Most people have heard about puppy mills, but the large-scale breeding of pets for profit isn’t just restricted to dogs. Purebred cats are also victims of the mill trade, especially popular, high-demand breeds like Persians. (One notorious mill in North Carolina even kept wild cats called Servals, which were bred with domestic cats to produce an exotic hybrid called the Savannah.)


Mill kittens are sold to pet stores and individual buyers. Many mills (large and small) represent themselves as reputable breeders, appropriating terminology such as the kittens being “raised underfoot” in the home when they are actually kept in cages 24/7. Sadly, mill operations also sell cats to research laboratories for experimentation. Here are a few facts about kitten mills that all animal lovers should know about, courtesy of the website One Green Planet:

  • Cats born in mills are often inbred and suffer from genetic diseases in addition to diseases caused by overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and lack of veterinary care.
  • Like puppies, mill cats are also kept in small wire cages…including ones with wire bottoms that can hurt their feet.
  • Adult males and females are bred constantly, often until they are 10 years old.
  • Kittens from mills are removed from their mothers at very young ages and have received little, if any, socialization.
  • Kitten mills are often less obvious than puppy mills, and can easily be hidden in a house that appears normal on the outside.


According to the organization Purebred Cat Rescue, reputable breeders care about their cats and would not keep them in inhumane conditions or sell them to pet stores. Be sure to check out any breeder very carefully before acquiring an animal. It’s best to choose a local, well-established breeder who welcomes potential owners into their home for a visit. Kittens purchased from pet stores and online ads could (and often do) come from mills.  Consider adopting from a breed rescue if you’re interested in a particular kind of cat.


16 thoughts on “What Animal Lovers Should Know About Kitten Mills

  1. My sister got 3 Siberian Forest kittens from a breeder in Washington state – they got sick a couple days after arrival and despite the fact that she spent more on vet bills than she did to purchase them, one was too ill to make it…. All my pets were once feral and they are much healthier than her surviving cats.

    1. That’s so sad. People interested in a particular kind of cat like your sister should be very careful about the source before committing. Rescuing homeless cats is always a good choice. ❤ Thanks for reblogging!

      1. My sister choose Siberians because she suffers from asthma and allergies and her research made that breed seem wise. Her cats are nice, but one of them seems to have lingering health issues… I could not be paid to buy from a breeder, unless it was someone I knew to be highly reputable… Still, our policy has always been to let the pet choose us instead of vice-versa.

      2. Siberians are a beautiful natural breed with a lot of admirers. It’s hard to say where any pet’s heath issues come from, but people should still do their research and check out breeders in person.

      3. I think my sister fell in love with on-line photos. For certain, she didn’t see the actual animals until they were delivered by a third party to her house (also after she’d paid for them).

      4. At least they went to a good home and not to someone who no longer wanted them after they grew out of the fluffy kitten stage…also a sad state of affairs…a post for another day. 😦

  2. Really important information. Although two of mine were abandoned, we were able to see the other two with their mothers in a home environment. Great post.

    1. Many breeders are totally dedicated to their animals and do it for the love of the breed, not to make money. As potential owners, people need to do their research and visit the homes their kittens come from in person to make sure this is the case with the people they choose to work with.

      1. Absolutely. This is valuable advice that every potential kitten owner should be aware of..coud save a lot of heartache too.

      2. That’s how it was with my two older ones. The owner loved the mother and obviously wanted to make sure her babies went to a good home-which they have : ) But I totally agree with you.

  3. Pawsum posty. Mommy has seen many kitten mills in her years when she rescued and altho a mill is pawful no matter, she found da kitten mills to be da worse. Wish there was something more dat could be done. Unfurtunately laws are only good ifin they’re upheld and enforced. Fanks fur sharin’.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

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