We can. It’s stupid to judge people because they purchased a purebred animal. I’m going to tell you why.
Being that I’ve been absolutely cat-crazy since a young age, I’ve owned a lot of cats in my life. I’ve had males and females, long-haired and short-haired (and most recently- NO haired). I’ve had tiny cats and huge cats, shelter cats and purebred cats. Not one of those cats has had perfect health, in fact quite the opposite. Many of my shelter cats have been absolutely plagued with problems (including the instafamous “King Monty.”) My current purebred (Sphynx) does not have any health problems, but she’s still quite young- so I’m holding my breath with her.
In my profession I see more purebred cats than you can shake a stick to. I mean… I see at least three or four a day. I’d have to say that there are no hard and fast rules that seem to apply to them either. I see all types of personalities and all types of health issues. There are some issues that are more breed-related than others (breathing and eye issues with Persians for instance), but there seems to be a decent amount of healthy purebreds with no behavior issues too. Similarly, the majority of the shelter cats I see are healthy and well-adjusted, but there are more than a few with serious unpredictable health issues or behavior problems (I’ll just say it- they like to pee on your stuff).
We all know that there are hundreds of thousands of animals euthanized every year due to pet abandonment and overpopulation. You’ve probably also heard that mixed-breed pets are statistically healthier than pure-bred pets. Adopting a shelter pet can be one of the most rewarding things your family has ever done- trust me. It CAN be. It isn’t guaranteed to be. Shelter pets have a history, and some of them were abandoned for serious health or behavior issues that may not reveal themselves for months. The same thing is true for purchasing that Maine Coon kitten you’ve been dreaming of since you were 8 years old. He might be the love of your life and the best cat you’ve ever owned… and he might not.
And then there’s another issue. Rescue organizations. Usually not the larger, legitimate ones with their own buildings… but the smaller mom & pop Facebook ones. I personally had a terrible experience trying to adopt from one, and I’m by NO MEANS the only one. Some organizations make it so difficult to adopt one of their animals that its literally 100x’s easier to just call up a breeder and go buy a damn puppy or kitten. I’m not generalizing or stereotyping here, I know that there are a ton of honorable rescue organizations out there, but I also think that a decent amount of them are run by narcissistic ego-maniacs who love that they are in control of who gets to adopt these pets. Have you ever encountered one of these people? This is just a tiny blemish on pet adoption and should by no means dissuade anyone from adopting a pet, but it does. Every single day someone who would make a terrific owner is turned away from adopting for an idiotic reason (recently my assistant was turned away from adopting a puppy because she didn’t already have another dog- seriously).
So what’s the takeaway here? It’s okay to adopt, and its okay to shop. In a perfect world you would always adopt, and always find the perfect pet for you. This isn’t a perfect world. The most important thing you can do as a pet-owner doesn’t have anything to do with how you acquired your animal. It’s that you make a life-long commitment to care for it. If you decide adopting from a shelter isn’t for you, then support them in other ways by donating money, food, or your time. Don’t let anyone judge you because you decided to get that purebred dog or cat that you always wanted. Life’s too short to care what other people think, right? Your eight-year old self wouldn’t care, and isn’t that the only person you really need to impress?