Last updated on December 1st, 2023 at 09:08 am
Are you thinking about getting a Bengal cat? If so, you are probably wondering how much a Bengal cat costs.
Bengal cat price can vary widely. Non-registered pet stock can be found starting at around $500, but registered kittens from a reputable breeder will cost around $1500 – $3000 for show-quality kittens. Breeding stock will cost you even more, starting at around $4000.
However, that is just the start of your expenditures. The real cost of cat ownership is quite a bit higher. This article explains the real costs of owning a Bengal cat.
First, What is a Bengal Cat?
A Bengal cat is a breed known for its stunning appearance. It has a sleek and spotted or marbled coat that resembles that of a wild leopard. This domestic cat breed is created by crossing wild Asian leopard cats with domestic cats, primarily the Egyptian Mau and Abyssinian cat breeds.
Bengals are very active cats and are highly energetic and playful. They sport distinctive coat patterns and have a sleek, muscular build. They love climbing and exploring, making them lively and engaging companions for those who appreciate their unique beauty and spirited personalities.
The Bengal breed has roots in the 1960s when Jean Mill, a California-based breeder, had a vision to create a domestic cat with a distinctive wild leopard-like coat. Jean played a key role in advancing this breeding program, and by the 1980s, the Bengal cat had gained significant recognition.
In 1983, the International Cat Association (TICA) officially acknowledged the Bengal breed. Other major cat breed registries, including the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), followed suit, recognizing Bengals for their unique beauty, distinctive coat patterns, and lively personalities.
Since then, Bengal cats have become extremely popular worldwide, admired for their exotic appearance and playful nature. While they are no longer a very rare breed, finding Bengal kittens for sale is a bit harder than with many other domestic cat breeds.
Bengal Cat Price
When it comes to Bengal cat prices, various factors come into play, making each feline companion unique in both appearance and cost. Here are some key elements that influence the price range.
Pet vs. Show vs. Breeding
“Pet” quality stock often results from accidental mating, and may or may not be purebred. They are usually not registered as either the parentage may be uncertain or the owners of the parents just can’t be bothered to register the kittens. Even if they are not purebred, non-registered Bengal kittens usually cost $500 or more.
“Show” quality stock are purebred, registered cats that meet the specified breed standards and are suitable for the cat show circuit (if you wanted to do this). These quality Bengal cat kittens fetch a higher price, typically starting at $1500 and going up to around $3000.
“Breeding” stock usually conforms to breed standards in all ways. These cats often are the result of the mating of show champions and are bred and sold by breeders with impeccable reputations. Their offspring are expected to be of show or breeding quality. Bengal cats of breeding quality will set you back at least $4000 and usually more.
Bengal Cat Price Varies with Color
The color of a Bengal cat will also affect its price. Prices are usually higher for the less common colors. Brown tabby spotted Bengal cats tend to be the least expensive, as they are the most common color.
Other recognized Bengal cat colors, which can come in spotted or marbled patterns, include:
- Black Silver Tabby
- Seal Silver Sepia Tabby
- Seal Silver Mink Tabby
- Seal Silver Lynx Point
- Seal Sepia Tabby
- Seal Mink Tabby
- Seal Lynx Point
Although black Bengals (also known as melanistic Bengals) are not a recognized breed standard color, they are probably the rarest of the Bengal colors. As a result, these cats are also pretty pricey.
In general, show-quality cats with desirable coat color and patterns tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum.
Purebred Bengal Cat Price Varies with Breeder Quality
Reputable breeders take care of their cats. They will ensure that the cats are up to breed standards and have all necessary health screenings.
Different breeders may focus on breeding specific coat patterns or colors. These reputable breeders also do not mass-produce Bengals and so, of course, their prices tend to be higher than pet store or backyard breeder prices. A popular breeder will usually have a waiting list for their kittens, so be prepared to be patient!
“Backyard breeders” is a term that refers to cat breeders who are not registered with any recognized cat registries. They often sell unregistered, poorly bred kittens for a lower price. These kittens are at higher risk for a myriad of health and behavior problems.
The assurance of a healthy and well-cared-for kitten is often worth the financial investment of buying from a responsible Bengal cat breeder.
Understanding Bengal Cat Prices Across Generations
Bengal cats come in different generations, each denoting the level of hybridization between the domestic cat and the Asian leopard cat. As one might expect, the generation of a Bengal cat can significantly influence its price. Let’s explore how the cost varies across generations:
F1 Generation (First Filial)
- Description: F1 Bengals are the first generation resulting from the direct crossbreeding of an Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat.
- Cost: F1 Bengals are often the most expensive due to their higher percentage of wild blood. F1 males are sterile and cannot be used for breeding, so these cats may be sold for $1500-$2000. However, F1 females are rare and in high demand for breeding programs and prices easily reach $10,000 or more.
