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Apex Bengalssold me cat with health issues and continuing to breed the parents

B Jun 28, 2019 Review updated:

I thought I had finally found a good Bengal breeder that was close by. Great testimonials on their website, seemed like nice people. I contacted them about a beautiful kitten on their website and they quickly responded. They didn't ask me any questions about my living situation or if I had any other pets or children. Seemed a little strange but I brushed that off. The price was more than most Bengal breeders in the area but I justified that by telling myself that they probably breed great cats. Soon, I had sent the deposit and came to pick up the kitten. When I arrived, he was skittish, fearful, and was hiding. The breeders couldn't even catch him. Most of his siblings were gone, even though they were barely 8 weeks. I should not have taken him at that point, but I did. Little did I know, my nightmare had begun. Upon bringing the kitten home, I noticed he had a lot of dirt in his ears and was scratching at his ears a lot and brought him to the vet to have a wellness check up, per the contract. I also noticed a snorting sound he made through his nose while breathing. Almost like he had a deviated septum or couldn't breathe well. Additionally, he was suckling on every blanket in sight, meaning the breeders weaned him too early. The veterinarian diagnosed him with ear mites and a grade A heart murmur. He assured me that they are common in young growing kittens and it may go away. However, the kitten was also underweight and incredibly bony. Strange because the "vet report" given to me by the breeder said no such thing about a heart murmur or ear mites, which the kitten had obviously had for likely its whole life, as his infestation was so incredibly bad that the vet techs sat there for a while taking gunk and more gunk out of his ears, and couldn't get it all out. Mites were crawling everywhere. He had scratched his ears so hard that he made himself bleed and it resulted in a permanent scar inside of his ears. I brought the kitten home with medication for the ear mites and treated them. I had a bad feeling about the heart murmur, but assured myself that it would go away, and was a result of him growing quickly. I soon after texted the breeders and let them know about his heart murmur. They passive aggressively said that it could only be one of two things: the kitten will grow out of it, or he was misdiagnosed. By a board certified veterinarian. With a heart murmur. They stated that all of their cats were tested for HCM and would never breed an HCM positive cat. Ok. I'll believe them for now.

I took the kitten to the vet a few more times for vaccinations and asked them to listen to his heart each time for the murmur. Finally, when he was 4 months, they said it was gone. Hurrah, right? Well, not a few weeks later, I was sitting at my computer and the silence was interrupted by a coughing, wheezing sound. I turned around and there the kitten was wheezing for his life. I watched it for about a minute and thought, strange. I hadn't had a cat in a while at this point and chose to ignore this and thought it was a one time thing. Wrong move. The kitten wheezed intermittently for a month until one day I did some research on the internet and found feline asthma. The symptoms were identical to an asthmatic cat's. I thought, great, this kitten has asthma. I took him to the veterinarian and they prescribed prednisone because apparently, there is no diagnosis for asthma in cats, just to do trial and error with steroids first. I texted the breeder and I kid you not, they told me that the veterinarian should have prescribed antibiotics for the asthma and they would have kicked it out. At this point, I realized that these people were uneducated about cats and health in general. How were they breeding cats with so little knowledge? They asked about if I use any scented materials and I told them no, he uses unscented litter, no candles, and no perfume. It only happens when the kitten is sleeping, after all. I asked if any other customers had complained about asthma or any health problems with their cats, and they completely ignored this. The kitten came back to the veterinarian for an x-ray because I found that this is a good indicator of the state his lungs are in. The doctor let me know that the lungs were full of inflammation and look exactly like an asthmatic cat's lungs would. Unsurprised with this diagnosis, the kitten was prescribed some bronchodilators and inhalers. Turns out, the inhaler the kitten needed that would last one month costed at least $250 per inhaler. Ridiculous.in addition, the x-rays were sent off to a radiologist because the breeder insisted. Surprisingly, the radiologist reported that the kitten had an enlarged heart and it was nearly touching the ribs. It was huge. This kitten most likely had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

I thought it couldn't get worse after this. Asthma was the worst diagnosis, right? Wrong. Right after this point the sweet kitten who loved to snuggle and purr had a personality change. Literally. Hissed, growled, wouldn't like to be touched or petted. Ok. Maybe it's going through some hormonal change. A few weeks later, I was sitting at my computer and I hear a frightened, alarmed "meow!" I turn around and this kitten has awoken from sleep, looking confused and frightened. He soon falls right back asleep. Strange, I think again.

