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Cat and kittens sales

The Government is consulting on the review of various laws that licence activities involving animals.** This includes reviewing the law on the sale of pets and Cats Protection very much welcomes the review. The Pet Animals Act 1951 is now over 60 years old and it does not adequately reflect the modern reality that thousands of kittens and cats are sold online by private sellers, often operating a business from a domestic residence and with poor welfare.

Princess and her kittensWe agree with the Government who state in the review proposals that “all domestic commercial pet sales must be licensed”.

Monitoring of the online kitten market shows significant evidence of commercial activity with repeat advertisements from the same sellers and repeat breeding for sale from the family pet. Our supporters have long been concerned about the welfare of kittens sold in poor condition, perhaps sold under eight weeks of age and/or suffering from disease or illness. When surveyed, 66 per cent of responding Cats Protection branches told us they knew of cats being bred for sale within the local community.***

Cats Protection wants better safeguards for the commercial sale of all types of cats across the board whether they are non-pedigree ‘moggies’ or pedigrees (estimates suggest only 10 per cent or fewer cats are pedigrees). Our concern is about those that repeatedly breed for sale irresponsibly, putting money before welfare and without the safeguards that pet shop licensing can provide. We know that there are responsible sellers out there and that good practice and high welfare standards exist, particularly within membership organisations like the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) that register pedigree breeds and advise on welfare.

Cats Protection is calling for...

  • a prohibition on sales of kittens under eight weeks
  • closure of loopholes that allow repeat commercial breeding for sale from the family cat or cats
  • a clear definition of commercial pet sales (which might include a threshold of two or more litters bred or acquired for the purpose of sale per 12 month period and/or other factors suggesting trading)

** To read the full government consultation on animal establishments licensing click here
*** 125 of 254 branches responded to a Cats Protection survey about knowledge of breeding for sale happening in their locality (2015)