The coronavirus crisis has resulted in a huge increase in people wanting to get cats and kittens. And with many of us remaining at home for the foreseeable future, it’s no surprise that many are ending up with new additions to the household.
With government guidelines on COVID-19 still in place, many sellers are opting to sell kittens online. 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 or not yet ready to be homed.
Looking for kittens for sale during COVID-19? 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.
When viewing your potential kitten, ensure they are:
For full guidance on what to look out for, download the Kitten ChecklistDownload the Kitten Checklist
COVID-19 restrictions have made it more difficult for potential owners to see kittens in the home before they decide to adopt. 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.
Remember to check current COVID-19 restrictions when considering entering premises, particularly if you’re visiting a private house. You can find the latest advice on the government website.
As with most things during the coronavirus crisis, those selling kittens have resorted to using video to communicate with potential pet owners. However, unscrupulous sellers can use this to their advantage, operating scams this way. In some cases, they may:
To avoid being scammed, make sure you ask lots of questions about the kitten and if in doubt, ask to see a live video of the seller handling and playing with the kittens.
COVID-19 restrictions mean that it has become more common for those selling kittens to offer to deliver the kitten to you at a social distance. If a seller mentions meeting you ‘halfway’ to save you’re a journey, they could be preventing you from seeing where the kittens were bred. Keep aware and make sure you check to ensure your kitten isn’t sick or underage – and that it is the same kitten that you chose!
If you’re collecting kittens (where COVID-19 guidelines allow), arrange for them to be placed in a suitable cat carrier outside the premises and observe good hygiene at all times.
Alternatively, following government guidance, you could make the handover in a room or open space, as long as social distancing is possible.
You can find out more about how to keep yourself and your cat safe on the government website
If you’re keen on getting a kitten, opt for sellers local to you. This is especially important if the kittens are being delivered. 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!
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