One month later, I am sitting at my computer, again, and I hear the most disturbing sound from the closet. The kitten is making a strange sound through his mouth and thrashing about, foaming at the mouth, claws gripping the ground like he's about to fall off the earth, shaking tremendously. My heart drops and I don't know what to do. I freeze. What was that? A seizure? No, that can't be possible. That was an asthma attack, right? One month later, I am awoken early morning to a THUD. He fell off the cat tree and is convulsing on the floor, more violently than I could have ever imagined. He can't control his muscles, is foaming at the mouth, and is convulsing violently.in a shock I call the vet and they say to bring him in ASAP, he had a seizure. A grand mal seizure. Turns out, this kitty could have a brain tumor or epilepsy. My heart breaks for him. What kind of life is this for him? I bring him home later that day and he had 4 more cluster grand mal seizures throughout the night, keeping me up until 4 am. The kitty was seizing and seizing over again, now losing his bladder control every time. He had ataxia and I could see the brain damage that was occurring. He was so confused. I let the breeder know about this. She recommended CBD for his seizures. There is no clinical evidence for the success of CBD on epilepsy, only people who claim it is a miracle product. That's fine, I'll satisfy her curiosity. I did more research on feline epilepsy and discovered petit mal seizures, which are characterized by the cat seeming alarmed, confused, and a brief moment of loss of consciousness. They are very easy to miss and frequently lead to grand mal seizures. I realized that for a month, he was having petit mal seizures without even recognizing it. At this point, I bring in the cat to the vet again and they prescribe him medication for the seizures, which he needs twice a day every day for the rest of his life. I have become a caretaker for a special needs cat. This is not what I asked for. Otherwise, if I wanted a potentially unhealthy cat, I could just get one for free from a shelter.

At this point, I was re-reading the contract and noticed that it said that if I cannot take care of said kitten, I may give him back to the breeder. I thought that this was my best option because he deserves a home that can take care of him and be at home all the time, which I won't be, to give him his medication and watch for more seizures. I contacted the breeder, who was kind enough to take him in. Right before this, I started looking into hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease the breeder swears their cats don't carry, and everything started to fall into place. Coughing and wheezing is a symptom. Seizures are a newly found symptom in people who have cardiomyopathy. Why not in cats? It finally made sense. The kitten didn't have asthma. He hadn't wheezed since his second grand mal seizure. He likely had HCM. Immediately I went to find a veterinary cardiologist and let the breeder know he would be getting an echocardiogram. The breeder seemed fine with it at first, but a few hours later contacted me saying they didn't want him to get an echo. Sketchy. Why didn't they want me to get him an echocardiogram? I would be saving them hundreds of dollars by paying for it myself rather than having them do it. Unless they weren't planning on doing anything for him in the first place. I mentioned this to the veterinarian and she immediately said that the breeder most likely didn't want to have their reputation tarnished by an HCM diagnosis. I agreed but came to the conclusion that even if he was diagnosed with HCM, I didn't want them to give me another kitten. This was the right choice.

I brought him back to the breeder and they promised to give all updates on his diagnoses. I was suspicious of this. I contacted Cristianna to check up on him and find out his diagnoses and no response. Not surprising. They probably euthanized him. Additionally, the he became famous at the vet clinic because of all of his issues. Not a good thing. The breeders now know that he had something wrong, especially since he has cardiomegaly. Yet they continue to breed both of his parents with disregard to potentially unhealthy kittens. They only care about money.

Bottom line, HCM has been found to be autosomal dominant in Ragdolls and Maine Coons. Therefore, it is most likely a dominant gene in Bengal cats. It is a well known fact that even if a cat has HCM, they may not develop it until later in life. This is why it is such a tricky disease and all breeding cats must be screened yearly. HCM can be asymptomatic until the cat drops dead one day.

RESOLVED

The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer's satisfaction.

  • Apex Bengals's response · Apr 18, 2020

    Hello!

