Adopt a pet – save a life

If the recent months have meant your new pet plans have been on hold, you may now be starting to put the wheels in motion to extend your family and welcome a new member. In the first instance, many people research reputable breeders or consider designer dogs based on celebrity social media profiles. However, considering adopting a rescue animal can be hugely rewarding. 

Animal rescue homes are currently overwhelmed with abandoned animals. The Covid-19 pandemic has left many people unable to look after their pets due to financial constraints or the inability to give them the care and exercise they need due to medical shielding. Add to this that many rescue centres, who rely on public charity to cover their running costs, have also seen a huge drop in financial support and it’s clear there is a greater need than ever to consider giving a rescue animal it’s ‘fur-ever’ home.

Good reasons to adopt

There are thousands of animals around the UK who have been abandoned by their owners for one reason or another. They may have been badly treated or not well looked after and, as a result, not had the happy life that pets deserve. By giving one of these animals a second chance you’re contributing to giving them another, better life.

Things to consider

Rescue animals may come with a history, so you need to be prepared to deal with any issues which will be flagged to you by the animal shelter. Mistreatment may result in a nervous pet who will need lots of love, attention and reassurance, as well as the usual feeding, exercising and comfort elements.

Decide on what type of animal you can offer a good home to. For example, if you have children at home and a rescue cat doesn’t get on well with children, you’re not going to be able to change that. Adopting an animal isn’t just about saving them. It’s making sure they’re the right fit for you and your circumstances, and you’re right for them and theirs. If you’re looking for a dog, determine what is the right size breed based on the space you have at home. Don’t plan for a terrier and take home a Great Dane!

Most of all, make sure that – as far as is humanly possible – your new pet will be welcomed into your family. Having already gone through losing an owner for whatever reason, it would be heart-breaking for your adopted animal to have to go back into the re-homing process for a second time.

What to expect

Animal charities will want to know a little bit about your home life, what space you have available and whether you have children or other pets. They may want to visit you at home to assess the suitability of the space.

Once the process is complete and you’re officially matched, be prepared for some readjustment time. Even though you’ve made your home welcoming with comfy bedding, toys and good food, your new pet will need some time to get used to their new surroundings. They may be withdrawn, quiet or unresponsive in the early days. Try to reassure them without being overwhelming. Be patient with any toilet mishaps, speak to them with a gentle voice and don’t chastise them. They need to learn to trust you, so early impressions are essential.

Ready to start looking for a rescue pet? 

There are a number of national charities who have available pets listed on their websites. It is also worth considering local animal rescue centres in your area.


Borders Pet Rescue

Cats Protection

Advice on helping injured wildlife in the summer

As we transition from lockdown, more of us are exploring the outdoors with our pets in the summer weather. With increased time outside, the chances of coming across injured or sick wildlife also multiply. If you encounter a wild animal in need, it can be hard to know what to do. Wild animals can be very unpredictable if approached by humans, especially when they are frightened or injured.

Many baby birds and mammals are mistakenly taken from their families each year by well-meaning people. Check to see if a baby animal is orphaned before intervening – often their parent is hiding just out of sight, ready to return as soon as the human danger is gone. Unless there are clear signs of injury or sickness, it is best to call the SSPCA or your nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre before acting.

Signs that your help is needed

There are a few common signs that you can look out for to help:

  • The animal is brought to you by your cat or dog.
  • There is evidence of bleeding.
  • The animal has an apparent or obvious broken limb.

