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Tips for Buying a kitten PDF Print E-mail
Written by Melanie   

What to Look for Before Buying a Kitten!  

Additional IMPORTANT info on this topic can also be found by clicking on the "Kittens under 10 weeks" article under the "FAQ's" Menu.

If you are thinking about getting a kitten there are a few pointers I can give you as to what to look for.

First and foremost: Please remember that purchasing a kitten is a LONG TERM decision. When you purchase a kitten you must be aware that he or she will grow up. They are not going to stay a kitten for ever. You should purchase your kitten with the thought that you are likely to have this animal for 12, 13, 14 or more years. They are not a throw away toy. You can't purchase a kitten and then get rid of it when it grows up. You MUST consdier the long term financial and emotional impacts that come with owning an animal. There will be times when they inconvenience you. They will get sick right when you are busy at work and really shoudn't be taking a day off to take them to the vet. You will have to organise a boarding facility or family/friend to care for him when you go on holidays and there are usually costs associated with that.
There are obvious ongoing maintenence costs as well just for the basics. (Please see "Costs of Owning a cat" under the FAQ menu) They may, like children,  develop some unwanted traits but most are treatable with a bit of time, patience and professional advise. They all have different PURRsonalities but that is what makes them a special part of your family. Please fully undarstand the LONG TERM RESPONSIBILITIES of pet ownership BEFORE YOU proceed.

Be aware that pet shops are a great place for the spread of germs and disease and considering that kittens in pet shops are NOT fully vaccinated this can be risky, especially when they mix litters of kittens together. You can usually find the same breed on the internet or from a breeder at a cheaper price and in the case of Domestic Short Hair (DSH) or moggy kittens they will usually be free unless microchipped or vaccinated.

Before purchasing a kitten or even choosing one there are a few things to look out for. If the kitten hisses or backs up when you approach it this means that the kitten has not been handled very much and chances are was not raised indoors. First signs to steer clear of that kitten.

When buying a kitten from either a breeder or a Pet Shop ensure that they offer some kind of health guarantee. Even if it is only for a couple of days so that you have a chance to get the kitten checked out by a qualified vet and return the kitten if the vet thinks it is not healthy.

If you are buying from a breeder always ask to see where the kittens are kept. If they are hesitant to show you it is probably because the facilities are dirty and often small. If the kitten cages are outside be wary! How much attention have these kittens had? Are they familiar with the typical noises of a home such as the telephone, T.V, doorbell, vacuum cleaner etc. Is the breeder aware of health problems if they are kept outside/down the back of the property?

If you are buying from a breeder consider how many litters and how many cats they have at any one time and if this is managable??? Do they breed numerous different breeds and have multiple litters all at once? FACT:The more cats and kittens they have at any one time the less attention your kitten is going to get and there is a much higher chance of disease and infection. In my personal opinion a breeder that breeds multiple breeds of cats and has multiple litters may not have the best interests of the kittens they produce at heart and could be considered a kitten factory. How can you spend time with and properly care for 4 or 5+ litters with an average of 5 kittens per litter) as well as 10, 11, 12+ adult cats??? There are not enough hours in a day for 2 people to look after this many cats. Feeding, changing litter trays, cleaning bowls, cleaning rooms/catteries/kitten pens etc, Cheking their coats/body/gums etc and then just spending a little time giving them some love and attention is time consuming. 

Check the eyes, nose and mouth. If there is any yellow discharge from the eyes and/or if the nose is running or if the kitten is constantly sneezing and wheezing, the kitten could have Cat Flu. Are there ulcer like sores on the tongue? You don't want to buy a sick cat so make sure the kitten has been treated and is healthy before purchase. 

Look in the ears any black or dark brown wax may indicate ear mites. A responsible pet shop or breeder should have dealt with this before showing a prospective buyer.

Check the litter tray - A responsible breeder would make sure it was clean - (a sign that the kittens are well cared for). If there are signs of fresh faeces is it solid? Also check the kittens bottom. Is it clean? Or are there signs of diarrhoea?   If so it may be worth coming back at a later stage and looking at the kitten/s when this has been treated. Or alternatively look elsewhere.

