Adopting a rescue cat – do’s and don’ts
It’s estimated that at any one time around 100,000 dogs and countless cats are without homes. For anyone considering getting a cat this year choosing one from an animal shelter or adoption centre that needs a loving home makes a lot of sense.
In 2017, the charity Cats Protection alone rehomed and reunited 46,000 cats and kittens. Cats can find it very stressful being confined in a rehoming centre, especially if they have been used to living in a home – so adopting a rescue cat means one less cat is cooped up waiting for their forever home.
Benefits of getting a rescue cat include being matched with a cat that is suitable for your home and circumstances. Also most charities vaccinate, microchip and worm cats, plus they are examined by a vet before being signed off for rehoming.
This gives that extra peace of mind that the kitten or cat you are adopting is fit and healthy, something that isn’t certain if you buy online or from a pet shop. It also means it’s likely to be neutered which stops unwanted pregnancies and helps keep the rescue cat population down.
So if you are thinking of adopting a cat here are some golden rules to ensure the process goes smoothly:
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t adopt a cat on a whim. You need to consider what it will mean bringing a cat into your household and if you’ve got the time to care for it. Cats are sociable animals and if you are out most of the day it may not be the right time to be getting a cat. Also think about the cost. Vets bills and food can add up. Plus think about who will look after them when you go away.
Most cats don’t enjoy going to catteries, so more people are employing home and pet sitters to come and stay in their homes when they go on holiday. There are expenses with both options so factor this in if you don’t have family and friends who can look after your cat.
Do you live in a suitable area?
Many cats end up being killed by being run over. Although people may think towns are more dangerous, it is often country lanes that are the most dangerous roads. Cats can get caught out with infrequent traffic as they are not used to seeing cars. On the other hand city centres with long rows of Victorian houses can be very safe as cats have access to lots of back gardens and can avoid going in roads. Cars often drive much slower in built up areas too.
If there are other pets in the household, consider what it will mean for them if you bring a new cat in. Many dogs are fine with cats and other cats too often welcome a friend to play with but it will depend on their temperament. If you want to rehome a cat and you already have pets speak to the adoption centre. They can often provide a suitable match that is used to other pets (and children if you have them) and can also offer advice on introducing a cat to a home with other pets.
Choose an adoption centre/charity
So you’ve decided you can commit to having a cat. The next step is to get in touch with an animal charity or adoption centre. Try to choose one as local as possible so you can visit easily. You will be asked to register and most will want to visit your home just to check it’s suitable. Don’t be put off by this, they just want to ensure the adoption goes well and the cat isn’t returned because things didn’t work out.
Most rehoming centres will ask for a donation of around £50-£100 for your cat. As most are charities are run by volunteers this goes towards the facilities and services they provide, including vaccinations and any veterinary treatment the cat may have had.
Meet your cat or kitten
Once all the checks have been done either you can go to the centre to choose a cat or one will be chosen for you. It’s really important to meet the cat you intend to rehome just to ensure it has the right temperament for you and see how the cat reacts to you. If the visit goes well then you can make arrangements to take the cat home. If not you can find out if there are any other cats available at that time or if you should just keep checking in. Remember cats can be wary at first so if they appear angry or unfriendly at first it may be worth a second visit just to see if they become more approachable.
Be wary about rehoming from someone privately
If you intend to rehome privately do approach this with caution. You won’t have all the reassurances and checks that come with rehoming from a charity, so do your homework. Try to meet the new cat on a couple of occasions and find out why they are being rehomed. Ask lots of questions including if they are up to date with vaccinations and if they have been neutered (ask for proof). If things don’t appear quite right then walk away.
When the time is ready to pick up your cat, make sure you have prepared and cat-proofed your home and garden. Buy bowls, a bed and litter tray and ensure you have a proper cat carrier to transport your cat from the centre. It’s useful to continue feeding the cat what they have had from the centre initially just so it’s not too many changes at once. Ask beforehand what this is so you can buy some in.
Enjoy getting to know your new feline friend! Remember, if you have any questions or queries then give the rehoming centre a call – they will be more than happy to help and would no doubt love an update on how the cat is getting on.
If you have a new cat or kitten and have plans to go on holiday this year then get in touch with Homesitters to find out about our home and pet sitting service.
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