often their kittens are unsocialized and feral. They usually are not registered with TICA as a breeder, nor do they have pedigrees for their kittens. Often, their kittens are hybrids between bengals and other domestic cats. The kittens they offer are often under 12 weeks of age, not vaccinated, not spayed or neutered, and they will not usually allow you to visit their ‘cattery’, meet the parents or see where the kittens are housed. They do not usually interview buyers because their criteria only involve your ability to pay cash for the kitten. I can’t say strongly enough that when you purchase a kitten from a ‘backyard’ breeder, you are supporting the continued irresponsible abuse and neglect of the animals these people enslave.

Bengal Prices and Contract Information

What can you expect to pay for a Bengal from Zazen Bengals?

The price of a cat or kitten often reflects their quality and pedigree.  Zazen kittens are bred to be loving, intelligent and beautiful life-time companions – a precious and priceless member of a loving family.  Our kittens come from Champion show cats who are themselves descended from well known championship lines.  Each kitten comes with a health guarantee, pedigree registration, dewormed, spayed/neutered, microchipped and has been given all age appropriate vaccinations.  The actual cost of each kitten is dependent upon it’s quality and whether or not it is sold as a breeder or as a pet.   Kittens are not released until they reach at least the age of 12 weeks to ensure that they are properly vaccinated and appropriately weaned.  A kitten can be placed on hold with a non-refundable deposit of half of their purchase price.  Since we only have 2-3 litters per year, we also accept deposits in order to be placed on our waiting list for a particular type of kitten or for a kitten of a particular breeding.

Pet quality kittens are beautiful and healthy kittens who may not have the superior conformation or coloring which might place them as superior show quality kittens.  As with all other kittens, they have all been provided with age appropriate vaccinations. Pet quality kittens are usually priced at between $1000 – $1400

Show quality kittens which are sold as pets are usually priced between $1400 – $2400.  These kittens are superior in conformation and color and represent the top qualities sought for in the bengal breed.   Although we cannot guarantee that our show quality kittens will achieve awards in future shows, we know that they have tremendous potential to become superior examples of the bengal breed and that at the time they are sold they meet the TICA show standards of the Bengal breed.

Our show quality kittens are only rarely sold for breeding and are only sold to reputable and responsible breeders.  Kittens who are sold intact for breeding are usually priced between $3000 and $4000.

Early Generation Bengals – F2 & F3

Early generation bengals are usually more expensive than those that are 4th generation and above. In early generations there are usually only one or two kittens in each litter, and often the kittens need more supervision and socialization than higher generation kittens. Also, early generation kittens are rare and very few breeders become involved with breeding early generation kittens. Males in generations 1-3 are almost always sterile and are sold as pets. Females in generations 1-3 are usually sold for breeding.

Sample Contract

This is our current Kitten purchase contract

The contract for breeders and for adopting retirees is similiar but has some differences

ZaZen Bengals Cattery Purchasing Contract

Bengal: Cat __ Kitten ___ Microchip #
Gender :
Quality/Price Range:
Sire :

Full Purchase price of kitten: 50% deposit Date recvd
Amount due for payment in full :
Purchaser agrees to the following:
Zazen Bengals and it’s agents and representatives reserve the right to refuse the sale of a cat or kitten to any person should it be the opinion of Zazen Bengals, it’s agents or affiliates that said individual would not be capable of providing a healthy, loving, nurturing and stimulating environment for the cat or kitten in question.

1. Under no circumstances will this cat/kitten be sold, leased or given away to any pet shop, breeder or other individual without the written permission of ZaZen Bengal’s Cattery. Should the purchaser be forced to find the kitten or cat a new home, they will contact the seller.
2. This cat/kitten will be kept indoors and not allowed to roam freely outside. If the cat or kitten is taken outside it will occur only under the direct supervision of the purchaser and it is recommended that a walking jacket and leash be used.
3. This cat/kitten is purchased as a Pet _x_ Breeding____ Show__x__ cat/kitten.
4. If purchased as a pet the kitten must be spayed or neutered prior to release of purebred registration paperwork. Some vets prefer to wait until a kitten is 4-6 months old prior to providing spay/neuter services. Upon submission of certification from a licensed vet that the cat or kitten has been spayed or neutered, the seller will provide the purchaser with the official TICA registration papers for the kitten or cat. Under no circumstances will an animal purchased as a pet be used as a breeder without obtaining full and written approval from Zazen Bengals / Ravenna Windwalker.

