Choosing a new kitten or puppy
There are many things to consider before getting a new puppy or kitten (or indeed a new adult dog or cat) and you are always very welcome to contact us for advice.
Things to consider
It may sound obvious, but try not to make any hasty decisions – your pet will hopefully be with you for many years, so make sure you have thought about it properly. If you already have pets, think about whether they are likely to get on with a new one. Many cats for example are much happier in a single cat household.
Will they fit in with your lifestyle? You may really want a dog but if you are unable to take them out for walks twice daily, or if you are out at work all day then perhaps a cat would be more suitable. There are also financial implications and ideally you should be able to pay for routine vaccinations, parasite control and dental care, plus have plans in place for any unexpected costs that may arise should they become ill. That is why we would strongly recommend you take out an insurance policy as soon as possible for any new pet. Please see our section on insurance for more specific advice, or call the practice
It may be that you want a moggie or a cross breed, and it is worth bearing in mind that many cross breeds are genetically healthier than pedigree pets due to the wider gene pool from which they come. However if you do want to get a pedigree pet, bear in mind that many have special personality traits or requirements, such as the need for a lot of attention, training or exercise. Make sure they are right for you and your lifestyle and don’t just get one because they look pretty! If you think that you would like to rescue a cat or dog, but are interested in a particular breed, there are often breed clubs who re-home pedigree cats or dogs that are no longer able to stay with their owners. Contact the relevant breed clubs to find out more.
Whether you are getting a puppy or kitten, or an adult pet, it is important to research where you get them from. We would not recommend ever purchasing a pet from a third party or dealer, but suitable places could include a breeder, a rescue or rehoming centre, a neighbour or friend, or even a pet shop.
There are good and bad examples of all of the above, so it is important to know what constitutes a ‘good’ environment. This is very important as the environment where your pet spends their first weeks of life can have a lasting effect on their health and behaviour. This is especially so in the case of kittens, where the ‘socialisation window’ (the period when the brain is still developing and learning to recognise what is normal) takes place entirely before they are ready to leave the mother. Kittens and puppies that don’t get the right exposure to people and the human environment in their first few weeks won’t make ‘good’ pets, or at least, not in the way we expect them to be – confident, gentle and interactive.
The premises should be warm, clean and comfortable, just like your own home. If the breeder has a range of litter ages and even breeds to choose from, or has different rooms full of dogs and cats, then look elsewhere. If you are getting a puppy or kitten, you should also be able to see the mother. If you cannot, this should set alarm bells ringing. The mother should be confident and friendly, and the kittens or puppies interactive. Don’t ever buy a pet because you feel sorry for them, this will only mean the breeder continues their activities. If you are really concerned for their welfare you should call the relevant authorities.
Many wonderful pets come from rehoming or rescue organisations and find excellent homes with caring owners. However you still want to make sure that you are re-homing a healthy pet, so again look for a clean, comfortable environment, with adequate space provided for the animals. Many rescue organisations will have puppies and kittens, but there are also many benefits to choosing an adult cat or dog. Until you have a kitten or puppy you do not realise that they are quite hard work and require a lot of attention and care so that they don’t get themselves into trouble!
You may find the following websites useful:
If you are unsure about which type of pet to choose, please call us prior to making any decisions and we will try our best to help.