F2 Generation (Second Filial):
- Description: F2 Bengals are the offspring of an F1 Bengal and a domestic cat. They have a slightly lower percentage of wild blood.
- Cost: F2 Bengals are generally less expensive than F1s but still command a significant price. Again, males are sterile and can be found for around $1500, while females often fetch $5000 or more.
F3 Generation (Third Filial) and Beyond:
- Description: As generations progress, the percentage of wild blood decreases. F3 Bengals and beyond are considered more domesticated.
- Cost: The prices of F3 Bengals are similar to that of the F2 generation, though some breeders may sell for slightly less.
SBT (Stud Book Tradition) Bengals:
- Description: SBT Bengals are at least four generations (f4) removed from the Asian leopard cat, making them fully domestic in terms of their ancestry.
- Cost: SBT Bengals are typically more affordable than earlier generations, with prices ranging from $1000 to $3000. They retain the striking Bengal appearance but with a more predictable and domesticated demeanor.
Over time, responsible breeding practices have changed the composition of Bengal cat generations. Nowadays, most Bengal cats in the market are beyond the F4 generation, which means they are several steps away from their original Asian leopard cat ancestry.
These later-generation Bengals have a balanced mix of captivating appearance and distinctive breed traits, while also having a more domesticated and predictable temperament.
Price of Adopting a Bengal Cat
While it is unusual to come across a Bengal cat at a pet rescue facility, it can happen on occasion. Even the most responsible cat owners may find themselves in a situation where they have to surrender their beloved pets due to unforeseen circumstances, hoping that they will find a new home.
Consequently, most Bengals that end up at rescues tend to be adult cats.
The cost of adopting a cat can vary significantly depending on the agency and the cat’s age. On average, adoption fees range from $50 to $175. These fees typically cover the cat’s initial set of vaccines, but they may or may not include the cost of spaying or neutering.
In some cases, private rescues may charge higher fees for purebred cats compared to “ordinary” cats. It is worth noting that setting higher adoption fees for purebred rescues could be seen as selling the rescued animal rather than facilitating an adoption.
It’s Not Just About the Price Tag: The Real Bengal Cat Cost
The purchase price of your Bengal cat is only the beginning! There are additional costs of owning a Bengal cat, including:
- Veterinary care including vaccinations, spay/neuter, medical treatments and supplies
- Accessories such as a litter box, litter, bedding and scratching post(s)
- Grooming products
To illustrate how these costs add up, I’ll work through these using my own recent experiences as an example.
Bengal Cat Cost: My Personal Experience
Not too long ago I got a new cat, a Sphynx rescue named Joey. I haven’t had a cat in a few years, so I did not have any “cat supplies” to start. I was starting from scratch (pun intended!).
About six months after that, I got a second cat, a Bengal kitten named Roo. We got Roo because Joey needed a companion (this is an important point – few people stop at just one cat!)
So to calculate the total cost of getting my Bengal kitten I will have to include those things that, if I hadn’t already bought them for Joey, I would have had to buy for Roo. So let’s dive into what I spent!
Bengal Cat Purchase Price
Roo is an unregistered purebred Bengal. Her mother is a spotted brown tabby Bengal and her father is a charcoal marble Bengal. These are family pets, not breeding animals, and the owners just let nature “take its course”. Cost: $550.
As a veterinarian, I can vaccinate my own pets, so the real cost to me is less than what one normally pays. But on average, expect to pay around $100 – $125 for the cat’s first vet visit for a wellness check and vaccination.
Depending on the age of your cat, more than one round of vaccinations may be required. The schedule for kitten vaccinations is at 8, 12, and 16 weeks, with rabies being administered on the third set. Expect to pay on average $50 for second or third vaccinations.
You will need to buy cat food appropriate to the age of your cat. For Roo, I went with a veterinary-recommended kitten food. The 3.5 lb bag lasted around two months. I also bought canned kitten food from the same brand. Two-month supply of food: $75.
Note that food costs increased as she got older and became bigger.
I don’t expect a little kitten to travel all the way down to the basement to use the litter box, so it had to go in my living room. Because it was out in the open in my living space, I wanted a covered litter box. Litter box cost: $41
Although I haven’t purchased one yet, I also plan on getting a litter box cover to hide the litter box in my living room.
I went with an unscented litter, as I have fragrance sensitivities (lots of cats do too!). A 16 lb box lasts me approximately two months (for one cat). Litter cost: $20
Scratching Posts/Cat Trees
The best way to avoid unwanted scratching behavior is to get them something they are allowed to scratch on! I may have gone a little overboard, as I got a full cat tree plus two smaller scratching posts. Not to mention several cardboard scratch pads to scatter around the house.