5. Seller will provide registration blue slip upon receipt of full payment of the kitten/cats purchase price, and proof of spay or neuter. No blue slip or registration papers will be provided for an intact cat unless the cat has been specifically purchased for a breeding program by a qualified and registered TICA cattery.
6. The breeder agrees to provide the first set of age appropriate kitten vaccinations. This usually includes de-worming the kitten and giving them 3 way vaccinations at 8 weeks and 11 weeks of age. Purchaser will be expected to provide and pay for any additional vaccinations or veterinary costs that occur following the purchase of the kitten/cat.
7. If cat/kitten is found to be neglected or mistreated, purchaser will surrender said cat/kitten to seller unconditionally. Unnecessary surgeries, such as declawing and/or de-meowing will be considered mistreatment, unless seller gives specific written permission. It is recommended that you trim your cat/kittens claws with a regular toe nail clipper once a week and be sure to provide them with vertical scratching posts.
8 . This kitten/cat is being fed a high quality premium cat food which meets appropriate nutritional guidelines for adequate growth and health and the purchaser agrees to maintain the cat on a similar quality of cat food after purchase. Young kittens are fed Royal Canin Baby Cat until the age of 3-4 months. Older cats and kittens should be fed a premium dry cat food that has a minimum amount of corn products to minimize intestinal distress. The Bengal breed has a tendency to develop irritable bowel syndrome due to sensitivity to certain foods – especially products with a high corn content. We recommend and use Blue Buffalo grain free cat products. We also feed a raw diet of ground chicken leg quarters, chicken livers, chicken gizzards and hearts, a professional feline vitamin supplement and canned pure pumpkin. We find this to be an excellent food for our bengals that is easy to prepare and store. If you are interested we will be happy to share the recipe with you. Please be aware that wet foods of any kind may develop dangerous bacteria, especially after being exposed to room temperatures for more than 2 hours.
9. Once you get your new kitten or cat home, it is recommended that you limit them to a small room with fresh litter, food, water, and an enclosed area (a kennel, a cat cube) where they can create a warm and safe den. Cats and kittens should remain in this limited area for a minimum of three days until after they have been examined by your vet and after they become used to you and familiar with their new name. If you have other pets you can allow them to communicate under the door and use cloth rubbed on one animal to be exposed to the other so that they can become used to the others smell. I highly recommend during the first few days that you sit with your kitten and offer them Gerber baby food – Turkey from your fingers or a spoon. Almost all cats are highly attracted to the smell of this product and will immediately lap it from your fingers. This allows you to be ‘the provider of good food’ and helps the bonding process. I do not recommend that you allow the kitten to be loose in the house unsupervised until they respond to your call and have become comfortable with the small room they have been in so they can return to it if they become overwhelmed by the larger environment. Please make sure your house cat/kitten safe by removing poisonous plants. Be very cautious when using rockers, recliners, or other furniture that a cat/kitten may crawl under.
10. Our cattery uses Tidy Cat clumping litter and this is what our cats and kittens are used to. Bengals typically do not like enclosed litter boxes and they are large cats, and will have better toileting habits if provided with a larger litter box. We recommend using a 54-58 quart clear storage container with 12-18 inch sides. This should be scooped daily & changed weekly.
11. It has been our experience that Bengals do not react well to the drug “Ketamine”. It has been known to cause respiratory depression and hallucinations in Bengal cats. Please inform your vet of this drug sensitivity in the Bengal breed to assist them in providing appropriate medications for your cat.

12. Health Guarantee: This cat/kitten is guaranteed to be of sound health at the time of purchase. Purchasers agree to take their new kitten/cat for a vet check within 72 hours of purchase. It is recommended that a new cat/kitten be in quarantine during this time.
Many purebred cats are associated with certain medical vulnerabilities and Bengals are no exception.
Bengals appear to be vulnerable to respiratory infections. Should discharge from the eyes or nose appear which is not clear/watery, this suggests the possibility of an upper respiratory infection and may require treatment with appropriate antibiotics by your vet. Stress may result in the development of respiratory infections.
Bengals appear to be vulnerable to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Bengals may develop diarrhea due to stress, as a reaction to a food that contains a high corn content, or if placed on a diet of wet foods. It is recommended that you feed a high quality dry food that is available at all times and whose primary ingredient and first item listed is a form of animal protein rather than corn gluten to reduce the chance of IBS. We have only been using our raw food formula for a few months but we have seen no instances of IBS or loose stool at all since changing to this raw diet. If you do not wish to feed raw, please be sure to use a grain free high quality food produce to maintain your cat’s health.

