While there are still a few pet shops out there that sell pedigree kittens and cats, do reconsider before buying a cat.

There are many stray, homeless and abandoned cats out there.

Adopting a stray cat is extremely rewarding. Not only do you have a new companion, you are helping out your neighbours by reducing the stray cat population. Each time a stray cat gives birth, it increases the population of cats which need to be fed, managed and neutered. Like our Scooter, who comes from a litter of 9, if Aswat had not taken them in, they would have defecated outside the neighbours’ houses and caused an environmental problem, and the lovable kitties would have become pests. Some stray cats are also prone to being sick and need extra attention, and would not survive outside without human interference, like our Sayang, who was found by Auntie Can and Aswat, half-dead with gastric flu, in our neighbourhood.

Some people dump cats and kittens they do not want, for whatever reason. This is inhumane, as they are not used to being strays and may not be able to survive, especially if they are kittens. As cruel as this may be, many people still do it, hoping that ‘someone’ will feed them. If the abandoned kitties are found by a kind person, fostering them will mean a lot of time and effort. They also may not be able to keep all the cats they find, and they therefore will need new homes and owners to adopt them.

Some kittens are born at the wrong time, in the wrong place. This could happen to un-neutered cats that already belong to people, before they have a chance to sterilize them, especially those owners who may not know much about animals (ignorance is not bliss), or they may have adopted their cat already pregnant. While it is irresponsible not to neuter your cat, kittens may still happen. Like Ali’s cats, that even though neutered were still able to father 4 kittens. These kittens will likely need new homes, as they come from completed cat families.

Some of these cats and kittens may be pedigree or cross-breeds, like Manja and Boy. But if you are a true animal-lover, a breed is no more than just a fancy name. What is most important is your pet’s personality and whether you and your pet are compatible.

Because we are advocates of adoption, Andy and I only frequent pet shops that DON’T sell dogs and cats. Our main cat supply shops are Angels Pet Shop, Little Paws and Pet Lovers Centre. Shops that sell cats and dogs often starve their animals, or force their entire male and female animals to breed. Starvation is a key business strategy by many pet shops, as small and pitiful animals tend to fetch more attention and profits. Apparently, the smaller the animal, the cuter they look. Hence they are usually only fed rice and a bit of pet food. Well-fed animals are harder to sell: Angels Pet Shop’s hamsters and rabbits are so well-fed, they grow too quickly for Aswat to sell just as fast. All his older small animals are put up for adoption.

If you find adopting via SPCA and other welfare organisations a hassle because of the contracts and paperwork, put the word out among friends, or surf local pet forums such as PetsChannel.com. You will definitely find your potential animal-companion among them.

Remember, don’t buy. Adopt.

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