Rehoming Your Cat
Fancy Cats receives lots of phone calls and emails from people who, for whatever reason, can no longer keep their cat(s). We ask that you read this page through entirely before contacting us for advice. Please keep in mind that Fancy Cats' primary focus is on finding forever homes for strays and cats from shelters that have run out of time. Going to a rescue for help should be your absolutely last resort.
MAYBE REHOMING ISN'T NECESSARY
If a member of the household becomes allergic to cats, or if a new partner is allergic, many people assume the only solution is to rehome the cat. This is not necessarily so. Some people may develop allergic symptoms when living with a cat for the first time, but many find that after a few weeks their symptoms subside, and often disappear altogether once their system becomes accustomed to the allergen. Reduce risk of reaction by:
- regularly applying flea treatments;
- grooming the cat in the garage or on a screened-in porch;
- cleaning the cat regularly with cleansing wipes or by bathing;
- wiping a damp cloth over the couch and the carpeting after vacuuming.
You should also visit an allergist since allergies rarely appear singly. If you are allergic to your cat, you probably also are allergic to dust and dust mites, mold or other common allergens. Treating these other allergies may make the cat allergy more tolerable.
Check out these resources for more information:
Many common behavioral problems can be exasperating if the cause is not apparent. Sometimes this can lead to people feeling that the problem is insurmountable and that rehoming is the only solution. Check out these resources for common problems:
- Inappropriate Toileting/Spraying
- Inappropriate Scratching
- Aggressive/Nervous Cats
If you have a question about a behavioral issue not covered here, please send an email to email@example.com. We will gladly try to offer advice. Please provide as much relevant information as possible.
The risk of toxoplasmosis contracted from animal feces during pregnancy is still a major reason why many cats are put up for rehoming. The truth is that inadequately cooked meat is the main risk factor for infection with toxoplasmosis. Contact with a cats' feces has been found to be a very low risk factor. The basic rules of hygiene should naturally be observed, and to be absolutely safe, rubber gloves should be worn when cleaning litter boxes, or get a non-pregnant member of the household to take litter duty. Keep the cat's vaccinations current and ensure kitty is regularly dewormed and treated for fleas if he goes outside.
Check out this resource for more information:
New Baby in the House
If simple, sensible precautions are taken and proper introductions are made, there should be no need to consider rehoming your cat due to the arrival of a baby. And, indeed, having a cat in the family can be of immense benefit to the child's development, allowing them to form an early bond with an animal, to learn to respect and care for the pet, and to lay a lifelong foundation of love for animals. In addition, recent studies have shown that children who have pets in their homes, especially during the first year of life, build antibodies that lead to a reduced risk of asthma and allergies. Take precautions such as: closing the nursery door when baby is on her own; keeping litter boxes out of reach of crawling and toddling babies; keeping baby food and pet food separate; cleaning litter boxes regularly and washing hands after doing so; and keeping kitty current on her vaccinations.
Check out this resource for more information:
Moving domestically with your cat is relatively easy! If you will need to rent your new home, check out these 13 Steps to Finding Animal-Friendly Rental Housing.
Then, when you are ready, review these Tips for Packing and Moving. If you'll be flying, here are some Tips for Safe Pet Air Travel.
If you are emigrating abroad, you may still be able to take your cat with you. If the cat is elderly or ill in any way, you may consider the journey to be too much for them and decide that rehoming is the best option. But, it kitty is in good health and you would like to take him with you, you can find advice and information online at:
RESPONSIBLY REHOMING YOUR CAT
When to Start Looking
As soon as possible! Responsibly rehoming a cat can take months. If you only have a week to find a new home, you will not have much luck, and you probably will end up settling for a home that isn't right for your pet out of desperation. If you know you are moving overseas in six months, start looking now! Take as much time as possible to find the right home - don't just give your pet to the first person who offers. This rarely results in a happy arrangement.
Preparing Your Cat
Make sure your cat is current on vaccinations, has been FIV/FeLV tested (especially if your cat goes outside at all), and is spayed/neutered. You will have much more luck finding a home for your cat if you can provide veterinary records showing the cat's health status. A responsible and informed adopter will want to know this information. You might also consider preparing a Pet Resume. Do not separate lifelong friends or litter mates. Many people are willing and eager to adopt two cats who are friends and bonded to each other.
Where to Look First
First look to your circle of trusted friends, family members and coworkers. Are any of them willing to give your cat a loving and responsible home? Please do not contact Fancy Cats (or any other rescue for that matter) until you have exhausted every other option. All rescues are overcrowded, and for every cat surrendered to a rescue, another remains on the street or in a shelter awaiting euthanasia.
Screening Potential Adopters
Fancy Cats strongly recommends thorough screening for any interested party. NEVER agree to give your pet to someone until you have properly screened them and visited their home!
Here are some Tips for Screening Potential Adopters. Go with your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, do not adopt your cat to the person. You will regret it later and may find that your instincts were right.
If they are truly interested, a potential adopter should be asking about your pet's health, behavior, likes/dislikes, and why you are giving up your pet. You can also provide them with the Pet Resume that you prepared above.
Once you have chosen the right person to adopt your cat, you should complete an adoption contract. Feel free to use this Sample Rehoming Adoption Contract.
When you finally take your cat to his new home, be sure to take his usual litter box, dishes, toys, scratching post, bedding, food, litter and a worn article of your clothing to place with his bedding at his new home. The familiar scent of these items will make the transition easier.
About Animal Shelters
Fancy Cats recommends that you do not take any cat to a shelter unless the only other option is to put the cat out onto the street or into an unscreened/inappropriate home. Most shelters have high kill rates and your pet will likely be euthanized.
About Behavioral Problems
Behavioral problems are rarely a good reason to rehome your pet because you are just passing on the problem to someone else. If you have tried all of the tips listed above and still need to rehome your cat, be candid about your cat's behavioral problems with potential adopters. The last thing you want is to adopt your cat to an unsuspecting person who later rehomes the cat again or surrenders the cat to a shelter due to an unanticipated problem.
Is your cat purebred or mixed with a purebred cat? If so, try searching for purebred rescues online. Some of them will take owner surrenders, depending on how much room they have. However, you should exhaust every other option first. Keep in mind that purebred cats also attract a lot of people who may not have the experience or knowledge needed to deal with a purebred cat and the health problems that may come with it.
Websites like Petfinder.com and Craigslist.org, if used appropriately and cautiously, may be a good resource for those rehoming a cat. However, use these websites with extreme caution! Some tips:
- *Do not post your cat as "free to a good home". This will attract adopters who do not value your pet.
- Do charge an adoption fee, even as little as $25 will prevent people from trying to obtain your cat for sale to scientific testing facilities.
- Make it clear in your advertisement that applicants will be screened.
- Use a picture or two of your kitty to create more interest.
- Tell potential adopters about you cat's personality, likes/dislikes, favorite toys, and what type of food and litter you use.
Rescues: The Last Resort
While often cannot accept owner surrenders, depending on resources available, they may be able to help you advertise you cat. Very rarely, a rescue will accept a previously owned cat under dire circumstances if they have the room.
Fancy Cats will be happy to help you advertise your cat on Petfinder.com, to allow you to bring your cat to our adoption events for exposure, and to screen potential adopters for you. If we provide these services for you, the adopters will complete Fancy Cats' adoption paperwork. In addition, we require a $200 donation per cat from the person placing the cat up for rehoming once the cat is adopted.
What you can do to help