Australians 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 gumtree.com 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:
- Cats and kittens end up in an abusive home
- They are:
- used as bait in dog fighting
- ripped apart for entertainment and hunting practice
- used as live food
- sold to cruel kitten mills
- sold on for profit to e.g. an animal testing laboratory
- used to breed for profit
- used in animal crush videos
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.
Gumtree.com should stop this sort of advertising and follow in the footsteps of craigslist.org who I believe still retain a strict policy on the advertising of animals on their website (but is it good enough? Has it changed?).