null Are you thinking of getting a kitten?

Are you thinking of getting a kitten?

An advice guest blog by our cat welfare expert, Alice Potter.

The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that many of us have a bit more spare time, are working at home and spending significantly more time indoors with our family. This combination can easily lead us into tempting thoughts of bringing a kitten into the family.

Kittens are sure to bring a great deal of joy into your home with their curious and playful nature but if you are thinking of getting a kitten (especially during these difficult times) there's a lot to consider before rushing into anything...

Can you commit to providing a kitten with everything they need to live a happy, healthy life?

Cats are often referred to as being independent and you might think that they'll be pretty self-sufficient by the time you're back to work. It's true that cats don't require you to take them for a walk every day but they still need lots of time and care on a daily basis. Taking on a cat is a big responsibility and long term commitment - will you be able to give them the time they need when everything goes back to normal? Having a cat can also be very costly too, not just the regular expenses like food, pet insurance and flea treatment but possible unexpected veterinary bills can come up too.

If you're thinking of getting a kitten then you will also need to spend time exposing them, in a very careful and positive way, to all the different types of people including, children and other animals, they're likely to encounter - as well as the many sights, sounds and smells. With the need to maintain social distancing from people outside of your household, this will be tricky. Find out more about early socialisation and habituation for kittens during isolation.

Please take the time to consider whether you're prepared for all of this before bringing a new kitten into your life. If the answer is no, then getting a kitten - especially now - is probably not a good idea...

Don't get caught out by people acting illegally

On the 6 April, new legislation - 'Lucy's Law' - came into force which bans the sale of puppies and kittens in England from third-party sellers e.g. pet shops, traders or dealers.

This means that anyone wanting to buy or adopt must go directly to a breeder or rehoming centre. Despite this law, there are still unscrupulous people looking to deceive unsuspecting buyers. We have heard reports of people paying deposits for kittens only to find out that they never existed. There are also sellers looking to capitalise on people's desires for kittens and charging extortionate prices.

If you do decide to go ahead and get a kitten then you need to be really careful and make sure that you don't get caught out. Defra has produced lots of information to help you get your pet safely

Adopt don't shop: Adopt from an animal rescue centre this kitten season

If having read all our information and you're confident that you will be able to give a kitten (or an adult cat) a suitable and loving forever home, then we would urge you to think about adopting one of the many animals we have in our care.

We currently have more cats in our care than any other pet and each and every individual is desperate for their forever home. May - September is known as 'kitten season.' This is the time of year that most kittens are born and when we see an increase in the numbers of mums and kittens needing our help. Use our Find a Pet tool to find kittens looking for homes - our rehoming centres remain closed to the general public but we can rehome and foster using a remote process.

No kittens currently available? No worries! With kitten season underway, it's likely to only be a matter of time before your local RSPCA is looking for forever homes for kittens. In the meantime, please be patient and take the opportunity to start getting everything ready for introducing a kitten into your family!

If you do decide to buy instead of adopting from a rescue centre, then using The Kitten Checklist will help ensure you chose a happy and healthy kitten from a responsible breeder.

Unfortunately, there are lots of people selling kittens on selling sites for hugely inflated prices at the moment, as well as scams running where people pose as breeders to get large deposits from would-be kitten owners. When the money's been paid, customers are finding out that there are no kittens and the hoax breeders disappear with their money. 

Find out more information on how to care for your cat during the coronavirus outbreak.

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