A boom in buying kittens during lockdown has prompted the RSPCA to issue a warning for prospective owners in Gedling borough to think carefully before committing.
The RSPCA is concerned the boom could lead to more cats coming into rescue centres and needing new homes, as the charity reports there were 910 cat incidents in Nottinghamshire this year.
This July saw Google searches for ‘Kittens near me’ increase sixfold compared to the same period last year (a 667% increase).
During the lockdown, there has also been an 188% increase in searches for kittens within just a few months.
Many people have found they now have more time on their hands during the lockdown, so it is unsurprising that many have sought a pet to keep them company. However, the RSPCA would always urge anyone thinking of getting a pet to consider whether they can care for them in the long-term – and not just for a pandemic.
Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare expert, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people are interested in bringing a cat into their home this year. However, with such high increases in people searching for kittens online, it’s important that prospective owners are doing their research and not buying a kitten on impulse. This means making sure they have the time, money and resources to care for a cat for the rest of their lives, but also ensuring that if buying a kitten they are buying a healthy and happy kitten from a responsible breeder.
“It’s true that we see much higher cases of puppy farms than unscrupulous kitten breeders*** but it does happen which is why it’s so important to do your research and make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller.
“Sadly, we do see cases of cats coming into our care who have been bought without the correct vaccinations, care or attention and the results can not only be devastating for the cats themselves but also the new owners who have to provide the time and cost it takes to look after these very poorly kittens. This is why the RSPCA and other cat charities have come together to create The Kitten Checklist to provide vital information, such as ensuring you see the kitten with its mum and siblings in the place where they were bred, and peace of mind for anyone looking to bring a kitten into their home.”