Forever Loved Service FAQs

Answers to all the freqeuently asked questions about the Forever Loved Service.

Lurcher sat in a sofa

If you pass away and your pet needs to come to Battersea, we will need someone to get in touch on 020 7627 9300 to let us know. This could be a friend, family member, neighbour, caregiver, or the Executor of your Will. Where possible, we suggest appointing a pet guardian who knows your wishes and would be happy to care for your pet whilst arrangements are made.

We also strongly recommend including instructions in your Will and informing people of your wish for your pets to be taken to Battersea. You should make sure that your Will and any other relevant paperwork is up to date and easy to access. You might also want to display information clearly in your home about your pets and your instructions for them, including contact details for Battersea and for your pet guardian.

We will liaise with your pet guardian to arrange safe transportation and admittance of your pet into our care. If they can bring your pet to us that would be extremely helpful but, if needed, we can arrange for the collection of pets from within England, Scotland and Wales.

If you are no longer able to care for your pet for any reason, Battersea is here to help. As the registered owner, we would require your consent to transfer the ownership of your pet to Battersea. If you are not able to do this in person, it can be done over the phone or with your written permission for another person to sign over your pet.

Sadly, we are seeing an increasing number of cases where the pet owner no longer has the capacity to give consent for their pet to be admitted to Battersea due to hospitalisation, illness or dementia. This can cause complications, particularly if a next of kin or someone with a power of attorney is not available to give consent on your behalf.

To avoid any delay to your pet being admitted, we strongly recommend that as part of your Forever Loved planning, you write a signed letter of authority giving a named person (such as your pet guardian, a family member, neighbour, care giver, or trusted friend) permission to bring your pet to Battersea in the event that you are no longer able to care for them.

If you have a preference regarding which centre you would like your pet to go to, you should include this in your instructions to your next of kin or write it in your Will. Depending on space, we will do our best to honour with wishes.

As well as being a legal requirement for all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales, a microchip is also the best way for us to identify your dog or cat on our system should they need to come to Battersea. We offer free microchipping at our three centres to all dogs and cats – please call 020 7627 9245. Alternatively, it can easily be done at your local vet.

We operate a non-selective intake policy however Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 means that we cannot rehome any of the four banned breeds – Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, or Fila Braziliero.

We don’t run our centres at full capacity (allowing us to take in animals at short notice in emergencies) so it is likely that we would be able to find a space for your pet quickly.

As part of our normal admissions procedure, we don’t usually take more than four animals from one home at any one time due to our infection control measures. Whilst multiple pets would be welcome at Battersea, their admission may need to be staggered.

We always put the happiness of our animals first and, if they come to us as a pair or a group, they can initially be kept together for assessment. Where we can see that a group of animals are clearly bonded, we will certainly look to find them a new home together. Relationships can change in a new environment so we can never guarantee that they may not be split to benefit their wellbeing, but we will always do our best to honour your wishes for your pets.

Every dog and cat that comes into Battersea is treated with compassion and is assessed by a member of our Veterinary team. Under some circumstances, our vets may determine that an animal’s medical condition cannot be treated and is having a negative effect on their wellbeing. In these cases, it may be decided that the kindest action is to put them to sleep. We care deeply for all the animals we look after and such decisions are never taken lightly or in isolation. Our open intake policy means that difficult decisions sometimes have to be made, but also ensures that every animal we take in gets the second chance they deserve.

If your pet has an existing medical condition, it would be helpful if your pet guardian could provide us with details of their treatment and medication. If our vets are happy that they still have a good quality of life, then they can certainly be rehomed. We would make sure that their new family are aware of any medical condition and are financially able to cover any costs involved. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide care for animals with diabetes or epilepsy as we cannot provide the 24hr specialist care required to manage these conditions.

Our expert team will take the time to assess every dog and cat to understand their individual needs, motivations and behaviours towards other animals and people. They will also identify any areas where undesirable behaviours can be resolved with time, training and care, and will work closely with the animal on these. We may also look to match them with more experienced pet owners who understand these behaviours and could continue any training.

