- Alternatives to buying a cat or kitten
- General thoughts on my search for cats kittens for free sale
- Kitten mills
- Personal experience
- Introduction to buying a kitten
- Guide to buying a kitten
- Helmi Flick advice on buying a cat
- Cats kittens for free or sale? – advertise here is you like
A lot of people search for "cats kittens for free sale", meaning that they are looking for cats or kittens that are either for sale or free. This page is a commentary on that search phrase mainly from the standpoint of what people should, in my opinion and the opinion others, look for and think about when embarking on a search. I also a look at some alternatives and whether they are better. The first 9 headings (linked to above) are warnings. The tenth is a form which can used to advertise and sell kittens and cats.
I am compelled to say that for me and from a strictly logical and moral standpoint nobody should be searching for cats to buy or indeed for free. There are plenty of homeless cats out there. I have never needed to search for or consider buying a cat or kitten. They just turn up; they are all around us. Joyce, an American lady living in the United States, a regular contributor to this website, has adopted many feral cats and re-homed some on an ad hoc basis (see her Furby stories). Where I live now I have two cats coming in for feeding. One is a stray (Timmy), living outside or in a shed. I feed him and care for him as best I can. The other is a time share type cat (Freddie). Before that another cat came in regularly but I think she was killed (Pippa). If I did not have two cats of my own to care for I could adopt these cats (provided I had checked on ownership beforehand). I live in west/central London. I rescued one of my cats from the street in central London. There about 150 articles (at March 2010) written by visitors on the feral cat page of this site in which they describe caring for, and on a number of occasions, taking in and taming stray and feral cats. Here are just some examples – there many more amongst the feral cat visitor submissions:
- Nuisance or Neglected
- My Kitty Thinks He Is A Turkish Angora
- My Feral Cat was Saved From a Compactor
- My Feral Cats (a example of caring for feral cats, which, incidentally, is an alternative to keeping a domestic cat)
On this site there are a number of purebred cat rescue pages (see below). Yes, it sounds strange but there are purebred cats (some of which are high quality show cats) that are in need of rescuing. Circumstances change forcing people to abandon cats. But in one classic case the purebred cat in question, a RagaMuffin (similar to a Ragdoll) was, I think it fair to say, ill-treated by previous caretakers (yes, there were more than one), consequently the cat behaved badly in the eyes of the owners. The last owners didn't have the ability to realise that it was them that caused the "bad behavior". They gave the cat to a cat rescue organisation. The point is this: this particular cat is stunning and well behaved! She was adopted by a loving and intelligent caretaker and both are extremely happy. Princess, the cat is winning prizes at shows! See the story here: The RagaMuffin and the Princess.
I hope that I have made a point there. With a little bit if imagination and searching in different places we can give a home to a cat that needs one. That is better than buying or adopting from people who let their cats breed and then give away the offspring. And buying domestic cats supports the unnecessary creation of domestic cats. In addition, re-homing homeless cats solves a problem. That, I am also compelled to say, is a great way to start a relationship with a cat. It gives added meaning to the relationship between cat and person. The stories referred to above support this.
Some rescue pages:
- Bengal cat rescue
- Purebred cat rescue
- Abyssinian cat rescue
- Savannah cat rescue
- Ragdoll cat rescue
- Persian cat rescue UK
- Persian cat rescue USA
What follows are my thoughts on buying a kitten or cat on the Internet. However, there are, of course many sources of adverts for cats including magazines, cat associations and cat clubs. Cat clubs sometimes run rescue or rehoming programmes. This could be the best source of a purebred cat because you have the reassurance of a knowledgeable club behind the process.
