What New York’s Cat Lovers Should Know About Pet Shop Kittens

May 7, 2021

Siamese cat

A bill that’s currently pending before the New York State Legislature to shut down the puppy mill pipeline won’t just protect puppies and dogs—if passed, it will also end the sale of kittens in New York pet stores. Our feline friends need these protections since pet stores sell kittens from the same cruel commercial industry that breeds, ships and sells pet store puppies.

Although the majority of cats are adopted or found rather than purchased, several pet stores throughout the state now sell kittens right alongside puppies. And just like puppies, these kittens come from wholesale breeding operations in the Midwest that truck them to pet stores across the U.S.

The conditions at these facilities are horrific. Last August, an inspector with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that licenses commercial breeding facilities found cats in cages where the floor was covered with “feces, food, hair, and cat litter” and “there was an obvious smell of ammonia consistent with urine inside the building.” Previous inspections noted dirt and grime in feeders, and a cat with matted fur whom the breeder was unable to handle.

Some pet shops don’t buy from commercial breeders directly but from brokers, or middlemen, who buy puppies and kittens and then resell them to pet stores, shipping them—sometimes thousands of miles—by trucks. Kittens sold in New York pet shops have been traced to a Missouri-based puppy and kitten broker with a history of both USDA and state violations. Missouri inspectors found that 35 puppies had died at this facility, including several from Parvovirus—a highly contagious disease—without receiving any veterinary care.

If you live in New York, you can take action right now to help shut down the puppy mill pipeline by contacting your lawmakers. If you don’t live in New York, you can still help—join our fight today by becoming part of our Advocacy Brigade.