The coronavirus crisis has resulted in a huge increase in people wanting to get cats and kittens. And with us spending more time at home, it’s no surprise that many are looking for new additions to the household.
With some government guidelines on COVID-19 still in place, some people have been selling kittens online without offering the opportunity to go and see the kittens with their mum. Some unscrupulous sellers are going out of their way to make online selling of kittens a business, resulting in some cat lovers being scammed – either paying over the odds or receiving a kitten that is either sick, not yet ready to be homed, or not the kitten that was advertised.
Looking for kittens for sale during current COVID-19 restrictions? Here’s our guide to ensuring that you don’t get scammed and instead, receive a happy and healthy kitten.
Some scammers sell kittens that are either sick or too young to leave their mother.
Kittens should be at least eight weeks old before they are sold and should be eating solid food, having been fully weaned off their mother’s milk.
We’d encourage you to go and see the kittens in the seller’s home or at the breeders and ensure they are:
For full guidance on what to look out for, download the Kitten ChecklistDownload the Kitten Checklist
Ideally, you’ll need to see the kittens with their litter mates and mum where they were bred, ensuring that they seem happy and healthy. Remember to ask questions about the mother cat, kitten’s health and their medical history – you can take the kitten checklist with you for more guidance.
When there were more restrictions on travel and entering other people’s homes during the pandemic, those selling kittens resorted to using video to communicate with potential pet owners and to delivering kittens to the buyer without an opportunity to go and view them. You should avoid buying kittens purely based on a video as unscrupulous sellers can use this to their advantage, operating scams this way. In some cases, they may:
To avoid being scammed, go and view the kittens and make sure you ask lots of questions about the kitten.
With COVID-19 restrictions now easing you should be able to go to the seller to view and collect the kittens. This will enable you to see the kitten with their mum and the setting in which they were bred.
When collecting kittens, it is advisable to adhere to social distancing guidelines and observe good hygiene at all times.
You can find out more about how to keep yourself and your cat safe on the government website.
An unscrupulous seller may offer to deliver the kitten to you at a social distance.
If a seller mentions delivering kittens or ‘meeting you halfway’ to save you a journey, they could be preventing you from seeing where the kittens were bred. Keep aware and go and see the kittens if possible to ensure your kitten isn’t sick or underage – and that they are the same kitten that you chose!
If you’re keen on getting a kitten, opt for sellers local to you. Transporting kittens long distances is stressful for them. Stay suspicious of sellers offering to source kittens for you, especially from outside the UK. These kittens may have been bred abroad in a poor welfare environment, smuggled in illegally and transported long distances.
COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in opportunistic sellers hiking up prices for kittens as the demand is currently high. Try to do your research when it comes to agreeing on a price, and be mindful that you may pay more currently. ‘Moggy’ kittens, such as tabbies, gingers, black and white, may previously have been sold for £50 and are now being advertised as much as £350 per kitten. Purebred pedigree kittens are being advertised in the £1000s, often double what was previously the expected price!
If a seller is charging high prices for kittens and seems to be advertising regularly, they may be running a business. By law, commercial sellers must be licensed or registered by the local authority. To avoid being scammed:
Think before you buy! Be mindful of paying upfront deposits for kittens you’ve never met, particularly moggies.
Looking to buy a pedigree cats like a Siamese, Ragdoll or British Shorthair? Before you buy, think about the following.
If you think you might have been the victim of a scam involving pet sales, report it to the police by calling 101 (only use 999 in an emergency) and speak to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk
You can also find more information about reporting scams on the Citizens Advice website.
Have you considered getting a kitten or cat from Cats Protection instead? Our centres are often full with potential pets, eagerly awaiting a permanent home. All of the cats in our care are:
Use our Find-a-cat tool to see if there is a suitable cat in your area. If there aren’t any suitable cats or kittens for your household currently in our care, we can help advise you on the safest way to continue your search.Find a cat