Selecting A Cat Or Kitten

Buying a sick or weak cat as a pet can cause a lot of problems and heartache, not to mention additional finances, so this guide will help to ensure you choose a healthy cat or kitten.

An important part of buying a pet cat is to ensure you select a healthy cat or kitten.

There are many breeds of cat to choose from and also cross-breeds. It is important that first thought is given to the type or breed of cat to ensure it is going to be suited to the intended environment. The advantage of a pure bred cat or kitten is that they have fairly fixed characteristics and temperaments making it easy to find one that is most suited for a particular home environment and lifestyle. Buying a cross breed cat or kitten means that the characteristics and temperament may be more uncertain. A long haired cat will require more grooming than a short haired cat, some breeds of cat dislike being left alone for long periods and some cat breeds are more suited to children or other pets in the household than others. Once the breed or type of cat has been decided, thought can be given to obtaining the cat or kitten from a breeder or other source.

If selecting a kitten, look at all kittens in the litter to ensure they all look healthy and active. If one kitten is sickly it may indicate some genetic weakness or contagious illness which may be present in the others and so these are best avoided. Kittens offered for sale should ideally be 12-16 weeks of age - kittens offered for sale should not be less than 12 weeks of age.

Whether looking at a kitten or older cat, ask to hold the cat and go through the checklist below to ensure it is healthy.

  • The body should be firm and neither fat nor skinny. There should be no signs of injury or swelling.
  • The coat should be clean with no matting or bald patches. Check underneath the cat or kitten also.
  • There should be no wetness or soiling around the bottom which could indicate diarrhoea.
  • The eyes should be bright and clean, not runny, sticky or cloudy.
  • The inside of the ears should be clean and not show any signs of scabs, flakiness of the skin or discharge.
  • The nose should be clean and not show any signs of discharge.
  • The cat or kitten should be alert and curious, not lethargic, nervous or show any agression.
  • The cat or kitten should not show any signs of pain, difficulty in breathing.

If the cat or kitten shows any problems indicated above, then choose another cat to inspect. Take your time over choosing a cat and ensuring that it is healthy and don't be rushed by the seller into making a snap decision.

If when viewing any kittens you are concerned about their environment, or the welfare of the mother or kittens being offered for sale then you should inform an animal welfare organisation.

More About Cats