On 7 November 2018 a BBC Watchdog investigation exposed an unscrupulous and deceitful cat breeder who in the last six months alone has sold at least five kittens that have either died or been put down because of illness.
Mother-of-three Lizzie Beth Scarrott uses a variety of trading names and aliases on selling sites like Gumtree, Pets4Homes and Freeads to sell ‘designer’ kittens for hundreds of pounds to unsuspecting buyers.
It’s unknown if she breeds the kittens herself at home as she claims or whether she acts as a ‘middleman’ for kitten farms, which operate along the same lines as the cruel, exploitative puppy farms we all know and loathe. Lying comes very easily to Scarrott so it’s natural to assume the worst.
What is certain is that Lizzie Scarrott is a peddler of misery and heartbreak, the very opposite of the reputable breeder she claims to be. She’s also rather fond of money and brags about her wealth on social media.
The Watchdog team first highlighted the heartbreaking case of a couple named Jim and Tracey who had paid Scarrott £400 for a British shorthair cross kitten they had named Betty. The couple had responded to an ad Scarrott placed on Facebook in which she claimed to be a private registered breeder. All seemed well and the couple fell in love with the sweet-faced ginger kitten.
Sadly little Betty became very poorly not long after being brought home. The couple rushed her to the vet where she was diagnosed with an incurable condition called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) leaving them with no choice but to have her put to sleep.
Jim and Tracey then learned from a friend that another cat purchased from Scarrott had died from the same fatal illness. Jim contacted Scarrott but she denied that there was anything wrong with her cats and said that anyone claiming otherwise were “liars”.
Hardly the reaction of a caring, responsible breeder, is it?
Watchdog’s investigation into Scarrott’s activities linked her to 44 kittens advertised for sale in the last six months of which at least FIVE had either died or had had to be euthanised due to illness.
Names used by Scarrott in her online ads included Purrfect Pawss, Christian Scarrott (actually her husband’s name) and ‘lesley’. When challenged, she claimed she used different names to avoid being “trolled”, presumably by animal lovers unimpressed with the money-grubbing exploitation of immoral backyard breeders like her.
Scarrott was also shown to be lying about her credentials as a breeder. She claimed she had something called “RSPCA certified status” (there is no such thing) and fibbed that she was registered with pedigree cat registry GCCF (they have no record of any her litters being registered with them). Even her pet shop licence was invalid, being registered to her previous address.
Watchdog’s undercover investigators then purchased a kitten from Scarrott. Ambrosius (later known as Custard) was clearly unwell from the outset but Scarrott, who was being secretly filmed, denied this and, unbelievably, advised the investigators NOT to take him to the vet.
She agreed to sell Custard to the investigators without his vaccinations with little persuasion, but made them sign the following disclaimer to “protect” herself:
Watchdog’s vet found Custard to be in very poor physical condition (“skin and bone”) with pus coming out of his nose. He was struggling to breathe and was clearly suffering from a bad case of cat flu. Too sick to be vaccinated, Custard was vulnerable to picking up other illnesses. Sadly this is what happened and he didn’t survive.
On being contacted by Watchdog presenter Matt Allwright, Scarrott’s reaction was one of fury and denial. You can read her full response to the allegations against her here.
Regardless of Scarrott’s claims of a BBC stitch-up, Watchdog’s exposé showed her up for what she is: an unscrupulous money-driven liar who doesn’t think twice about duping prospective customers, while leaving a trail of sick and dead kittens behind her.
Lizzie Scarrott has now had the shame (assuming she’s capable of that emotion) of being exposed on national television, but people do forget. Let’s keep reminding them about her and her like and work together to put these traders in animal misery out of business once and for all.
Lizzie Scarrott’s FB profiles:
Petition to RSPCA urging them to take action against Lizzie Scarrott: https://www.change.org/p/rspca-stop-lizzie-scarrott-from-breeding-and-selling-sick-kittens-now
2019 update: she’s now living in Longhope, Gloucester, and continues to breed kittens, which she advertises on Facebook, Gumtree and Pre-loved.
Scarrott was featured in That’s Life magazine after a customer told them how a kitten she had purchased from the breeder soon fell gravely ill with a virus and also infected her other cat. Neither cat survived and their owner ended up £1,000 out of pocket. When confronted, the woman the magazine dubs ‘the Kitty Killer’ didn’t want to know. Leopards and spots.