Buying anything online can be risky, but when you're buying an animal, you need to be very cautious. Take the right steps to ensure you end up with a four-legged friend you love, that doesn't come with too many health risks.
Talk To Your Local Animal Clinic First
Not only might your own vet have information on a cat or kitten that needs a good home, but it's also a good idea to get pointers on how to tell if an animal you're looking to buy has fleas, ear mites, and other contagious, potentially dangerous and oft expensive conditions you'll need to address. Your new pet should be a healthy weight, have clear eyes that don't contain any crusty material, and, under optimum circumstances, some type of paperwork that tells you where it came from and that it's already been seen by a veterinarian.
Many sellers are looking to offset the cost of an exam, shots, and de-worming, though, so you're likely to be on your own when determining if the cat in question is good-to-go.
Inspect The Frolicky Feline Carefully
You'll first want to determine the temperament of the potential pet, looking for hostility beyond the normal haute felines are famous for. Although a lot of animals are shy or anxious when passing from one home to the next, your new cat should be tolerant, to some extent, of your self-introduction. Once you both feel at ease, look closely at the eyes, skin, nose, and mouth, to see if anything looks out of the ordinary or sickly.
Cats can come with all kinds of diseases and dilemmas, including neglect, but the most common symptoms to look for are:
- Underweight or pot-bellied
- Pale gums or bad breath
- Leaking, crusty or clouded eyes
- Nasal discharge
- Scabs or other protuberances of the skin
- A dull, unkempt coat
- Dirty ears
- Excessive self-scratching
- Low energy
- Labored or abnormal breathing
While you're not an animal doctor yourself, the conversation you had with your vet should prepare you enough to ascertain the overall health of any animal you meet. Trust your instincts and don't fear pressing the seller for details.
Ask The Seller Specific Health-Related Questions
Many online ads will boast that an animal was spayed or neutered, de-wormed, treated for fleas, and so on; however, if you don't have proof, you really don't know. Ask to see paperwork from an animal clinic and to see any products used. Find out how often they were applied and if more applications are needed. This evidence will help you decide if the cat or kitten truly was treated and if the hands that did so are trustworthy.
Take Your New Pet Directly To Your Vet
Even if a creature appears healthy, it could be housing invisible villains, such as parasites or a virus. Many such ailments are transferable to other animals and even people, too, making it essential that a veterinarian give your new pet a clean bill of health before it ever steps paw into your home. A checkup is needed, along with a schedule for vaccinations and a spay or neuter and microchipping, if applicable.
While you're at the animal clinic, inquire about the right food and in what quantity it should be served. You may need to transition the animal from whatever food the seller fed, which could cause digestive complications or allergies.
Send The Seller A Thank You
Being polite is always nice, but the real purpose of sending the seller a note is to provide them with your vet's contact information. Let the seller know the specific clinic you went to, in case something arises in their environment that you'd need to know about. For example, if a single kitten in a litter develops Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), everyone who adopted from the family needs to know. There are feline versions of AIDS as well as leukemia that an entire litter or pet household could be at risk from. If your seller is responsible, they'll quickly notify you of any medical urgency.
Keep your vet in the loop as you search for a pet online. You never know who or what you'll encounter on social media sites, but you do know you can always count on your veterinarian, no matter what arises.
For more information, reach out to a company like Clovis Veterinary Hospital P A.