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What to expect when you’re adopting

Introducing a new pet to your family is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But it’s difficult to know where to start, especially if this will be your first pet. There are so many benefits in adopting instead of buying, and here at Discover Animals, we encourage you to support local animal charities by adopting your next pet.

But why should you adopt? There’s a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones is you will be saving a life. Some pets have terrible pasts and have been abused or abandoned, or previous owner’s circumstances changed and they couldn’t care for their pet anymore. You have the chance to give a pet a happy and safe home.

By choosing to adopt a pet you have the benefits of having the lifetime support of shelter employees, as well as the love and gratitude from your adopted pet.

To celebrate one of the Discover Animals team adopting a cat this month, we’ve put together some tips and advice on what to expect if you’re planning to adopt.

Discover Animals team story.

Ashleigh Ridler from the Discover Animals team recently adopted a 3-year-old tabby cat from RSPCA Bluebell Ridge in Hastings.

Kitty’s first day in her new home.

For the past few months, I’ve been looking to get a new cat or kitten for my family. After hearing all the stories of the hundreds of pets being given up to adoption agencies over the past year, we knew we wanted to adopt. So we started looking online at cats available to adopt at various places across the South East, which is when we found Kitty, a 3-year-old tabby at Bluebell Ridge in Hastings.

We’re all experienced cat owners, but had never adopted before, so we did a lot of research on how to welcome Kitty to our home. The RSPCA website has a lot of blogs, documents and recommendations to help you on your journey. 

The team at Bluebell Ridge were incredibly helpful during the whole process. They explained everything clearly to us and gave us tips and advice on what to expect and what we needed when adopting.

It took about 2 weeks from finding Kitty on the website to bringing her home. We had to complete a few forms to explain who we were and our living circumstances, and show that we would be a good home for her. After a few phone calls with routine questions and a virtual check of our house, we were given a date to pick her up.

Top tip: Always make sure you have the correct size carry case for the pet. Make sure your carry case is well ventilated but secure so there’s no chance of your pet escaping when you’re transporting them home. Either a secure plastic one or fabric with sturdy, solid sides; sometimes the softer, flimsy ones can collapse on the pet and risk them escaping.

When you bring your pet home, open the carry case and let them come out at their own speed. New surroundings can be quite scary for them and you don’t want to stress them out by forcing them out.

The adoption fee for an adult cat was £75, with options to donate more to the charity. The adoption fee includes a vet health check, neutering, all vaccinations, micro-chipping, de-flead and wormed, and four weeks free insurance. After bringing her home we went to our local Pets at Home in Eastbourne to register her with the vet and book her in for her next check-up and a flea treatment. 

After about half an hour of being home, she was exploring the house and saying hello to everyone. Within a couple of days, Kitty had made herself at home and was comfortable and confident around us. Two weeks into her being with us she’s cautiously taking her first steps outside.

She’s eating well and has found plenty of comfy places to sleep, she’s very playful, inquisitive and a great addition to our family.

RSPCA Sussex East & Hastings Branch Bluebell Ridge Cat Rehoming Centre | Chowns Hill, Hastings, East Sussex, TN35 4PA

If you’re local to the East Sussex area, visit the Bluebell Ridge website if you are looking to give a cat its forever home.

Preparing for your cat.

When you first bring your pet home, it’s best to keep everything in one room – the settling room – so they have a safe space with easy access to everything they need. The ‘settling room’ should be a quiet place in the house where your pet can get used to their new home and surroundings.

Bowls – have food and water bowls set up in the settling room so your pet can have a drink of water after the journey.

Food – a good selection of wet and dry food, as well as some treats. It’s always best to check with the adoption agency to see if your new pet is on a special diet or requires any special food.

Bed – A soft, warm and comfortable bed put somewhere quiet and safe.

Litter box – A fresh litter box that is cleaned often. You need to get your cat used to the house before you let them out, it’s usually recommended that you keep your cat in for around 3-4 weeks.

Carry case – see the information in the section above for advice on a carry case.

Toys – Other things can include a brush (especially if it’s a long-haired cat) and a scratching post). Be careful not to spend too much on toys! Sometimes it’s the simple things that will entertain your cat like boxes, string and ping pong balls, you don’t need to spend that much money on high-end toys for them.

You can find a handy checklist to download on the Cats Protection website here.

Adopting during Covid-19

Usually, a rehoming centre would request a visit to your property to make sure it’s the right environment for your pet, but because of coronavirus guidelines, a lot of these checks have been done virtually.

These virtual visits will either consist of a video call with you for a tour of your house, or they will request you send photos of your house. It’s good to get ready a series of clear photos of every room in your house and your garden/outside area, so they’re ready to be sent off if requested.

With restrictions lifting, these home visits may restart soon, but it’s always good to be prepared for a virtual visit in the next few months. 

Resources for when you’re looking to adopt

Check out these great resources below if you want some more information on adopting a pet;

RSPCA – Advice for Adopters

Cats Protection – Preparing for a Cat

Dogs Trust – How to adopt a dog

Battersea – Cat Rehoming FAQ

Battersea – Dog Rehoming FAQ

Did you adopt your pet or are you looking to adopt? Send us an email at with your story or any questions you may have. 

Do you want your pet to be featured as the cover star on our social media pages? Send us the best photo of your pet on Email, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #DiscoverAnimalsPets, and at the end of the month, we’ll choose the best photo to use our cover image!

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