There are random bred, purebred mix and purebred cats for sale. I don't think anyone should charge for the adoption of a random bred cat but people do, about £20 in the UK. As for purebred mix cats, personally I don't see the point. Either the cat is purebred or it is not. These cats will look a bit or a lot like a purebred cat but they are not purebred and have no certification or papers. They sell for about one third of the price of the purebreds. Purebred cats vary in quality and health. You can usually get a sense for quality by the appearance but checking pedigree and show awards of the parents might give some clue as to the quality of the ancestors to the kitten to be bought. The advice is that it is essential in all cases to visit the kitten in situ with its parents and the people. In short to inspect the premises and kitten behavior (
for more, see table below). If you are unable to visit and the seller ships the advice is to instruct a veterinarian local to the seller to carry out an appraisal of the kitten or cat for you and buy subject to that inspection.
And personally, I would always buy the absolute best quality that can be afforded, which means in appearance and more importantly, really, in terms of health. The pages on this site that are concerned with cat breeds (purebred cats) also deal with health issues and this page: Genetic Diseases in Purebred Cats should give some pointers but don't assume that all the diseases listed are constantly present – they are not. Another potentially useful page is: Choosing a cat breed. If you are adopting a random bred cat, there are no recorded predispositions to health problems to call upon but if in doubt ask a vet to assess. Although I understand that this is not likely to take place.
Health is something you cannot see at first sight although there may be some indications like a snuffly nose (see table below). Never take some vague reason for this. Personally, I would set the highest standards in selection, otherwise you might end up with a sick cat, an expensive veterinarian bill and the encouragement of a poor breeder. There are a lot of hobby breeders making a bit on the side. I would read what Helmi Flick has to say below. The emphasis is always on health.
Warning to buyers: People involved in mass breeding at kitten mills should be avoided. They are neither good for cats nor people. They supply pet shops and advertise direct as far as I am aware. To thwart these businesses buyers should visit the kitten with their mother1 (the cat that is!) in the place where the kitten was born and raised. If for whatever reason the seller refuses, don't proceed. This problem can be avoided if you adopt a rescue cat or personally rescue a cat of the street instead!
Warning to sellers: There are dealers who buy or adopt free from people who advertise on the Internet and elsewhere (Graigslist refuse ads for cats as I understand it for this reason). These people sell the cats on to commercial enterprises including medical research establishments. The end result is likely to be the death of the cat, in my opinion. I don't know how you avoid these people except by asking questions and making your own judgments.
As I have always rescued cats on a direct and personal level, I have no personal experience in respect of buying and selling cats. But my mother bought purebreds and so did my sister. I recall two things about my mother's purebreds: A Siamese who had an allergy problem and three Burmese, one of which was very stupid (sorry but it is true). My sister bought two purebred British Shorthair cats. They were considered stupid. The cases of stupidity could, arguably, be due to inbreeding.
I know this almost goes without saying but we should all think before we become cat caretakers as this is a 15-20 year journey we are embarking upon and although it will bring much pleasure and joy, the financial cost will be about £10,000 over the lifetime of the cat all inclusive (assuming we adopt a kitten). Will we care for our cat come what may? Nothing should get in the way. A cat companion is as close and as important to a truly devoted cat caretaker as a child. And we wouldn't abandon our child would we..!
Then then there are issues such as our health. Are we allergic to cats or more precisely to the allergen produced by the cat in their saliva and glands (Fel D1)? If we don't know I think we should test ourselves. How about going to a rescue center and handling some cats? You will soon find out and a cat might pick you as a human companion. Also see Hypoallergenic cat breeds if you wish to adopt a purebred cat.
What about maintenance? Some cats are easier than others. Cats are not completely self maintaining. They need combing to check for fleas and assist in making the coat as good as it can be. Single coated shorthaired cats are more manageable than double coated longhaired cats, for example. Moggies come in both types while an example of a high maintenance coat would be a Persian (see cat hair). A single coated purebred would include the Siamese. A full breakdown can be seen on the cat breed pages (start here).
What about harmony in the household if you already have a cat? See Introducing a new cat, as a starting point. Finally, once you kitten has chosen you there is the name. Here are some examples: Male female kitten names – Cat names for Siamese – Burmese cat names.
