We might be a little biased here considering this is a website solely dedicated to cats, but kittens are frickin’ awesome, aren’t they? Whether they’re craigslist kittens, shelter kittens, or a kitten you rescued, they’re all amazing! Anybody who says otherwise simply shouldn’t be trusted!
Adoptable kittens are available all over the place. There are shelters (which you should always try first), there are pet stores, there are breeders, there’s your cousin’s friend whose cat just had kittens, and then there’s Craigslist.
Why on Earth do we need a guide on Craigslist kittens? Kittens are the same no matter where they come from, right? Well, yes and no. Kittens will always be kittens. But Craigslist kittens are a different ballgame, mainly because of how Craigslist itself works.
Before you adopt or buy a kitten from Craigslist make sure you follow our guide to avoid any issues with your kitten or with getting scammed. Once you’ve successfully landed your craigslist kitten then go ahead and head over to our New Kitten Checklist!
Before we begin, and I’m sure you guys are tired of us always saying this, but it must be said:
You should ALWAYS try your absolute hardest to adopt from a local shelter before considering anywhere else.
We understand, however, that not everyone will do that so the purpose of this guide will be to help minimize any damage done to you or your new kitten.
One good thing about getting kittens from craigslist is that local animal shelters and rescue organizations will often post on Craigslist. There are also a lot of genuinely good people who have kittens available. I frequently see people who rescue a pregnant cat put their kittens up for adoption on Craigslist (among other places).
However, the opposite is also true. There is a dark side to adopting kittens from Craigslist. This dark side has everything from scammers to animal abusers. The purpose of our guide is to help ensure you adopt a healthy kitten from a reputable person or organization AND to help make sure you don’t get scammed.
So should you get a kitten from Craigslist? Maybe so, assuming you do things the right way!
Finding Healthy Craigslist Kittens
One of the biggest downsides to adopting a kitten on Craigslist from someone or somewhere that isn’t a rescue organization is that the kitten’s health isn’t always properly taken into consideration. This isn’t necessarily out of malicious intent, it’s more so done out of ignorance.
Consider a person who has a pet cat that they never bothered to get spayed. That alone is enough to show that this person isn’t exactly fully informed on how to properly care for a domestic cat. Do you think this same person is going to know the ins and outs of caring for and adopting out kittens in a healthy manner?
Timing Matters For Adopting Kittens
Many people think that just because a kitten is eating solid food and using a litter box that they are ready for adoption. This is one of the biggest issues we see with kittens on Craigslist. Again, there’s no malicious intent here, it’s just pure ignorance.
Kittens may dabble in solid food around the 4-6 week mark, but they need to nurse for at least 8 weeks. This is important for both the kitten’s health and the mother’s health. 4 weeks is when Nature tells the cats to start weening from their mother, but it does not tell them to just abruptly stop.
There are much-needed antibodies in their mother’s milk. If you’ve ever had a cat that was an adult but still nursed on a blanket or something soft then it’s likely this cat was taken away from it’s mother too early.
Kittens Need To Learn Social Skills
Another issue that arises when kittens are taken away from their mother and their littermates too early on is that they won’t get the social skills they need to properly develop into what a normal and healthy adult cat should be. When kittens are 3-7 weeks old they will be the most receptive to learning new social skills.
Even though they’re so young, this is when they start learning how an adult cat behaves by watching their mother. Being with their littermates for the proper length of time also helps kittens learn how to control their biting and clawing.
Kittens are in their prime socialization period up until they reach 14 weeks. How they are raised and what they are exposed to from weeks 3-7 and weeks 7-14 make the most dramatic impact on what kind of cat this kitten will grow up to be.
Kittens will need multiple visits to the vet to ensure they get their core vaccinations. Ideally, kittens will get their vaccines at 8,12, and 16 weeks old. Ideally kittens should be about 12-14 weeks old minimum before being adopted (more on this below). So if you’re adopting a kitten that’s around 12 weeks old then it should have had AT LEAST one round of shots.
Uninformed people on Craigslist love to claim that the kittens haven’t needed shots yet because the mother is perfectly healthy. What these people don’t realize is that they likely have no idea if the mother cat has any underlying medical conditions that can be genetic.
They also likely have no idea about the health of the male cat that got their cat pregnant in the first place. The male cat could have diseases, parasites, or other issues that can be passed to the mother during mating, and then down to the kittens.
What Age Are Kittens Ready For Adoption?
Kittens are not ready for adoption until they’re AT LEAST 12 weeks old. The 12-14 week range seems to be ideal. I hate how much information there is online saying that kittens are ready for adoption by week 8. That simply isn’t true and it’s unhealthy for both the kitten and its mother.
If you see kittens up for adoption that are under 12 weeks old the best thing you can do for those kittens is hope that their human will be receptive to a quick and polite email from you explaining why they shouldn’t do this. Send them a link to this article if you have to.
