Battersea warns of the dangers of buying pets through unscrupulous sellers as young kitten is rushed into theatre

25 AUGUST 2020

Alani kitten

Battersea is warning people looking for a new pet to be careful after a five-week-old kitten was left needing emergency surgery just two days after she was bought from a breeder.

The much-loved animal rescue centre took in tiny kitten Alani, after her owners found a lump on her belly and a vet diagnosed her with an umbilical hernia. Unable to afford treatment, the family made the responsible decision to hand her into Battersea.

On arrival, little Alani was rushed to the London centre’s operating theatre as Battersea’s expert veterinary team were concerned her intestines would twist beyond repair. Despite her tiny size, they were able to treat the hernia.

Shaun Opperman, Battersea’s Veterinary Director, said: “Alani was able to get the treatment she so badly needed. Her previous owners made the right decision by handing her into Battersea as they were unable to afford the veterinary procedure. They’d only had her for two days and hadn’t realised how young she was – far too young to be parted from her mother. 

“Sadly, this isn’t the first time we have seen animals like Alani being brought into Battersea needing urgent medical care. Animal lovers across the country have been duped into handing over cash to unscrupulous sellers who sell pets without any thought for their welfare.

“We strongly advise those who are thinking about going to private sellers for their pets to do thorough research beforehand, or consider a rescue. If you’ve bought a pet during lockdown and aren’t sure you can care for it, please do the right thing and bring it to a rescue centre rather than abandoning it.”

Alani spent the rest of her recovery in a foster home with a member of staff where she grew in confidence and affection, showing off her mischievous side. After 30 days, Alani was microchipped and neutered before finding a new home. 

Battersea has been here for every dog and cat for 160 years and is now able to take in dogs and cats needing homes again. Like many charities, Battersea has seen a significant drop in income as a direct impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, Battersea needs your support so they can continue to help animals like Alani. 

Visit to find out how you can support Battersea. 


For more information, please contact 

Notes to editors

  • The umbilical hernia means that the umbilical cord, which attaches a kitten to its mother, hadn’t closed. In Alani’s case, this left her with a large 3cm bulge in her abdomen where her intestines were pushing through. If left, there was a high risk her intestines would become trapped. 
  • Since Battersea was founded 160 years ago, we’ve been committed to helping every dog and cat that needs us - championing their rights, loving their imperfections and expertly caring for them. Because rescue is our favourite breed.
  • We’re reliant on the generosity of the public to continue to fund our vital work helping dogs and cats and the people who care for them. Now more than ever, we need funds to enable us to continue to be here for every dog and cat.
  • Battersea directly helps over 5,000 dogs and cats across its three centres and uses its expertise, influence, and voice to help thousands more animals all over the country and across the world.
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at Battersea, but the average stay for a dog is 34 days and 25 days for a cat.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, Battersea also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • To donate to Battersea, visit
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ or