Price Factor #1: The Kitten’s Traits
When looking for a Bengal kitten, you’ll mostly find SBT (Stud Book Tradition) Bengals. These are kittens that are produced from Bengals being bred to Bengals, and are at least 4 generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat. If you stumble across Bengals that are higher generations (called F2 or F3 Bengals), these kittens will usually cost more and have additional care requirements. SBT’s are generally the best choice for a pet owner.
The level of breeder care (which we’ll talk about in a minute) shows in the quality of the kitten you’re looking at. Healthy, energetic, bright-eyed kittens with stunning, sleek coats (once they’re out of the fuzzy stage) is what you’ll generally want to look for. But if you learn about Bengal Type, you’ll be able to recognize many other unique physical traits of the Bengal cat breed that may go unappreciated to the untrained eye.
Breeding for quality means that breeders have to pay a significant amount of money (sometimes tens of thousands of dollars) for cats from quality lines, with breeding rights. Breeders do this to preserve and improve the Bengal breed, but they have to charge more for their kittens as a result.
Some breeders will also choose to price individual kittens differently based on the quality of their appearance.
Growing kittens are expensive to feed, and it takes a lot of time to socialize them and clean up after them! When you see an inexpensively priced kitten that’s allowed to go home at 8 weeks or earlier, this is a huge red flag. The breeder is trying to cut costs but at the expense of the kitten.
Kittens that are weaned too early are prone to lifelong behavior issues, including fear and aggression. A kitten that goes home between 12-16 weeks old may be a little more expensive due to the extra cost to raise them, and the extra socialization time, but the result is a much more socially developed kitten.
On the other hand, there may be situations where a kitten was returned to a breeder for an unusual circumstance and the breeder is now looking to re-home an older kitten. Kittens nearing adulthood may be priced lower, as the new family may feel like they missed out on kittenhood. This can be a great way to obtain a more “affordable” Bengal, as long as you’re equipped to help the older kitten through a more difficult transition.
The higher the demand for certain Bengals, the greater the cost. Bengals can have many different coat colors, including Brown, Silver, Snow, Charcoal, and Melanistic. There are also a variety of patterns including spotted, different types of rosettes, and marbling. Different coats and colors may be “trending,” which could lead to a higher demand and a higher cost. Some colors are more rare, which can affect cost as well.