Finally look at the kittens body. Check for fleas or any wounds. (Small wounds may be found on the neck of young kittens from the mother carrying her young, that is usually fine and no need for concern).   If you do find fleas or suspicious wounds or lumps (possibly hernia if on stomach) these either need to be treated and fixed before purchase or at least discussed with a vet 

You don't have to buy from the first breeder you talk to or see. You are likely to have a kitten for 14+ years so....Take your time, look around! You can always go back to that breeder if you think they were the best breeder with the healthiest animals. If you have to wait a few months well so be it. What is a few months in the scheme of things? A good breeder will give you lots of information to take home with you such as care sheets, diet recommendations and vet information, informing you when your kitten is due for its next vaccination etc. I would also expect a good breeder would ask you to give them a call should you have any problems or questions even when your cat is an adult.

 * * * * *

A good responsible breeder should evaluate each kitten individually before confirming that the kitten is ready for a new home. This may mean 2 kittens from the same little will be ready to leave at different times.

There are a number of developmental and health goals that need to be reached before going to a new home.? When choosing your kitten, try to make sure he/she is healthy and well cared for. At ten weeks of age, the kitten should have had at least one F3 vaccination and received at least 4 doses of dewormer.

Also, look for the following traits: 

1. Has the kitten reached an appropriate going home age? (eg about 10 - 12 weeks)

2. Is the kitten at a suitable weight? At 10 week old a kitten should be about 1kg (different breeds can vary). I would not recommend taking home a kitten much under 1kg.

3. Is the kitten familiar with and eating a wide range of top quality vet recommend foods and foods suitable for human consumption?

If you get a kitten that has been raised on only 1 type of food this may not be a brand that you can get hold of easily and may mean the kitten will be a fussy eater. Also what are you going to do if that brand is sold out or discontinued. 

4. Is the kitten confidently using the litter tray.

5. Has the kitten been well socialised and is he/she friendly and affectionate? The kitten shoud NOT be fearful.

6. To the breeders knowledge: Is the kitten healthy and flea free?

7. No nasal discharge

8. Clean Ears and Skin.

9. Bright Eyes with no pussy discharge.

10. Pink gums and correctly aligned teeth 

11. Well-proportioned body 

12. Shiny coat

13. Good eyesight and hearing-check this by jingling your keys and seeing if the kitten responds. ??Always have your new kitten examined by your veterinarian as soon as possible. If there is a medical problem, you should be able to return the kitten to the breeder. 

14. Has the kitten been vet checked?

15. Has the kitten been vaccinated at least 14 days prior to going home?

16. Has the kitten been wormed regularly (at least 4 time by 10 weeks) and are all medications and innoculations/vaccinations up to date.

17. Is all the paperwork in order to pass onto the new owners. Eg, Vaccination certificate, Microchip information, Kitten care info, Diet info.

18. Is the breeder prepared to guarantee the health of the kitten for A MINIMUM of 14 days after the kitten goes home?

BY LAW there is a requirement under Standard 9-1-1 of the NSW Department of Primary Industries - Animal Welfare Code of Practice - Breeding Dogs and Cats (effective 25th September, 2009) that states:

(c) "If within 3 days a cat is not acceptable to the purchaser for any reason, we (the breeder) shall take the kitten/cat back and refund 50% of the purchase price of the animal."

FOOD/DIET -

A sign of a good breeder is one who uses top quality food to feed both the adults and kittens. Where possible the kittens should be raised on meat suitable for human consumption and a vet recommended brand of biscuit as the base diet. If the breeder is prepared to spend money on good quality food this is a good sign that the kitten is looked after in all areas of health and grooming.

People often feel that the higher quality pet foods are too expensive but due to the top quality ingredients used in these brands you will find that your cat will actually eat less of these foods than regular supermarket varieties often resulting in a similar cost if not a small saving. This is because a good quality of food will fill them up quicker and give them the nutrience and all the dietary requirements they need. You should also find that your cat excretes less with less odour. It will also give your cat a shinier healthier coat, help keep the teeth clean and give your cat fresher breath. These brands of food are also made to suit your ageing cat. Where possible your cat should be fed fresh meat (such as BBQ Chicken, minced lamb, diced beef, chicken necks and wings, brisket bones etc) throughout out their entire life. Meats suitable for human consumption are ideal! They don't have the preservatives that the pet food meats have. These preservatives will have detrimental effects if used regularly.

