There are a number of sources for finding cats. Once you’ve decided to get a cat, start putting the word out among your friends and neighbors. One of them might have a cat or kittens for sale, or know of someone who does. Litters are often advertised in newspapers and shop windows. A big source for cats is animal shelters. They usually have many cats and kittens who desperately need homes.
Don’t buy from a dealer who has bought kittens from several sources. They could have been weaned too early, and may have traveled long distances. The risk of disease and stress-induced illness is greater for these kittens. Since you can’t be sure of the history and health status of cats in this situation, you should ask your vet for advice.
If you’ve decided to buy a purebred kitten, then the best source is from a recognized and reputable breeder. You can find these breeders through other cat owners, your veterinarian, ads in newspapers and cat magazines, or by visiting cat shows. Breeding clubs can put you in touch with reputable breeders in your area.
What to Look For
First, ask to see the kittens with their mother. This way, you can assess the mother’s general health and temperament. Bear in mind that she may have lost a little condition through rearing her litter. Most important, you can make sure the kittens haven’t been prematurely weaned or brought in from somewhere else.
It’s best to wait until the kitten is at least eight weeks old before you take her from her mother. Breeders of purebred cats often prefer to keep the kittens until they are twelve weeks old. Try to see a number of different litters before you make your decision. Only buy from premises that appear hygienic (but don’t expect conditions to be sterile!), and where the cats seem happy and in good condition.
Healthy kittens are usually curious, and will show interest in strangers. Choose a kitten that is lively and playful without being too aggressive. It’s best not to choose a shy kitten that avoids contact with humans and other kittens. The socialization period in cats is believed to end at seven to nine weeks of age, so it’s important that your kitten has been well socialized before she comes to live with you.
Choose a kitten that is active and looks healthy and clean. There should be no discharges from the eyes or nose. Make sure the ears are clean and the gums are a healthy pink color. Check for any signs of diarrhea under the tail or on the back legs. The coat should be clean with no areas of irritation. And don’t think a kitten with a potbelly is cute; she may actually have worms. Also, an undersized kitten may have a medical problem. Check the vaccination and worming status of the kitten you choose, and make sure you are given any relevant certificates.