If the purchaser believes that the cat/kitten is sick within the first 72 hours, the purchaser agrees to return the kitten for treatment and the seller will either return the cat/kitten to you in good health or replace the cat/kitten with a comparable cat/kitten.
If the kitten/cat is found to be medically deficient with an untreatable or terminal disorder, it must be reported to the seller immediately (within 24 hours of vet notification). If the vet certifies that the kitten/cat is medically deficient with an untreatable or terminal disorder then the kitten/cat should be returned to the seller within 24 hours. Upon its return, it will be replaced with another kitten/cat of equal value. If a cat/or kitten is returned and if no replacement is available at that time, seller will have 6 months to furnish a satisfactory replacement. The buyer agrees that they are solely responsible for any veterinary costs associated with the purchase of their cat or kitten.
The cat/kitten cannot be returned after the 72 hour guarantee period has expired and/or if it has been exposed to another cat which has not been currently tested and certified as negative for FELV and FIV. Since our cats are proven to be negative for Felv and FIV prior to leaving our cattery, we have no responsibility should the can develop Felv or FIV after leaving our care.
It is the responsibility of the buyer to contact the seller and if necessary to provide immediate veterinary care to any cat/kitten showing signs of illness or distress and failure to do so will render any guarantee null and void.
Every cat has been or will be exposed to the feline corona virus at some point in their lives. This virus is similar to a human cold usually it causes transient symptoms and the cat overcomes the virus quickly. In some cases the virus mutates into an enteric (gastric) form and then unfortunately in rare cases it mutates again into Feline Infectious Peritinitis which is a fatal disease that usually results in death within 8-12 weeks. At this point there is no cure, no real treatment nor a true diagnostic test for FIP, even post mortem results vary. Researchers do not know why some cats develop FIP from the corona virus while most others do not. If a cat or kitten purchased from our cattery dies from FIP within 12 weeks of purchase and the vet determines that the cat or kitten died due to FIP. The cat will be replaced only if an appropriate autopsy is performed by a licensed vet and a vet’s certificate is provided as a proof of cause of death due to a life threatening congenital defect. A replacement will be made of a cat of comparable quality and value, as available, at the discretion of the breeder. The buyer is responsible for all veterinary costs.
This cat/kitten is guaranteed against life threatening congenital defects for one year. Should the cat perish within that time as a direct result of a life threatening congenital defect, the cat will be replaced only if an appropriate autopsy is performed by a licensed vet and a vet’s certificate is provided as a proof of cause of death due to a life threatening congenital defect. A replacement will be made of a cat of comparable quality and value, as available, at the discretion of the breeder. The buyer is responsible for all veterinary costs.

13. This purchase agreement is a severable contract. Should any part of this contract be found to be unenforceable, the remaining portions of the contract shall remain legally enforceable and binding for both parties.
14. The purchaser acknowledges that they have received a copy of the cat/kitten’s health record including all medical treatments, vaccinations, surgeries, or testing performed on the animal concerned.
15. Any legal fees incurred in pursuing contract completion will be paid by purchaser. Both parties agree that any legal actions fall within the venue of the breeder’s resident locale, and that all court filings shall occur within Douglas County, Colorado. This contract is legally binding to all parties involved. It applies to the buyer and seller in this transaction and is non-transferable to other parties.
16. In accordance with APHIS and US Department of Agriculture regulations, we certify that at the time the animal was transferred, the seller, the buyer (or their legal representative) and the animal being transferred were present in order for the buyer to review the animal in person for final approval prior to transfer.

_____________________________ ______________________________________
Purchaser’s Name – Printed Purchaser’s Signature and date
Address ____________________________________
____________________________________ ____________________________________ Telephone Email

Seller :
____________________________________________ ______________________________
Signature of Seller Date

Ravenna Windwalker aka Zazen Bengals