Where Can I Get a Cat or Kitten?

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Find the option that is best for you!

Searching for a new cat or kitten is an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming. Are you looking to buy or adopt? Or is someone close to you trying to find homes for an unexpected litter? Here are some things to know about the options you may be considering.

Cat shelters and animal rescues

Choosing to adopt from an animal shelter or rescue organization is a great way to provide a home for an animal. It is also usually cheaper to adopt than to purchase a cat or kitten from a breeder. Shelter and rescue animals are typically spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and treated for parasites. The staff should be able to tell you about the cat’s previous health issues or behavioral concerns while under their care. Read more about adopting a rescue kitten.

Most shelters and animal rescues have the animal’s wellbeing at heart, but it is still a good idea to look around and make sure animals are kept in good conditions (i.e., adequate food, water, space, hygiene and socialization). The staff should be trying to match you with a cat or kitten that fits your lifestyle. It’s also important to ask questions about the cat’s health, personality, and current living conditions when considering adoption.

Cat breeders

Purchasing a cat from a licensed breeder may be an option if you prefer not to adopt. Most breeders are reputable, but others may not be. Find out how long they have been in business, what the kitten’s diet is, and how they attend to the kitten’s needs for early and ongoing socialization. You should strongly consider visiting the breeder to see for yourself the living conditions of a kitten you consider purchasing.

Pet stores with cats and kittens

The same standards for adequate living conditions apply to a pet store as for any shelter or breeder. You will want to make sure the cat has had time to relax and the opportunity to bond with their mother if possible. Kittens that are kept in overcrowded environments with lots of other cats from different litters, breeds and/or life stages are more likely to suffer from stress, illness or behavioral issues.

You should also ask the pet store employees about the health and vaccination history of any cat or kitten you consider purchasing. If they can’t speak about their animals as individuals, this may be a sign that it isn’t a good place to buy from.

Finding a stray cat or taking in a kitten from a friend

If you find a stray or know someone with a litter of kittens, you may decide to take one in as your own. If possible, be sure kittens stay with their mother for the first 12 weeks of life so appropriate bonding can take place. If the kitten is very young and/or abandoned, take them to the veterinarian right away to get advice on appropriate care. Adult stray cats and kittens older than 4 months should be spayed or neutered to prevent accidental litters. If you’re not sure of the age of a found cat, ask your veterinarian.

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