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Adopting from us FAQ


As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to impact our operations, some of the FAQs below may not be up-to-date. 

Please note to further streamline our adoption processes, we will also be implementing adoption-by-application. When browsing our available animals, there will now be an option to submit an application to adopt. Once an application has been submitted, the applicant will be contacted with information on next steps. Please note we will be unable to book adoption appointments at our metro sites unless this application has been received.

Each year, we find loving new homes for more than 10,000 animals. We're committed to helping you find a companion that is a perfect match for your family, home and lifestyle.

All of our adoption animals are health and behaviour checked, desexed, vaccinated, microchipped, and up to date with flea and worm treatments, which is all included in the adoption fee.

Please see below for some frequently asked questions about adopting from the RSPCA.

How much does it cost to adopt an animal?

Please view our adoption fees.

Is it a good idea to give an animal as a gift?

Getting an animal as a present should always be a well-thought-out decision that everyone in the family agrees to. But as long as everyone is on board, a companion animal can be a wonderful addition to a household. If each person commits to look after the animal, the newest furry family member will bring incredible joy and unconditional love.

Our adoption staff will always ensure that an animal is the right match for the family and their home environment. If our trained team suspect that getting an animal may be a rash decision, or if an animal is not the right fit for a household, we will talk through the commitments to ensure the person or family is fully aware of their responsibilities. If necessary, RSPCA Victoria will reject the adoption application.

Hence, the adoption process remains exactly the same even when a discount is offered. Once an interested adopter has expressed interest in an animal, RSPCA staff will begin by ensuring the animal is the right match for the potential new home. For example, an animal that prefers a quiet, mature household may not be well-suited to a home with young children.

An animal attendant will then provide the interested adopter with details about the animal, including the services or treatments the animal has received e.g., desexing, microchipping and parasite control. They will also discuss the animal’s diet, and any medications or regular treatments they may require eg, flea, intestinal worming and vaccinations, including the dates that these are due.

Each new owner will go home with an animal health check card. This will include important, individual information about the animal, including the date when the animal received vaccinations and parasite control. If relevant, the card will also tell the owner when the cat will need to undergo desexing stitch removal. The adopter will also receive a copy of a pet adoption booklet which answers common questions about pet care.

Following the adoption, RSPCA Victoria is also able to provide over-the-phone support if the new owners have a question or concern.

Can I put an animal on hold?

Animals may be put on hold on a case-by-case basis unless it is during a RSPCA Promotions Campaign such as 'Clear the Shelter'. Holds may be arranged at the discretion of adoption staff.

Can I have an animal transferred to a closer RSPCA adoption centre?

Due to resource limitations, we are usually not able to transfer animals between
RSPCA adoption centres
. In some cases, arrangements may be made under exceptional circumstances. Transfers may be arranged on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the shelter supervisor.

Can I adopt from interstate?

If you live interstate and are interested in adopting a particular animal from RSPCA Victoria, please contact the relevant RSPCA adoption centre directly to discuss. This possibility depends on the individual animal and whether it will cope with interstate travel, along with your ability to travel to Victoria to go through the standard adoption process. 

Alternatively, we are sure your state or territory RSPCA will be happy to help you find your new companion.

Can I adopt if I live in a rental property?

It is important you seek approval from your landlord before making the decision to adopt. When you visit us to adopt an animal, please make sure you bring a copy of your lease or a letter from your landlord, along with his/her contact details.

Can I bring along my existing pets?

If you want to adopt a dog and already have one at home, it will be very important that you bring your dog along when you visit us so we can make sure they get along with each other. 

Cats are fairly susceptible to stress, so if you want to adopt a cat and already have one at home, please do not bring your existing cat along when you visit us. Instead, our adoption staff will have a chat with you and help you find a cat that is likely to be a good match for your existing cat.

If you want to adopt a rabbit and already have one at home, it will be very important that you bring your rabbit along when you visit us so we can make sure they get along with each other.

If you want to adopt a guinea pig and already have one at home, it will be very important that you bring your guinea pig along when you visit us so we can make sure they get along with each other.

To ensure the introduction of your new pet is likely to be successful, we recommend getting your existing pet desexed. RSPCA vets will be happy to provide further information and advice.

Please note that we may be unable to accommodate pet introductions during extreme weather due to the additional stress this can place on the animals. Small animals in particular can quickly succumb to heat stress when temperatures exceed 27ºC. Under these circumstances, it is advisable to avoid transporting your pet if at all possible and to bring them inside your home where they can be protected from the weather.

Can I bring along my family or housemates?

It is important to bring along as many members of your household as possible so they can meet the animal you are interested in. It is especially important that any children in the household come along to meet the animal to make sure they are comfortable interacting with it, and to ensure your potential new pet responds well to them. 

In some cases, it will be necessary for all members of the household to meet the animal before an adoption can be approved.

Can I take home my new pet on the day of adoption?

In most cases, you will be able to take home your new pet on the day of adoption. However, if the animal is not yet desexed, or requires a veterinary or behavioural consultation prior to adoption, the animal will remain in the care of the RSPCA until this takes place.

What if there is a problem with my new pet?

All of our animals are health checked before they are made available for adoption. However, if your pet develops a medical issue within two weeks of the adoption that is related to its stay in the shelter or is shelter-related, such as cat flu or kennel cough, an RSPCA vet will provide advice and treat your new animal free of charge.

What if I don’t find my perfect match?

Finding your new family member takes time and should not be rushed, so please do not feel disappointed if you cannot find your pawfect match on your first visit. New animals become available for adoption every day, and we are committed to helping you find your new pet.

What if I am not a suitable match for a particular animal?

RSPCA adoption officers are dedicated to helping our animals find their perfect homes. Some of our animals have specific needs, so it is important that we match them with families that will be able to meet their behavioural and/or physical needs.

If our Adoption team do not feel that a particular animal is suitable for your circumstances, they may refuse the adoption. However, we have many wonderful animals waiting to find loving new homes, so in this scenario, our team will do their best to suggest another adoptive pet that will be a better match.

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