Top tips to remember

If you find an injured, orphaned, or trapped animal, it’s important to approach carefully – and remember to place your own safety first. By using some of these tips, you can ensure a better outcome for wildlife:

  • Gently place an injured bird in a cardboard box and a mammal in a pet carrier, with a non-frayed towel on the bottom, and place somewhere quiet until they can be transported to a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
  • Please try to put uninjured baby birds with no feathers that are found on the ground back into the nest. Mother birds will not reject babies that have been handled by people.
  • Keep birds away from your face as their beaks can cause injuries.
  • Always check long grass for rabbit nests before mowing. Keep an eye out for hedgehog nests; they can be found at the base of thick hedges, garden sheds or piles of rubbish.
  • If you are transporting an injured animal in your car, leave the radio off and keep talking to a minimum. Since wild animals aren’t accustomed to our voices, they can become very stressed by noise. Keeping their stress level to a minimum will help keep them alive.
  • Wear gloves if possible – gardening gloves work well if you have them. Proper protection is especially vital with injured bats as their bites can transmit rabies-like disease. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling an animal.
  • Never lift a wild animal, unless you are sure that you can do so without risk to yourself or others.

Feel free to contact us if you are uncertain on what to do, however if you need to bring an animal for care, the SSPCA and local wildlife rehabilitation centres are better suited for injured wildlife than most vets. We can refer you to a local contact who specialise in treating wildlife. For more details on injured wildlife, please visit

Caring for your cat – An owner’s guide

Many of us are spending more time at home than usual, and as a result, you may be wondering if and how this may be affecting your feline friends. Below we have put together some useful hints and tips to help you create the perfect home environment all year round, but especially during the summer months. We’ve even thrown in some child-friendly activities too, to keep the ‘little ones’ occupied!

While many cats are adaptable to changing environments, it’s important to keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible. Take a look below at some of our advice and top tips for supporting you and your cat.


While there may be a lot of movement in the house, with it being a little busier than normal, it’s important that your cat has somewhere quiet and secluded to rest, sleep, escape, and most importantly, feel secure in. Our feline friends are most likely to be set in their own routine, and with us humans spending more time at home, your cat is subsequently forced to adapt its routine and share their core territory, which some may find a little stressful.

Top Tips
We’ve compiled a list of places where your cat may like to escape to – so you can ensure you have a few places prepared and ready for them, including:

  • Top of the cupboard – make sure it’s safe and there’s ample amount of room for them to rest and reach safely
  • Underneath the bed – make a small space and ensure it’s safe
  • A raised shelf – clear a space on a bookshelf or on top of a chest of drawers
  • Inside of a box – you may have an old box in the garage or loft which may come in handy

Involve the Children
If you have children in the house, why not make a hide-out activity for them to get involved in, such as:

  • Turning a cardboard box into a ‘hidey-hole’ by making a little entrance
  • Using their tepee tent (if they have one) and are happy to give it another use, as this can be nicely set up for a cat
  • Creating a little nest by putting a long cloth over a breakfast stool
  • Placing a comfy blanket under the bed

It’s also important for children to learn when to leave and not disturb the cat such as when it’s hiding or sleeping. If the cat seeks attention then give it, but seeking and disturbing your cat, when it’s not on their terms, could lead the cat to feel trapped, and as a result, it may become stressed.




While you’re at home, your cat may enjoy playing with you. Not only will both you and your cat enjoy this time, but you may also learn about your cat’s personality, which could help build a strong bond between you and them. Both kittens and cats need to play and, although cats can entertain themselves during the times you are busy, it’s important that they have interactive games or toys.

Playtime will develop their social and communication skills, and whilst improving their physical development and co-ordination, it also helps relieve boredom and provide an outlet for your cat’s predatory instincts. This will prevent behavioural problems and ensure your cat is getting the exercise it needs. Indoor exercise is particularly important for those cats without outdoor access. Below are some ideas to help keep your cat entertained:

Top Tips – Food Foraging
Problem-solving toys and puzzle feeders allow cats to use their senses to forage for food or play with/ release food. If your cat is new to puzzles, you may need to make them relatively easy to begin with, increasing the difficulty over time.

Involve the Children
If you’ve got children at home, why not get them to make some puzzles using items such as toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes, egg boxes and yoghurt boxes – let their imaginations run wild! A couple of things to be aware of though:

  1. Do not use paint to add colour to your homemade puzzle
  2. Do not use small parts that can be hazardous to your cat

Top Tips – Interactive/object play
Interactive play and object play are short and intense predatory games that will also burn some of their energy off too.

