Where to find your cat
Unless you have very specific requirements, finding cats or kittens is easy. The best place is often a rehoming cat charity
There are several places where cats and kittens can be found and most cat magazines or website classifieds are full of adverts for cats for sale.
Strays or feral cats are best avoided as they are generally not suited to a home environment and have their own set of unique problems. The most common and reliable places to find cats or kittens are:
- Private breeder or individual
- Adoption (rehoming)
Private breeder or individual
Cats or kittens for sale can be found in local classifieds, specialist magazines or website forums. When purchasing from a private source it is very important to do your research and check out the situation. Some individuals who advertise themselves as breeders may be what are known as 'kitten farmers' who produce as many kittens as possible with little regard to their needs.
Reputable breeders may be able to give some more useful tips and advice with regard to the kittens care than a private seller.
A purchase from a private (non professional) individual may not be a purchase at all, since in most cases they just want to find homes for the litter and may not charge.
For both breeders and individuals, kitten availability tends to increase in summer, a natural breeding period for cats.
Choose where you get your cat from carefully
Obtaining a cat or kitten from a friend has an advantage in that you have an opportunity to spend more time with the cat or kitten before you make a decision. Although we tend to trust our friends advice, it is best to keep an open mind to the fact that your friend may not be a cat expert and you will have to do your own research into how to care for the animal. If you are purchasing an older cat, your friend will at least be able to tell you of its habits, favourite treats or playthings, and provide you with its bedding so that it can settle in more easily.
Cat adoption (rehoming)
Arguably the best place to get an adult cat, and sometimes kittens, are cat charities and rescue centers. A good rescue organisation will need to ensure all their cats are healthy, vaccinated, and neutered or spayed. In some cases a rescue organisation may even want to make sure your home is suitable for a cat.
Whilst the cats are usually very well cared for, a rescue center is not the same as a home, so the cats may not behave in the same way as they do when settled. A shy or defensive cat may become quite friendly and confident once in a permanent home. Talking to the staff about the cats personalities and if possible spending some time with individual cats will give you a good idea of their characters. Using a rescue center rather than a breeder also means you are giving an unhomed cat a loving home rather than increasing the cat population.
Cat fostering is a slightly different option and may be a great solution for some potential cat owners. Fostering is basically looking after a rescue cat whilst it is found a more permanent home. As well as helping out the cat rescue organisation, you will be helping prepare a cat or kitten(s) for the transition into a new home. Taking in a shy, nervous cat with little hope of rehoming and through care and attention turning it into a confident, friendly and playful cat ready for a new and permanent home can be a very rewarding experience.
In many cases, the rescue center will cover all vets bills, will be flexible with time periods, and provide support and assistance.