Adopting a rescue cat from Cats Protection High Wycombe and South Bucks Branch
Adopting a cat is a big commitment and should not be taken lightly. At Cats Protection, our primary aim when homing a cat is to ensure that the cat and the new owners are matched well, so that both cat and owner are happy with their new relationship, and that the cat is safe in its new environment. Here, we answer the frequent questions that new adopters should be asking themselves (or us!) when adopting a cat.
What is the process of adopting from Cats Protection?
So that we can find out a little about what you are looking for, you should first fill in the homing form on our website, or call us on 01494 681615. Our Homing Officer will then contact you, and any possible matches from our cats will be described to you, and if you’re interested, the next stage would be for you to visit the cats that might be suitable for you. Like most local charities, the cats are kept at private addresses by volunteer fosterers – we do not have a central adoption centre. Once you have chosen your cat (or cats), a home visit will be arranged. This is where one of our volunteers visits you and the cat’s new home, and discusses with you the prospective new member of the family. After a successful visit, it’s then just a case of arranging with the fosterer a suitable day to collect the new member of the family.
Can I afford to keep a cat?
Owning a cat is not a trivial decision. You will need to pay for vet bills (although these can be made less of a surprise by buying pet insurance), annual vaccinations, regular flea and worm treatment, and possibly cattery or cat-sitter fees. Please make sure you’re happy with this before adoption.
How many cats should I adopt?
Some cats crave each other’s company, and some don’t. Multi-cat households have extra issues to consider, but depending on the size of the house, who lives there, etc, this is not necessarily a problem. If you would like further advice on this, do let us know.
I have an existing cat. Could this be a problem?
Introducing a new cat to an existing cat should be taken slowly and carefully, to avoid confrontation. Please talk to us for ideas on how this can be done successfully, to avoid the possibility of having to return your adopted cat to us. You can also find excellent advice here.
What age cat should I get?
Cats normally live to around 15 years of age, although they can live well into their 20s quite easily. The age of your new cat is a major consideration. The decision on your cat’s age is of course yours, but you might like to know that we find it much easier to home kittens and younger cats, whereas the older cats are harder to home. Thankfully some adopters do consider giving the older cats a loving forever home so that the cat does not get fed up in the foster pen environment just at the age when it needs more care and love. The options are:
- Kittens (less than 12 months)
We do not home kittens until they are at least 9 weeks old. Kittens are playful, incredibly cute and great fun, but they also need a lot of care and attention, so need someone at home a lot for the first few months. Kittens are best homed in pairs so that they can play together. A kitten becomes sexually mature at around 4 months old, so kittens need to be kept indoors until they are neutered (at 4-6 months, depending on your vet’s advice). All Cats Protection kittens must be neutered when they get to this age, in order to keep the unwanted cat population down – this is a charity policy. Kittens are usually happy to be homed with adult existing cats, and adult cats are usually accepting of new kittens in the home as they don’t pose a threat.
- Young adult cats (1-7 years)
An adult cat may still be playful, but will be less hard work than a kitten. An adult cat may be less accepting of other adult cats.
- Senior cats (7-15 years)
As cats get older, they normally become less demanding and just want a quiet comfortable life.
- Older cats (more than 15 years)
We do get elderly cats come into our care, often when their owner has passed away. These cats start to show signs of slowing down, and are a little more prone to aches and pains, which is to be expected. However, they still need love and attention.
What colour cat should I get?
This is a personal preference. Bear in mind that we find black, and black and white cats, most difficult to home as for some strange reason they are considered ‘boring’. Just ask a black cat owner whether this is true! Remember that the cat’s personality should be far more important than its colour.
What length of hair should I look for in a cat?
This is your own choice! Cats with longer fur may need a little more regular grooming.
Can I still go on holiday if I own a cat?
Of course! Whilst it wouldn’t be fair to leave a newly adopted cat, cats settle in to a home quite quickly (we recommend they are kept in for at least 3 weeks after adoption, whilst they get used to their new home and owners). If you don’t have people to look after your cats whilst you’re away, catteries can look after them, or you can use professional cat-sitters to visit your cats in their own home. If you would like more information, do ask us.
What should I look for when visiting the cats I’m interested in adopting?
Cats in our care are not in their natural environment, so don’t expect them to come rushing out to see you, purring and friendly (although some do)! Some have lost their previous owner or been abandoned. Those that came from a normal environment will miss their usual routine and freedom, and can take time to adjust to the relatively small and enclosed foster environment, which can be very frightening for them. Frightened cats are often very defensive, and sometimes aggressive – a natural reaction which anyone would feel given their change of situation. Please be prepared to give them a little understanding – it’s often these scared vulnerable cats that end up being the most loving and grateful creatures when they eventually get their forever home.
Ask the fosterer anything you like about the cats and their personalities, to ensure that you’re happy. We’re also happy to answer any questions about cat care you may have.
Feel free to visit more than once if you like, and we’d encourage all the prospective new family to meet the cats before making a choice.
I have a dog. Can I adopt a cat?
Cats and dogs can live perfectly well together, depending on the cat (and the dog!).
We may have to be more selective about cats that would be suitable for you, depending on the cat’s (and the dog’s) history. We do not encourage the adoption of young kittens where there are dogs.
Does my new cat need me at home?
Cats are normally very independent animals, but we hope that for at least the first few days in a new home, you would be around a lot so that the transition is easier.
Should I adopt a pedigree cat or a moggy?
Pedigree cats do not come into our care very often, and are usually homed quickly for obvious reasons. Please spare a thought for the common moggy!
Does where I live matter?
Absolutely! Many cats wander and may not be very street-wise, and we would not normally home an outside cat on a busy road. The information from the homing form, and the home visit, should enable us to make sure that we get a good match between the cat and its new home.
What if the adopted cat does not settle in its new home?
We try to ensure that cats are matched successfully to their new owners and home.
The vast majority of the time we do not have any problems following adoption, but occasionally things don’t go to plan – maybe the cat can’t settle, or an existing cat is unaccepting of a new arrival. We will try to work with you to resolve the situation, but if it still does not work out, you can return the cat to our care when a space becomes available.
Do I have to have a cat flap?
Cats that need outdoor access would ideally have a cat-flap, or at least an owner who is often at home so that the cat can be let in and out as necessary.
I live in rented accommodation. Can I have a cat?
Yes, but you’ll need to show us written permission from your landlord that you are allowed to keep a cat.
I’m moving house soon. Can I have a cat?
Depending on when you are moving, it might be better to wait until you are settled in your new home. Please ask us for advice.
Should I adopt a cat with a medical condition?
Occasionally, cats in our care have ongoing medical needs, such as arthritis or kidney problems. These cats need extra special care and a quiet home. If ongoing vet costs for an adopted cat with such conditions are an issue for you, we may be able to assist with this, so do ask us.
Should I adopt a feral or semi-feral cat?
Feral cats have had little or no human contact. It is very rare for such a cat to come into our care for re-homing, as they are often best returned to their natural environment. If you are considering adopting such a cat, you should discuss it with us first.
High Wycombe and South Bucks Branch