Sales of Breeding cats
With over twenty years of experience in breeding Bengals, we find the sale of breeding cats to be the least rewarding, most burdensome aspect of breeding. We have considered not selling breeding cats anymore, but we do not believe that is the right thing for the breed. As we have been doing, all breeders should be working to improve the breed. But the breed can only improve if breeders share their work. No one breeder can do this alone.
First, we only sell a few cats with breeding rights each year. We do not think any one breeder proliferating the breed with cats of their lineage is good for the long-term health of the breed. There are numerous popular sires in Bengal breed history. In 2013, we were looking to bring in a male, and we were hoping to avoid Millwood Bakari because we knew he was in so many Bengal pedigrees. Our search was futile. We could not find a cat we wanted that did not have Bakari back there somewhere. The same can often be said for Stonehenge Wurthawaite. The search for pedigrees without Wurthawaite could be considered worse because he usually shows up more than once in many Bengal five-generation pedigrees. When breeders sell multiple breeders from one lineage of cats, the breeders who buy those cats then sell numerous breeders from the cat's offspring, and we end up with cases of the Popular Sire Syndrome, which plagues the health of the breed as a whole.
We do not want our cats or the progeny of our cats to contribute to poor breeding practices.
On the other hand, if we sell absolutely no breeding cats, then we are not contributing to the diversification of Bengal breed genetics with our cats who have been health tested for longer than most breeders will health test, and who are selected for sound structure and good temperaments. We work hard to better our Bengals each year, and we hope our work can benefit other breeders at the pace of a trickle, not a downpour.
We want to work with breeders who:
1. Want to create a distinct look within their own lines. These breeders have a personal goal more specific than to breed to the standard. We want to work with breeders with a vision. They can define it, and they know WHY they want it - whatever it may be. These breeders keep offspring from their breeding cats and work lines for generations. They do not follow trends. Because these breeders are working on their own unique vision (which will never be a carbon copy of our vision), our breeding cats will come with the restriction that no offspring may be sold with breeding rights. You may keep offspring and breed from them, but all offspring sold from one of our cats must be sold as a pet. It would be an honor if a few grandchildren and great-grandchildren with the stamp of another breeder on them would one day contribute to the Bengal genetic pool in low numbers that will diversify the gene pool, not overpopulate it.
2. Are realistic. The perfect Bengal does not exist inside or outside of our cattery. The only "perfect" Bengal that exists is one sold by a dishonest breeder. You need to expect that the cat you buy from us will have things about it that you don't like. Those are precisely the things you will change. You will combine the strengths we focus on with the strengths of your breeding program to take the cat from being a SolanaRanch or Wildernesswell cat and make something of your own. Don't ask us for a cat with everything. If we produce a cat with everything, we would never sell it, so be realistic in your ask. Study our cats enough to know what our strengths and weaknesses are. Please only ask us for a kitten if you have identified our strengths and have a plan for how to use them in your program. Know what strengths your own cattery will provide to move the look forward in a direction that is yours, not ours.
3. Understand that working with live animals always involves risk. If you live off the dopamine that comes from instant gratification, we are not the breeder for you. The goals of our cattery are ones we have worked on for decades. For example, it took Robyn 13 years to breed her first white-bellied cat. Thirteen years. She didn't expect to buy the perfect white-bellied cat. Well, actually, she did buy the perfect white-bellied cat, but he ended up being infertile, so it was back to the drawing board, and white countershading is not something that comes up for sale very often. So she worked with cats with whited genetics, and eventually, 13 years later, she bred one. Breeding one with a white countershading and contrast took another five years. Most things in breeding go differently than we want them to. Over the years, we have had as many losses and backward steps as we have had forward steps. When we have had backward steps, we find the path ahead instead of blaming others for throwing us off course. We want to work with breeders who forge their own trail instead of pointing fingers and wanting to be carried around obstacles.
4. Are lifelong, independent learners. We have a lot of knowledge, and we are willing to share our knowledge. The breeders we have enjoyed working with the most are the ones who save the information, so they only have to ask for it once. Some of them print out our correspondence and put it in physical notebooks; others screenshot communication and store it in a virtual file. What they do not do is ask questions that are answered on our website or can be searched through Google. They do not repeatedly ask for the same information because they are unable or unwilling to create a method to store the data.
