Underage kitten sold online to unsuspecting owner

A tabby kitten

When gorgeous kitten Princess Poppy popped in for her first check up, her besotted new owners were in for a shock.

When they picked their new pet up from the breeder’s home four days before, they were told she was eight weeks old and ready to leave her mum.

In fact, Princess Poppy was just five weeks old.

Elise Smith, Blue Cross Veterinary Nurse, said: “Princess Poppy’s owner was told that the kittens were eight weeks old and therefore ready to be rehomed. Her owner was given no written information from the breeders.”

Five weeks is too young for a kitten to leave her mother as they are still very small.

Her owners found Princess Poppy listed for sale on a popular classified advertising website. When they visited the breeder’s home, they saw her with her three siblings and their mother, and the seller told them that she was eight weeks old. The seller didn’t ask the buyer to pay any money for the young kitten.

Princess Poppy had fleas - which are extremely dangerous for young kittens as they can cause fatal anaemia from bits very quickly – and her owner booked her in for an appointment at our Merton animal hospital in south London.

Elise added: “Fleas can be dangerous to kittens, especially ones as young as Princess Poppy, as if they have a heavy burden of them, the fleas will be feeding from the kitten and could cause them to become anaemic. "If left untreated, this can lead to collapse and ultimately death, unfortunately very quickly.”

Due to her age and small size, we had to be careful what kind of flea treatment and worming treatment to give her.

Luckily, Princess Poppy was otherwise healthy, so we have booked her in for her first vaccination when she is nine weeks old.

Her owner was surprised when we revealed the kitten’s true age, and seemed put-off online pet-shopping.

Buying online is risky and we do see kittens sold by irresponsible breeders who sadly do not survive. We always recommend doing your research and getting a pet from your local rescue centre, or only buying from a responsible breeder who you can trust.

— Page last updated 06/12/2016