    This is Apex Bengals - we read your complaint and we are very sorry you feel this way about Astro (now named Lenny). When we first met you and your mother, you both wanted to come over and meet the kittens - we tell all of our potential families that no one can meet our kittens until they are 8 weeks of age because we do not want outside contaminants before our kittens have their first set of shots. A deposit was placed for Astro before you met him. When you and your mother came over you both were very lovely we did ask you where you are living, you responded you go to school and the kitten will be with you and your roommate. We had other kittens that had not been reserved yet and you couldn't decide on Astro or another kitten, we answered your questions about each kitten but ultimately is was up to you and the kitten if you both were a match. Astro was a little more shy than the other kitten, but again you decided on him. You both left and came back 4 weeks later when the kitten was 12 weeks of age, at this point you came with your roommate to pick him up. We continued to text you and check up on him weeks after you took him home. After a few months, we had a litter of Snow kittens and you bought another cat from us because you loved Astro so much.

    When Astro (now named Lenny) started having these issues we ourselves were very shocked about this as we have never had an issue like that before with any of our other cats. We suggested antibiotics because he could have had some sort of other issue like a bacterial infection, but ultimately it was up to the vet and what they are diagnosing the kitten for. We continued to check up on Astro every week or so and he seemed to not get any better. We suggested you get a second and even a third opinion, we are not sure if you did this or not. We had also asked if your other kitten was having any other issues and you stated no. This is when we proceeded to ask if you have any sort of cleaning supplies, or candles etc that may be triggering these attacks; you stated no. We feel as though we were with you every step of the way, being there for you and Astro.

    Then the text came through that he had a seizure and fell off of his cat tree. We were heart broken by this, not only for him but for you because of the previous issue that had been happening. We told you to immediately take him to the vet and that we will be calling ours to get to the bottom of this. We asked if he has taken his asthma medication before the seizure and you stated yes that it was an hour before his episode. You talked to your vet and they stated that in order to draw blood to test it, they would need to put him under anesthesia (which was very odd to us). That night you explained to us that you can not provide the care that Astro needed since out are going to be going through graduate school in the fall. We stated we would have no problem at all taking him back and taking care of him! We did however want to figure out a few things before taking him back: 1. That he could have epilepsy (which would be so sad and unfortunate), 2. Some cats have seizures from lack of proper nutrition (which we assumed he is getting), 3. Cats often carry the Corona Virus and when stressed it can be shed through their feces and can mutate into FIP if litter boxes aren't maintained which can cause seizures, 4. If he has gotten flea and tick medication as this can very much likely cause seizures. We wanted to try and suggest using CBD, because ultimately we knew he was your baby, and it is and would be very hard for the both of you to part ways. There are a lot of clinical studies out there and testimonials that have proven that CBD may help with animals that suffer from seizures. You stated that you do not feel CBD would work for him and you wanted to give him back. We said we 100% want him back and would not hesitate taking him back, and that we were out of town but would be back the following week and can make any day and any time that worked best for you. We set a date for you to drop him off and in the meantime you would try CBD to see if it would help him.

    We had asked you if you can send over his vet reports to us, so we could have our vet take a look at his documentation so we can all be prepared for his arrival. When we took a look at his paper work, I read it over and over again, to be honest there was a lot of holes, dates didn't add up and there were things that didn't make sense. But I wanted to give you no judgement before speaking to you in person about it all. You told us that you really love Astro and that you are glad that we care as much about him as you do. Which is the TRUTH! We love all of our kittens like our own children, this whole situation was very unfortunate and broke our hearts. We had restless nights because of this. And we know it was the same for you! We both were coming together to take care and do what is best for Astro.

    When the day finally came for you to drop off Astro we were anxious but happy he was coming back home with us. We cleaned and fixed a room up for him, so he could be comfortable and try and heal as much as he could. You and your roommate both came over and we could tell the sadness on your face, we gave you a hug and told you that we wouldn't give up on him and we are going to make sure he is better before we found the perfect home for him. You agreed and thanked us again and again about doing this for him and you. We continued to talk a bit and asked about the other kitten you bought from us. She has had no issues and we both agreed what is happening to Astro is very bizarre. I proceeded to go over his health records with you so I could understand the whole scenario before speaking to our vet and eventually explaining Astro's health to his new owner. When asked about his records you stated that yes some of the dates didn't make sense and that you thought it was the asthma when you first called but now you were thinking it was the start of the seizures. We continued to talk about it, and ultimately I was still confused by the time-line of everything that was on paper and what you were telling us. But at this point it didn't matter, all that mattered was getting out boy's health back up again. We hugged again and you thanked us again for doing this, and we stated it was no problem at all and he is in good hands.

