Our Positive Process for Breeding Bengal Cats
For those who are curious about how we go about breeding Bengal cats. This is the inside scoop on some of our cattery processes.
Why we Breed Bengal Cats
Who doesn’t love a cute fuzzy kitten to play with? To make that happen you just need to put a male cat with a female cat and then you get kittens right? This is what we are taught in every sex ed class from the time we hit puberty. This is both correct and incorrect logic. While it is true that a male cat and a female cat will most likely produce kittens together, that doesn’t mean that they should. The Bengal cat breed is a very specialized pedigree cat breed. Breeding Bengal Cats is about more than just throwing a couple of adult cats together to make Bengal Kittens. Breeding Bengal Cats is about selecting specific traits from specific cats to create a Bengal Kitten that best embodies the physical characteristics of the Asian Leopard Cat and the personality of an outgoing Domestic Shorthair cat. This requires a great deal of time, patience, and money and is a large part of how we price our Bengal kittens.
How We Choose Our Breeding Bengal Cats
So now that we know what our goal is in Breeding Bengal Cats, how do we go about selecting the right Breeding Cats to produce quality Bengal Kittens? First, we make sure that the cat or kitten we are considering as a potential Breeding Cat comes from genetically healthy parents. The next thing that we look at is the temperament of the parents and the temperament of the actual Bengal Kitten or Bengal Cat that we are interested in. Finally, we look at the physical characteristics that they have and decide whether those characteristics would help us get closer to the physical characteristics of an Asian Leopard Cat. This means finding a male and female Bengal cat with complementary characteristics. They may both be strong in one physical aspect, or one strong whether the other is weak. The goal is to try not to pair two cats who are both weak in the same physical characteristic. Otherwise, you risk that characteristic backsliding into a more domestic trait.
It can be a very tricky process to find the right male and the right female to breed together to advance your breeding program. For example, I have been looking for a new male for over a year to pair with my female Bengal and will continue to look until I find the perfect counterpart to her features as well as her kittens so that I can continue to advance the Bengal lines I am producing. A good Bengal Breeder will work hard to pair the right cats together, not just throw two cats together because one is a male and one is a female.
The Next Step to Breeding Bengal Cats
Once we have a male and female Bengal Breeding Cat with compatible physical traits, we can place them together. We wait for the female (aka the “queen”) to go into heat. Some of the signs that she is in heat could be calling very loudly for a male, making biscuits with her back feet like a little dance, some females spray to attract a male, dropping down on her front feet with her back end in the air while she calls, some females roll around on the floor both before and after mating, trying hard to get outside where she thinks there may be an available male. Once some of these signs have been exhibited and it seems like she is in a hard heat, we put her and our male cat in a room together. It may be a day or so before she allows the male to mate with her, although every breeding pair is different. We tend to leave our Breeding Bengal Cats together for four to five days to make sure the mating has taken place multiple times. Cats are induced ovulators. This means that until the male mates with the female, no eggs will be released. This is why when the cats are in estrus (go into heat) they don’t bleed, unlike dogs, or even humans who generally get a monthly period. For this reason, the cats must mate multiple times so that more eggs will be released resulting in more kittens. Generally, if breeding has been successful, the female Queen will roll around a lot on the floor and act very content for a period.
Signs of a Successful Breeding
Not every breeding will result in kittens, but there are some very good signs that a Queen will exhibit if she successfully managed to get pregnant. Here at Buckaroo Bengals, we focus on the ways to detect pregnancy at home, as we prefer to not stress our breeding cats out with the eighty-minute drive to our preferred vet. This means that we don’t find out the number of kittens we are expecting, but we also don’t expose our Queens to harmful radiation. Queens gestation period is roughly 65 days, generally kittens born between 59 to 70 days will thrive outside their mom’s uterus.
The first sign we look for to determine if our Breeding Bengal Cat is pregnant is a change in their temperament. Our Queens tend to get a lot more friendly and want to spend lots of time on their favorite human’s lap. Every Queen is different and could display a different temperament change, but there usually is a difference in how your breeding Bengal cat interacts with you. The next sign we look for is the Queen’s nipples to pink up and get larger and the fur thinning out around them. This generally happens between the second to third week after the Queen was mated. Some Queens experience morning sickness and you may notice that they are throwing up around the third week of pregnancy. An experienced Bengal Breeder can start to palpate and feel the embryos towards the end of the fourth week of pregnancy. This is only something you should do if you’ve been shown by a vet, as you don’t want to hurt the embryos. Right at the end of the first month, you should increase your Queen’s food a bit as she is eating for multiples.
At the start of the second month, the Queen’s abdomen will start to get larger and at roughly a month and a half, it should be a lot easier to palpate and feel the kittens inside her, although counting will be hard as they are much bigger. In the second half of the second month, the queen will begin to groom herself more, her nipples will stick out even more, and she will start looking for a spot to nest and have her kittens. At around day fifty-nine, you may start to see milk expressing out of your Queens nipples, although sometimes the milk comes in later. About twelve to twenty-four hours before delivery, the Queen’s rectal temperature will drop from 38.5 degrees C to 37.5 degrees C and she may lose her mucus plug. These are all signs that your Breeding Bengal Cat may be close to delivering her kittens!