Black and white kitten on white blanket on a sofa

Buying a kitten or cat

If you want to buy a kitten or take on a cat then this guide will run through topics like how much they cost, where to buy a cat and things to look out for in a breeder.

How much is a cat?

The average cat can cost anything from £150 to £1,700 or more upfront.

Rehoming centres are usually less expensive than breeders and we have hundreds of cats every year looking for loving homes. We do sometimes have kittens available, so keep an eye on our website where you can check your local centre.

Cost of adopting a cat from us:

  • Kitten, less than 12 months old: £150
  • Cat, one to five years old: £125
  • Cat, five years and over: £100

Cat adoption

There are many cats in rehoming centres looking for a loving home, so speaking with your local centre is always a great place to start. Not only will you be giving a home to a pet in need but you'll also help by freeing up a space for another cat without a home.

Our pets are well looked after and, when the time comes to find them a new home, we match them with the right family for their personality.

Our cats come:

Adopt a cat

What if the cat I want isn't available in an animal charity?

We appreciate that you can't always get the cat you want from an animal charity and that you may choose to get one from a breeder instead. Whichever route you decide to take, it’s important you do your research to make sure you're ready to take on a cat.

Types of cats

There are many different breeds of cats. Some prefer pedigree cats for their looks, but the most common cats are crossbreeds, known as 'moggies'.

Whichever you choose, be sure to do your research on which cat best suits your family's lifestyle.

Should I get more than one cat?

Cats have very different social needs compared to dogs and people. Although they are capable of forming friendships with other cats, they're unlikely to feel the need for a companion and are often happy being the only cat in the home. This is not to say that they can’t get along with other cats. Many cats can learn to accept each other and some will even form close bonds.

A good way to help them out is to make sure there is no competition for important resources, such as:

  • food
  • litter trays
  • sleeping areas

If you do want to get a pair of kittens, then siblings have a better chance of getting along. If you're looking for older cats, it's best to get a pair that already have a close bond. A rescue centre will be able to give you this information.

How you introduce a new cat or kitten into your home can make a big difference too!

Where to buy kittens

We rehome thousands of pets a year and treat animals that have got into difficulty with unexpected illnesses or unwanted litters. So it won’t come as a surprise that we would encourage you to consider the benefits of adopting a kitten or cat.

If you do decide to get a kitten, the best thing you can do for them and your family is to make sure you give them the best start in life, and that begins with choosing a trustworthy and caring breeder who has the cat’s best interests at heart.

Getting a kitten from a rescue centre

Kittens and pregnant cats often find themselves in rescue. Like us, good rehoming charities will:

  • give a kitten a full vet check and behaviour assessment to make sure they go to the best home for them
  • provide the right socialisation they need to get the best start in life
  • offer ongoing behaviour support for the life of your cat, should you ever have any problems
  • take your cat back and find them a new home should your circumstances change and you are no longer able to keep them
  • rehome cats and kittens to families with children of all ages, with dogs and with other cats, if the cat and the family are the right match

Finding the right cat for you might take time. But it will be worth the wait!

How to find a good cat breeder

It’s illegal to sell a puppy or kitten under six months old that you have not bred yourself. This doesn’t apply to animal rehoming charities, like us, who will continue to be there for animals who need us.

If you decide that you are looking for a particular breed or pedigree cat, there are things that you should look out for when choosing a breeder.

A good breeder will:

  • give lots of information and have photos of the litter in an advert for selling kittens
  • have a waiting list for kittens
  • encourage you to meet your kitten several times before taking them home
  • have a clean and safe area in their home for kittens and their mum, with adequate space for mum to have peace and quiet if she needs it
  • be happy for you to meet the kitten’s mother
  • only let you take the kitten home when they’re old enough to leave mum, at least eight weeks old
  • tell you about the socialisation they’ve been doing
  • have their kitten vaccinations and be wormed with a general health check before going to their new homes
  • be registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) or Felis Britannica if you are looking for a pedigree kitten
  • not mind you asking them lots of questions

Note

There are also specialist pedigree rehoming charities if you're looking for a specific breed.

When you visit or collect your kitten they will:

  • give you a contract that promises to take the kitten back if there are any problems
  • keep in touch after you’ve taken the kitten home – you can ask them if they are still in contact with previous litters
  • encourage you to meet other members of the litter’s family so you can be sure about temperament
  • be able to tell you all about the socialisation they’ve been doing, eg meeting lots of people of all ages, getting them used to being handled gently, playing etc
  • give evidence of relevant health testing, if needed. Some pedigree cats should have genetic testing to rule out inherited disease.
  • provide pet insurance for the first few weeks to cover illness

How to spot a bad breeder

A bad breeder will:

  • give very little information in an advert, eg one or two sentences
  • not let you meet the kitten's mum and littermates
  • offer to meet you in a public place such as the street, a service station or railway station to hand over the kitten. Or, offer to drop the kitten off at your home.
  • not let you meet the kitten or mum before you take the kitten home
  • be unable to provide proof of vaccination, worming, health certificates etc
  • be unable to give you information about, or proof of, relevant genetic health testing
  • not provide a genuine vet’s contact details

Important

We know it can be hard to see an unhealthy kitten and walk away. But unscrupulous breeders will benefit from your purchase and it will further encourage them. So, while it's hard, we urge you to walk away if the kitten or their mother looks poorly and to report this to the RSPCA instead.

What to look for when visiting and collecting your cat

  • Be sure to see the kitten with their littermates and their mother at least twice before you take them home
  • Watch mum and kittens interacting together to make sure they are happy. If they don’t appear happy, or if you’re not allowed to see the litter with mum, walk away.
  • Check the mum is a happy and relaxed cat, not fearful, and comfortable in the presence of people. Parental influences have a big effect on future character.
  • Pick up and play with your kitten. This is great socialisation and gives you an idea of how playful and affectionate they are.

Signs of a healthy cat

  • Bright eyes – no weeping or discharge
  • Clean nose – no discharge or sign of sores
  • Shiny and clean coat, with no sign of flea dirt. They shouldn’t smell bad.
  • Clean teeth
  • Clean ears – no redness, discharge or dirty, thick wax
  • Clean bottom – no sign of diarrhoea or worms
  • Neither skinny, with the bones visible or easy to feel, or too fat
  • Happy and playful kitten that’s not overly tired

Tip

Taking your children with you the first time you meet a kitten will make it harder to say no if they're not the right fit. We recommend taking your children on the second meet, once you've committed.

What to buy a cat

There's always lots to think about when preparing for your kitten. So, we have a guide on how to prepare for your cat or kittens arrival.

Kitten checklist

— Page last updated 11/03/2022