West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is supporting Cats Protection’s warning about the risk of online sellers capitalising on the COVID-19 pandemic to sell poorly-bred kittens.   

Cats Protection says that demand for new ‘lockdown pets’ may make it easier for unscrupulous vendors to sell kittens which may be sick or too young to be parted from their mothers.   

MP Rosie said: 
“I’m pleased to back Cats Protection’s campaign to raise awareness of unscrupulous sellers who may be selling poorly kittens to unsuspecting buyers.   

I would urge my West Lancashire constituents who are looking to buy a pet cat to follow the Kitten Checklist, and if possible to consider adopting from an animal charity such as Cats Protection.”  

Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Jacqui Cuff said: 
“With so many people now working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s understandable that many would want to bring a new pet cat into their household. But buyers must be aware that this demand creates the ideal conditions for unscrupulous sellers who put profit before welfare.  

“These profit-driven sellers may be selling kittens which are sick or too young to be separated from their mothers, which can lead to high vet bills. Sadly, some kittens bred in poor conditions may not survive, which can be incredibly distressing for their new owner.  

“Unscrupulous sellers have always existed, but the COVID-19 restrictions can give them an extra layer of invisibility. Before the lockdown, buyers may have heard alarm bells if a seller offered to deliver a kitten to them, or said it was not possible to view the kitten with its mother. But the guidelines and restrictions on visiting other households means it is now very difficult to be sure of a kitten’s background.   

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have been seeing moggies selling for around £50, but nowadays a quick scan of online adverts will find moggies for sale for hundreds of pounds. It is clear to us that there are individuals out there who are intent on putting profit before welfare.   

To make adopting from a charity safe and easy, Cats Protection’s Hands-free Homing scheme ensures cats and kittens can be rehomed following social distancing measures.  

Jacqui added: 
“Adopting from Cats Protection means new owners have the peace of mind of knowing their new pet has had all the necessary vet checks.”  

Cats Protection advises buyers to think carefully before purchasing a kitten from an online advert and refer closely to its Kitten Checklist.  Buyers can view this, and a wealth of other tips and advice for purchasing a kitten, by visiting www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/pregnancy-and-kitten-care/buying-a-kitten-online

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year through a network of around 230 volunteer-run branches and 37 centres.  

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