The Pet Store Controversy
Never buy from a pet store and here is why. Picture a teenager walking along in a mall and she sees a cute kitten in the window. The kitten is playing and rolling around. So, she goes in and asks to hold the cutey pie. The salesperson is happy to oblige and quickly begins the spiel. The kitten is 8 weeks old and comes from a local breeder they work with and of course, you will get registration papers and a list of immunizations the kitten will need. Yes, isn’t that kitten a doll? Little does your teen know the kitten has come from a kitten mill and has internal parasites and no telling what else. But when you go to pick her up she talks you into a new kitten and you get the ‘mom, I promise to take care of the kitten and feeds and water her.’ So you take the kitten home.
Kitty doesn’t know how to use a litter box and starts pooping on the bed. Puddles because of the intestinal problems. So off to the vet for expensive testing and medicine. In a few days, the medicine is not working so back to the vet for another visit and more extensive diagnostics. One thing after another and the kitten’s health starts deteriorating and she stops eating. Then the kitten has to stay because she needs fluids and farce feeding and so on.
One day the call comes and the kitten has passed. Your teen is devastated and your wallet is thinner. What could have been done?
A Good Breeder Will Follow Good-Practice rules that a pet store does not.
- Sell whole litters to a pet store;
- Guarantee the kitten to be in good health at the time of delivery;
- Urge the buyer to have his Veterinarian give the kitten a health exam soon after receiving it;
- Encourage the buyer to contact her if there are any questions at all about the kitten or its welfare;
- Kitten will come with a health guarantee;
- All kittens will be registered with an authentic registry such as TICA or CCA;
- A kitten will have at least two sets of immunizations protecting against Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and will typically be 12 weeks old or more before leaving the breeder;
- The breeder will never sell an entire litter to someone to resell for them.
- Kittens will never be declawed.
The above is the least of what a committed and responsible breeder will do for the welfare of their kittens.
A pet store, on the other hand, is quite the opposite.
A pet store will typically buy from kitten mills that have wretched conditions. Cute, tiny kittens sell best. So kittens are taken from their mothers early and go from one living nightmare to another. Young kittens are like babies, they need their mother to teach them social skills and good hygiene. Many think that cats and kittens automatically know how to use a litter box but it is not true. Momma kitty teaches the kittens and it takes some time.
Squalid conditions in kitten mills are breeding grounds for the following conditions that are common in pet store kittens: worms, E. Coli, Calici, FIV, Corona Virus the precursor to FIP, ear mites and eye infections, coccidia, giardia, and fleas to mention a few.
Not a Good Environment
In addition, young kittens need the nurturing environment of their mother. Buying from a pet store does not offer this. Also, then meaningful human contact from the responsible breeder as they grow. This ensures a happy and well-socialized kitten. Pet store kittens are usually handled only when someone wants to hold them as a potential purchase. Imagine the shock when a pet store kitten goes to a home when its entire existence was a crate with its mother and a 2’x2’ space in a pet store. Behavior problems are most likely ahead for many animals from a pet store.
Poor genetics and unsound breeding practices that go on in kitten mills may also show up genetic faults once the kitten is home. Try then, to get in touch with an open and honest breeder to ask questions…
It will not happen. There are many genetic issues such as PRA, PK Def, skin diseases, or many others too numerous to mention. Then it is a lifetime of vet bills and even worse. Some turn their pet store cats in to shelters and they are euthanized.
It is a good sound practice to find the breeder you might want a kitten from on this site, use the questions we have provided and ask for genetic testing for PRA, PK Def, and PCR test results. Ask for references and get a healthy kitten with a written guarantee.