Rehoming a Rescue Pet

Thinking about taking on a new pet? Why not rehome a rescue animal?  There are many in desperate need of a good home and it’s easier than you’d imagine.

Please consider your local rescue centres when thinking about a new canine or feline companion.  If you aren’t sure where your nearest reputable rescues are based, don’t hesitate to contact your local vets for some advice.  Very often they will undertake a lot of the veterinary work for their local centres, so they will be happy to pass their details on to you.

Labrador_127021Think about the advantages…

Not only will you be giving a desperate companion another chance to experience a happy home-life but you will usually find that the pet you take on has already been thoroughly checked by a vet, had a training and re-homing programme put in place (to include a behavioural assessment), been neutered, de-fleaed, wormed and had all of its vaccinations brought up-to-date before you become its owner.  This can save you a lot of stress and worry at a time when all you want to do is bond with your new companion.

Are you ready to rehome?

When you contact a rehoming centre for the first time they will have some questions they want to ask you. These may include questions about the people and other pets you live with and the location of your house.  This is because, say, for instance, if you have children you will need a pet that is well-suited to young owners.  The staff members will also advise you on anything that you need to adapt in your house before they visit to help make it pet-friendly!

Once this has all been sorted, you will usually be invited to the centre to visit those animals that need rehoming which are also suited to your needs. There, you will be able to make the difficult decision of selecting your new companion.  You may be able to spend a full day with a pet you are considering rehoming, so do ask what your options are before you commit to anything.

Visit the Rescue Centre…

You should always look around the centres you contact, to ensure all of the care packages detailed above are in place and that you are happy with the conditions in the unit.  The best centres will offer daily exercise/interaction sessions with staff members for all the animals, have clean kennels/catteries without overcrowding, offer fostering options for animals that have been in their care for prolonged periods (where appropriate) and only take on as many pets for rehoming as they have the space and finances for. Pets rehomed from centres with sub-standard conditions may have ongoing issues that are missed and may not have their full needs taken into account.

Be prepared for a visit to your home…

The next step will usually be for a member of the rescue team to visit you at your house.  There is no need to be worried about this.  The main aim of the visit is to discuss pet ownership in your home and to answer any questions you may have.  They can also give you hints and tips about cat/dog ownership and about the specific needs (if there are any) of the pet you have chosen.  You will also be given advice on how to securely take your new pet home, how to keep your pet safe while they get used to their new environment and how to introduce your new arrival to any children or other pets you may have.  The local area in which you live may also be discussed and the centre will offer advice on how they think this may affect your new companion’s behaviour.

Find your “forever” companion…

If you do decide to rehome a rescue dog or cat, you can rest assured that it can be a very rewarding experience. Very often, having the knowledge and the experience of the rescue centre staff to fall back on if you have any questions or concerns is also an incredibly reassuring factor.  For all those of you considering a new pet, good luck and all the best in finding your “forever” companion!

Ask the Vet- Rescue Cat Nutrition

Q. I am in the process of choosing a rescue cat from a rehoming centre and hope to be able to bring a new pet home with me within the next few weeks.  I’ve had cats in the past (from kittens) and have always fed them ROYAL CANIN® because they’ve done really well on it but I know this rescue centre isn’t currently using your food.  Can you advise me on how to change diets for my new cat, once I bring him or her home?

A. Make sure (when you rehome your new cat) that you have plenty of their current diet in stock at your house ready for when you bring them back.  This is because a change of home environment for the new cat will be stressful enough on its own, without adding to that stress by changing their diet at the same time.  Once your new pet is settled in (which will vary in the amount of time it takes, depending upon your new cat’s personality) then you can start to think about a change of diet for them.  This may be after as little as 1-2 weeks, or you may decide to leave it a few months if your feline companion is very nervous and timid at first.  When introducing your new pet onto ROYAL CANIN®, as with any diet change, we recommend that you gradually introduce the new diet over 5 – 7 days to minimise the risk of any digestive upset.  Our recommended protocol is as follows:

  1. 25% new diet with 75% of the previous diet for 2 – 3 days
  2. 50% new diet with 50% of the previous diet for 2 – 3 days
  3. 75% new diet with 25% of the previous diet for 2 – 3 days
  4. 100% new diet

Ask the Vet- Rescue Cat Very Scared

Q. I re-homed a 3 year old rescue cat last week called “Magic”.  Ever since I’ve brought her home she almost seems terrified of the space in my house and runs from one room to another, hiding under any furniture she can find.  Do you have any advice for me to help her settle more easily?

A. Your new cat has gone from the relatively small space of the rescue cattery, into the new, seemingly vast expanse of your house in the space of a couple of hours.  It is not surprising that she may be reacting in this way, as she is understandably frightened.  The best way to ease “Magic” into settling in well is not to put her under too much pressure and to give your new cat her own space.  To start with, allow her this space in just one room and don’t let her into the rest of the house.  Spend some time with her in there but just sit in the room quietly and let her come to you, don’t scare her – if she backs off after approaching you just let her do her own thing.  Then give her plenty of time on her own (several hours) before you visit again.  Once she seems comfortable in this one room, which may take several days, start to open up the rest of the house to her, one additional room at a time.  It will need to be a very gradual process.  Good luck and if you continue to have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the rescue centre or your local vets for some immediate advice.

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