Happy ending for a Battersea kitten who was sold at a station

Battersea is renewing its warning against buying pets on the web, after the charity took in a tiny six-week-old kitten who had been bought online and collected from a train station for £20. 

The kitten, named Sergei, was bought as a surprise present - but he turned out to be an unwelcome gift for his new owner, who had lost her beloved cat a few days before and wasn’t ready for a new pet. Sergei cowered under a sofa for two days before being brought to Battersea on June 8 by his owner, who was worried because he wasn’t eating or drinking.

Because the buyer did not see the kitten in the home with his mother and littermates, Battersea staff will never know what condition he was kept in during the first few weeks of his life. But, at just six weeks old, he was too young to have been taken away from his mum.

Rob Young, Head of Catteries at Battersea, said: “Sergei’s case shows the problem with buying pets impulsively online. While we would always advocate that rescue is best, if you do decide to buy a kitten or puppy elsewhere, do your research. Make sure you meet the animal in the home with its mother and that you buy from a reputable source. Buying animals online and collecting them from a public place – like a carpark or train station - means you don’t know what you’re getting or what conditions the animal has been raised in. You can easily end up with a pet with unexpected medical or behavioural problems.

“Sergei’s sad tale also shows why it’s never a good idea to buy a dog or a cat for someone as a surprise present. Owning an animal is big responsibility, and they’ll be with you for years, so getting a new pet is something that should be carefully thought through and discussed with everyone involved.”

Sergei’s story luckily had a happy ending and earlier this month he found a home with a family from Balham and is enjoying life as a much-loved pet.

Although Sergei has found a new family, there are still plenty of other cats and dogs looking for a home at Battersea. All the cats and dogs the charity takes in are assessed by our veterinary team and behavioural experts, so when the time comes to rehome them, new owners can be given lots of information about their new pet’s temperament and needs.

If you’re interested in rehoming a Battersea dog or cat, please visit www.battersea.org.uk.

Notes to editors

  • Battersea does not rehome kittens until they are at least nine weeks old, to ensure they get the proper socialising skills they need from their mother and littermates.
  • Battersea is here for every dog and cat, and has been since 1860. Since it was founded over 150 years ago, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • We believe that every dog and cat deserves the best. That’s why we aim to never turn away a dog or cat in need.
  • In 2017, Battersea helped over 7,000 dogs and cats.
  • Battersea cares for an average of 300 dogs and 200 cats across its three centres at any one time.
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at Battersea, but the average stay for a dog is 38 days and 22 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.
  • For further information on Battersea, please visit www.battersea.org.uk. Follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ or facebook.com/Battersea