The RSPCA and other members of the Cat Group have come together to create a checklist of what to look for when considering buying a kitten in order to avoid irresponsible breeders.
The idea of The Kitten Checklist is to ensure that you are buying from a reputable breeder and that you will be getting a happy and healthy cat.
The guidelines have been designed to help you get all the information you need before making the decision to buy your new kitten.
The RSPCA sadly sees cases of cats coming into its care who have not had the correct vaccinations, care or attention and the results can be devastating not just for the cats but for their owners who have to provide the time and cost to care for these poorly kittens, which is why The Kitten Checklist is so important.
The RSPCA would urge people to consider rehoming a rescue cat but if you are going to buy a kitten then it’s important that you are able to spot the warning signs of an irresponsible breeder.
Always make contact with the breeder and ask lots of questions before even considering visiting the kitten. Use The Kitten Checklist to guide you on which questions are most important to ask, if you aren’t happy with the answers or the breeder isn’t willing to answer your questions then think seriously about looking elsewhere.
Here are some of the key questions to ask:
- When was the kitten born?
- Was the kitten raised with its mother?
- Is the kitten friendly?
- Is the kitten healthy?
- Where was the kitten born? Where did the kitten spend most of its time when it was between one and nine weeks old?
If you are happy with the information provided you should arrange to see the kitten with its mother in the place it has been bred – this is vitally important, never agree to collect the kitten from a service station or other location.
When visiting the kitten take The Kitten Checklist with you as a guide for what to look out for and what questions to ask such as:
- Can you see the kitten with his/her mother?
- Is the mother healthy? Friendly?
- Are there many other cats or litters of kittens in the home?
- Is the kitten’s environment clean?
- Does the kitten look healthy?
- By the end of your visit was the kitten friendly? Nervous? Fearful?
A kitten should be sociable and alert with bright eyes and no visible health problems. They should stay with their mothers until they are around 8-9 weeks, before this age kittens need their mum and taking them away earlier can lead to health and welfare issues.
It’s also important to know about their history in terms of socialisation. If you want a kitten that will grow up to be friendly and comfortable around people then ensuring the kitten has already had lots of positive interactions with different people and is familiar with being handled will best help your chances. The checklist also includes common signs of ill health, the kitten’s behaviour and how comfortable he or she is around people, all of which can indicate whether they have come from a conscientious breeder.
Buying a kitten? Make sure to take our kitten checklist with you.
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Guest blog posts on all things cat-related from the RSPCA