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Getting a Rescue Cat

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Choosing to adopt a rescue cat is wonderful and you will be providing a much needed home in return for affection and companionship.

There are an estimated 28,000 homeless cats in the UK at any one time, and many of these cats will find themselves in various rescue centres across the country through no fault of their own.  Did you know that one unneutered female cat could potentially be responsible for 20,000 descendants over a 5 year period?

Cats become homeless for a variety of reasons including; they have wandered too far from home and gotten lost, owners have moved without them, their owner has passed away, a new addition to the family (human or another pet), change in financial circumstances or sadly sometimes that they are just no longer wanted.

Rescue centres across the country do an exceptional job of providing these cats with a safe place to stay, with food and medical treatment as needed, all whilst searching for their forever home.

Taking on the responsibility of any new pet is a big decision and should not be taken lightly.  There are many factors to be considered including the costs of routine health care (vaccinations, neutering, microchipping, and worm and flea treatments), veterinary treatment for any illnesses which may arise and the possibility of unforeseen veterinary expenses due to accidents so it’s worth considering whether these expenses would be manageable should they arise.  The best way to deal with unforeseen veterinary expense is to have your cat insured as soon as possible – this will not cover routine treatments such as essential vaccinations and neutering, but will most likely cover accidental injury and any illnesses which arise during your cat’s lifetime (please check with individual insurers for full details including exclusions/restrictions).

Do you have enough time to spend with a rescue cat? 
Cats are very self-sufficient but they do generally enjoy our company or that of another pet, so if you are away for extended amounts of time then this may not be fair to the cat.

If you have the perfect home then it’s now a question of finding your feline friend!

Have a think about the kind of household you have; is it quiet or lively? Then search for a cat with a personality to fit your household.  A timid cat in a noisy household is likely to feel very stressed and anxious, the same as a boisterous cat in a quiet household may just be too much of a handful.

Speak to the staff at the rescue centres about the type of cat you are hoping to find, they usually know all the cats very well and will be able to match you with a suitable friend.

Are you looking for a kitten, middle-aged or older cat? Kittens generally get rehomed very quickly due to them being very cute and cuddly.  However, an older cat may suit your household better and their personalities are already established.  Perhaps you are one of those special owners who might be able to offer a home to one of the many older cats in rescue centres who frequently get overlooked?  They are generally referred to as the ‘golden oldies’ and could provide you with a wonderful mature companion.

Once you have found your feline friend you will need to make sure that you have everything in place before bringing them home.  You will need a litter tray, suitable food, toys and a bed.  It would also be a sensible idea to register your new cat with a local Vets and book an appointment for a general health check as soon as possible.

Your Vet will be able to detect any possible issues which may not have already been picked up and also advise you on any treatment which may be needed.

Remember to take things slowly when your new cat arrives home for the first time.  Take into consideration that unpleasant things may have happened in their lives which may make their behaviour unpredictable at first.  Try not to force interactions if your cat is not ready for them, be patient and allow them the time and space to explore their new surroundings whilst gaining confidence.  Be calm and quiet around them if needed until they are ready to approach you.  Allow them access to one room at a time, otherwise it may be too overwhelming for them and they are likely to just hide.  Eventually, they will learn to trust you.

If you are planning on letting your cat have access outside, then it is generally recommended that they are kept indoors for a period of approximately 2 weeks to be able to get their bearings first.

Wherever you are in the country, there will be a rescue centre near you – so what are you waiting for?!

Claire Francis RVN

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