Categories: Facebook

Window shopping for kittens online on social media

There is an upward trend in what is described as “window shopping” of kittens and puppies online on social media. This development is in line with a throwaway culture of pet ownership and it is worrying for people concerned with animal welfare.

Kittens for sale on Facebook

Bosses at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home say that kittens and puppies are being left traumatised when bought online and given up at their shelter days later.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Window shopping of kittens is undesirable because it encourages people to adopt a companion animal without due consideration for a lifetime of care. There’s a lot to know and to think about and the question is: Is the adopter mature and sensible enough?

It appears that the answer to that question is that sometimes they are not. Social media websites such as Facebook appears to be encouraging irresponsible companion owner adoption.

Increase at Battersea

The dog intake manager at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Becky Lodder, tells us, on the Evening Standard website, that her organisation receives 2 to 5 puppies or dogs weekly because the owners are unable to care for them.

In 2018 Battersea has seen more than 280 dogs and cats enter their shelter that were bought online. Lodder has seen a marked increase over the past two and half years of dogs coming in from online purchases.

Misrepresented animal’s age

She has encountered a puppy seller who misrepresented the age of the animal. When the animal was only a few-weeks-of-age the seller claimed the puppy was a few months old. This is cruel because puppies of this age should be with their mother in order to ensure that they are weaned properly to avoid behavioural problems.


Sometimes dogs are stolen and sold online by the purported owner. It appears that social media can be used to sell stolen puppies and kittens.

Ease and convenience

The fact that you can purchase a kitten or puppy online as if you were purchasing any other object such as a handbag is a worrying trend. The ease and convenience of online purchasing on social media is tempting and can lead to impulse purchases and rash decision-making.

Visit animal in situ

Wherever possible, potential adopters should start with the option of visiting an animal rescue centre and adopting from them. This must be the default option. They should take their time and talk to the people at shelter having done a considerable amount of research on websites such as mine. Funding a lifetime of care is a primary factor.

All experts will advise that companion animal adopters must see the animal in situ before adopting. That means visiting the breeder’s premises or, preferably, visiting the animal shelter.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Gumtree, Craig's List, Trade It, Facebook, Twitter et al, are hugely responsible for the decline in companion species welfare. All the owners of such sites are actively encouraging neglect and abuse.

    If it breathes it can be commodified. Ad revenue is all.

    We have hoardes of backyard breeding idiots in the UK.

    Ad seen by myself on the very, unethical, wretched Gumtree...


    Idiocracy, the state of our nation.

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