More and more people are getting scammed in buying 'cheap' kittens from the internet via bogus websites and 'For Free Advertising' sites.
These scam artists create bogus websites, using the cattery names of well-respected, registered and accredited cat breeders, and posting pictures of kittens and their 'parent cats', that they have downloaded from South African as well as international breeder websites. They run the bogus website for a few weeks, and then replace it with another, so as to be able to con yet another bunch of victims. These 'breeders' claim to be South African, they often advertise a range of 'available' kittens for sale, such as Persians, Ragdolls, Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest, Sphynx etc, with a cell phone number.
When contacted and asked if it is possible to visit and see the kittens (and having established the buyer's domicile), they will indicate that their cattery is based in another province. The 'sales' are always handled by WhatsApp or via e-mail, and sometimes telephonically. Try to speak to them at least, and listen for accents (that are not South African) or at least try to get to SEE the kittens. If concerned, contact a registered Breeder and ask… most of the reputable and registered breeders know the other breeders!
If requested, a picture of the respective kitten may be sent electronically - more often than not downloaded from the website of a legitimate breeder. They generally require a 'deposit' to be paid, often R2,000 to R3,000. Then the Shipping, giving you a date and time, and by Courier (I have even seen a made up Waybill that is nowhere near like a Real Waybill) … After a short while, when the 'buyer' tries to follow up, there is no response from the contact numbers that were provided.
Be wary of a 'breeder' that is advertising an unusually large number of cat breeds. The following is an actual examples of text in scam advertisements:
'Kittens leaving at 9wks old, KUSA reg. ' (KUSA = Kennel Union of South Africa, for registration of pedigreed dogs!)
When considering the acquisition of a pedigree kitten, make every effort to visit the breeder and inspect the cattery if you are in the area. Phone and ask questions... you will 'hear' that they may NOT be South African. Build a relationship with the breeder from the start. You may also request a Video chat, either Zoom or WhatsApp is Good.
Check if the breeder and/or cattery is registered with either the SACC (the Registrar of the South African Cat Register at 011 616 7017, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or CFSA (Cat Federation of Southern Africa - 016 987 1170, e-mail: CFSARegister@gmail.com). Even though the advertiser may claim that his/her cats are SACC , CFSA or CASA registered, verify this for yourself.
Pedigreed kittens should never be re-homed under the age of 10 weeks and preferably after 12 weeks, kitten sterilised, Inoculations and rabies given, and microchipped; so be suspicious if younger kittens are being advertised as ready for re-homing. Breeding registered cats in a reputable manner is a costly exercise, therefore 'cheap' kittens are a dead giveaway that something is not right. Reputable breeders will advertise on their own websites, known animal magazines or known animal websites.
PLEASE MAKE SURE BEFORE YOU ADOPT.