I stumbled upon the following question on a popular search engine Q&A forum about cats."I bought a kitten that appears to be unwell. I've had her for 3 hours now, should I ask for a refund?"
This is a good question and often a question I receive on the phone from customers buying supplements.
Although not encouraged to purchase from pet stores but rather rescue organizations and or reputable breeders, if you must go through a pet store, first thing is to ask about health guarantees and if any shots and or first check up has been given. Make sure that you demand such paperwork rather than relying on word of mouth.
My finance and I were going shopping in the mall the other day and stumbled upon a couple buying a kitten. When they questioned about the kitten's first shots, all they were given was a verbal confirmation. The couple did not request any written proof? Would you purchase a used car without a repair and service disclosure? Why would you do the same for a kitten?
Kittens adjust differently to their environment and thus can have emotional, viral and bacterial stress as any new born animal may have adjusting which is very common, however, if you do suspect something, especially within the first 12-24 hour period, either question the pet store owner and request a refund, exchange or compensation toward the kitten's first vet visit.
The trouble with buying from a pet store rather than a certified breeder is that pet stores reply on impulse buying. The turn around processes is too fast for proper breed demand. In other words, you don't know where the animal came from.
I go shopping in the mall every week and was a little disturbed by the high turn around with the stock of kittens at a particular store. I inquired with the owner in regards to where he receives his inventory in which he responded, "Due to confidentiality, we are unable to disclose that." This is a huge red flag as they are supposed to disclose, with paper work, where they get their stock from. In this case, it may have been from a backyard breeder.
This is not to say that this happens with all kittens sold in pet stores, however, there are some things to consider.
Most of these kittens are breed in a mill. The high percentage of ill cats come from backyard breeders just throwing mates together, with health concerns of their own, without any gene pool consideration and or research to produce a healthy animal.
Before purchasing a pet from any pet store, check out the Better Business Bureau to make sure that similar or other complaints have not been made about the pet store. A reputable honest business would do what they can to rectify any situation.
The worst thing is to get emotionally attached to a kitten and then consider the possibility of returning him/her.
Luv Sheila & Freedom (my black lab purchased in good health from a breeder).