The illegal trade in cats is thriving online. Young and mostly sick animals are offered for sale as goods on the corresponding Internet platforms. The animals suffer unscrupulous and often anonymous selling for life. Puppies are also influenced by the billion dollar business with the mafia structure.
Find out in this article why the cat trade is never supported by online portals such as Quoka, Markt.de, Co. And how you can identify suspicious and illegal ads.
What is the illegal cat trade?
The illegal cat trade nowadays takes place primarily on the Internet. On relevant platforms and classifieds portals such as Quoka, Markt.de or Ebay classifieds, pet dealers place ads with just a few clicks and attract interested buyers with cute pictures of kittens and false statements about their age and health. Some cats are so small that their eyes do not open fully. Showing cute kittens is an ideal and fatal basis for animals for impulsive purchases, because the exchange of SMS is enough to agree on the meeting and the time of delivery of the animal. In addition to selling in apartments, animals are also repeatedly delivered on the open street – sometimes also via “couriers”, who also profit from intrigue.
The sale can be made in a few hours – merchants don’t care who the buyers are. Profit-oriented dealers also do not care whether the cat is suitable for living conditions and whether the conditions of keeping in the new home are suitable.
Where are the cats from?
Many of the traded cats come from Eastern European countries such as Serbia, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia and are smuggled into Germany for sale illegally and in disregard of legal requirements. Officially, animals may not be imported into Germany before they reach 15 weeks of age. In addition, entry under legal conditions is possible only with the use of correct papers and health certificates.
Often the animals come from illegal “breeding”, where cats are “reproduced” under the worst conditions without any minimum standards, in order to then sell them for profit. Some dog and cat dealers systematically drive their cars to farms in border areas and collect baby animals. As a rule, they pay nothing for the animals, which are then smuggled across the border as quickly as possible and offered for sale on the Internet.
What cats are illegally trafficked?
Due to the high demand, the so-called pedigree cats such as British Shorthair, Maine Coons, Persian cats and the like are offered. However, because the animals’ origin cannot be proven, they are often not suitable breeds or come from illegal breeding families. Due to irresponsible mating of animals for profit purposes only, genetic defects such as organ abnormalities and getting rid of serious diseases are often transmitted. Inbreeding often cannot be ruled out.
As a result, sick animals are usually sold, they suffer symptoms for the rest of their lives or die after a short time in their new home. Young puppies are separated from their mother very early, and often do not receive urgently needed medical care.
What diseases suffer from cats?
Cats who are victims of the illegal pet trade often suffer the consequences throughout their lives. Kittens are often snatched from their mothers soon after birth, and therefore very early on at a very critical stage. However, the first few months in particular are very important for animal babies to learn social behavior from their parents. This can have mental and physical consequences for animals:
- Behavioral problems such as misprinting people and aggression
- Socialization disorders because cats never learn to socialize with other cats
In addition, cats often have physical problems:
- general weakness
- Some serious diseases
- Parasites such as giardiasis, toxoplasmosis and worms
Additionally, cats that are being traded are not vaccinated or otherwise checked for health prior to sale. Since traders view animals as a commodity for profit, they are not interested in whether the cats are healthy or what will happen to them in the future. Unknown diseases and parasites are also a problem, as new owners and other animals already living in the new home can become infected and, in the worst case, become seriously ill.
It also often happens that cats die of their diseases soon after a sale or are handed over to an animal shelter because the new owners cannot or are unwilling to afford the necessary veterinary costs.
What tricks and excuses do illegal animal traffickers use?
It is not always easy to spot the illegal pet trade. Sellers like to claim that the baby animals come from the occasional litter. Another ’cause for tenderness’ is when an allergic reaction occurs suddenly or the mother cat is run over. In some cases, in case of sale, another animal is simply presented in the apartment, which is supposed to serve as the supposed mother animal to give a supposedly serious impression.
What should I consider when buying a cat?
Please never buy from online platforms, in doing so you are supporting massive animal cruelty. If you have considered giving your cat a home after careful consideration, local animal welfare groups and shelters are the best and most reliable places to go. There you will receive a lot of information in advance about the history, character and health of the animals – this provides you and the animal a good basis for successful adoption and therefore a happy life together for life.