The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Apex Bengals — sold me cat with health issues and continuing to breed the parents
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
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.
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer's satisfaction.