How to buy a kitten01.12.16
Do you constantly find yourself lost in YouTube’s Top 10 cat videos? Are you an Instagram kitten addict? Perhaps it’s time you consider getting your own irresistible ball of fluff. Here are our 6 tips to help make buying your first kitten that much easier.
If you’re not too fussy about the kitten you’re after, and you’re happy with any old “moggie” cat (like a domestic short-hair, medium-hair or long-hair), then we’d recommend you start at your nearest rescue centre. They’re packed to the rafters with gorgeous kittens that would love a home. Even your local vet may have the one for you! The benefit with these kittens is that you can choose from a variety of personalities, and find one that speaks to you. If you do have your heart set on a particular breed, don’t rule out the local rescue centre either, as they may well have the kitten you’re after.
Tip #1: Avoid buying from a pet store
Impulse buys feel great at the time, but remember that this is a 12 – 22 year commitment. Don’t be sold on the idea of “rescuing a kitten from a pet store”, because by paying them to supply kittens you are stimulating the trade. Keep your eye out for poor living conditions or kittens that don’t look well and call the SPCA to inspect if you’re worried. Pet store kittens almost always have cat flu, ear mites and/or ringworm, so they haven’t been given the best start.
Tip #2: Contact a breed association
Get a list of reputable breeders for the kitten you’re looking for from the breed association. And while you’re at it you should find out more about the breed you’re interested in before making the commitment.
Tip #3: Use legitimate breeders
Finding multiple breeds of kittens available from one breeder should set off big “breeding farm” alarm bells. Most reputable breeders have a passion and distinct knowledge for their specific breed, meaning that will usually be the only breed on offer.
Tip #4: Don’t be tricked by “show-winning pedigrees”
Don’t be overly impressed by show-winning pedigrees. Show cats don’t really have superior genetics, unless what you are interested in is winning medals. Often these showing lines focus on anatomical extremes with adverse consequences to the cats’ health. It’s not uncommon for them to have been in-bred with the same champion appearing multiple times on the pedigree – this is not healthy. Rather, a healthy pedigree is one where the parents have passed recommended genetic testing for the particular breed and have healthy anatomy. Thankfully, breed associations do seem to be trying to move towards healthier ‘breed standards’, and not just anatomical extremes.
Tip #5: Beware of inhumane conditions
It’s a good idea to visit the place where the breeding cats are kept. Don’t hand over any money unless you are happy that they are kept in a humane environment. If you have any concerns about their living space or conditions, call the RSPCA or SPCA to inspect the property.
Tip #6: Study the parents
Look carefully at the parents of the litter, and the entire litter of kittens themselves. If you’re uncertain then take someone who has a bit more experience with cats along. Check if the mother is happy and healthy (although she may be a little fed-up at this stage with the ‘milk monsters’ she’s been feeding for weeks). Kittens less than 3 weeks old are usually mewling, leggy little things, while those older than 3 weeks should be playful and bright-eyed. Thin, smelly and lethargic kittens that appear to be sneezing, snuffling or have poor eyes should be avoided.
Still interested in bringing your own little kitten home to play? Don’t forget to keep these tips in mind to help you make this all-important, and very rewarding decision.