Blog: I Have Bought a Sick Kitten. What Are My Options?

Bringing a new kitten into your home is usually a joyous occasion, filled with love and excitement. However, this happiness can quickly turn to distress if you discover that your kitten is sick, especially if it came from a kitten farming ring.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it’s essential to know your rights and the steps you can take.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this challenging experience.

Understanding the Issue

Kitten farming is a deplorable practice where cats are bred in large numbers under poor conditions, prioritising profit over the animals’ well-being. These operations often result in kittens that are sick, malnourished, and poorly socialised. If you suspect that your kitten came from such a source, it’s crucial to act swiftly.

Your Rights as a Consumer

In the UK, the law protects consumers, including when purchasing pets. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a kitten must be as described, of satisfactory quality, and fit for purpose. If your new kitten becomes ill shortly after purchase, you have several options:

  1. Return the Kitten for a Full Refund: If the kitten becomes sick within the first 30 days, you are entitled to return it for a full refund. This is similar to any other purchase where the product is not as described or is faulty.
  2. Request a Replacement or Refund: If the illness occurs within the first six months, you can ask for a replacement or a refund. The seller has one opportunity to repair or replace the kitten. If this is not possible, you are entitled to a refund.
  3. Seek Compensation: If the kitten’s illness has resulted in significant veterinary bills, you may be able to claim compensation. Keep all receipts and documentation from your vet to support your claim.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Kitten Farming

  1. Contact the Seller: Inform the seller about the kitten’s condition and your intention to return it or seek compensation. Reputable sellers should be willing to work with you to resolve the issue.
  2. Visit the Vet: Take your kitten to the vet immediately to diagnose the problem and get necessary treatment. Ensure you keep all veterinary records and receipts.
  3. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all communications with the seller, veterinary reports, and any other relevant information. This will be crucial if you need to take legal action.
  4. Report the Incident: If you suspect the kitten came from a kitten farm or an illegal dealer, report the incident to the appropriate authorities. Our organisation is dedicated to investigating kitten farmers and illegal dealers. You can report the incident using our secure online reporting form. Your report can help prevent future instances of animal cruelty and bring unscrupulous sellers to justice.

Preventing Future Issues

To avoid falling victim to kitten farming in the future, consider these tips when buying a kitten:

  • Research the Seller: Look for reviews and ask for references. Reputable breeders will have positive feedback from previous buyers.
  • Visit the Breeder: Always visit the breeder’s premises to see the conditions in which the kittens are raised. Avoid buying from sellers who refuse to let you see where the kittens live.
  • Ask for Documentation: Request health certificates, vaccination records, and any other relevant paperwork. A legitimate breeder will have no issue providing these.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off, it probably is. Walk away if you have any doubts about the seller or the kitten’s health.


Discovering that your new kitten is sick can be heartbreaking, but knowing your rights and the steps to take can help you handle the situation effectively. Remember, your actions can also help prevent future cases of kitten farming and protect other animals from suffering.

Always report suspicious activity to the authorities, and use our secure online reporting form to help us in the fight against illegal kitten farming.

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Jacob Lloyd Executive Director
Jacob Lloyd is the Executive Director of Animal Welfare Investigations Project. He has experience in conducting covert investigations on organised animal cruelty. He is a Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator through the University of Missouri Law Enforcement Training Institute (LETI) in the United States.