Sir: The kitten bought by Rupert Cornwell as a Christmas present for his young son ("On the unseasonal death of a pet", 24 December) had been purchased from a pet shop and Mr Cornwell was told by the shopkeeper that it was seven weeks old. Within days the kitten had died, much to his family's distress.
No reputable rescue organisations re-home any of the animals in their care over the Christmas period but sadly some pet shops take advantage of the seasonal rise in demand. Kittens from pet shops have often been taken from their mothers when they are far too young and are unable to feed properly. It would not surprise me if this particular kitten was in fact younger than seven weeks. If it was the runt of the litter it should have been given closer attention before it reached the pet shop.
Fluffy's story is, unfortunate, quite common. It might have been avoided had Mr Cornwell gone to a rescue organisation such as the Cats Protection League which never re-homes a kitten before it has been properly weaned from its mother, at eight weeks old at the very earliest. Animal rescue organisations are full to the brim with healthy cats and kittens desperately needing good homes. Perhaps now would be the right time for Mr Cornwell's family to approach one of them about homing one or even two kittens.
M J McCAWLEY