the past various veterinary authorities have made strong recommendations to
the public about where they should or should not buy a new cat from. These
recommendations followed scandalous reports in the '70's about the
neglect and abuse of kittens and puppies in so-called "puppy farms". As a result
many countries (including the UK) have now introduced legislation to control
establishments involved in the breeding
and also establishments selling
If you are thinking
about buying a cat or kitten the first thing to do is to realise the commitment
you are going to have to make to look after it properly...to quote the
National Canine Defence League in the UK - "A dog is for LIFE not just
for Christmas" - well the same applies to CATS !!. See Provet's section on What
type of cat should I get ?
are several possible places you can get a new kitten or an adult cat from :
- A neighbour, relative or friend - good idea
as you probably know a lot about the background conditions and care of the
animal. BUT see Guidelines below
- A registered breeder - generally a good
idea - if anyone knows how to breed and rear cats properly a
registered breeder should. Still, see Guidelines below
- An unregistered breeder - careful -
do they really know what they are doing ? Are they just in it for the
money. See Guidelines below.
- A pet shop (small private concern) - not a
bad idea if the kitten or cat has genuinely come from a good source and the pet
shop is clean, well run and practices good basic hygiene - see Guidelines
- A pet store (large chain) - not a bad idea
if the Pet Store is well run, clean, practices good hygiene and they
can give assurances about the origin of the animal. See Guidelines below.
- An animal rescue/welfare society. Seems
like a good idea because you can "save" a poor unwanted soul
which might be "put down" if it isn't claimed. Seems like a good
idea because you can give a poor unwanted animal a nice home and the
tender loving care that it hasn't had before. BE CAREFUL. Although
millions of cats are re-housed from such facilities every year, and
millions of owners are happy with their new companions ... the rescue
societies can not often guarantee the origins of the animals, nor their
health status, nor their behavioural traits. You can inherit a BIG problem
by adopting a stray animal however some Charities have a very responsible
attitude to this potential problem :
Kornelia Teelucksingh of the Harlow Branch of Cats
Protection writes : Reputable charities like Cats Protection and the RSPCA have all their cats checked by vets, blood-tested, vaccinated and neutered (and some even microchipped) before they are rehomed. In the rare event that the cat does not fit in with the new owners, the charities will always take it back. They will also pay for any veterinary treatment in the first four weeks in the new home. Cats Protection over the years has taken in a numbers of cats that were supposedly purchased from breeders who "did not want to know" when problems arose.
See the Guidelines below
- A stray you found on the street. NO. NEVER
adopt a stray that you find on the street. You should report a stray cat to the local Animal Rescue/Welfare Association.
In the UK your local branch the Cat's Protection League and Royal Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to animals would be a good place
to start - and your local veterinary practice will usually be happy to
help as well. Cats often travel long distances and a "stray" may
well have a conscientious owner
who is desperate to get their pet back. If it is a genuine stray you may
be able to adopt it after efforts to find the owner have failed. BUT see
the Guidelines below.
Here are some Guidelines to follow before you buy a kitten or
an adult cat. As a general rule you should buy a kitten unless you are prepared
to try to change existing behavioural traits that adult cats may already have.
you follow these Guidelines you should reduce the chances of disappointment
with your new companion.
a) Consider your situation first
- Do not buy a new cat unless you are sure that the one you get will suit
your life style, that you can afford to look after it properly, and
that you have the time to commit to it. See "What
type of cat should I get ?"
- NEVER buy on impulse - for example, when you see a miserable kitten in a
shop window don't rush in and buy it.
- Can you afford to look after a cat properly ?
- Whilst cats are less demanding than dogs - still consider if you really
have got the time to look after a cat properly ?
b) The premises
It is important to be satisfied about the health standards of the
establishment that you are buying the cat from :
- The most important single Guideline is this : Whenever possible buy from
a source that has been recommended to you by an independent person - a
friend, neighbour, or member of the family. Someone whose judgment you can
- Satisfy yourself that the premises are clean and tidy. Are the
animal's cages or pens clean? Ask to inspect "behind the
- Are the animals themselves clean ?
- Is there fresh, clean water available ?
- Are animals from different sources kept separately (advisable) or are
they mixed together (not desirable as this increases the likelihood of
exposure to disease) ?
- If you have not been given a personal recommendation about the
establishment - ask them to give you the names of three reference sites
where you will get a positive endorsement.
- Satisfy yourself that the establishment is a registered facility and
that it satisfies all local registration requirements. Ask to see their
Certificates of Registration.
c) The animal
Buying a sick animal is the worst possible start for you and for your new
companion. There are plenty of healthy cats looking for a new home. Think
THREE times about the possible consequences before you commit to buying a pet
that is ill. This is particularly true if you are going to introduce the
animal into a household with young children. They will be heartbroken if you
have to take the animal back because of illness, or if it becomes seriously
- Never buy a kitten or cat that looks ill, or severely underweight or overweight.
- Insist that the vendor has the cat checked and gets a clean bill of
health from a veterinarian before you buy it
- Whether buying a new kitten or an adult cat make sure :
a) It has been recently wormed
b) It's current vaccination status is up
c) It has been treated for fleas and other ectoparasites
(eg ticks or lice)
d) Adult cats should be properly house-trained and have no serious
behavioural traits such as aggression. Wild feral cats often can not be
toilet trained (they will spray everywhere) and they don't make good
The vendor should be able to provide certificates and other documentation
to prove that everything has been done properly.
WHEN IN DOUBT - DO NOT BUY !