    When you left we took Astro to his room, and spent the rest of the day with him observing and watching him. As soon as we took him out of his carrier we noticed this cat is not the same cat that we gave to this girl. He was Astro, but he seemed very stressed, depressed and just not himself. This was very sad to see and watch. When we petted him he would growl, and freeze up. If you looked at him he would hiss, but I knew he wasn't going to hurt me so I proceeded to pet him and calm him down. He loved this and so I continued to pet him until he fell asleep, as soon as I stopped he woke up and growled again. I knew I was stuck, but it didn't matter I was happy to do whatever he wanted. Over the next few weeks, we continued to work with him and slowly but surely he started to get better and better. You could tell that he was still a bit off and not himself, but we were so thrilled that he was showing improvement!

    After a few months of working with him we decided that he was ready to find his forever home. We both agreed that Astro can not go to just someone, but only to certain people we trust enough that he would be given the proper care and attention he needed. We found his forever home with a past client that has purchased a few cats from us and she didn't hesitate one second to take him in. We knew Astro would be a good fit for them. She stated that she has had animals who have suffered from seizures before and she knew how to handle him. We couldn't have asked for a better match than her and her family! The fact that we would ever be accused of euthanizing our cats is disturbing, disgusting, and disrespectful - we would never in a millions years do such a thing unless an animal was severely suffering and quality of life would never be the same. Many animals unfortunately suffer from seizures but still live normal, happy, and healthy lives! Who are we to play God?

    When the new owners came to meet Astro they instantly fell in love, and you could tell Astro felt very comfortable with them, but still was by my side confused as to what was going on. I proceeded to go over his health records and explain his situation. They didn't care and wanted to adopt him. I showed them Astro's little quirks about him, things he liked and things he didn't like. They fell in love but were willing to put in the work. To this day we still are in contact with Astro's (now Lenny's) owners. He is a part of their family, and they continue to nurture and care for him as if he were their child.

    I would like to address the HCM concern, we 1000% agree with you that all cats should be tested for genetics diseases before they are bred, and to be HCM tested every 1-2 years. This is something that we strongly believe in and implement at our cattery. Both mom and dad show NO signs of HCM, and they both have had a few litter before and after Astro with no other kittens from mom and dad with the same issue. Our heart and soul goes into our kitties, they are our CHILDREN and we treat them as so. Our females have their own birthing room (bedroom) for when they have kittens, they get fed the best food, always have constant simulation with toys and sounds. Our cats get outside time when it is warm out, we take them on walks with a leash and even have cat strollers for them! What happened to Astro (Lenny) is very unfortunate, and upsetting. We feel as though his environment he was living in was not the best of conditions. We will take blame for this, as you, a young girl that was living at college. No fault of your own, but who knows what he may have gotten into, or how many people were coming in and out. We both have lived college lives, and we know the type of environment you live in. When we met you and your mother we felt as though he would be loved and you both seemed very quiet and genuinely nice people. We should not have let a college girl purchase one of our cats to live with her. This was our mistake to allow this.

    At the end of the day, we felt as though we all left on good terms, and we all did what we could do to the best of our abilities for Astro (Lenny). We hope that your other kitten is doing well, and is thriving in your environment and we wish nothing but the best for the both of you and your future! We will always be here for you and your cat you have from us, which makes us family. We appreciate your thoughts on this situation and we would be happy to answer any other questions and concerns you may have about this. Below we have attached pictures of Lenny thriving in his new loving home!

    With love,

    Apex Bengals

    Comments

  • Apex Bengals's response · Apr 19, 2020

    Pictures of Lenny (formerly Astro)

    Comments

Responses

  • St
    StarangelBengals Aug 10, 2020

    I'm a Bengal Breeder of 14 years. HCM is not dominant. You can test and find
    negative and cat can still drop over. You can test and get equivocal, retire from breeding line, and cat lives 11 years. No signs of HCM. Passed of different causes. HCM testing every year is NOT necessarily the answer. Find a qualified Breeder that does test and also uses Optimum Selection that tests everything in cat. There are other diseases you can get with a Bengal that can dishearten ownership.
    Check for a Breeder who does multiple testing with a CLOSED cattery.
    Starangel Bengals

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