But, to start, one full-size cat tree that provides them space to scratch, climb, hide, and perch will do. Cat tree cost: $150
A cat carrier is the safest way to travel with your cat. In many jurisdictions, it is the law that your pet be restrained while inside a moving vehicle.
I went with a cave-style carrier that also doubles as a cat bed (both cats love to sleep in it, and it makes putting them in the carrier for vet trips stress free!). Cat carrier cost: $72
Bengal Cat Initial Costs Summary
So my total initial costs for my Bengal kitten, including a 2-month supply of food and litter, adds up to:
- Bengal cat price: $550
- First vet visit/vaccines: $125
- Cat food: $75
- Cat litter: $20
- Litter box: $41
- Cat trees: $150
- Cat carrier: $72
TOTAL UPFRONT COSTS: $1033
More Costs to Owning a Bengal Cat
Oh, but the spending won’t end there!
Toys: Cats will play with just about anything, so it is not strictly necessary to spend money on toys. But you will! Bengal cats are high-energy and very active, so you will be constantly looking for new ways to keep them entertained and happy.
Pet supplies: There are quite a few things that you may find yourself buying, although they are not always strictly necessary. These include items such as pet shampoo, brush or grooming glove, more toys, scratch pads, furniture scratch protectors, leash and harness, cat beds, cat treats, catnip, and more (I’ve bought them all).
Spay/neuter: Since Roo is a pet only and I do not want her to have kittens, getting her spayed is essential. I do not do surgeries on my own pets, so I expect to pay about $300 for the spay (if it was a male, the average cost for neutering in the United States is around $200).
Pet insurance: Pet insurance is not necessary, but it can help with unexpected vet bills.
Finding Ways to Reduce Bengal Cat Cost
The figures I listed above are my own experience and may not be exact for everyone. Depending on where you live, some of these costs may be more or less than what I paid.
There are some obvious ways to cut costs as compared to the example above.
If you and your cat are not fussy about litter boxes, any waterproof container of the right shape and size will do – you might not even have to buy one.
Look for used cat furniture and cat carriers that your friends or family might not be using, or find them on online buy-and-sell sites. Just be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect them before letting your own cat use them.
There are less expensive brands of cat food and litter. What you decide to buy is your choice, but when it comes to cat food my professional opinion is cheapest is not best. Feeding only high-quality food can prevent some serious health problems in the long run.
The one thing I highly recommend is getting regular veterinary checkups and pet health insurance. Pet health emergencies can be expensive, and a little investment upfront can save you a lot of financial stress down the road.
Bengal cat price is just the starting point of the cost of owning a Bengal cat. There are other things to consider, such as vet visits and vaccinations, food, litter, cat furniture, cat carrier, and pet insurance. All these costs can add up quickly!
However, anyone who has ever owned a Bengal cat will tell you that their love and affection are more than worth the cost. With a little bit of research, shopping around for deals, and careful budgeting – owning a Bengal cat can be an affordable experience.
Good luck in your own Bengal-owning journey! You won’t regret it!
Bengal Cat Price FAQ
How much does a Bengal cat cost?
This is perhaps the most straightforward question. The cost of a Bengal cat can vary widely based on factors such as breeder reputation, lineage, coat quality, and location. Generally, prices can range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars.
Why are Bengal cats so expensive?
People often wonder about the factors that contribute to the high cost of Bengal cats. Breeding Bengal cats responsibly can be expensive due to health testing, quality food, and proper care for the cats and kittens.
Are there different price ranges for Bengal cats?
Yes, Bengal cat prices can vary based on several factors. Show-quality Bengals with desirable coat patterns and colors often command higher prices than those intended as pets. Breeder reputation and geographical location can also influence the price.
What does the price of a Bengal cat include?
Buyers often want to know what is included in the price. Reputable breeders typically include vaccinations, spaying/neutering, health certificates, and sometimes a starter kit with food and other necessities. It’s important to clarify what is covered in the purchase price.
Are there ongoing costs associated with Bengal cat ownership?
Beyond the initial purchase price, prospective Bengal owners may inquire about ongoing costs such as food, veterinary care, grooming, and other supplies necessary for proper care.
Are there cheaper options for Bengal cats?
Some people may wonder if there are more affordable ways to acquire a Bengal cat, such as through adoption or rescue. While it’s less common to find purebred Bengals in shelters, it’s not impossible, and adoption may be a more cost-effective option for some.
Do Bengal cat prices vary by region or country?
The cost of Bengal cats can differ based on location. In areas where there are fewer breeders or a higher demand for Bengal cats, prices may be higher.
What should I look for in a reputable Bengal cat breeder?
Interested individuals often seek advice on how to identify a responsible and ethical breeder. This may include checking for proper health testing, asking for references, and ensuring the breeder prioritizes the well-being of the cats.