Involve the Children
Make your own fishing rod for interactive play, or a furry, feathery catnip toy. Be creative and give old or unused objects a new life. A few things to consider:

  1. Play sessions should be carried out at set times (this will give them back the sense of routine). Cats are normally more active early morning or evening.
  2. Rotation is key! It’s important to provide only a small selection of toys per day to maintain the novelty factor.
  3. Children should be supervised with fishing rod type toys.

Top Tips – Exploring
Cats are naturally curious, so why not look at your house through the eyes of a curious cat and make sure there are plenty of different things for them to explore.

Involve the Children
Take a plain box to the next level – a Cardboard Box Castle! Just remember:

  1. If you have more than one cat, make sure there are multiple entry and exit point
  2. Decorate your castle with pencils or felt tips but avoid using paint.




Key resources are essential necessities that cats need to be happy and healthy in the home, including food, water, toileting areas, scratching areas, play areas, and as mentioned above, safe resting and sleeping areas. If you have multiple cats, it’s important to ensure they have their own ‘key resources’ in separate areas of the house. Also, they should never be disturbed while making use of them – except for playtime of course!

Top Tips
Food is an essential provision, however it’s important that it’s provided in a cat-friendly way. There are a variety of different bowls available, including glass, ceramic, plastic and stainless steel. However, if your cat wears a collar, a constant clinking noise on the side of a stainless-steel bowl could be very off-putting.

Naturally, cats look for their food and water separately. Therefore, locating their water bowl away from their feed will promote hydration, and finding water can be extremely rewarding! It’s also important to have one water container per cat in the household and the bowl should be big enough so that your cat can drink from it without their whiskers touching the sides. They are also known to like their bowl full to the top so they can lap without putting their heads down.

Litter Trays
It’s essential to have a litter tray if your cat is housebound, but also highly recommended if your cat is free to explore outside too. When considering the location of your cat’s litter tray(s) they should be situated in a discreet corner away from their food, water and busy thoroughfares, as well as areas in the house that they might find stressful – i.e. Near a busy door.




A domestic cat’s sense of smell is about twenty times stronger than ours! Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell as they use scents to gather information and communicate.

Top Tips
To support your cat’s wellbeing around the house, you should avoid strong-smelling cleaning products, scented candles or room sprays. By providing scratching and facial rubbing areas, and by taking off your outdoor footwear when you enter your home, it will alleviate any new challenging smells in the house. It’s also important to provide places for appropriate scent marking (aka feline communication).

You could consider using pheromone products, such as plug-ins, as they may help to give your cat a sense of security and calm.




Consistent and positive handling of your cat from a young age promotes positive behaviours, such as reduced fear and stress, but also initiates a strong human bond. As companion animals, cats benefit from friendly, regular and predictable social interaction with humans. Ways to recognise if your cat is receptive include:

  • Purring
  • Facial rubbing
  • Chirruping
  • Head bunting
  • Vertical tail
  • Relaxed roll

And remember… cats like:

  • To be in control
  • A gentle touch and voice
  • Low intensity and high-frequency contact

Top Tips
If you’re working from home, below are some top tips for how to support your cat:

  • Find a workstation in a room where your cat spends little time
  • If your cat enjoys being with you, set up a cosy bed on the table/desk
  • Adopt your normal working hours, and if possible, ignore your cats’ demands and attention-seeking behaviour during those hours.
  • Do not use food to treat or bribe your cat into not pestering you when you’re working (this may have the opposite effect)


The measures above can be used all year round and will help towards ensuring you have a happy and healthy cat.

Information source: Vicky Halls RVN DipCouns Reg. MBACP (iCatCare/ISFM) 

Diabetes Week – 8 to 14 June 2020

Know the facts, reduce the risk

Spotting the signs of diabetes in your pets is crucial, as just like us, our pets can suffer from the complex disease, but it isn’t always easily identifiable. As we enter Diabetes Week, we wanted to raise awareness and share some advice about how you can help your pet by understanding what diabetes is, the causes and how to recognise the symptoms.