If the problems persist and we cannot be confident of rehoming them safely and responsibly, Battersea may take the sad but necessary decision to put the animal to sleep. We care deeply for all the animals we look after and such decisions are never taken lightly or in isolation. Our open intake policy means that difficult decisions sometimes have to be made, but also ensures that every animal we take in gets the second chance they deserve.

We welcome dogs and cats of all ages and many people come to us looking to rehome one of our more senior residents. We know these animals still have much life and love to give so we would work hard to find your pet the perfect home to enjoy their retirement years.

A small amount of familiar blankets or toys would help your pet settle in during their first few days at Battersea. After that we may use our own equipment based on each animal’s individual needs. This includes leads, collars and harnesses. Anything brought with an animal that can’t be used by Battersea will be donated to other rescue centres.

Whilst many animals are quite content within a kennel/cattery environment, we know that others can find it a bit stressful. At Battersea we have an extensive enrichment programme which includes individual care plans for each animal, a variety of toys and games, calming music, aromatherapy, as well as regular cuddles and walks from our staff and volunteers. If your pet is showing signs of extreme stress, they may be placed with a foster carer.

We know that some cats are more independent than others and don’t do well in a typical family home. When a cat arrives at Battersea, we carefully monitor how well they cope with cattery life as they settle, as well as how they behave around people. If there’s no history of the cat wanting to interact with people, or they don’t respond to continued efforts to help them settle, we may decide that they’re better suited to an outlet environment, such as a farm or stable yard. If your cat is living outdoors, we would need some proof that you are the sole owner. Getting your pet microchipped is the best way to ensure we could take them in.

Battersea places no time limit on how long an animal can stay with us and we will continue to care for them for as long as it takes to find the right home. In some cases, this can take a matter of days but for others it may take a little longer. We have lots of great homes waiting and most animals will be with us for around 3-5 weeks.

We’ve been finding loving homes for our animals for over 160 years so you can be assured that we would work hard to find your pet a new home that fits their individual needs and unique personality. We interview potential owners by asking relevant questions to ensure we find the best match for each animal. We will ask about their home environment and lifestyle and if necessary we will conduct home visits to ensure the property is suitable and the garden is secure. When a match has been found, your pet’s potential new family would come to Battersea to meet them. If all goes well, and after a final chat with our rehoming team, your pet would be on their way to their new home.

We understand that you may have concerns about your pet’s long-term health and it’s a lovely idea to be able to continue to care for your pet after your death. We would advise against setting up a Trust Fund as, once your pet has left Battersea, there is no way for us to make sure that this money is being used as it should be.

Our recommendation would be to appoint Battersea as an Executor of your Will and leave the financial provision with us to manage. Your pet’s new family would be informed of this provision after rehoming and told to send any relevant invoices directly to us to cover the costs. We would continue to do this for the lifetime of your pet. Please get in touch of you’d like to discuss this further.

Whilst your pet is at Battersea your family can ask for updates on their progress, however Data Protection laws would prohibit us from sharing details of their new owners.

It may be that a family member or a friend decides that they are able to provide care for your pet or they may choose to take it to another rescue centre. If you want to ensure that your pet comes to Battersea, and nowhere else, we strongly advise you include this in your Will and plan for how your pet will be brought to Battersea. We suggest the following wording: 

I GIVE any pet dog or cat I own at the time of my death to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home of 4 Battersea Park Road, London, SW8 4AA (registered charity number 206394) and I WISH for the said Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to take reasonable steps to care for and secure a new loving home for each pet.

If you live overseas and would like your pet to come to Battersea, please get in touch with us to discuss it further.

Battersea is a rehoming charity and we cannot offer a temporary boarding service for pets.

Forever Loved is free of charge, however many of those who sign up to the service choose to leave a gift in their Will to Battersea as a thank you for promising to take care of their treasured pet. Whilst this is not a necessity, a gift to Battersea, whatever amount, will help ensure that we can continue to be here for every dog or cat for many years to come.

If you have any other questions, please contact the Special Gifts team by email at or by telephone on 020 7627 9300.