Cats and Kittens

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Kittens for Sale: know what to look out for online

What should you consider before getting a kitten?

A kitten is cute, and it is yours for life. Cats can live 15 to 20 years, and for that time owners are required to satisfy their pet’s five basic needs:

  1. A suitable living environment
  2. An acceptable diet
  3. Ability to act according to natural behaviour
  4. Companionship if necessary
  5. To be healthy and protected from pain, injury or disease

When it comes to deciding what kind of kitten to get, it is your choice whether to find a pedigree cat or moggy (mixed-bred or non-pedigree). While many pedigree cats are healthy, there is a misconception that they are somehow better or stronger than moggies.

Buying a pedigree cat isn’t a guarantee of good health and behaviour. Pedigree simply means the cat has been bred from a family which meets certain criteria –usually in relation to the cat’s 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 research different breeds and requirements.

After you've decided to get a kitten or cat, here's what you need to know about where to get one: 

  • Consider adopting instead of buying a kitten
    • There are thousands of gorgeous cats and kittens in shelters that are looking for good homes
  • Talk to your vet about finding a reputable breeder
  • Avoid buying a kitten from third-party sellers such as pet shops or garden centres
  • If you are searching through online ads, then ensure the website has signed up to the IPAAG minimum standards, and follow our advice below regarding what to look out for in online adverts
What should you be wary of in online adverts?
  • Does the advert include the kitten’s age?
    • Kittens should not leave their mothers before 8 weeks of age
  • Does the advert say the kittens are vaccinated?
    • Kittens can’t be vaccinated before 4-6 weeks of age and should be fully vaccinated around 16 weeks
  • Be suspicious of adverts that have multiple phone numbers or email listed
    • Tip: Try Googling the phone number or email to see whether it has been listed on multiple ads
  • Be suspicious if the seller is offering multiple cat breeds
  • Look out for ads displaying clear welfare issues such as:
    • Kittens visibly too young to leave their mothers
    • Kittens that appear underweight, unclean, have bald patches or display any clearly untreated health issues
    •  If you see any of these issues, please report the ad both to the website and to a relevant local authority
What should you do when you meet the kitten?
  • Bring a photo of the kitten and make sure you’re getting one from the same litter
  • Bring ID and proof of address dated within 3 months
    • The seller should complete a transfer of ownership form. If you aren’t asked for these, it’s cause for concern
  • Ensure the kitten and litter are healthy:
    • Kittens should be alert with bright, clear eyes
    • Kittens should not be lethargic
    • No discharge from eyes, ears or nose
    • No sneezing, wheezing or coughing
    • No bald patches, fleas, bumps or scars
  • Ask to see the kitten with its mother and litter
    • They should be interacting
    • Be concerned if you  can’t see the kitten with its mother
  • Ask to see the kitten in the environment where it was reared
    • Should be clean and appropriate
  • Ask for all of the kitten’s records
  • Ask if you can contact the seller again or return the kitten if things don’t work out
    • Responsible breeders should be okay with this, provided the returned kitten does not pose a health risk
Which documents should you get along with the kitten?
  • Transfer of ownership form
  • Medical records, including health checks and records of worming and flea treatment
  • Vaccination certificate
    • Should be available from 4-6 weeks
  • If buying a pedigree cat:
    • Signed pedigree registration papers
    • Parents’ hereditary screening certificates
  • Pet passport if the cat came from abroad
    • This is a legal requirement
For more information and advice contact:

ISPCA and local SPCA’s – http://www.ispca.ie/

Irish Blue Cross – http://www.bluecross.ie/

Veterinary Ireland – http://www.lovemypet.ie/