Most people who decide to start looking for a Bengal kitten to have as a pet are surprised at the price of  this breed of cat.  Bengals are a hybrid breed of cat.  That's the first reason they are more expensive.  To get a Bengal cat you must initially breed a domestic cat(Egyptian Mau) to an Asian Leopard Cat.  This is NOT an easy job.  Asian Leopards are expensive, some not very tame,  not easy to care for, and require special housing and food.  Plus you must have special permits to even own one.

After that you must keep breeding the F1 Bengal to other SBT Bengals to have it take on the domestic temperament and good litter box habits(usually 4-5 generations away from the original breeding).  I only recommend F5(which would be 5 generations away from the Asian Leopard) and beyond for people to have as pets.  Breeding these early generations is no easy task as the mothers can sometimes abandon or kill the kittens if they feel threatened.  Almost all F1- F3 Bengal males are infertile and about half of the F4 males are infertile as well.  

If you are considering getting an early generation Bengal as a pet please click on this link and read further about them.  

Then you have the fact that a lot of these Bengals' patterns actually look better than the Asian Leopard Cats!  It's a wonderful thing but it didn't happen overnight.  This is because of excellent breeding practices.  It takes a long time to perfect a breed of cat to the degree that the Bengal has been perfected.  With that comes a lot of cost.  Breeding Bengals is NOT cheap at all, period.  You would be shocked at the vet bills, cost of feeding high quality food, cost of genetic testing, the cost of preventative medications, the list goes on and on.  When you have a large number of cats living together you are constantly having to do preventative medications, and if one gets sick they usually all get sick.  Even if the other cats don't have symptoms the safest thing to do is treat everyone, and it's not cheap.

To many people who are new to the Bengal breed and perhaps saw a picture of one or has a friend who owns one and has decided they have to have one too, all Bengal kittens with cute little spots look the same.  To the untrained eye all they see is an adorable kitten with spots and the price.  Bengals drastically change during the first year of life.  They go through a cute stage, then a fuzzy stage, and then their color and contrast continues to change until they are about a year old.  

There are LOTS of things to consider when buying a Bengal kitten besides the spots!!! 

  • Contrast: which is not fully developed until the Bengal is about a year old

  • Pattern: does if flow the way it should

  • Rosettes or Spots: will they open up into rosettes or stay as spots, are they random or flowing

  • Face: this covers soooo much; profile, ear size and set, rounded ears, whisker pads, whiteness of whisker pads, chin, nose width, eye spectacles, mascara lines, size and set of eyes (this is also one of the most important reasons a Bengal has a "wild" appearance)

  • Bone Structure: does it resemble that of the Asian Leopard Cat

  • Defects: is there are tail kink or locket, etc

  • Tummy: is white or creamy, is it spotted

  • Legs: are they striped and front legs shorter than back giving the cat a "wild" walk

  • Tail: is it striped or better yet rosetted, is the tip completely black

  • Glitter: does the Bengal have it, how much does it have

  • Coat: softness and thickness

And don't forget about good healthy blood lines that are proven through testing, excellent temperament, and socialization!

If you do not know how to tell what these features should look like in a kitten then ask someone who does for help or go the TICA website and read up on the "Bengal Standard."  It's much harder to tell when they are kittens too​ because these features are not yet developed.  Even breeders sometimes are surprised to see how a kitten turns out as an adult.