Oxfordshire Branch

Busting 6 myths about rehoming pets

At this time of year, when the cost of living rises with increased use of heating and hot water, and with Christmas and New Year around the corner, the RSPCA faces a real uphill struggle to rehome the growing numbers of pets in our care.

We understand that people have reservations about rehoming an animal they don’t know the history of, so we’re here to bust the common myths about adopting a pet.

Sam Gaines, head of companion animals at the RSPCA, said: ‘Those of us with adopted pets know how rewarding it can be to share our lives with them and watch them thrive after being given a second chance.’ Here’s what Sam had to say about those myths…

Myth 1: I don't know the animal's history if they're a rescue animal

Busted: 60% of RSPCA adoption centres have reported that not knowing an animal's history is a reason people give for deciding not to adopt a rescue animal.

It is true that if an animal has been abandoned or found as an injured stray, we may not know exactly what they have experienced in their life before being rescued. However, when they're assessed, treated and rehabilitated in our care, our animal care teams form bonds with each animal and are able to provide an honest and full evaluation of the animal they've come to know and work with. This is far more information than owners would usually get with an animal bought from a stranger or online.

Myth 2: If I buy a puppy or kitten, at least I can train them properly from the start

Busted: Many people believe that getting a puppy or a kitten is straightforward, but providing all the opportunities and experiences animals need to grow up to be a happy and healthy individual is not always an easy task! 

It takes a huge amount of patience, knowledge and care to help young pets learn about all the sights, sounds, smells, environments, people and animals they need to share their lives with.

Countless people incorrectly believe that the behaviour of rescue animals is impossible to change or that they are difficult to train, and remarkably 100% of our animal centres have been confronted with this myth as a reason to shop rather than adopt, at least once.

However, the reality is that when adopting a rescue animal, care teams will have usually already started teaching new skills and behaviour and will also be able to advise new adopters on what methods work best - including the animal's favourite tasty treat! So, adopting actually puts you ahead of the training game.

Myth 3: Rescue animals always have behaviour problems because they're traumatised

Busted: Sadly, some people do assume that rescued animals are 'broken' because they might have experienced trauma, cruelty and neglect.

90% of RSPCA centres reported that this is a commonly cited reason people give for not wanting to adopt a rescue animal. 

But every animal is different - even those who have experienced the worst cruelty can bounce back and enjoy life as much as any other animal.

Myth 4: Rescue centres won't let me adopt because I have children

Busted: We know that pets can be a wonderful addition to a family, and empathy towards animals is something all children should learn. 

Shockingly 100% of RSPCA centres say that they hear the myth that we won't let them adopt a pet because they have kids.

In fact, the RSPCA has a special function on our Find A Pet adoption website where prospective adopters can select to view animals that are suitable to be rehomed with children

Every animal is different and if an animal's behaviour indicates that they are able to live with children then we'd love to discuss rehoming options! 

Myth 5: Rescue centres are full of the same breeds that I don't want

Busted: RSPCA research shows that 80% of our national centres have reported people not wanting to adopt because they are full of breeds of pet they don't think they'll want. But it couldn't be further from the truth, we have a huge variation of animals looking for homes. Sadly, cruelty and neglect doesn't discriminate between breeds, and because of the nature of our rescue work, we regularly have all sorts of types of animals coming into our care and needing new homes. 

It's also important to remember that every animal is an individual with its own personality, quirks and character traits. While breed can help highlight how an animal might behave, it is much less important, what's important is the personality of the individual animal. There are a lot of assumptions that certain breeds behave in certain ways, but breed is never a guarantee for behaviour. You are more likely to find the perfect match and your best friend for life if you look beyond breed and instead look for a personality that matches yours. You can fill in a Perfect Match form and we'll let you know when an animal who matches you comes into our care.

Myth 6: You've only got black cats - and they're unlucky!

Busted: Black cats are often associated with superstitions and some people believe they don't look good in photos which sadly means it can take longer for a black cat in a rescue centre to find a home.

A recent RSPCA survey found that 82% of our centres have reported hearing the 'bad luck' black cat myth. 

In truth, black cats won't bring you bad luck - but they do need forever homes. The colour of an animal's fur makes no difference to how much love they have to give. If you can bring some magic into their lives they are sure to bring some love into yours - so they might just make your lucky day!

Could you offer a rescue pet a loving new home?

Now you know the myths are really just that - a myth, are you ready to find your ‘perfect match’?

Please visit Find A Pet to see all the animals currently in our care who are looking for their forever home.