The Facts

Diabetes is a complex disease with a range of signs that you can look out for.  Diabetes occurs when our pet is unable to produce enough insulin, or their body doesn’t react to insulin effectively.

A lack of, or reduced response to insulin means your pet won’t be able to regulate the sugar levels in their blood, leading to some severe side effects.

Spotting the signs

Diabetes can be managed to give your pet a much better quality of life.  Below are some of the signs you might want to look out for in your pet to help you know when to consult your vet:

  • Drinking more often
  • Passing urine more frequently or in larger amounts
  • Increase or loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sleeping more or being less active
  • Urinary tract infection.

Can diabetes be treated?

Diabetes cannot be cured but it can be effectively treated with careful management, following the advice of your vet.  Any treatment plan will be tailored to address your pet’s specific condition.

Treatment can include:

  • A balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Insulin injections (you will be guided on how to administer these by your vet).

Keeping your pet healthy is vital in managing diabetes, ensuring they don’t become overweight. Advice for avoiding this includes walking dogs daily, varying their walking routes to keep exercise interesting, combining games with walks and trying to avoid feeding them table scraps, which can unbalance their diets.  If you are currently self-isolating or unable to leave the house, click here for some tips on how to exercise your pet during lockdown.

For cats, playtime is the best form of exercise, so they should be kept active with scratching posts and small toys.

If you are concerned about your pet and would like some further advice about diabetes, please contact us.

Looking after your pet rabbit in the current environment

Having been in lockdown, and with schools closed for almost ten weeks, there has been a surge in parents getting rabbits for their children. The general docile nature of rabbits makes it seem like they can be looked after by young children with minimal supervision. However, there are many things to consider before welcoming a rabbit to the family as their care can be more complex than imagined.

Rabbits require as much attention as any other pet, including a healthy diet, regular handling, routine monitoring, social interaction, and medical care from veterinary surgeons. They are highly social animals that crave contact and interaction with their human guardians. Rabbits are much happier living in pairs and will become very lonely if kept on their own.

Whether you are a new rabbit owner or have had your beloved pet for many years, there are several steps you can take to ensure they are protected in the current environment.

Veterinary care for your rabbit

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have advised veterinary practices to change how they work, and many routine procedures are being delayed. This is to conserve essential supplies, protect the health of veterinary staff and our clients, and to avoid further spread of COVID-19.

Here are some actions you can take to look after your rabbit during this period:

  • As the weather gets warmer, the number of biting insects in your local area may increase. Keep your rabbit safe from fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and midges because biting insects are the primary vector of both Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD1 and 2) which can be fatal for your pet.
  • Please speak to your vet about Myxomatosis, RVHD1 and RVHD 2 vaccinations.
  • Look out for flystrike during the hot summer months. Flystrike is caused by flies that are attracted to damp fur, urine, faeces, and the odour of the rabbit’s scent. The flies will land on the rabbit, typically around the rabbit’s rear end and lay eggs.
  • Practice good hygiene. When you interact with your rabbits, thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling them or any of their food and toys. There is currently no evidence that rabbits can spread COVID-19 to or from humans.
  • Since you are spending more time at home, it might be tempting to give your rabbits’ a variety of foods but to minimise the danger of gut problems, do not make substantial changes to their diets. If you are self-isolating, you might not be able to get your usual supplies but try to ensure that you maintain normal diets where possible. Good hay remains the mainstay of a healthy rabbit diet.
  • If your rabbit is housed with other rabbits, and they are not neutered yet, discuss the best options with your vet. It is advised to spay all female rabbits to prevent reproductive tract cancers.
  • Monitor the claws of your rabbit. Keep them trim, to avoid them catching and breaking them. If you do not have the necessary tools, contact your vet for guidance.

Finally, make the best of this period by spending some quality time with your rabbit. Should you require any specific advice for your rabbit during this period, please don’t hesitate to contact us.