With kitten season nearly here, Cats Protection is releasing a documentary highlighting the potentially tragic risks of buying underage kittens online from unscrupulous sellers who put profit before welfare.

The Big Kitten Con, narrated by Caroline Quentin, features traumatic accounts of kittens being sold at less than the legal age for commercial sale, which is eight-weeks, and sadly dying from debilitating illnesses.

Last year, 340,000 of the 500,000 cats that were purchased in the UK were found online on sites like Facebook, Gumtree, Pets 4 Homes and Preloved.

Though many sellers are responsible people, there are unscrupulous individuals who will exploit the anonymity of the internet to sell kittens that have been taken from their mums too young, denying them vital nutrients and social development, while passing them off as healthy, eight-week-old kittens.

As well as giving advice, we are encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on the Government to regulate cat breeding. It has just been introduced in Scotland and we would like to see England, Wales and Northern Ireland follow suit.

We want anyone who breeds two or more litters of kittens in a year to be licensed, which would make them subject to regular inspections.

To watch Cats Protection’s The Big Kitten Con video and to sign Cats Protection’s petition, please visit www.cats.org.uk/kitten-con

Madison Rogers

Acting Head of Advocacy & Government Relations, Cats Protection