The tiny white kittens, called Daffan and Dill, were advertised by a private seller as being eight weeks old but when their new owners got them home, they quickly realised that something was wrong.
The kittens were still trying to suckle and had raging diarrhoea, so they took them straight to the vet, who advised that the cats were in fact only five weeks old – too young to be away from their mother. They were also suffering from worms and one of the kittens was slightly jaundiced.
Fearing that the kittens would not survive, the owners called the Bridgend Adoption Centre for help.
“We were really shocked at how ill they were,” said Sue Dobbs, manager of the centre. “The little girl Daff was particularly bad as she was very cold and very lethargic. As well as diarrhoea, the kittens went on to develop flu and we soon discovered they were deaf too. It took four weeks and a lot of energy and money to get the kittens back to full health.”
Daffan and Dill have now found their forever home, but their story highlights the risks of buying cats and kittens from private sellers online.
To offer cats the same welfare protection as dogs, Cats Protection is urging the Government to consider regulating cat breeding so that potential buyers are able to go to a licensed cat breeder.
The Welsh Government recently announced a consultation considering how best to address issues related to cat breeding and selling and is also calling for an update to the law on selling cats to reflect the modern age – recognising that the majority of kittens and cats are now advertised for sale online.
Cats Protection is asking that this should include a ban on the commercial sale of kittens under eight weeks which could have prevented Daffan and Dill from being sold at such a young age.
“Our branches across Wales still regularly tell us harrowing stories of kittens bred and sold that are very sick,” said Madison Rogers, Advocacy & Government Relations Officer. “It’s vital that the breeding of cats is regulated and the law on selling cats in Wales is updated to avoid such tragedies.
“By choosing to adopt, rather than going to a breeder, you are caring for a kitten that already needs support instead of bringing another one into the world,” said Madison. “It’s also beneficial for you because you’ll have peace of mind that your cat or kitten is a healthy pet.”
All cats and kittens adopted from Cats Protection are health-checked, wormed, vaccinated against cat flu and enteritis, neutered where appropriate and come with a free period of pet insurance.
To find cats and kittens looking for homes in your area, visit www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat