Recommend The Kitten Checklist to help clients pick out their purr-fect pet

24 September 2019

We along with and animal welfare groups are urging vets to support The Kitten Checklist, released today (24 September), by recommending it to clients and breeders.

The Kitten Checklist will keep prospective cat owners feline good by providing them with a list of what to look out for when they go to see a kitten, helping them to avoid potential pitfalls and choose a happy, healthy pet. It includes suggestions to view the kitten with its mother, tips on spotting signs of ill health or asking about inherited conditions, what to ask about the kitten’s breeding and history, how to assess its behaviour and to judge how comfortable the kitten is likely to be around people.

BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said:

“Buying or homing a new kitten is a huge decision but as vets we’re aware that many people may make it quite rashly, basing their choice on looks or emotion and not asking the right questions. Sometimes it will work out okay but the aftermath of poor decisions can range from frustrating and costly to completely devastating. No one wants to unknowingly take home a kitten that is suffering from a hidden health condition or that will be distressed or anxious in its new surroundings, and no vet enjoys breaking the news that a young animal may need extensive and costly treatment before it has even settled into its new home.”

New statistics from our Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey revealed that nearly six in ten companion animal vets (58%) very often or often see pets that are not well suited to their owner’s lifestyle, while a third very often or often see owners and pets that are not well suited because one of the animal’s five welfare needs is not being met.

When asked about poor purchasing decisions relating specifically to cats the vets cited issues with multi-cat households (28%), issues with stress (21%) and temperament-related problems (12%) as common problems. Skin and coat conditions were mentioned by 8% of the vets, for example inadequate grooming leading to matted fur in long-haired breeds. Feline brachycephalic issues were mentioned by 6%, often accompanied by a lack of understanding on the owner’s part of the problems that can occur in these breeds.

Vets also cited pre-existing health conditions, such as cat flu, as a common problem as well as kittens arriving with parasites, or without adequate parasite control.

Claire Bessant, Chief Executive of International Cat Care, founder member of The Cat Group, added: “Cats can live with us for a long time and their health and wellbeing are crucially important to their owners and to the relationship they have with them. Using the information in The Kitten Checklist about what to look for and what to avoid when choosing a kitten could prevent both heart ache and costs of veterinary treatment.  

“The diverse members of The Cat Group input to try and cover most ways in which kittens are acquired and make it as simple as possible for owners to make the best choice.  We want owners and pet cats alike to enjoy their home and relationship without added stresses which could often be avoided.”

The Kitten Checklist was developed by The Cat Group, a collection of professional organisations dedicated to feline welfare.

Related BVA policy

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