Views on Controversial Health Issues

There are a number of health topics that are being debated. This is our position on some of them

Early Spay/Neuter

PrinceRoyal kitten (Velvet x Stage Fright) at 4 weeks. Early Spay/Neuter has been proven to be safe and to have no long-term effects on the kitten. In fact, kittens recover from surgery much faster than older cats do and seem to experience less pain resulting from the surgery. We advocate early spay/neuter, but if a buyer wishes to wait until the kitten is older, he or she can choose to do so (with the signing of a contract with a spay/neuter clause).

The following resolution was passed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 1993 : "RESOLVED, that AVMA supports the concept of early (8-16 weeks of age) ovariohysterectomies/gonadectomies in dogs and cats, in an effort to stem the overpopulation problem in these species."

Writing in the March 1, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), Dr. T.W. Land, DVM, says:

    "Pediatric, or Early Spay/Neuter, refers to spaying or neutering pets at a much earlier age than the old six to nine month standard. With today's anesthetics, advanced monitoring equipment, and surgical techniques, not only are these procedures safe in young puppies and kittens, the risk of complication is lower and the recovery period shorter than in mature pets. Concerns about adverse effects have now been proven unfounded. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the Association of Spay/Neuter Veterinarians, and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, are among those that support early spay/neuter.

    "It's safer. Our mortality rate is lower. I've performed over 800 procedures with only one loss. Complications occur less often. Most compelling, in a study done by veterinary students, (completely inexperienced surgeons), their death and complication rates were lower."

Writing in the November 1996 issue of DVM Newsmagazine, Dr. Hoskins, Professor Emeritus at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, said:

    "Preconceived disadvantages or early-age spay/neuter include risks of neonatal anesthesia, urinary incontinence, stunted growth, obesity, perivulvar dermatitis, vaginitis, behavioral changes, endocrine and dermatologic abnormalities, immunocompetence and urethral obstruction.

    "Some of these conditions are related to spay/neuter alone, but there is no evidence in the literature to substantiate claims that early-age spay/neuter increases the risk of these conditions developing. On the contrary, recent studies say that such problems are not related.

    "Without question, early-age spay/neuter allows for decreased operative time, improved visibility of intra-abdominal structures and rapid recovery from anesthesia. Animals that undergo early-age spay/neuter are believed to be more people-oriented pets and are calmer, gentler, less likely to wander, and retain persistent juvenile behavior (seeming desirable). Owners who had their cats spay/neutered at 6-12 weeks of age were pleased with their cat's behavior at four, 10 and 14 years after surgery.

    "Only 3 percent of the cats were reported to spray urine intermittently.

    "The advantages of early-age spay/neuter far outweigh the risks."

Here is some more information from the experts about early spay/neuter.


The practice of declawing a cat is mainly an American phenomenon; declawing is recognized as inhumane and is actually illegal in many countries, including Britian, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand.

Our pet cats are all sold with a contract clause prohibiting declawing (unless some special conditions apply that merit a wavier---but such a wavier must be included in the contract at the time of signing/sale).

Although there are several ways to declaw a cat, functionally it is not the same as clipping a human's fingernails---it is the equivalent of cutting off the finger at the first joint. If you want to "clip a cat's fingernails," then clip its claws once a week with a pet nail clipper.

In addition, Bengals in particular, as a breed, have a pronounced need to climb. We believe that for a Bengal, this is a personality and mental health issue, not just a physical issue: a Bengal who cannot climb may become extremely frustrated and start behaving badly.

For more information about declawing, visit Stop Declaw---but only if you have a strong stomach!

This bumpersticker and other
anti-declaw items are
available inexpensively in our store.

When Is A Pet Kitten Old Enough to Go Home?

This is a surprisingly touchy subject. Many breeders vehemently say that no kitten should leave its momma and littermates until it is at least 12 weeks old. Some say it should not leave until it is 16 weeks old. On the other hand, some breeders can't wait to get a kitten out of their house to make room for more. Many pet owners want their kitten as young as possible so they can begin bonding with it, while others want an older kitten because they feel an older kitten will be better trained and socialized.

At PrinceRoyal Bengals, we know that each kitten is an individual that develops at its own pace, and we base our decisions on when a kitten is ready to leave here on the individual kitten's readiness, not on some arbitrary time schedule.

The very earliest we will let a kitten go is 10 weeks. By that time it will have had two sets of shots, and some kittens at that age may be mature enough to enter the world with confidence and joy. On the other hand, a kitten may be a little immature or shy, and those kittens may need to stay here until they are 12 or 16 weeks old. It is usually not necessary to keep a kitten here as long as 16 weeks, but again, it depends on the individual animal.

Note that if your kitten is not ready to leave here at 10 weeks, it does not mean your kitten is backwards or that there is anything wrong, any more than it means that a child who learns to tie his shoes at one age is better or worse than a child who learns to tie his shoes three months earlier or five months later.

We will not ship any kitten younger than 16 weeks.

We may sometimes keep a kitten that we are evaluating for our breeding program until it is 6 or 8 months old, and then make it available as a pet after determining that another kitten might be more exactly what we need in our breeding program as a breeder. Any kitten that we offer at that age for that reason will be a very special cat, one that is exceptionally attractive or carries particularly nice features.


Diet---especially whether bengals require raw meat---is another controversial issue. We address it here.

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