5. Are good guardians of the Bengal breed. We want to see that your public presence is sensitive to our breed's challenges with its hybrid roots. Furthermore, we need to know that you are educating your buyers on the needs of intelligent, high-energy cats, but you are not focusing on the wild heritage as a selling point. The Bengal is a domestic breed. When people "sell" their kittens in used-car-salesman style, they end up in the wrong homes with people who are unprepared to meet their needs. As breeders, we must educate our buyers on the needs of high-energy, intelligent cats and let them decide if their lifestyle has the time a Bengal cat requires.
We are not interested in breeders who:
1. Sell many kittens as breeders, contributing to overrepresenting a single line in the Bengal gene pool.
2. Linebreed on cats who are not health tested or who the breeder has not owned and bred from for over six years.
3. Purchased cats from breeders who do the above and claim there is nothing else out there to buy. There is. Look for it. It may be harder to find because it is not overrepresented.
4. Expect perfection.
5. Sensationalize any novel aspect of the Bengal breed, such as its hybrid roots, large size, rare colors, wild nature, or any other factor that harms or devalues the breed.
6. Have yet to demonstrate basic knowledge of the Bengal breed, animal husbandry, or soft skills.
Pricing, Guarantees, Restrictions, and Shipping
We will sell a cat that we deem to be of breeding quality for our pet price. It comes with NO fertility guarantee. We will remain on the registration papers. Once the cat produces a litter of kittens, then a breeding fee ($1000 to $3000) will be applied. The breeding fee will be determined at the time of the original sale and will be based on the difficulty of the traits the cat demonstrates. We will backdate the registration before the conception date, so the litter is in your name. This means that you absorb the risk of pet price to determine if the cat is fertile or not. Why do we do this? Because the owner affects the cat's chances of breeding success. With females, the owner chooses how many heats the female goes through before being bred. With males, the owner controls how many females he gets exposed to before being deemed infertile. Because these choices are in the hands of the owner, the owner needs to accept some of the risks of infertility. Our SBTs are mainly in the range of 4th - 7th generation cats. Buying a male from us is a higher risk of infertility than the average cattery. We are not selling grandsons from SolanaRanch What the Deuce as breeding males as they have a 50% fertility rate. This is also your chance to determine whether the cat is healthy enough to reproduce. Breeding cats come up with different bugs. If something comes up in your testing you do not want to deal with, you can sell the cat for pet price and move on. Before you place a deposit, we will disclose every health condition we have ever had a cat test positive for, so you can decide if that is a risk you want to take.
The Health Guarantee for genetic conditions, including but not limited to HCM, FIP, Luxating Patella, and PKD, is three years. If you provide the veterinary records that prove a genetic condition, we will replace the cat with one with the same traits as the original cat purchased. You may not request different traits on your replacement.
Years ago, we never would have thought we would become breeders who place restrictions on their breeding cats. Unfortunately, experience has brought us to this point. Breeding cats will not be leased, sold, or given away without spaying or neutering before leaving your possession. They will not be allowed to be offered up for stud service. They may not breed with cats not owned by you. Breeding cats must be kept at your home and property. They may not produce kittens at another person's home. As explained above, no breeding offspring may be sold from one of our cats.
Finally, shipping has become a headache. Please plan to make the shipping arrangements if you'd like to buy from us. For international breeders, it is cheaper to pick up in person from San Francisco. We will do all the necessary paperwork to export legally, but you must pay for it. For US breeders, you'll need to arrange to ship from Sacramento. In summer months, cargo is unlikely to be possible due to the heat. We would prefer you pick your cat up in person, but we will consider other options if you make arrangements and pay for any shipping-related expenses. We do not sell cats to Australia or China due to their import requirements. If kittens have to stay beyond 16 weeks old, a boarding fee will be charged at $15 per day.
Please complete the application below if you read to the bottom of this page and are comfortable moving forward based on our terms. Please answer the questions honestly and thoroughly. We are direct in our communication, and we appreciate your directness as well.
Breeding Cat Application Form
We consider it a compliment when breeders are interested in using our cats in their programs. It is really important to us that our breeding cats end up in the right programs that will utilize their strengths and use them to move the breed forward. We have a handful of questions we would like you to answer, so we can get to know you better. Please take your time in providing thoughtful answers.