Cats are wonderful companions to have and the balance of their independence and affection for you as their owner can make them the ideal pet. They are intelligent whilst being low maintenance, providing you with a rewarding bond for many years to come (the average lifespan of a cat is between 13-20 years).
Unlike a dog, they require no walks, can entertain themselves for the majority of the time and do not require professional grooming as frequently as our canine friends. Studies have shown that owning a feline can reduce stress levels, boost the immune system and improve your overall mood.
According to a survey carried out by the Cats Protection League in 2021, data shows that 26% of households own one or more cats! That is an awesome 10.8 million cats in the UK!
You may want to buy directly from the breeder, or a private seller or choose to adopt a kitten from the many rescue charities. For example, Cats Protection offer to worm, vaccinate, neuter and microchip your kitten before you take them home. Other charities worth considering include the PDSA, Battersea Cats & Dogs Home, RSPCA & Blue Cross.
If you have decided on a specific breed of cat, the best place to start is the UK’s top pedigree registration body GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). It is important to do your research on what type of cat would be suitable for you and your lifestyle. Some key questions to ask yourself are;
- Are there allergies to consider?
- How often are you at home?
- Are you going to have an indoor or outdoor cat?
- Do you already have pets, and would they be compatible?
- How much time are you prepared to spend grooming and playing (some cats are more independent and need more grooming than others)
- If you have children, is the breed’s temperament compatible?
Check out the GCCFcats comprehensive guide to cat breeds:
A good cat breeder will make you aware of the health screening schemes and breeding policies and be happy to provide these for you. It is worth noting that pedigree kittens typically do not leave their mothers until they are around 12-14 weeks of age (4 weeks longer than a moggy).
Key Questions To Ask The Breeder
- Is the kitten still kept with its mother and siblings and can you visit them?
- Where was the kitten born? Was it born inside the house with the usual household noise, family and goings on? If it was born and kept outdoors or kept in a room separately, it may struggle to adapt and be nervous coming into a home environment.
- Are the mother and the kitten friendly and approachable? Are they both up to date with worming and vaccinations?
- What is the environment like? Is there a good level of cleanliness and hygiene apparent e.g., clean bedding, feeding bowls and litter tray?
- Does the breeder have information on the father and their health status?
- Can you have the nutrition, care and litter training plan information?
(Most breeders will present you with a gift bag containing all the basic information, toys and food to get you started)
- If your circumstances change, would the breeder have a policy of taking the kitten back? Reputable breeders will usually include this in the contract and are on hand to offer advice and support.
- Will the kitten be vaccinated and microchipped before taking it home?
Warning signs To Note
- Breeders wanting to meet with you away from their family home at a carpark or outbuildings.
- Nervous kittens with dull eyes and a lack of energy, that are dirty around the bottom (a sign of diarrhoea).
- The kitten is hissing or growling and backing away from you (this signals it is distressed and is unlikely to become friendly over time)
- A breeder sells more than two litters or different animals simultaneously.
- The breeder offers kittens to be homed under 8 weeks of age. (Removing them early could affect their behaviour negatively and long-term health)
- There is no paperwork proving vaccinations, worming, or any requested health screenings.
- Do not buy on impulse after the first visit, you should not be pressured to decide by the breeder on the spot either.
Buying From A Private Seller
If you are considering buying a kitten privately either online or within your local community, it is useful to note that there is a new law as of 2020 called Lucy’s Law which states that it is illegal to sell a puppy or kitten under six months old unless the seller is a verified breeder. It also stipulates that the kitten must be viewed where it is raised and with its mother and siblings.
Signs Of A Healthy Kitten
- Bright, clear eyes
- Clean white teeth and healthy pink gums
- Clean bottom
- Playful, inquisitive nature and happy to be handled
- Fluffy, soft fur (watch out for black dirt-like areas. This could be a flea outbreak!)
With all the research and signs to look out for, you should now be fully prepared and equipped to begin your exciting quest for a kitten! Here at Simply Jasper’s, we have our exclusive Huckabee’s range of cat food and treats to provide your cat with optimum health, immune boosting, and antioxidant ingredients suitable as early as 4 months old onwards. We have used expert nutritionists to create a hypoallergenic, human-grade quality range suitable for indoor and neutered cats.