RSPCA urges public to do their research as the UK sees a boom in kitten buying

Date published: 13 October 2020

The RSPCA is concerned a boom in kitten buying could lead to more cats coming into rescue centres and needing new homes, as the charity reports there were 2,368 cat incidents in Greater Manchester this year.

This July saw Google searches for ‘Kittens near me’ increase sixfold compared to the same period last year (a 667% increase).

During the lockdown, there has also been an 188% increase in searches for kittens within just a few months.

Many people have found they now have more time on their hands during the lockdown, so it is unsurprising that many have sought a pet to keep them company.

However, the RSPCA would always urge anyone thinking of getting a pet to consider whether they can care for them in the long-term - and not just for a pandemic.

Alice Potter, the RSPCA’s cat welfare expert, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people are interested in bringing a cat into their home this year.

"However, with such high increases in people searching for kittens online, it’s important that prospective owners are doing their research and not buying a kitten on impulse.

"This means making sure they have the time, money and resources to care for a cat for the rest of their lives, but also ensuring that if buying a kitten they are buying a healthy and happy kitten from a responsible breeder.

“It’s true that we see much higher cases of puppy farms than unscrupulous kitten breeders, but it does happen which is why it’s so important to do your research and make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller.

“Sadly, we do see cases of cats coming into our care who have been bought without the correct vaccinations, care or attention and the results can not only be devastating for the cats themselves but also the new owners who have to provide the time and cost it takes to look after these very poorly kittens.

"This is why the RSPCA and other cat charities have come together to create The Kitten Checklist to provide vital information, such as ensuring you see the kitten with its mum and siblings in the place where they were bred, and peace of mind for anyone looking to bring a kitten into their home.”

Since the start of the year, the RSPCA has received more than 45,000 incidents relating to cats meaning there are lots of cats in our care looking for homes.

The RSPCA would always encourage people to adopt a rescue cat instead.

During the lockdown, there has been a 114% increase in the amount of people searching for cats to adopt on the RSPCA’s Find a Pet page compared to the previous year.

Cats are popular pets with the charity rehoming 24,095 cats last year - that’s one cat rehomed every 20 minutes across England and Wales and 839 cats rehomed in Greater Manchester.

Cats looking for homes, just like 11 week old kitten Danny, who was born in the care of RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch this summer.

His mother was left at the doorstep of a vets, with a really sad note attached from her owner explaining they just couldn't cope any more, especially as she was expecting kittens.

Danny is the most confident of the litter - the first to open his eyes and the first to wander from the nest and first to explore the other rooms in his foster home.

He’s also a very affectionate boy who enjoys snoozing on a warm lap.

Danny is looking for a home with either a sibling or another young cat, and wouldn’t suit being left for more than six hours a day.

If you have a home on a quiet road, with ground floor access to outside then please email the team at:

To offer an RSPCA rescue cat a new home please visit: to find your purr-fect match.

If you’re not in a position to give a pet a home this October, you can still help thousands of animals in the RSPCA's care by donating at:, sponsoring a dog kennel or cat pod for just £1.50 a week, or supporting the work of your local RSPCA here

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