We often see requests to get a kitten at the age of 8-10 weeks, also we see some websites recommend this age for adoption.
Beware it is very risky to adopt a Bengal kitten at that age, as they can easily get infected.
Some breeders may find it easy to release a Bengal kitten at this age, but no responsible and reputable breeder will act this way. If you see a breeder agrees or wants to release a kitten at this age it is a big warning sign, it is usually a way to reduce a price, but an ethical breeder will never sacrifice the wellbeing of their animals for the sake of a lower price for the buyer. (https://thebengalconnection.com/articles/bengal-cat-price/).
Why it is risky? Weaning usually only starts at the age of 4-6 weeks of age in Bengal kittens and may last till 10-12 weeks age or even later. Kittens consume less and less mother's milk but it is crucially important for them to receive some antibodies from the mother and build the immune response to viruses and bacteria with some support. The actual building of the kitten's immune system and immune responses start during and continue after weaning, some kittens may not be ready even after the second vaccination, they need to be with their mom till 14 weeks of age or even later.
From our experience, we see that adoption at the age of 8-10 weeks is very risky for Bengal kittens and may result in the kitten not surviving during the immunity gap period.
What is the immunity gap period in Bengals? In the period of weaning and right after, Bengal kittens have an immunity gap period, which means they stopped having a sufficient amount of mother's antibodies to protect them but did not develop their own immune response yet to produce their own antibodies. If they face deadly viruses during this period they may easily die and die so fast (within 1-2 days) that even veterinarians do not have enough time to help, also the little body may get harmed by viruses so much that nothing will help.
Bengal kittens need very intensive attention and care during the immunity gap period which the average kitten owner is not able to give. First of all, the weakness should be identified right away as sometimes hours count, especially in the case of panleukopenia. Also, kittens have so small bodies that in case of diarrhea or vomiting they do not have enough fluid to circulate and can fade away fast because of dehydration and lethargy. Water is needed in sufficient amount and urgently to save the kitten life, often in the form of fluid injection.
To summarise, Bengal kittens are very vulnerable and defenceless at the age of 8-12 weeks, that is why most cat organizations have ethical rule for breeders to release kittens after 12 weeks of age, and after at least two FVRCP vaccinations. However, it is common in Bengals that the immunity gap period lasts up to 16-17 weeks of age (3.5 -4 months). It is good to know that admission to any cat show for kittens open since 4 months of age, not earlier, to be on the safe side.
So it is pretty safe to adopt a Bengal kitten at the age of 3.5 or 4 months. Responsible breeders will do it by your request or at least provide you 3-7 days of general health warranty to give you the option to return the kitten with the first signs of weakness during first days/1 week and get help from the breeder with no additional vet expenses.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that vaccination does not give 100% protection and works the best way if 3 sets of FVRCP vaccine are given. Only 3 sets of FVRCP vaccination are considered as a full vaccination, and there is a reason for that. When the mother’s milk is consuming , kittens cannot develop the full immune response as mother's antibodies have prevalence. First 1-2 FVRCP vaccines are usually given when Bengal kittens still consume the mother's milk so the 3rd vaccine is needed to verify if the immune response is adequate and to ensure the kitten is not getting sick after that.
Adopting a Bengal kitten older than 4 months of age gives your kitten more protection and you can be more confident the kitten has a strong immune system. However you should assess the health of your future furry companion. You can assess the Bengal kitten by appearance and behaviour. Healthy kitten is active, willingly interact with people, has fast reactions, clean thick coat, clean eyes, nose and ears. Bengal kittens are usually very muscular, they easily run and jump up and down gracefully landing on pows. Also healthy Bengals are using litter box with no problem. They are alert to hunt and play with almost everything they can find.
Bengal kittens from a good breeder are usually very well-socialized. They do not have any problems adjusting to hew home and new owners if they are more mature. It is a big myth that only young kittens can accept people as a parents, it is not true. Cats and kittens at any age can love and trust new owners if they did not see anything bad from human beings since an early age. The problem occurs when they have a bad experience with people, that is why it is important to research breeders before adopting a Bengal kitten. Besides good genetics, Bengal cats and kittens need to be loved and well educated to give people their love and joy.