Puppy Kitten Mills

dogs in cages
Photo copyright glowie NYC - this is for illustrative purposes only. I don't know the situation surrounding these dogs.

Puppy Kitten Mills - how do you define them? The first defining behavioral characterictic of such a cat breeder (and I'll write about cats for obvious reasons in this post) is that they focus on making money as opposed to the welfare of the cat. When you do that your main concern is the "production" of the maximum number of cats as each cat carries a profit. If cats are treated as objects then there will be little concern about a very important aspect of cat breeding, the socialization of the kittens.

Socializing kittens involves ensuring that they are fully accepting of the presence of humans and other animals such as dogs. This allows the kitten to integrate quickly when adopted and to lead a more happy life in their new home. This takes time and effort and it is easier to socialize cats in a small breeding operation. Most cat breeders are it seems hobby breeders, small operations working from home. They are not making a living from the breeding. In all but rare situations, I don't actually think that it is possible to make a profit, sufficient to live on, from cat breeding unless you are operating Puppy and Kitten Mills.

I don't think that profit (or commerce) and breeding animals go together satisfactorily. Proper cat breeders are also concerned with the breed standard. They are, after all, breeding purebred cats and there is an appearance to aim for (but always in moderation in my opinion). I don't think that the people who operate Puppy Kitten Mills care one jot about breed standards. So, you'll find a large number of cats from these breeders that are not inline with the standard. In fact I can see cats from this sort of breeder when I search for photographs for the Pictures of Cats website. Bengal cats for example that are not at all on the standard.

Sometimes people confuse Back Yard Breeders with Kitten Mill breeders. The two could be the same but as a lot of excellent cat breeders work from home and use their back yard in that process it would be unfair to call such a breeder a back yard breeder. I would have thought anyway that a kitten mill operation would more likely operate in a factory like setting on say a farm where there is sufficient space and away from a residential area.

Another very important area of concern is the health of the kitten. It is vital to provide the proper health checks and ensure that the cat bred is healthy when adopted. This doesn't happen with factory production as vets are a cost that erodes profit margins.

I am drawn to the thoughts of Helmi Flick who makes it clear that a person who wants to adopt a kitten really must visit the place where they are bred and make a first hand judgement and ask the right questions. Puppy Kitten Mills only exist because of a lack of concern by the "buying" public.

Here are some more issues in bullet form on this subject:
  • People often do not know what a good cat breeder is or where they are. How can they differentiate between the Mill and the ethical breeder? This problem is in the hands of the associations and breeders themselves to educated the public and get the message across. There is not enough direction from the associations in my opinion.
  • It is the puppy and kitten mills who are in part to blame for the high population of cats in rescue centers. Often kitten mill cats are poorly socialized and, as mentioned, unhealthy. This leads to an inability of the human keeper to cope and then abandoning the cat at a rescue where apparently (in the US) 70% or so are killed.
  • Pet shop kittens from Kitten Mills are well presented but this doesn't mean they are mentally and physically healthy.
  • Pet shops are convenient. To find a good breeder takes time and effort. Who do you think the public are more likely to go to if they are not well informed?
  • Puppy and Kitten Mills are likely to cage their breeding cats in a cruel manner for the sake of efficiency. When cats are in pain and upset they tend to go quiet and hide. They don't and can't shout out and complain. Only we, the humans, can do that. That is why I have written this post.
Puppy Kitten Mills to Home Page
Puppy Kitten Mills Puppy Kitten Mills Reviewed by Michael Broad on April 09, 2008 Rating: 5

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