You have decided you want a cat for a pet, and in your haste to get one you may be tempted to go to the nearest source.
However, there are a number of possible suppliers, and it is wise to consider which of these will be most suitable for you. This will undoubtedly involve a little time and some research, but it will be worth it once you have found a healthy, personable pet that is suited to your circumstances and way of life.
When you buy a cat — whether you are getting a rescue cat, or a cat from a professional breeder — be sure that it is used to being handled, particularly if it is an older cat rather than a young kitten.
While kittens can usually be taken from their mothers around 7-8 weeks of age, breeders must comply with the rulings of regulatory bodies which state that their kittens cannot be sold until they are 12 weeks old.
Buying a pure breed from a breeder or pet shop is expensive, but it is sometimes possible to obtain kittens at a reduced price, classified as ‘pet quality’ — those not quite up to the standards required for showing or breeding.
Vets and local cat clubs are excellent sources of information about where to buy a cat. They may have specialist knowledge about breeders, quality pet shops or private owners — three of the most usual suppliers. If you are looking for a rescue cat, you can contact local animal welfare organisations, listed in the yellow pages, for information about cats available in your area.
BREEDERS AND PET SHOPS
When buying from a breeder you can either go to them directly or seek them out at a cat show. In both cases it is advisable to take someone with you who is knowledgeable about the breed you are interested in. The advantage of meeting the breeder in his or her own environment is that you can see the mother with her litter and ideally choose the kitten you want. The breeder should provide you with the cat’s pedigree details and a vaccination certificate.
Pet shops may have pure breeds for sale and the same conditions apply. Additionally, check that the shop is clean and the animals are being well cared for.
ADVERTISEMENTS FOR KITTENS FOR ADOPTION
People who advertise that they have kittens for adoption are often breeders who wish to dispose of surplus kittens which do not fit into their future breeding plans. Ordinary cat owners who just want to find good homes for their cat’s kittens may also advertise, or place notices in pet shops, often offering kittens for free. In both cases you should have the kittens for adoption checked out by a vet when you take on the responsibility of ownership. Again, it is preferable to see the kittens with their mother.
Cat rescue centres usually offer cats that have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and dewormed and are in good health. Some ask for a donation in lieu of a purchase price; others will ask you to pay a flat fee.
Unfortunately, not everyone who has kittens and cats for sale puts the animals’ welfare before profits, and it is unrealistic to think that this is so. This is why it is vital to find out all you can about the pet shop, breeder or private seller before you purchase a kitten or cat from any of them. Make sure you see the queen if you are buying direct from a breeder. The place your kitten comes from should look and smell clean, but you should also satisfy yourself that all the cats are fed an appropriate diet, receive adequate attention from the owners or staff and have sufficient room to move about and to play. The cats themselves should be lively, confident and used to being handled.