Tiny Roxy was handed into the branch by her new owner, who could not afford the vet bills after discovering her new kitten was desperately unwell.
With the UK due to enter a kitten breeding season, Cats Protection says it hopes Roxy’s story will highlight the potentially tragic risks of buying an underage kitten online.
Cats Protection’s Woking & District Branch Coordinator David Nunn said: “Roxy had been advertised as 10-weeks-old when she was purchased for £170. On getting her home, her new owner found she was not eating or drinking, was sneezing, had very runny eyes and diarrhoea. She was taken to a vet who was of the opinion that Roxy was around six weeks old, underweight and suffering from cat flu.
“Roxy was is in a very bad way and needed lots of care to get her fit and healthy. The vet said that without treatment there was significant risk she would deteriorate even more, so her new owner was naturally very upset. It’s heartbreaking to see such a tiny kitten in such a poor state.”
After two months of care from volunteers since she was handed into Cats Protection in April, Roxy is now fit and healthy and will soon be rehomed to a new loving owner.
Roxy’s story comes as Cats Protection launches its “The Big Kitten Con” documentary which highlights the dangers of buying kittens through online adverts.
The video coincides with a Cats Protection survey of over 2,000 people which shows that around a quarter of respondents (23 per cent) are not confident knowing what questions to ask if they were to purchase a kitten online.
Last year, 340,000 of the 500,000 cats that were purchased in the UK were found online on sites like Facebook, Gumtree, Pets 4 Homes and Preloved.
Cats Protection’s Acting Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Madison Rogers said: “As well as giving advice, we are encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on the Government to regulate cat breeding. It has just been introduced in Scotland and we would like to see England, Wales and Northern Ireland follow suit.
“We want anyone who breeds two or more litters of kittens in a year to be licensed which would make them subject to regular inspections. This will bring unscrupulous sellers out of the shadows and help protect helpless and innocent kittens.”
Roxy is still being cared for by volunteers at Cats Protection’s Woking & District Branch before she is rehomed. Anyone who would like to make a donation towards the cost of her care can visit the branch website.