By now, most folks have heard of puppy mills, and about all the sordid details featured by those inhumane places. And many try in earnest to get the word out that pet stores selling puppies actually obtain those adorable little furballs from horrid mills. Guess what? The kittens they sell come from mills, too. Yes, there is such a thing as kitten mills.
It seems hard to believe, but it was five years ago already when I first posted about kitten mills. Many people were quite shocked – they’d had no idea kitten mills existed. There is not much information to be found when it comes to this sort of mill, even though the internet and news articles are inundated with tales of disgusting conditions found in puppy mills.
But they do exist, and they’re just as horrible as the puppy mills. Too many babies, parents kept for years with no decent care or concern other than how many litters they can produce, filthy living conditions, ailments and health condition ignored… What are kitten mills exactly? They’re USDA-licensed facilities that pump out kittens for the pet shop industry and/or to sell them online through cutesy websites.
As many of my readers already know, I’ve been a vocal advocate for Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), and the great work the organization has done across the country over the years. Incredibly important undercover investigations, peaceful but informative demonstrations outside pet stores selling mill babies, assisting local governments with legal ordinances against such pet stores in their towns, and working diligently both locally and nationally to enlighten the public about mills and their pet store cohorts – these are all aspects of the important work accomplished by CAPS over the past couple decades.
Recently, CAPS obtained undercover video of a “popular” kitten mill in Nebraska. Take a peek for yourself:
Ugh. Not exactly what you’d imagine when you’re plunking down hundreds of dollars for an adorable “purebred” at the local pet shop, is it?
What can you do about kitten mills?
First of all – know where you’re getting a kitten from. If it is allegedly from a “reputable breeder”, ask to see the parents. If they cannot show you the parents, leave. Immediately.
Secondly, never purchase a puppy, kitten, or bunny from a pet shop. That goes for any breeder willing to ship one, too. It’s virtually guaranteed not only that they came from a mill, but also that you’ll probably be dealing with major health issues in the not-too-distant future thanks to your baby’s haphazard mill breeding and upbringing.
Thirdly, if you’ve purchased a kitten from a store, website, or less-than-reputable breeder in the past, please don’t feel badly. We’ve all made mistakes when we didn’t know any better. Turn that around by making a vow to get fully informed, and to make a difference – now!
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly: Seriously consider adopting from a shelter or rescue organization instead. I understand some folks are truly sold on the idea of a certain breed/appearance/color/etc in what they want for their pet, but you’d be amazed at the variety of cats and kittens that end up in rescue. And yes, there are plenty of young kittens for you to choose from, too.
And Keep in Mind
Each year, it’s estimated that millions of cats end up in shelters and rescues. Over a million are euthanized. I guarantee, you’ll feel really great knowing you’ve saved a life.
As for the mills…well, that’s an ongoing struggle. But it’s one that has seen many successes in recent years, mostly at the local levels. The time has come for mills to be a thing of the past. Whatever you do to help hasten that, you’ll be the change for animals.
This is a post for the quarterly Blog the Change for Animals event – where pet bloggers and and animal lovers alike spread the word about important animal welfare causes and stories about those who are being the change for animals.
Join us! Check out the links below, read and share them!
Thanks to those who’ve taken the time to Be the Change for Animals: