Frequently Asked Questions
A gallery of good boys and girls
Your new family member from Meow Paws has already had a rough start in life and may need a little extra understanding and patience whilst they settle into their new life. We have put together some frequently asked questions but please get in touch if you have any other queries. We know adopting an animal from abroad is a big decision and needs a lot of thought and research and we are happy to help you with this. Please remember, the following advice is based upon our own experiences and is not in anyway professional animal behavioural advice.
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Common Questions About Your Meow Paws Rescue Dog
Settling in your new dog
Your new dog doesn't know they just landed on their feet in a wonderful new life. Bear in mind they have been in a cage in a moving van for several days, in a cramped space surrounded by other unfamiliar dogs.
They may be ready to bolt when they get the chance, which may be at the handover point or when you arrive at home. Dogs are often handed over at specified venues, usually a car park or service station ( if not collected from a kennel or foster home). Sadly, it’s common for dogs to escape at this time, because they’re in shock, afraid, and desperate, and have no idea that the strangers who have arrived for them only have the best of intentions. Taking along a well-fitting harness and double lead is the most effective way to ensure that your dog can be safely moved into your vehicle. You will need to go to Petlog.org.uk to update the microchip details straight away. For foreign dogs, you will need to use the chip number from their passport and register the chip. Choose the premium option for £19.95 to do this as it will initially appear as unregistered.
Collars, Leads and Harnesses
Street dogs may not be used to wearing collars or being attached to a lead, so they may need some time to get used to this. It is a good idea to use a slip lead in addition to your regular lead/collar/harness as they may wriggle a lot to try and escape. Dogs lose the ‘flight’ option from their ‘fight or flight’ instinct so they may feel threatened or constrained when they are tethered whilst encountering unfamiliar situations such as meeting other dogs. This may create a reactive response with a lot of barking and raised hackles.
Their fear will be perceived by some as aggression and you should be prepared for this and be patient with both your dog and the people you encounter. Your dog will need you to be the calm, confident leader in these situations.
This is such an exciting part for you and your human family because your dog, who so deserves it, is finally arriving at their forever home.
However, your dog is going to be completely confused, scared and overwhelmed. They may have never been inside a house. The doors blocking them into small spaces will be scary, let alone all the noises and smells they may never have encountered before in their life. Televisions, washing machines, people, doorbells. Everything in this new environment is likely to be unfamiliar and may be very scary for your dog.
Creating a safe space for your new dog is very important. Ideally, they would have a quiet corner of the house set aside for them, where they can retreat to and not be disturbed. A crate (with the door always open) draped in blankets with cosy bedding inside might be a good solution. Your dog is as individual as you are however, and we will advise you about this. It may not be appropriate to use crates depending on the background and previous experiences of your dog. If your dog is anything like mine was - and he definitely did not read this website before he arrived- they may choose a different place entirely to settle in.
Try not to use chew treats to comfort them if you have other dogs around. They may have had a tough time defending their food in the past and you don’t want to set a pattern of food aggression with the rest of your pack. Let them settle in and establish their place in the pack. More about this later.
Make sure everyone in the house takes extra precautions to ensure your dog cannot escape when you open the front door. Remind the rest of the household to be very careful when entering and leaving your home. Keep accessible windows closed. If necessary, put the dog in a separate room when the doorbell rings, to ensure he stays safely inside. Keep a check on outdoor boundaries; make sure the boundary fencing is adequate to contain a potential escape artist, and check that gates are kept securely bolted. Street dogs are used to surviving any way they can and they can run fast and jump high! Make sure they are introduced to your garden on the lead for the first week or so, or longer if you think they might try to escape.
The first few days
Your new dog will need time to get used to the new surroundings after being in a highly anxious state for a few days. Try not to overwhelm them further by showering them with affection however tempting this may be! They will come round in their own time. They need time to decompress from their journey and whatever experiences they had before that, possibly living on the street. A home environment will be strange to begin with.
If your dog has arrived straight to your home from the transport, they will be required by law to quarantine in your home (and garden) for the first 48 hours. They will not need any more outside exercise other than garden time for the first few days, maybe longer. They need time to get used to the routines, sounds and smell of your (their) home before taking on even more new things in the outside world.
It is easier to try and establish good habits and behaviours from the outset, rather than try to correct bad habits later. Do not allow them on the beds or sofas to begin with. This is a treat that you can introduce them to later (and we are sure you will; they have waited a long time for their comfy sofa). Encourage them to spend some time alone in their safe place and not develop a need to follow you everywhere. This will help build confidence and independence and reduce the risk of separation anxiety. Reward good behaviour with a kind word, a soft voice, positive attention or even a small food treat.
Do not underestimate how long this will take and how tiring it can be! They may want to follow you everywhere and panic when separated from you.
Remember every dog will different and you should plan plenty of time to be at home with them during this settling in phase.
Introducing your dog to the outside world
Your dog may not be used to wearing a collar, harness and lead, and may find it overwhelming to be taken out for walks during the early weeks. You won’t want to add to his stress, so short practices in loose lead walking in the garden each day (with lots of smelly treats on hand to teach him that good things come his way when he walks
by your side) will get him used to the strange sensations of being attached to you. It won’t take long for him to learn that this is fun, and you can then start with very short walks (just a few yards) and increase the time spent outside your garden according to how comfortable he seems. If he’s anxious please bring him straight home, so that he understands that you’re his champion and protector. You can try again the next day – there’s no need to rush.
Meeting the Resident Dogs
When introducing your new dog to the canine family, make sure you prepare well. Remove any high-value items which may create conflict or guarding such as chew toys or food bowls.
Tall, sturdy stair gates are ideal to allow your resident dogs and the new dog see and smell one another without too much direct interaction and the option to retreat.
Try and introduce them in your garden initially, with both dogs on a long leash. Ensure you have one person with each dog who is familiar and able to control your dog.
If you have more than one dog, bring them out one at a time to meet the new dog, starting with the most submissive. Allow them to slowly get closer to one another and if they show an interest, allow them to sniff one another for a few seconds. If they remain calm, reward them with praise and move them apart again. Don't be disheartened if there is barking at first. Move apart and allow them some time to calm down and get used to one another from more of a distance. Stay calm and patient; they will get there.
If possible, you would bring your new dog into the house when your resident dogs are not at home, but this may not always be possible. This way, they can have a good sniff of their new home and resident dogs before they meet them face to face.
Settling in Your New Cat
When your cat enters their new home, select a room in the house which is quiet and used the least. Some rescue cats can have a nervous disposition due to their previous life on the street. Therefore, having a room that is all theirs and equipped with litter tray, food, water and a hideaway is essential.
Sitting quietly in the room and letting your cat do his or her own thing is a great way to start the bonding process. Your cat will be naturally curious, but some are bolder than others. Be patient and let your cat adjust and explore their new surroundings in their own time.
During their time in this room, ensure windows and doors remain closed and block anywhere in which they could get stuck. Chimneys and washing machines are not a cat’s best friend.
Your cat will soon let you know that they want to start exploring other rooms of the house. This could be after a matter of hours, or a couple of weeks. It is best to go with whatever your cat is comfortable with. They can be vocal creatures and will let you know what the plan of action is!
Interacting With Your New Cat
Before letting other pets and family members say their welcomes, let your cat have some one-on-one time with you. Rescue cats may not have had much human contact so could be shy of affection. A confident and friendly cat will understandably be more trusting than a timid cat, who may be cautious, fearful and even aggressive towards other pets and people.
Sitting down and being on the same level as your cat will show that you are not threatening. Also, do not make any sudden movements. Offering a single hand and letting your cat initiate the first contact is the best course of action and will create a solid foundation for bonding. Softly repeating your cat’s name and offering soothing words of encouragement as he susses you out will keep your cat calm.
Only stroke your cat if they offer themselves to you or are purring. If your cat nuzzles into you or sits on your lap, you are on the road to a great relationship. Gentle grooming can also help your cat feel at ease.
If your cat is hiding or cowering away from you, don’t panic, you haven’t done anything wrong. Your cat may have been hurt in the past or is very nervous. If your cat is permanently hiding, simply make regular visits, call their name softly and encourage them to come out. This can be time consuming but your cat needs to know they can trust you in their own time.
If you have other cats, you may find they are very stand-offish with one another at first. This doesn't mean they won't be great friends eventually, so don't be too despondent! They are likely to manage this introduction themselves, so you just need to ensure they all have their own safe space to retreat to.
Why Are All The Cats Indoor?
The cats we bring from North Macedonia have come into our care because they didn't manage living on the streets for one reason or another. Some because they are too young, but many because of injury or illness. Sadly, far too many have been abused, beaten, neglected, even poisoned by people.
They are cats who have not survived well outdoors and they need to be protected in a safe, indoor environment. They will have been living indoors for several months before they are adopted and will be very happy and well used to an indoor environment.
Of course, every cat is an individual and we are happy to discuss what your home circumstances have to offer in order to match you with the perfect companion.
How much does it cost to adopt a pet from Meow Paws?
The cats and dogs from Meow Paws are not rehomed until they have been fully vaccinated, had worm and flea treatment, bloodwork, rabies vaccines, neutered and full passports ready to travel. This cost is all paid for by the charity as well as the ongoing accommodation and food for as long as it takes to find them the perfect home.
The adoption fee will be approximately £500 (but possibly more ) which is paid to the transport company for travel costs.