Whatever the reason is for giving up your cat, there are things you can try before making the difficult decision to rehome. Have you considered whether you need to rehome your cat straight away? Sometimes looking at short-term options like boarding kennels, or friends and family can give you the time you need to get you back on your feet.
If you’ve already explored these options and are confident in the decision to rehome your cat, it is important that this is done the right way to ensure that they go to a loving and safe environment. The right thing to do is to always exhaust your rehoming options before surrendering your cat to an animal shelter.
Here’s our basic how-to.
1. Evaluate your decision
Before embarking on the rehoming process, take the time to reflect on your decision. Ensure that rehoming is truly the best choice for your cat's happiness and welfare. If the cat is bonded with another cat then it’s important that they stay together and keep this in mind during the rehoming process. Discuss the decision with family members and consider consulting a veterinarian or a trusted animal welfare professional for advice and guidance.
Health check: Schedule a visit to the vet to ensure your cat is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Obtain a copy of their medical records, as these will be valuable for potential adopters. If your cat is not already spayed or neutered, consider having this procedure done before rehoming. Desexing helps prevent unwanted litters and improves the overall health of your cat. Also, ensure that the cat is microchipped and registered with the local council. Update your contact details in the microchip registry if necessary. It's also advisable to provide a collar with identification tags.
3. Contact your breeder
Call the breeder or person you originally got your cat from. They will often assist to find a new home or take the pet back to re-home themselves. You may also reach out to breed rescue groups. There are a number of rescue groups that concentrate on specific breeds and often have waiting lists of people wanting that breed of cat.
4. Re-home the cat yourself
Speak with friends and family members first to see if they are interested in adopting a cat. Advertise your cat on social media platforms, local community groups, and veterinary clinics' notice boards. Facebook Marketplace is NOT a place for pet adoption. However, you can join your Facebook local postcode community groups and place an ad for cat adoption on these. This is usually a good space to find people within your community that might be suitable adopters.
When creating an adoption ad, create an appealing profile. Make it a detailed and honest description of your cat, including their age, temperament, medical history, and any special requirements. Capture high-quality photos that showcase their personality and physical features. Take photos and create an account which highlights your cat’s best features and behaviour qualities. There are many websites that offer free services for you to post info about your pet. Try https://www.petrescue.com.au/rehome-via-petrescue.
Speak with your local vets, groomers, and pet stores to see if there is any interest from the public for a new cat, or ask for permission to advertise in store. The best protection for your cat is not to advertise them as a give-away, charge a fee, and make sure that you screen people looking to take your cat. Don't rush, don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for references. Ask about their previous pet ownership experience, lifestyle, living situation, and their commitment to providing a safe and loving environment.
Make sure that your cat is going to a good home. Even if you can't keep your cat anymore, it is still your responsibility to do what's in their best interests for their future. If you’re in a position to, offer post-adoption support. Offer your contact details to the new owner for any questions or concerns they may have during the initial adjustment period. Share information about local veterinarians and provide copies of medical records. Keep an open dialogue.
When you have exhausted all these options, as a last resort you can surrender your pet to your local cat foster network, shelter or vet. They might be able to assist you in finding a suitable new home for your cat or provide guidance. When surrendering your pet, it is important to disclose all relevant information about their behaviour. For example, if your cat has an aggression problem it could potentially endanger new owners who are trying to do the right thing by adopting a cat.
NEVER abandon your cat or take your cat to a foreign neighbourhood, wooded area or park and leave them behind. Domestic cats are very different to wild cats and can’t fend for themselves. If left alone, they may starve to death, encounter dangerous predators or get hit by traffic.
Rehoming a cat can be an emotional process and a big decision to make. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your beloved feline finds a caring and nurturing forever home. Remember to prioritise the well-being and happiness of your cat throughout the rehoming process. By taking the time to find the perfect new home, you are giving your cat the best chance for a happy and fulfilling life.
Remember, rehoming is an act of responsibility and love, and you can make a positive impact on both your cat's life and the lives of potential adopters.