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So, just where is the best place to buy a kitten? You may be tempted to just take home the first kitten you see, but it is wise to put a little thought into where you get your new kitten from. There are a few things to think about, and since this will be a decision you will be living with for a long time, do some research first. So what are the choices – where is the best place to buy a kitten?
If you are looking for a purebred, you can usually be assured of good quality and good health when buying a purebred kitten from a registered breeder. A registered breeder will have signed a Code of Ethics or similar and are obliged to abide by these standards which are laid out by their registering body.
A quality breeder will have done all sorts of health checks and DNA testing on their cats. They should only be breeding from healthy and genetically sound cats. Most breeders will give some form of health guarantee and you will also have back-up from them if you run into any problems, or simply need advice as some stage.
Often, if the breeder is a popular one, you will have to go on their waiting list to buy a kitten.
The usual advice you will get is to check out the conditions where the kittens are raised … but please remember that many breeders raise their kittens inside their homes. When breeders have a stream of strangers into their homes, there are serious personal safety, kitten safety and also public liability issues.
For this reason, a lot of smaller in-home breeders nowadays will not have visits to their kittens at all. This is very understandable, but makes it difficult for buyers. If this is the case with the breeder you choose, you can check out their credentials by finding out which cat registry they belong to.
You may be able to meet them at a local cat show. Also, you can ask if you are able to contact some of their previous kittens new owners. You should also be able to talk with the breeder at length on the phone and see if it “feels right” to you.
You do need to be aware that not allowing visits may also be a way of keeping poor conditions out of the buyers notice. Use your judgment. If you are emailed photos of their kittens for sale, have a really close look at the photos using my guide for Buying a Kitten as reference as to what things to look out for.
The quality and origin of kittens in pet shops is often suspect. You will normally not get registration papers even if it says the kittens are purebred, and there is no real way of knowing: is the kitten purebred not?
A lot of Cat Registration bodies will not let their members sell kittens to pet shops. Many high volume kitten farms use pet shops for their sales, and these kittens may come from very poor conditions, you will have no way of knowing.
Conditions in which the kittens are kept should be very important to you, as cat respiratory and other diseases are highly contagious, and may not show up until a week or two after you bring your new kitten home.
Pet shops mainly trade on the impulse purchase, and I find the moral issues here sadly lacking. No one should ever buy a kitten, cat or any other pet because they are attracted to a cute face in a window, it requires much more consideration than that!
Backyard Cat Breeder:
This is the term used for people who are not registered breeders, usually in a derogatory way. Why they do not become registered is anybody’s guess and one that you should ask yourself prior purchase, if you are considering this option.
They answer to nobody, and have no guidelines they have agreed to follow. It is unlikely that you will receive any sort of health guarantee or future back-up from a BYB. You will have no real way of knowing if the kitten is a purebred, as BYB’s are not able to register their cats with any cat registry.So there are no real accurate records of parentage and bloodlines.
Cat Rescue Center:
This is the first place I recommend you look when buying a kitten or any other breed of cat. You can find gorgeous but needy kittens and cats that, often through no fault of their own, are unable to be kept by their owners and are handed in for re-homing.
And these kittens are in the most urgent need of a loving home. You might find you visit there and fall in love with a kitten, purebred or not! A kitten purchased from a rescue or cat shelter will be health checked and will have had all the veterinary treatment it requires, and often the cost of purchase is minimal.
As there are always so many kittens in rescue centers, please give this option some serious consideration.
Kittens Free to good home:
If you are assured of the background of the kitten, i.e. from a friend or family member, this may be an option to consider. If you are answering an advert in the newspaper or on the internet, then tread with caution. You have absolutely no way of knowing the real health status of the kitten or it’s parents.
So, it is not recommended as being one of the better ways to find your new kitten. You will most likely have to cover all the costs of initially veterinary treatments, vaccinations and the like.