Adopting a Rescue Puppy or Kitten: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Here are a few FAQs of what you should know about rescuing a puppy, dog, kitten or cat from an animal rescue or shelter. 

Could rescuing a kitten or puppy be right for you and your family? Find out what you need to know with this list of commonly asked questions and answers about adopting pets from rescue centres and shelters. 

Why should I rescue a puppy or kitten?

Adopting a puppy or kitten from a shelter or animal rescue centre is a fantastic choice for several reasons:  

  1. You’re providing a home for an animal. 
  2. Adoption frees up space in the shelter or rescue centre to help more animals in need. 
  3. Rescues and shelters take special care to match the right pet to the right home. 
  4. The cost to adopt is typically cheaper than purchasing a pet from a breeder, plus the money goes to supporting the shelter or rescue centre and helping other cats and dogs. 

Should I be concerned about a rescue animal’s health?

As well as feeding and housing adoptable pets, animal rescue centres and shelters give kittens and puppies a full health check, routinely treat them for parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms and may give them their first vaccinations. 

Most animals in rescue centres will be spayed or neutered if they’re old enough, or the shelter may often require this as a condition of adoption. They will also alert you to any current or past health issues and may not allow a puppy or kitten to be adopted if they’re in poor health. 

When can I take a kitten or puppy home from a rescue centre? 

Kittens and puppies can usually be taken home when they are 12 weeks old, but the exact age may vary slightly depending on the organization. Ideally, the kitten or puppy should be with their mother until they reach this age. 

Remember it may be possible to adopt the mother along with the kitten or puppy. An adult cat or dog is likely to be calmer than a kitten or puppy and may make a great addition to your family. 

How can I find the right pet for my family and lifestyle?

Every rescue centre or shelter wants a happy outcome for all its animals, and the key is finding the right pet for the right home. Many centres offer a consultation service with their experts to find the right match for you and your family.  

The rescue centre or shelter will ask you questions about your family, house, lifestyle and what you’re looking for to find the best fit. All family members may be asked to visit the puppies and kittens at the centre to ensure the chemistry is right. 

If I have young children, can I still adopt a puppy or kitten ?

Young dogs and cats have bones that are still forming, making them vulnerable to playful hands or overzealous squeezes from young children. As a result, some rescue centres and shelters may have rules against puppies or kittens being adopted by families with toddlers or infants. 

Its best to chat to the rescue centre or shelter directly, and it may be a requirement that all family members visit the shelter to meet their potential pet first. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to supervise babies and toddlers at all times near dogs or cats of any age.  

What are my options outside of animal rescue centres and shelters?

Of course, there are other options available for getting a kitten or puppy and the decision is a personal one. For example, reputable, licensed breeders are always an option. 

Kittens and puppies may also become available from friends or neighbours when they have an unwanted litter. In this case, remember not to take the kitten or puppy away from their mother too early (typically not before 12 weeks). You will also need to contact a vet clinic to schedule their first visit for a general health screening, vaccinations, parasite prevention and, when your kitten or puppy is old enough, spaying or neutering. 

Regardless of how they come into your home, a kitten or puppy will be an energetic, loving addition to your family - whether they’re your first cat, dog or your newest pet. By adopting your new pet, you’re improving both their life and yours. 

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