Wednesday 16 December 2020

Coronavirus pandemic has facilitated the sale of kittens online

Because of social distancing and an increased fear of contracting the Covid-19 virus, doors have been opened to unscrupulous kitten and cat sellers who exclusively ply their trade online. It is very dangerous to purchase a kitten online without visiting the breeder at their home and watching the interactions between kitten and mother and asking questions of the breeder. There is no shortcut to this and if you simply select online you really do not know what you are buying for sure.

This is a 5 week old kitten but not Lola mentioned below. Photo: Martin.

As the head of advocacy and government relations at Cats Protection, Jacqui Cuff said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has created the ideal conditions for unscrupulous sellers to thrive, as they appear to have a credible reason for not allowing buyers to view the kitten with their mother first".

It is very difficult for buyers of kittens online to be sure of the kitten's background and health. You simply cannot buy a kitten sight unseen and judging their health and welfare from a photograph online which is often of poor quality. I know people are very keen to adopt pets at the moment for companionship but it is easy to be scammed and the UK is full of scammers believe me. There has been a surge in puppy adoptions for instance and a lot of scammers are in the dog marketplace too.

It can lead to real problems both for the adopter and the kitten or cat. A story highlights this. It concerns a kitten sold online whose name is Lola. She was advertised in October for £200 and it was said that she was 10 weeks of age. She was purchased but the new owner who gave her up to Cats Protection. That early abandonment of itself is instructional. It's points to what I would call impulse buying of a sentient being. This is always very unwise because it's a lifelong commitment. We know that.

It was discovered by Cats Protection staff that Lola was five weeks old when she was sold which is far too young and which may result in behavioural problems due to early weaning. She's been rehomed at nine weeks old but it's just another example of an unscrupulous seller lying.

All the people in the know say that if you want to adopt a cat you must visit the person who is transferring the cat to you either free of charge or for sale. And you have to be sure what you're doing. You have to ask yourself whether you are adopting for the lifetime of the cat and if you can't answer that question in the affirmative then you should stop. Cats are quite expensive to keep. You must have some money in the bank and an income otherwise it is not going to work out very well if at all.

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