Adopting a pet is always a noble act. After all, plenty of cats, dogs and even small animals like rabbits and hamsters are in need of loving homes.
Despite the availability of many prospective furkids out there, the pet adoption process can be a blur to first-timers. For those looking for a new furry family member, this guide on pet adoption details the costs of caring for a pet, where you can adopt one from, and how the process is usually carried out.
Deciding to adopt a pet is exciting – after all, you’re about to welcome a new furry companion into your life. Before you jump the gun, it’s important to know that adopting a pet is a huge responsibility.
Pet owners need to be prepared to care for their furkids for many years to come. That’s why the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) has a simple checklist for you to consider first:
Image adapted from: NParks
Nearly every pawrent will agree on one thing: it can cost a pretty penny to own one. That’s why it’s important to ensure you have sufficient finances to care for your pet for life. You also have to take unexpected large medical bills into account, in case your pet falls ill or develops conditions as they age.
To prep you for the potential costs, we’ve done a rough breakdown of what you can expect when you adopt a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster and guinea pig.
Doggos come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing’s for sure: their companionship is unmatched. Needless to say, you’ll want to do your best to care for your new buddy.
Adoption fees typically cost between $70 – $350. Purebred dogs and puppies tend to cost a little more as they’re usually in higher demand. The good news is, some shelters cover vaccinations, sterilisation, microchipping, de-worming and the initial health check-ups in their adoption fees.
As for upkeep costs, it’ll differ depending on the breed, size, age, behaviour and health history of your dog. For example, larger dogs would require more food daily, while long-haired dogs may need regular professional grooming.
Here are other important costs to take note of:
Those who require grooming for their dogs can also expect to fork out between $40 – $200 for each session. Dog owners are also recommended to send their furkids for obedience training, which costs from $400 upward for a package of eight group sessions.
Find out more about the full cost breakdown of owning dog. Those who live in HDB flats can also check out Project ADORE if you’re looking to adopt a larger dog.
Cats may seem like independent creatures, but they actually require a good amount of care, and lots of basic necessities. Besides stocking up on food and kitty litter, you will have to invest in scratching posts and cat furniture to encourage your cat to use them instead of your sofa.
Adoption fees can be as low as $25, or can even be free, and can go up to $200, depending on the cat’s breed and age. Similar to dogs, long-hair or purebred cats and kittens generally tend to cost more. Likewise, essential medical treatments like sterilisation and de-worming are usually factored in with the adoption costs if you adopt from a shelter.
Here are other costs to take note of:
Window grill gaps should measure about 1-2 inches, or should be meshed completely. Don’t forget to mesh your gate to prevent your cat from escaping.
Image credit: @kobe.and.mochi
Cats are naturally curious animals so it’s essential that cat owners also consider the cost of cat-proofing their home.
You can opt to mesh your windows or install grills to prevent your cats from escaping or falling. Grills cost from about $1,000 for a typical three-room flat. Alternatively, you can DIY mesh your home for about $10 for a 1M x 1.5M mesh. It’s important to ensure your mesh is secure so that your cat is unable to rip it off and escape.
Find out more on what to prepare if you’re a first-time cat owner.
Those who prefer a small pet can consider adopting a rabbit, hamster or guinea pig. These aren’t excluded from the same care and commitment one should give cats and dogs.
Just like cats and dogs, the vet bills for these pets can vary depending on the treatment they need.
Adoption processes can differ between pet adoption agencies. Nevertheless, here’s a basic rundown of what you can expect:
First off, adopting a pet isn’t as straightforward as simply picking a stray off the street, which is a huge no-no. After all, it could be a community pet with dedicated carers, or it could even be someone’s roaming or lost pet.
First-time pet owners can instead contact an animal welfare group to kick start the adoption process.
Image credit: SPCA
Besides heading to Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) which has a myriad of pets up for adoption, here’s a list of agencies to consider:
|Pet adoption agencies||Animals you can adopt|
|House Rabbit Society Singapore||Rabbits|
|Guinea Pig Rescue SG||Guinea pigs|
|Action for Singapore Dogs||Dogs|
|Causes for Animals (Singapore)||Dogs|
|Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS)||Dogs|
|Cat Welfare Society||Cats|
|Animals Lovers League||Dogs and cats|
|Noah’s Ark CARES||Dogs and cats|
|Purely Adoptions||Dogs and cats|
|Voices For Animals||Various animals|
More info on where to adopt pets.
With social distancing restrictions in place, most pet adoption agencies require advance bookings for appointments. With this in mind, you may want to identify a pet to adopt ahead of time.
Image adapted from: Cat Welfare Society
Most places will have a list of pets that are up for adoption online. You can usually view their photos and general info such as their age, sex and personality traits. From here, you can see whether a pet is suitable for households with kids, how affectionate it is, or what kind of energy level you can expect from it.
You’ll also want to take note if a pet has any existing medical conditions that may require extra care.
Note: Consider adopting an older pet as these are the ones that are often overlooked. Whether they come with age or health conditions, they can be just as loving – or even more loving – than any other pet out there!
First-timers may not be aware of this, but most pet adoption agencies require you to go through a screening process before you can adopt a pet. After all, they want to make sure these pets are going to the best possible homes, and that adopters won’t end up changing their minds after getting their pet.
You can expect to fill up a questionnaire or even go through an interview with the agency to assess your suitability.
Some screening processes might also be specific to the animal you’re adopting. For example, new cat owners who live in high rise buildings will need to ensure that their windows and gates are fully meshed or grilled.
Adding a pet to your family is like getting into a long-term relationship. Before you commit, you’ll want to get a feel of their personality and energy to see if it’s a good match. That’s why it’s important to have a face-to-face session with your prospective pet before bringing it home.
Most pet adoption agencies allow this, so don’t skip this step. SPCA, for example, has dedicated spaces at their facility where you can interact with prospective pets before making your decision.
While you might be eager to take home your new snuggle buddy, some pet adoption agencies require a mandatory home visit to assess your living conditions and see if it’s suitable for your pet.
Some agencies may also offer a trial stay that can go up to a couple of weeks. During this time, you’ll be able to bond, assess your relationship, and bring up any concerns or issues you may have about your pet.
Settling into a new home and adapting to domestic life may not come as a breeze for pets that come from rough backgrounds such as strays or pets that were formerly neglected. Nevertheless, it’s always important to go into this experience with patience and understanding. That’s because it usually takes time and effort for some pets to warm up to their new owner and home.
After approval from the agency, you will proceed to sign the adoption form as a legal agreement. Some animal welfare groups have an adoption agreement as well that you should look through carefully and understand before signing.
This is also the part where you’ll have to pay the non-refundable adoption fee, if any. This is usually to help the agency offset some of the costs for boarding and vet bills.
After that, give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve just adopted a furkid in need!
We have to point out here that it’s important for first-time pet owners to distinguish between genuine adoptions and illegal backyard breeders (BYB). This is because BYBs usually mask their fees as “adoption fees”.
Here are some simple ways to suss out a BYB:
More info on backyard breeding from Sayang Our Singapore’s Community Cats.
Pet owners will agree that the companionship of furkids is something that’s irreplaceable. Nevertheless, it’s important that you’re absolutely sure and ready to adopt one as owning a pet is a huge responsibility and commitment.
If you’re looking to expand your family to a rescued pet, this guide will come in handy to kick start your pet adoption journey. Adopting a pet requires many considerations, but you’ll be sure to have a mutually rewarding experience with a furriend by your side.
Check out these articles on things to buy for your pets:
Cover image adapted from: @_tinyterrors
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