Pet shops (admittedly, not all of them) are recognized for buying kittens from irresponsible breeders—pet or kitten mills—with the purpose of reducing prices and rising income. Whereas pet mills get lots of press, kitten mills are frequent all through the US too, and plenty of of those amenities’ high prospects are pet shops.
What Is the Concern with Promoting Cats and Kittens in Pet Shops?
Pet shops that promote kittens typically get them from middlemen—not the mills straight. Whereas the shop’s employees might reassure you that the kittens on the market had been humanely raised, it’s tough—if not not possible—for them to know for sure the situations the place the kittens had been bred. After all, seeing a kitten in a pet retailer pulls in your heartstrings, and you could rightly assume that you just’re giving the kitten an excellent residence—so how is there any hurt on this? The issue lies on the supply: the situations and facility wherein the kitten was bred.
Mill-bred cats are sometimes stored in cramped wire cages with little or no entry to train or socialization with different cats or people. With out going into an excessive amount of element, these amenities typically vary from cramped and uncomfortable at finest, to downright scary. Throughout raids on animal breeding facilities, legislation enforcement and animal welfare representatives routinely discover animals in situations that no animal ought to ever expertise.
So, whereas it’s true you’re giving that little kitten on the pet retailer a greater residence, you’re typically straight placing cash into the pockets of those merciless mills. Excitedcats.com in-house veterinarian Dr. Lorna Whittemore (BVMS) additionally highlights the potential for behavioral points with these kittens: “The delicate socialization interval for kittens is usually between 2 and seven weeks of age. If this time is spent in a kitten mill, they can not be taught applicable life abilities. This, in flip, can have an effect on the cats for the remainder of their lives, leading to pointless stress and behavioral difficulties.”
It’s additionally essential to keep in mind that each time a kitten is bought from a pet retailer, a shelter kitten loses their likelihood at a loving residence. Rescue shelters ought to at all times be the primary place to search for a kitten to convey residence, however accountable breeders that deal with their animals and thoroughly choose the homeowners whom they residence their kittens with are additionally a superb choice.
What Locations At present Have Bans?
The state of New York just lately turned the newest state to ban the sale of kittens in pet shops, and this ban will take impact in 2024. Different states which have related bans embody California (which enacted an analogous legislation in 2017 and have become the primary state to ban these gross sales), Maryland (2020), Illinois (2021), and Washington (2021), plus over 380 localities throughout the nation. Britain additionally put a ban in place for third-party gross sales of cats or canines underneath 6 months outdated again in 2018.
What Will Bans Do Total?
Banning the sale of kittens from pet shops ought to, hopefully, encourage potential homeowners to undertake from shelters as an alternative, or from a good breeder not less than. This, in flip, ought to theoretically put these merciless mills out of enterprise. Patrons in these states or areas will now should deal straight with the breeder or a certified rehoming heart. In-house exictedcats.com veterinarian Dr. Luqman Javed (DVM) additionally urges residents to do their half: “Residents ought to strain native authorities and congress representatives to carry out extra checks on breeders/mills to make sure that solely these which meet sure requirements are allowed to breed and promote animals.”
Evidently taking the step to ban not solely kittens however puppies and rabbits from pet shops is an efficient one for pets total. There’s nonetheless actually a protracted approach to go, however not supporting these shops is pretty much as good a spot to begin as any.