Everything you need to know about rescuing animals

Deciding to adopt a rescue cat or dog is a big decision. Giving an unwanted pet a home can be very rewarding, but you need to make sure you can meet their needs.

Making sure you can meet a rescue animal's needs

If you adopt a cat or dog, make sure you have the experience, time and energy available to make your new pet happy and comfortable. If you do adopt a dog or cat with a behaviour problem, you’ll need to give them extra care, attention and possible training with a behaviourist.

The re-homing process

Most animal shelters will want to know a bit about you, your household (including your children and any existing pets) and your lifestyle before matching you to a rescue animal:

  • Expect to pay a few visits to your chosen centre before bringing a new pet home, so they can get to know you and you can meet some more potential pets.
  • Most centres will also want to organise a home visit before placing an animal with you.
  • If you rent your home, you'll need your Landlord's permission to have a pet, and the centre may ask to see proof of this.
  • There's usually a re-homing fee to pay, which covers the centre's costs like neutering, medical care, food and shelter for animals.

As with any new pet, there’s a checklist of things you need to take care of when you get a rescue cat or dog:

  • Vaccination - your vet or rescue centre can advise you about what vaccinations your pet should have and when.
  • Microchipping
  • Collar and ID tag
  • Neutering (if needed)
  • Prevention and treatment for fleas and worms - again, ask your vet about this.
  • A bed, toys, a lead (for dogs), food and water bowls.
  • Medical conditions - does the animal have any pre-existing conditions that you need to be aware of,as they may require additional care and some conditions may be excluded under a Pet Insurance policy.

First days with your new dog or cat

  • Bring bedding or a toy from the rescue centre, so your pet has something familiar in their new environment.
  • Check with the centre what type of diet your pet has been on, and keep it consistent for the first couple of weeks.
  • Keep your new pet's food, water, bed and litter tray (for Cats) in just one room to start with. Hiding places are important for cats.
  • With a new dog, expect accidents - this is a stressful time and even a house trained animal can forget what they've learned.
  • Don't try to touch, stroke or hold a new cat too soon. Let them come to you when they're ready.
  • Wait for a couple of weeks before letting your new cat out and your dog off the lead, to reduce the risk of them running away or trying to return to the centre or previous home.

We love our pets and they’re an important part of our family, they're reassuring and a constant presence in our lives. Pet Insurance provides peace of mind and can help to cover the cost of unexpected vet fees when your pet needs treatment due to an accident or illness.

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