By the way some cat breeds are smarter than others. Moggies are generally pretty smart.
|Event – Condition – Appearance etc.
||When – How – What etc.
|How does the kitten's mother interact with her kittens and people?||If well, this indicates a well balanced mother, which is likely, on inheritance, to translate to a balanced kitten that is well mothered and confident3. Personality is next in importance to health4.|
|At what age should should a kitten be for adoption/purchase?||9 to 12 weeks of age to ensure the kitten is well socialised (all being well) and becoming self-reliant.|
|Does the breeder ships without buyer seeing kitten?||Instruct a veterinarian local to the breeder to assess the health of the kitten and only buy subject to the assessment.|
|Found a breeder you like?||Write a good letter enquiring sex wanted, whether you breed or not and plan to show or not.|
|Breeder contract?||If yes, it should allow the buyer to return the kitten if unhealthy. This term should be read carefully as a breeder might argue that the cat became ill in the buyer's care5.|
|Can visit the cattery?||Definitely visit it and make an objective assessment without thinking of the kittens. Inspect kittens objectively.|
|Kitten's nose||Should be damp and cool.|
|Kitten's eyes||Should be bright and clear.|
|Third eyelid prominent? (see cat eyes)||Indicates an illness.|
|Buying a Siamese||Check diseases. Check for squint.|
|White cat?||Check for deafness. A deaf cat can still make a wonderful companion, however.|
|Swollen stomach?||Possible worms or poor feeding.|
|Ears clean?||Smell sweet? No waxy discharge? Mites cause waxy discharge. Mites can be cured fairly easily. Cat ear infection.|
|Anus and vulva area clean?||If not and it is inflammed it could indicate diarrhea, worms and/or infection.|
|Coat fluffy and in good condition?||Bare areas indicate mange and/or ringworm.|
|Good weight?||10 weeks old = 2 lbs (0.907 kg)|
|Kitten moves correctly?||No stumbling uncoordinated movements. Should jump well and legs should be well formed.|
|Kitten is "eager for attention"||Yes = well socialised & probably in good health|
|Kitten is relaxed when picked up?||Yes = well socialised & probably in good health|
|Kitten purrs when stroked?||Yes = well socialised & probably in good health|
|Kitten wants to play or is easily drawn into playing?||Yes = well socialised & probably in good health|
|Kitten is momentarily startled by hand clap (sharp noise)?||Yes = well socialised & probably in good health|
|Kitten is sturdy, confident and bright eyed.||Pick the kitten!|
|Diet – vaccination record – pedigree (
for purebred) – certificates (purebred)
Quotes are from Helmi Flick on buying a purebred cat.
"If you are interested in a breed, visit the breeder's house and see the cats there."
This gives you the chance to see if things look OK with the breeder's set up. Buying a cat is not like buying a TV. When you buy a cat you are paying the breeder for raising a cat to the point when he/she can be re-homed. You are not buying a product.
It is vital to know how the cat was raised as this will dictate your cat's character to an extent and how your cat integrates with other animals including humans.
The breeders house should be free of the smell of urine. This should be the case even if the breeder has "whole" (un-neutered) males (studs – who tend to spray more than neutered males). "The kittens should be isolated from the rest of the cats (the nursery)"
It is advisable to see if the cats are caged and if so don't deal with the breeder. The exception is for studs. Studs are often caged outside.
"The best breeder to go to is one who rotates their cats on a schedule so they all have "face" time with the human family at some time during the day".
This takes time and effort but is important for the integration of the cat with humans resulting in a much happier cat companion, which is the objective after all. This means work and a caring/loving approach from the breeder but this tells you how good the breeder is.
Cats kittens for free sale — Conclusion: when buying a cat:
"..wher e you get your purebred cat is very very important. Never a pet store. Never. And the newspaper is not a good idea, either. Go to the breeder's house, let the kitten choose you. That is what makes a good companion for you….
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