Adopting an animal


RSPCA Southport, Ormskirk & District Branch

Temporary Adoption / Fostering Process for cats & dogs during Covid-19 Pandemic

A strict adoption / fostering process has been approved by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) during the pandemic.

The process is as follows:

  • Under no circumstances should a member of public attend the Animal Centre during ‘lockdown’ unless given an appointment to do so as part of this process. Any such appointment will only be given to meet & collect a dog (not cats, as they are delivered) after all of the steps below have been completed. During your appointment, you MUST NOT enter any of the buildings, including Reception. Social Distancing MUST be maintained at all times.

  • The health & safety of our staff and volunteers is of utmost importance to us.  Unfortunately, we can't adopt out animals to homes where a member of the household is showing symptoms of, or has a confirmed case of Covid-19. We also cannot adopt out or foster dogs, to those that are Clinically Vulnerable, or Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (shielding), as the process could allow for a breach in social distancing if an incident occurred during meet & greet. These groups can adopt a cat though.

  • Any potential adopter, or fosterer must be able to access the internet and be able to print & sign documentation / supply photos and / or videos and return all 'electronically'. You will not be allowed to adopt or foster if this is not the case, as no documentation can be exchanged, in person, on-site.

Step 1 - Initial interest / application

  1. At the present time, you may only select a cat or dog listed on the the National RSPCA Find a Pet page (for animals at Southport) or our Facebook page Please do not send in ad hoc application forms for cats & dogs not listed on Facebook, (we will list others when they are ready for rehoming).

  2. We will use Facebook messenger, email and telephone to communicate with you.

  3. You must complete a Perfect Match Form for a CAT or DOG and email it to (applications will formally commence upon receipt of a properly completed form and be processed on a 'first come / first served' basis; triggering a 48 hours 'temporary hold' on the cat / dog.

  4. A member of staff will contact you to go through your application to ensure our basic criteria have been met and also to ascertain other information pertinent to your application and the Pandemic. During or after this conversation, you will either be progressed to Step 2, or your 'temporary hold' will be removed.


Step 2 – Matching / virtual meet

  1. You must read through either the adoption or fostering documentation on the national RSPCA Website.

  2. Animal Centre staff will provide you with video footage of the cat / dog, both with and without human interaction to provide a more in-depth insight of your chosen animal.

  3. If you have other animals in your home, you should also provide the Animal Centre with video footage of them in their home environment to help us to subjectively assess compatibility.

  4. After both parties have had the opportunity to review this information and reflect, a virtual home visit will be arranged.


Step 3 – Virtual home visit

  1. We will review your home location on Google Maps when possible.

  2. You will be asked to email photographs of the inside of your home, animal sleeping area, enclosure and rear garden as appropriate. Similarly a short video walkthrough should be provided.

  3. If approved, an adoption or fostering form will be emailed to you, for you to read, print and sign. You must scan / photograph the signed page and return this via email. Your animal cannot be delivered (cats) or met / collected (dogs) until this has happened.

  4. A date and time for your animal’s delivery (cats) or meet / collection (dogs) will be arranged by telephone, email or Facebook messenger.

  5. For those adopting, you will receive a telephone call to take your credit / debit card details for the adoption fee. Your card must be in the adopter's name with its billing address the same as where you and the animal will live. Your cat / dog cannot be delivered / met respectively, until payment has been received. There is a surcharge of £20 to the normal rehoming fee for cat deliveries to any address outside of the Branch’s normal catchment area and we will only deliver to an address that is a reasonable distance from the Animal Centre. There are no charges to fosterers, unless a foster changes into an adoption at a later date. If so, the usual adoption fee will then be due.

  6. You will need to provide your own food and equipment if you are adopting. These items may be purchased when paying the rehoming fee if necessary. Equipment will provided to those fostering, free of charge. Food will be reimbursed, with receipts, if requested.


Step 4 – Delivery and handover of animals

  1. For Dogs, you will be telephoned on the morning of your appointment to ensure there has been no change in your circumstances since the original assessment of your Perfect Match form and the answers you gave to our additional Covid-19 related questions. Please attend at the date and time that you have agreed with Reception (wait in the car park if you are early). Do not enter any of the buildings, including reception. The meeting will be held in a secure paddock with the adopter and staff present; adhering to social distancing rules. All family from the same household should attend at the same time, as there will only be one opportunity for this to take place. Each member of the household will be introduced separately. At the end of a successful meeting you will be allowed to take your new pet home with you. If either party is not happy with the meeting, then you will be refunded your payment over the telephone

  2. For cats, you will be called on the morning of the delivery to ensure there has been no change in your circumstances since the original assessment of your Perfect Match form and the answers you gave to our additional Covid-19 related questions. Cats being adopted / fostered will be delivered to the adopter / fosterer by Animal Centre staff.

  3. There is a strict handover procedure in operation for the member of staff making cat deliveries. Please do not come out of your home to greet them. They will speak to you via telephone to tell you what they are doing.  Social distancing must be observed at all times.


Step 5 - Ongoing Support

  1. Ongoing support can only be provided electronically. We will keep in touch with fosterers on a regular basis and any veterinary needs should be flagged up to the Animal Care Manager.

  2. If it becomes necessary to return an animal for any reason, a reversal of the delivery and handover steps must be strictly observed.

    Adoption Fees (from)
    Cats £100 Dogs £150


Please note that at the present time we are not listing our animals on the national Society's Find a Pet webpage, but you will be able to access up-to-date information there regarding the adoption & fostering of animals and search for animals outside of the Branch Area.


Adoption Procedure (during non-Covid-19 times)

Geoffrey Cat.jpg
Marvin Dog.jpg

Your Local RSPCA Charity requires forever homes

The adoption procedure involves completing a comprehensive questionnaire, meeting the animal (sometimes repeat visits will be required), one to one chats with staff and a home visit. We ask that all the family visit the animal at the Centre before a reservation can be taken. If you are adopting a dog and you already have one, you will also be asked to bring your existing dog to the Animal Centre to meet the new one. All owned animals should be up-to-date with their vaccinations.

Adoption Fees

Cats £100

Dogs £150

Hamsters, Mice, Budgies, etc Donation

These adoption fees are only a contribution to the costs of caring for, neutering, micro chipping and vaccinating our animals. You will also receive either 4 weeks free cover from Petplan or RSPCA for your new dog or cat (requires online registration to activate).

5 Steps to Adoption

  1. To help you to choose the right pet for adoption, we ask you to complete a questionnaire. We are looking for life-long, permanent homes for our animals and we need to be sure you can provide such a home. This means we have to ask questions about your personal circumstances, including your ability to meet veterinary bills. If you live in rented accommodation you will need written permission to own a pet at the property.

  2. Once you have met all of our requirements, you can then reserve the pet.

  3. A home visit will be carried out to check that your home is suitable for the pet you have chosen. Normally, the home visit will be carried out within a week but, often, it is much sooner than this.

  4. When the home visit and assessment have been successfully completed and the animal is ready to go home, our receptionist will contact you to come and collect him or her. There will be some final paperwork to get out of the way - then you can take your new pet home!

  5. A follow up visit may be carried out to make sure that you, your family and your new pet are happy.

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Charity Registration Number: 232258

The RSPCA Animal Centre, New Cut Lane, Southport, PR8 3DW