In my country Bengals have a bad rep overall - our vet told us they call them "mad bengals" in their circles. She said they were the most difficult at checkups, and the owners seemed to be perpetually covered in scratches. I think of the warnings I've gotten from so many different people about this breed - warnings that are based on false information, warnings from rescues about their temper and most of all the fact that our country is so small, word travels insanely fast in pet circles. Especially when it comes to Backyard Breeders.
In 2010 the unthinkable happened. A highly respected Bengal breeder had turned "nuts". A pair of very sharp women discovered that she was keeping more than 100 cats (they managed to get 94 of them) on a farm. They were living in truly horrific conditions - 42 of them had to be put down because of various health issues. It was several complaints from buyers that raised suspicion, including but not limitected to digestive issues, resistant ear mites and eye infections.
The breeder had, over a period of time, turned from a respected breeder to a BYB. She no longer provided health certificates or proof of vaccination. She bred the cats and sold the offspring. Quite likely cheaper than any others, and people bought from her. Why shouldn't they? She was well known and respected.
She caused immense suffering and agony for those cats, they died in horrible pain and stress. And what was her punishment? She got a fine of 2250 USD. . .
This, and many other cases of badly socialized bengals from kitten mills have gotten the Bengal a bad reputation here. We have a couple of breeders, two of which are known for how much work they've put into socializing kittens. It is very different how it is done from country to country. Good socialization should be a matter of course, yet I hear it over and over again from people "I heard Bengals are unstable, I heard Bengals are wild and not cuddly like normal cats, I heard they have litter issues and attacks people". This is basically me at every conversation with someone who knows what a Bengal is. These are the stereotypes.
To me it is unthinkable to get a kitten younger than 12 weeks. It is just not done (mind the fact that it is highly illegal too).
Yet my closest family, the pet lovers, have gotten almost all their cats from stables or what I consider Backyard Breeders.
When you have a Maine coon breeder, mixing her purebreds with say, Norwegian Forest cat or Birman, then I consider that backyard breeding. Why do they do it? Because the kittens look adorable and HEY a they only cost 1/5 of a purebred. Mostly because you can sell them at 200$ each without papers or any health checks. Sure they have their first two vaccines, and sure they've gotten worm pills. But that's not the same as a purebred. Here, quality costs - the result of these bad breedings are that 2/3 of cats in DK develop dental problems - something that has never been seen on such a huge scale before. We all know that some breeds are more prone to hereditary problems. Put that together with no sterilization and bad supermarket food(yes, ALL supermarket food here is bad - I checked) and you've got yourself a virtual epidemic of sick cats. Sick cats that are breeding more sick cats.
I think I rambled a bit af the end, but Ijust can't help but feel so frustrated, especially at this time if the year.
65 kittens in the last month have turned up on the doorsteps of various animal rescue organizations, at landfills and in public forests. They find them drowned in lakes and rivers.
We are a small country - it is weekly that we hear, on national television, of the cruelty done to these kittens. Taped up in boxes with no air, no food, no water... It is almost unbearable.
This is what you support when buying from backyard breeders. Reckless, irresponsible, and with no regard for the cats or their health, breeding and the buyers are usually just the same. They continue the circle, making it hard for those who actually care to get a foot in the door. Buying a cat has become a maze to navigate with only your common sense and whatever information you can dredge up on the Internet.