Bringing a kitten into your home will the same dedication and commitment as bringing any pet into your life. Here at pets rehomed we recommend you take time to consider your options; can you give a kitten a loving home, and can you afford one? Are you able to commit to having this responsibility long term? What type of kitten, do you want a purebred? Could you rehome?
If you have taken the time to consider all these points and you are ready to go ahead with buying a kitten, you need to consider essential questions to ask a breeder, as well as prepare for bringing a kitten in to your home.
It sounds obvious, but when visiting breeders, make sure the cats are well looked after. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment, or if you are unfortunate enough to see kittens in a poor environment, to want to rescue them all. You should be able to meet Mum, and if you are given excuses as to why Mum is not available, arrange another visit. You should be allowed to handle all of the kittens in the litter, not just the one you are looking to buy, and they should have bright eyes and be sociable. It is also key that kittens remain with Mum until they are around 8-9 weeks, any earlier and you could end up with behavioural problems.
Remember if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. A kitten is an extension of your family, take the time to get what is right, not the right price! Bargains ultimately come with a large vet bill at the end.
What you need to know from a breeder
Firstly, who is the breeder? You need to ensure that you are meeting with the breeder themselves, and that you are seeing the kitten in its ‘home’ environment. A good ‘home’ environment is where kittens are with Mum and ideally in a busy environment. What you are looking for is a place where kittens are not only kept clean and fed, but where they have a space to grow in confidence and feel comfortable around people. This will enable you to see that the kitten has been well cared for and check its history.
A healthy litter? We have already said about your kitten having bright eyes and being sociable, check for clean faces and bums, and make sure their eyes aren’t runny. Seeing the whole litter, and their collective health as well as asking if they have seen a vet for routine health checks, and have they been treated for anything will really help guide your understanding. If it is a purebred, are there any hereditary disease that you need to be aware of?
Healthy litter, healthy Mum? If Mum isn’t healthy, it’s obvious that this will impact on the kittens. Has she been vaccinated and wormed? Your kitten may have health problems if the answer is no to these questions. You will want to ask about how many litters Mum has had previously and be cautious if she has had a lot, trust your instincts on this one, too many litters could be a sign of irresponsible breeding.
Vaccinations and worming? Documentation for vaccinations can be provided by the vet. These do not normally take place until 8-9 weeks, so if you are meeting a young litter, don’t be put off if the breeder says they haven’t had their vaccines yet, just be sure to see the paperwork before taking your kitten home. Vets can also advise on worming, as many kittens are born with worms it is essential this is carried out. Finally, don’t forget to consider flea treatment.
Have the kittens met many people? Kittens need to meet lots of different people to help them feel safe around people when they are adults.
Bringing a kitten home
You have considered the impact having a kitten will have on your life, the good, the bad, and the unexpected. You have found the kitten you want, from a breeder you feel confident about, so its now time to think about bringing your kitten home.
First you need to make sure you are prepared for a kitten. Basic equipment, food/water bowls and litter tray are probably the first thing on your mind, but you need to ensure you can also provide a box, or a basket with a blanket for the kitten to have its own quiet space. Speaking of quiet spaces, make sure the bowls and litter tray are accessible, but also in a quiet space so that the kitten is not disturbed. There are a large variety of foods available to Kittens, be sure to ask your breeder what type of food they have been feeding your kitten and get a feel for your kittens likes and dislikes.
You will require a suitable cat carrier for bringing the kitten home in your car. An unsecured cat may not only toilet in your car, there is the potential for an accident to happen.
You will need to build trust with your kitten, time to bond and get to know each other is critical, and interactive toys are ideal for this. You don’t need to spend lots of money, a simple piece of ribbon is good enough, the important part in this is the time you give. We would recommend a scratch post however as your kitten will find somewhere to scratch, so make sure it is in a place that you choose.
Lastly you will need a soft brush, especially if you have a long-haired cat as a regular grooming routine is essential.
Other articles to follow
Letting your kitten outside
Back yard breeders