In an ideal world that person would immediately pull their Craigslist ad and wait until those kittens were of proper adopting age.
Avoid Craigslist Kittens Scams
It’s no secret that Craigslist, despite being a wonderful website, is rife with scammers. Many people think Craigslist scammers only hang out in the electronics or automotive sections of the site, but the pets section of Craigslist is also susceptible to scammers too. The best thing you can do before looking for a kitten on Craigslist is to know the red flag to look for.
Never Send Money Up Front!
99% of Craigslist scammers will want to avoid meeting in person. Because of this, they will often find ways to trick you into sending money to them before you’ve even met them. We see this all the time and most of the time the scammers will use one of two scenarios:
They want a deposit up front – They might just create a too-good-to-be-true ad about the perfect kitten for you. When you reach out to them they tell you they can’t meet up right now but they’ll hold the kitten for you if you send them a deposit.
They want other fees up front – They will find any other excuse to get money up front. “I’m having to drive in from (town located multiple hours away) and I need gas money.” to “I have to take them to the vet for an unexpected visit, if you can help pay their vet bills I won’t charge a rehoming fee.”
NEVER SEND ANY MONEY UP FRONT REGARDLESS OF WHY THE SELLER SAYS IT’S NEEDED.
Craigslist Kitten Scam Red Flags
Just about all scams on Craigslist contain at least one of these red flags:
They want money up front – As mentioned above, NEVER send money up front.
Poor grammar and syntax is used in the listing – We don’t mean a few misspelled words or some missing punctuation. We mean that ad looks like it was posted by someone using Google translate or by someone in a third-world country.
Excuses are made to never meet in person – 99.9% of scammers will not be in your town, oftentimes they won’t even be in the country. They will find any reason to avoid meeting in person.
They insist on email communication – Most people will offer up a phone number for a quick phone call or maybe some texting. Scammers will usually only communicate through email.
Their pictures are stolen – Right click on the image in the Craigslist ad and select ‘Copy image address’ and head over to images.google.com Click the little camera icon in the right of the search bar, paste the image address and hit search. This will show you if the scammer is possibly using stolen images. (Alternatively you can use TinEye.com just to be doubly safe!)
The kitten is too good to be true – If you see an ad for an exotic kitten that people will pay $2,000 for and the seller only wants a $150 re-homing fee then be VERY cautious!
How Much Should I Pay For A Craigslist Kitten?
This question gets asked a lot but there is no definite answer here. A breeder offering a $1,000 Bengal kitten will obviously differ than the girl who adopted a pregnant cat 4 months ago and now needs to rehome the kittens.
Rehoming fees are VERY common with Craigslist kitten adoptions. Some people ask for a rehoming fee so that they can be reimbursed for the kitten’s vet bills. Others ask for a rehoming fee to ensure the adopting party has the money needed to care for a cat. Others simply just want to make some money.
Craigslist Kittens Adoption Checklist
Alright so you know what to look out for to avoid getting scammed and you’re ready to bring that new Craigslist kitten into its forever home! What steps should you take before bringing a new kitten home?
Below is a quick list of basics but we encourage you to read our full guide: New Kitten Checklist
Food & Water Bowls
Collar & ID Tag
Litter Box & Litter
Once the kitten is safely at their new home you need to immediately schedule their first vet appointment. This is an absolute MUST, regardless of what the Craigslist seller told you about the kitten’s medical history.
Please Consider An Animal Shelter
Before we wrap things up we just want to reiterate the importance of you adopting form an animal shelter.
More than one million cats and dogs are put down each year. By adopting from a shelter you will quite literally save a life. Even if you adopt from a no-kill shelter you still save a life because you will have opened up a spot for another animal to be rescued.
Kittens and cats from animal shelters have had their shots, they’ve been spayed/neutered, and it’s likely that they’re already house trained! This is just an overall healthier situation for both humans and pets.
Many animals at shelters are already used to living in homes with families. They made their way to the shelter because of a divorce, the family moving, or their previous owner may have passed away. These cats are used to people and they’re so eager to come home with you!
Posting An Ad For Your Kittens
If you’ve got a new litter of kittens, or are expecting a new litter of kittens, and you’re wondering the best way to go about listing them on Craigslist, here are some tips.
– Make sure they’ve had their first vet visit and have had vaccines.
– Post lots of pictures and try to be detailed about the kittens’ personalities.
– Ask potential adoptive families a lot of questions to ensure they’re ready to take care of this kitten for the rest of its entire life.
– Only agree to meet people in person, NEVER try to arrange some complicated shipping scheme. Anyone who wants you to ship kittens likely has a scam angle that they’re working.
– If two littermates have bonded with each other, try and encourage a family to adopt both of them so they can avoid being separated.
TRUST YOUR GUT! If you feel like something is ‘off’ about someone who wants to adopt your kittens, then just politely apologize and tell them you don’t feel they’d be a good fit.