Do you really need to give up your cat?
I don't want this section to be a lecture on why you should keep your cat, but it is important to reinforce that often pets are rehomed when it's not necessary to do so, this may be out of fear, or a misunderstanding, or a simple problem which can be fixed.
Firstly I would like to mention that many people come to my forums looking to rehome a cat because they have a baby on the way and are worried for two reasons. The risk of catching toxoplasmosis during pregnancy and risks to the baby once it's been born. I would like to assure you that as long as you take some careful steps, you, your cat and your baby can all live safely and in harmony. So if you are pregnant, and considering rehoming your cat, please do read the following articles, which will hopefully put your mind at rest.
Did you know that some shelters (RSPCA) have a service where they will hold your cats for an extended period of time in the event that you are unable to care for them. When you are ready, you can take your cats back.
Before you rehome:
- If it hasn't been done already, desex your cat. This is the only guarantee that it won't be permitted to, or accidentally become pregnant in the future.
- If he's not up to date on his vaccinations, have them done so prior to rehoming.
- Gather together all your cat's medical and vaccination records.
The first place many people think of is the shelter. Shelters do an absolutely phenomenal job, taking in pets who no longer have a home, strays etc. Without shelters, many an animal would live on the street. The sad truth is that many shelters have too many animals and unfortunately sometimes they are forced to euthanise animals because there jut aren't enough homes to go around. So, if at all possible, rehoming a pet yourself is a better solution. It relieves the burden on shelters, so they have space to take in animals needier than your own.
Contact the breeder:
If you have a purebred cat, the first port of call is to contact your breeder. Many of them will either take the cat back themselves or put some feelers out and help you find a new home for your cat.
Contact rescue organisations:
Many rescue organisations also will take in specific breeds. If your cat breeder can't or won't take in your cat then ask if they know of any rescue organisations who may be able to help.
There are many places to advertise your cat both on the internet and locally. Never offer your cat free to good home, no matter what the breed. The reason for this is because sometimes people will take free to good home pets and sell them to animal labs, for practice with fighting dogs etc.
Ask around, do you have any friends, family members or co-workers who are looking for a cat?
Some places to advertise your cat include;
- Veterinary practices in the area
- Local pet shops
- Local grooming salons
- Community notice boards
- Work notice boards
- Community newspapers
Find a suitable home:
Don't rehome to just anybody. If your cat doesn't like children, it's not fair on the cat or the new family. If the cat is shy, be honest about it. Be upfront about any behavioural issues or medical problems the cat has. It is unfair to the new owners if you don't tell them the truth, and could result in the cat being surrendered to a shelter or worse, just dumped and left to fend for itself.
I successfully rehomed a very shy Siamese cat and was completely honest about his personality. He was suited to life as a single cat, in a quiet home without children and within a day of placing an advertisement for him, the perfect home became available. He went to live with a lovely couple who had just recently lost their 16-year-old Siamese and were looking to adopt an older Siamese as opposed to a kitten. They had been made aware of my cat's behaviour and personality and were happy to take him on. Honesty is always the best policy in order to find the perfect home.
Screen people thoroughly:
Questions to ask any potential new owners include:
- Have you had a pet before? If so, what happened to it?
- Do you live in a rental property? If so, do you have permission from your landlord to keep a cat?
- Will you be keeping the cat indoors?
- Follow your feelings, if you have a bad feeling about somebody then listen to that and don't let them take your cat.
If at all possible, arrange to drop your cat off at his new home so you can see where it will be living.
Make sure you hand over all relevant papers to the new owner, that includes veterinary records, vaccination certificates, and microchipping forms. Ensure you transfer the microchip information into the new owner's name.
If at all possible, offer to take back the cat if it doesn't work out with his new family. This will give you peace of mind that the cat will never end up either in the wrong hands, left to fend for itself or in a shelter.