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Safe buying tips 

 

Read through our guidelines below to better prepare yourself for buying a cat or kitten online.  Bringing home a new pet can be both extremely overwhelming and exciting, especially for new pet owners. Below we offer suggestions and ideas on how to make the addition of a new kitten or cat an easy and smooth process. You can also find some sample questions you can use in your discussions with a breeder, cattery or rescue at the end of this guideline. At this time, we would like to emphasize how important doing your own research is prior to buying or adopting a new pet. We encourage you to research beyond this guideline. 

 

Do Your Own Research

 

Transactions made with sellers are separate and independent from KittenCatMart. We offer NO guarantees and we do not pre-screen advertisers.  KittenCatMart accepts valid complaints about sellers with proof of misconduct or wrongdoing. To protect yourself from scammers, please read through the following suggestions and research more ways to protect yourself.  

 

Research the Seller: It is important to know who you transact with online! Be aware of scammers and their attempts to gain confidential information. Scammers will attempt to use your name, phone number and email address to trick you into providing them with passwords, security numbers or access to your computer. 

 

To better understand who you are buying or adopting from, we recommend getting references, reading reviews, and visiting the facilities (if possible). Requesting video or additional photos of the kitten or cat is another great way of viewing the quality of the facilities. If conditions seem poor, you may not want to continue with the purchase. Be aware that scammers can use photos of kittens or cats that they do not possess. If a seller is unable to provide additional pictures or video, it is best not to proceed with the purchase. Reputable sellers should not hesitate to direct you towards references or pages of review. 

 

Speaking with sellers over the phone is recommended. Holding a conversation over the phone can give you a better sense of who you are in contact with. 

Familiarize Yourself with Local and State Law: Some areas and states require breeders and catteries to provide potential buyers with proof of a seller’s license. Make sure you obtain the proper license information from the breeder or cattery as required by your local government.  We strongly encourage you to read about your own local/state government laws regarding buying/owning a pet. 

Research the Pet Purchase Protection Laws in your state before purchasing a pet.  Breeders should be familiar with these laws and any contract offered by them should be in alignment with these laws. If this is not the case, you may not want to commit to the purchase.

Be Aware of the Kitten/Cat’s Health: If purchasing a kitten from a breeder, ask to see a copy of the kitten’s health certificate.  Some laws require a health certificate at the sale (e.g.; Florida).  Some breeders provide a health certificate after purchase. If this is the case, prior to purchasing the kitten, ask the breeder when the health certificate will be made available to you and if it was provided by a veterinarian. There are congenital defects that can be detected early on by veterinarians during medical exams.  Therefore, we encourage you to have your kitten examined by a veterinarian, ideally, before purchase but, afterwards is acceptable as well. A refund policy regarding genetic defects should be included in a breeder’s contract with a deadline to report your vet's diagnosis.  Make sure you research these requirements prior to purchase. 

Make sure the kitten is old enough to be separated from its mother. The minimum age for a kitten to be sold or separated from their mother is 8 weeks old.  Some states will allow separations at 7 weeks of age. Check your local laws for the most recent updates and notices. It is safest to bring home a kitten after their initial vaccination, which is normally administered by 12 weeks of age.

Buyer Protection: Use verified sources to make payments. Please do not use friends’ or family members’ payment methods. This is to help you in case of fraud or other issues regarding the transaction. Additionally, be sure to have a contract in place that covers your purchase or adoption. Most reputable adoption centers or breeders should provide some kind of contract.

Not all online breeders and catteries are scams. There are several reputable breeders and catteries who have websites and conduct online transactions simply because it is convenient and quick. By doing your own research, you can protect yourself from scammers and ensure you are purchasing  the kitten or cat that you want from a safe and trustworthy source.

Purchasing a Healthy Kitten

If possible, it is recommended that you visit the kitten or cat prior to the transaction. If this is not possible, request photos and videos of the kitten. We also strongly encourage you to have a return policy stated in the contract, or have health guarantees in place, in case the kitten is in poor health. This way you have a level of protection to your purchase. 

Reputable breeders should document and administer vaccinations to kittens and cats at vet recommended times. Some may take their cats to a vet.  Proof of vaccinations and deworming should be made accessible to you.  Make sure to get proof of this from the breeder.  Below are traits of a healthy cat.

Lack of discharge from the eyes or nose

Clean coat

Good muscle tone

No coughing or sneezing

Clean and pink ears

No bald patches or flaky skin

 

What to Expect in a Breeder Contract

Refund policy regarding congenital defects (as diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian) and by when the kitten must be returned 

A health guarantee describing what diseases are covered and by when these guarantees expire

A description of the kitten you have agreed to purchase and its’ date of birth

The date of purchase and the price at which the cat was purchased 

An agreement to neuter/spay the cat or description of conditional breeding rights 

Release date for registration papers

Registration names and numbers of the parents

Your’s and the breeder’s name, phone number and address

Your signatures and a copy of the contract

Some breeders are not associated with a cat registry and do not have registration papers for their cats. Because of this, they sell kittens that are typically less expensive. However, they should be able to explain the parental lineage and be able to provide all other items mentioned in the contract list above. Be cautious of breeders that do not ensure the quality of their cats, their cats’ lineages, nor their cats’ well-being. 

 

What to ask when buying a new cat or kitten

What is your return policy, in the case that I am unable to keep the cat?

May I see the cat’s health certificate? Was it provided by a vet?

What is your veterinarian’s contact info?

Is there documentation of the cat’s vaccinations? May I see it?

Are your cats being treated for fleas or worms at the moment?

Is there a return policy or health guarantee included in your contracts?

Is the cat litter box trained? 

Can you describe this cat’s lineage? 

What is the personality of this cat like?

What kind of lifestyle is this cat accustomed to?

What are the common health problems associated with this breed of cat?

What kind of grooming does this cat breed require and how often?

How old does the kitten have to be to come home with me?

Do you have any references from people who have previously adopted cats?

Are you affiliated with any breeder associations?

Has the cat been spayed or neutered?

What kind of litter box and litter would be best for this cat?

What kind of toys do you recommend for this breed of cat? 

Should I get a scratching post for my cat?

Should I get cat health insurance?