Buying a new Cat or Kitten
What you need to know!
A cat is a commitment for its lifetime, which may be 15-20 years. Consider carefully whether a cat is a suitable pet for you and whether you can afford the lifetime costs of care such as food and vets’ bills.
While many pedigree cats are healthy, there is a misconception that, somehow, they are better or stronger than moggies, but adopting a pedigree is not a guarantee of good health. The word pedigree simply means it is from a family of cats which have been bred to meet specific criteria – usually in relation to their appearance. They have rarely been selected for specific health or temperament benefits. If selecting a pedigree cat, we strongly recommend that you take time to learn about the breed to ensure you will both enjoy a lasting and happy relationship.
Did you know?
Cats, like all animals, need five things to be healthy and happy; these are called ‘The Five Freedoms’ or animal welfare needs.
- Environment – a suitable living environment
- Diet – a suitable diet
- Behaviour – to be able to behave normally
- Companionship – to have appropriate companionship
- Health – to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
If you are considering getting a cat or kitten, IPAAG recommends the following:
- Please consider contacting your local animal rescue/rehoming Centre. There are thousands of healthy, loving cats all over Ireland who are waiting for a home.
- Avoid third-party sellers such as pet shops and garden Centre’s.
- Research before you buy. Different breeds have different requirements and temperaments. Be sure the cat you are interested in is suitable for your lifestyle and environment.
- Make sure you get a healthy cat: always ask for a copy of its medical records, including vaccination certificate and records of worming and flea treatment. Ensure that registration papers, the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates and microchip documentation are in order.
- Buying a kitten: ideally you should see the kitten with its mother and check that the facilities are clean and the litter appears alert and healthy. You should be able to handle the kittens freely under supervision. Don’t buy a kitten that is less than eight weeks old.
- If the cat is over five months old, check if it has been neutered. Kittens can be neutered at around four months or younger. It is not beneficial for a cat to have a season or just one litter. Breeding just adds to the many cats and kittens needing homes.
- Ask where your cat came from. If your chosen cat does not originate from the place of purchase, ask about where it did come from, and try to obtain its previous history.
- Getting another cat: If you already have one or more cats think carefully before getting another. Cats are naturally solitary animals which means they usually prefer to live alone. If one of your cats has recently died, hold off getting another as a “friend”, at least until your existing cat has adjusted, as it may be happier by his/herself. If you do decide to introduce a new cat to another seek advice from a vet or your local animal rescue Centre on how to do it gradually in a way that minimises the risks of either cat(s) suffering from stress/stress related illness.
There are many animals sold online for a quick profit and often raised without proper care, love or attention and sold to unsuitable households. These pets often end up being unwanted, abandoned each year – due to behavioral issues or simply because they are just not the right type of pet for the family. It is important when getting any new pet that you choose carefully and that it is an informed decision with the entire family. If you decide to buy a pet online, check the website complies with IPAAG Minimum Standards.
Always consider contacting your local animal rescue/rehoming centre first – to check have they a suitable animal you might offer a home to.
For further information and advice on getting a cat or cat care please see:
ISPCA and local SPCA’s – http://www.ispca.ie/
Irish Blue Cross – http://www.bluecross.ie/
Veterinary Ireland – http://www.lovemypet.ie/