In the case of dry food - Your kitten should be on kitten food until it is one year old. It should then be weaned onto an adult food which it will remain on until it is 7 years old and should then be put onto a senior diet. Adult cats need much less and possibly even no dry food at all if they are fed on a good variety of meats suitable for human consumption/preservative free and have a healthy diet in general

Some of the dry food brands also attend to the needs of cats with specific health problems such as hairballs, dental care, sensitive stomaches and sensitive skin etc. There are also breed specific food on the market for dogs and cats. A good choice for an adult Burmese is Royal Cannin -   Siamese. (The Dietary need of a Siamese is the same as   a Burmese). Other brands of dry food that you may like to use are Eagle Pack, Science Diet, Eukanuba, Iams and Advance. Varying the brands is important. 

Enjoy your new healthy kitten!
 
If you are interested in knowing the Code of Ethics that the NSW Cat Fanciers Accociation has put in place for all registered breeder you can read them below:
 

CODE OF ETHICS

The NSW Cat Fancier’s Association has issued a Code of Ethics as set out below:

Each member shall :-

  1. Ensure that all cats and kittens in their care are hygienically housed, properly fed, watered, groomed and receive prompt veterinary attention when required.
  2. Observe the Rules and Procedures of the NSW Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc and in particular the procedures pertaining to the treatment and control of infectious disease.
  3. Not knowingly misrepresent the characteristics of a breed, nor falsely advertise nor mislead any person regarding the pedigree or performance of any cat or kitten.
  4. Not allow any entire cats under the member’s care to roam free, except under supervision, to prevent accidental matings.
  5. Ensure that the Certificate of Registration is transferred to the new owner’s name when a cat or kitten has been sold for showing or breeding.
  6. Not mate or breed pedigreed cats unless the member becomes a breeder member by obtaining a Breeder’s Prefix issued by the association. The breeder’s prefix will be noted on the member’s membership card.

Each Breeder member shall :-

  1. Not mate a female under 10 months of age nor overbreed a queen, ensuring that she has not more than 2 litters each 12 months. It is recommended that a queen not have more than 3 litters in any 24 month period.
  2. Ensure that a pedigreed cat is not mated to a pedigreed cat of another breed unless such mating is approved by the Association.
  3. Not sell or transfer a kitten under the age of 10 weeks, and vaccination must be commenced at least 14 days before the date on which the new owner takes possession of the kitten. It is recommended that the first vaccination be administered by a qualified Veterinary Practitioner.
  4. Ensure that before sale each kitten is fully weaned, healthy, vaccinated, microchipped and litter trained. Unless agreed otherwise by the breeder and purchaser, breeders shall accept reasonable financial responsibility for the health status of a kitten for 2 weeks after the date on which the new owner takes possession of the kitten.
  5. Provide all purchasers of cats and kittens with written details of all dietary, grooming, worming, and vaccination requirements. The pedigree and vaccination certificate are the birthright of the cat or kitten and must be given to the new owner. Information to contact appropriate breed clubs should also be supplied.
  6. Not sell cats or kittens to commercial cat wholesalers, nor to non PIAA accredited retail pet dealers, nor allow a cat or kitten to be given as a prize or donation to a contest of any kind.
  7. Ensure, when selling or transferring a cat or kitten to another person for breeding or showing, that all documents required by the NSW Cat Fanciers’ Association Procedures are provided to the purchaser or the transferee on completion of the sale.
  8. Ensure, when selling or transferring a cat or kitten to another person for breeding, that the new owner is a member of a recognised controlling body and has, or intends to have, an approved breeder’s prefix.
  9. Breed cats for the purpose of improving the standard of the breed and not primarily for the pet market.
 
 
 
 
 

Suchi is a registered breeder with the New South Wales Cat Fanciers' Association Incorporated. Lic No 125232.

All information, photographs and graphics on this site are copyrighted 2004 by Catatonia. No warranty is proved for any ommission, inaccuracy or otherwise of any of the data, information or opinions included in this site whatsoever. Independant professional advice is advised, paticularly with concern to medical matters. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 07:59
 

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