So you have decided to bring a new cat or kitten into your life. This is an exciting time for prospective cat owners, but what is the best place to get a cat or kitten?
The answer depends on the type of cat you want. If you are looking for a pedigree (or purebred cat), your best option is a registered cat breeder. Most countries have cat councils and breed clubs that can provide you with a list of registered cat breeders in your area.
Before you adopt
Make sure all members of your family agree before you decide to bring a cat into your home. Other questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you want one or two cats?
- Do you want a long-haired or short-haired cat? Long-haired cats naturally will require more grooming.
- Do you want an active cat or a more laid back cat?
- Have you researched the breeds of cats and their traits?
If you have an idea of the kind of cat you are looking for, this will help in your search. Some breeds of cat are more active (such as Abyssinians, Devon Rex), some quieter and laid back (British Shorthair, Persian), and some can be quite vocal (Siamese).
If you are looking for a mixed breed cat then the best place to look is your local shelter. They have all ranges of cats from kittens to senior cats. Most shelters will be able to advise you on what catwill suit your particular situation. For example, a shy cat may not do well in a household with younger/noisy children, whereas an outgoing cat would. Also, it’s important to know if the cat will fit in with other household pets etc. Shelter cats will be screened for common cat diseases, come microchipped, treated for parasites, vaccinated and desexed, saving you quite a lot of money.
We generally do not recommend recommended buying cats from pet shops. It allows for impulse buying, you often pay considerably more than you would if you went to a breeder or shelter, and often don’t get the before and after support, a breeder or shelter can offer you.
Having said that, some pet shops do take in cats from shelters to help them find a home. During this time they provide shelter, food and care for the cat while they screen potential adopters. No profit is made by the pet shop, it is purely a service they offer to pet rescue groups and animal shelters. This kind of adoption benefits everyone. They are helping pets in need find a home but not lining the pockets of backyard-breeders and kitten farms. If you do find a pet shop that has cats for sale, ask where they have come from? Is the pet shop affiliated with a rescue group and which group is it? Or are the cats for sale from an unnamed or unknown source?
You will often see people listing free to good home advertisements in papers and online. Somebody local who has had a litter of kittens and is looking for a home for them. This can sound like a cheap alternative to breeders of shelters, but when you factor in the cost of microchipping, desexing and vaccinating the cat yourself, it is usually the more expensive option.
Also, obtaining a history of the parents (especially the father) is not often possible. History is important to determine the health of the parents. Have they been screened for FIV, FeLV etc? What is their temperament like?
Wherever you decide to adopt your cat, make sure that all members of the family agree and are aware that cats can live 20 plus years.