Experience: Adopting a Cat from Battersea Cats

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battersea cats

Now that we have moved into our house back in December last year, and have the garden we always wanted, we thought we might as well tick getting a pet for the kids off the “always wanted list”. I always wanted a cat and my son felt the same – we are both cat AND dog people: equally like them without a preference. As you might know, he is autistic and loves animals. Cats are very gentle and calm animals and that’s what he likes about them so much. We also figured, since we’d like both a cat and a dog at some point in the near future, maybe it’s wise to start with the cat. Not much science went into this thinking, just seemed like a good idea. 

So about 6 weeks ago, we signed up with Battersea Dogs and Cats to become adopters. 

battersea cats

About Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Founded in 1866 Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is London’s major charity for rehoming dogs and cats. They have multiple sites – we are living in London, so visited Battersea as that’s our closest rehoming centre or  cats and dogs shelter. They accept cats and dogs up for adoption and look after them whilst they are trying to find a suitable adopter. But Battersea isn’t “just” a shelter.

They also run frequent animal welfare campaigns as well as rehabilitate cats and dogs. They support vets by sharing their expertise and support other rescues and partners country – wide. They have a lost dogs and cats phone line dedicated to helping reunite lost pets with their owners – a free service, run by volunteers.

Battersea is a registered charity – please consider helping them by donations, fundraising and there are other ways to help too.

How the adoption process works

Register:

We have filled in a form online and registered, to start with. We received an automated reply that it’s all done for now. We were very excited and of course started to look through the cat’s catalogue online. But at this point, this make no sense, unfortunately as we have learnt that a bit later. (Because by the time we reach the top of the waiting list, those cats will be already adopted by someone else.)

Spoke to the rehoming team:

After a few days, we had a call confirming our registration and explaining the adoption process. We’ve been informed, that we are placed on the waiting list of adopters (luckily, there is no shortage of them, which is good, because there is no shortage of cats and dogs needing a new home either!) and that’s about a month-long wait. 

Getting booked in for picking up the cat:

When it was our turn (like I said, about a month-long wait) we received another call discussing the date for adoption. We picked a date and a member of the rehoming team informed us, that they will call again a day before so that we can go through together the catalogue of available cats, discuss their needs and personalities and find a good match. Reserve the cat and collect next day.

battersea cats

Choosing our cat:

A day before the adoption day, we got the call, as promised, and picked our cat. The vetting process really makes sure that cat and new owner are as compatible as possible. So, they ask a lot of questions like:

  • How many are we in the family
  • How old are the children
  • Do we live in a house or flat
  • Do we have other cats
  • Do we have a dog
  • What’s our age preference

Based on these, we looked through the catalogue again and chose a black, male cat, aged 4 (named Kind Prawn). His owner is sadly passed away so he’s been sent to Battersea.

When looking at the website and browsing through the available cats, we found out, that not all cats are in Battersea, but some of them are based in their Oxford Rehoming Centre – and with that, we will need to communicate directly, so collecting any cat the next day from Oxford site would not have been possible, as we would need to book a new adoption day with them first anyway. (Maybe even start the whole process again, not sure!)

After picking our cat, we received an email confirmation and some useful information about settling a cat in a new home and understanding cat’s body language. This is very useful for new cat owners.

How much does adoption cost?

The rehoming fee is £95 for cats (over six months), £125 for kittens (under six months).

How much does a cat cost yearly?

The typical annual cost of a cat is around £1500 per year.

battersea cats

On the day of adoption

We got an appointment for 12:30 and we’ve been told, if the cat doesn’t like us; or we are simply just not a good match (this can happen) we will probably not have the chance to look at other cats because they are so fully booked, but will try to accommodate this. In case we don’t take King Prawn, we would need to book a new adoption appointment (probably a few days later) – and that part of the adoption process starts again.

We arrived on time and they didn’t make us wait either so we were able to meet with King Prawn immediately. We instantly fell in love with him, he was a bit shy but a very sweet natured cat. Came to say hi to all of us and let us all to visit him in his cubicle and pet him. So we were all very excited to take him home.

We felt a bit sad for all the other cats waiting but we knew they will surely find adopters soon – Battersea carers are really good at their jobs!

After this we sat down with the adoption team member and filled out all the paperwork.

What we received for the cat to go home with

  • We received a goodie bag with a couple of pouches of his favourite food and instructions when and how much for feed him. (He eats two pouches of wet food a day and about a handful of dry food.)
  • The kids were able to pick a crocheted mouse each as a cat toy (this is free, handmade by volunteers).
  • Bagheera (we named him Bagheera) also was able to keep his little towels and blankets from Battersea as a comfort items. 
  • Battersea sorted most of his vaccinations that were due – will need to arrange the ones due soon with the vet.
  • The at was neutered and microchipped.
  • Battersea also gifted us a month worth of pet insurance – we will need to extend this or find a new insurer when it runs out.

There are plenty of dog and cat accessories you can buy at the reception area in a little shop.

Larry the Downing Street cat

The most famous Battersea Cat

What we prepared for the cat’s arrival

We bought the following items – mostly sourced second hand from Freecycle.org and Facebook marketplace:

  • cat carrier
  • lidded litter tray
  • a bag of cat litter
  • fluffy cat bed
  • scratch tower/toys
  • collar
  • treats

For the time being this is everything we need for him – plus a little bowl for his food and water. I’ll post how we get on with him. At the moment he’s still very shy.

Please check out the charity’s website and donate if you can.

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