How Healthy Is That Kitten or Puppy On the Website?

Cats free to a good home on Gumtree.comAustralians are increasingly buying puppies online. This is what we are told by Dr Susan Hazel, Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Dr Hazel lectures at the University’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

Note: I am referring to individual people who the adopter does not know and not shelter organisations who also advertise online but you know they will have systems and health checks etc.

There are many reputable dog breeders advertising their dogs online but there are bound to be people who are less scrupulous about what they do and what they sell. Many of the dogs may have ongoing health and behavioural problems and/or are bred from poor breeding lines. Even if the sellers are good you still have to visit.

This got me thinking about cats, of course. Gumtree is a well-known and large website where people can advertise whatever they like (almost). I checked out the Australian version of the Gumtree website for “free cat”. I was very pleased to see that there were very few advertisements.

However, when I visited the British version of the website I was surprised to see 5 pages of advertisements.

The classic advertisement line is “kittens free to a good home”. Many cats and kittens advertised in this way will end up in very good homes, where they are lovingly cared for. However, common sense dictates that many will not and below is a list of what might happen to these vulnerable domestic kittens and cats:

Are as far as I’m concerned, it is simply neither viable nor sensible to buy a cat or kitten over the Internet. Adopting a cat is adopting a cat the life of the cat and with that sort of responsibility the start of the process should be absolutely correct. The only way to start off correctly is to do your budget to make sure that you can afford to care for a cat for the next 15 or so years to a good standard and to swat up on cat health and behavior to make sure that the cat your propose to adopt is healthy and socialised. This means visiting the cat and letting him or her choose you. There is a page on the website about selecting a kitten. There is also another big page on this subject. should stop this sort of advertising and follow in the footsteps of who I believe still retain a strict policy on the advertising of animals on their website (but is it good enough? Has it changed?).

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How Healthy Is That Kitten or Puppy On the Website? — 8 Comments

  1. Would you buy a car, adopt a child, or get married online with no upfront and personal contact?
    There ya’ go…

  2. I think there needs to be some clarification in that this is very different from what Elisa is involved with. She’s not involved with “free to a good home” and “good luck sucker”.
    It may not be as upfront and personal as we would want, but lives are saved and there are scruples with her involvement.

  3. I’ve never advertised a cat or kitten anywhere and never will.

    Every spring and fall, like clockwork, unwanted kittens are deposited on my deck.
    Some have been even too young to be close to weaning. I have no expertise in how to keep them alive, but I do my best and elicit as much help as I can. Sometimes, I just sit on my steps and cry, because they’re crying until they’re too weak to cry.

    But, one day, a man pulled into my yard when I was outside, saying that he had heard that I had some kittens. He wanted to know if I would give away 2 or 3. There was something about his demeanor that I didn’t like, so I kept talking to him and asking him questions.
    As it turned out, he wanted kittens to feed to his pet snake.

    I can’t write the X-rated things that I said to him.
    But, I will never, ever give kittens to anyone I don’t know well. Even then, I’ll do follow-up.

    • Sarah Hartwell, who is a well known cat expert here says that cats always turn up for her. She has never had a problem adopting. Neither have I. You haven’t even got to go to a shelter. They are just there.

    • It makes my blood run cold thinking of that horrible man Dee, I hope he didn’t get any kittens anywhere else. Cats are so vulnerable and people with evil intent can act as though they love them, we can never be too careful who we trust!

  4. well i don’t know never had to go though any of that though i ended up getting a cat (rebel) from a site here in new zealand called trademe which is like ebay. Although had a bad situation with the couple it worked ok.

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