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Thinking about rehoming your cat? Find out how we can help.

Giving up your cat is never an easy decision, after all, we know they’re beloved members of the family. From moving home to changes in relationship and family situations, there are many reasons why you may decide it would be best to rehome your cat. 

We’ve created this guide to help you decide if and when you should rehome your cat. It can also help you decide if there are any circumstances under which you could keep them, for example by addressing problem behaviour to prevent rehoming a cat that sprays. 

Take a look at this video for advice and behaviour tips to help you when making this extremely difficult decision. 

We’re here to help you and your cat

As well as providing cats with new homes when they need them, we’re also here to provide advice for cat owners. Our aim is to help you to keep your cat where possible.

You’ll find plenty of helpful guides on our website in our help & advice section, or you can contact us directly to see how we can help.

If you do need to give up your cat, speak to your local Cats Protection branch. We’ll make sure they’re taken care of and placed in the right home.

I can’t afford to neuter my cat or afford veterinary care. What should I do?

Taking care of a pet is a commitment, both emotionally and financially. If you’re struggling with vet bills, you might experience ‘rehoming a cat guilt’, but it’s worth doing some research before you decide to give up your cat.  

Several charities, including Cats Protection, can offer financial assistance to cover the cost of neutering. We believe that neutering is a safe and painless way of controlling the cat population, as well as preventing unwanted pregnancies. Find out more about our neutering scheme.

If you’re struggling to afford veterinary care for your cat, you might consider negotiating a payment plan with your vet. Financial assistance may also be available from charities such as PDSA or Blue Cross.

I’m having trouble with my cat’s behaviour, should I rehome them?

Problem behaviours are a common reason people choose to give up their cats, especially if this kind of behaviour is unusual for your cat. However, when looking into problems such as how to rehome a cat that pees inappropriately, you may be surprised to learn that this kind of behaviour can actually be a symptom of pain, illness or even stress. 

Before you consider giving up your cat, it’s worth talking to your vet about these new behaviours. For example, if they’re less tolerant of being around you and being handled or if they’ve become aggressive. Stress can also lead to problems such as soiling in the house. Understanding the cause of behaviour may help you resolve the issue and ultimately, keep your cat in the long run.

Learn more about your cat's behaviour

I am moving house and the landlord won’t accept pets. What can I do?

It’s common for tenancies to feature blanket ‘no pets’ policies, but with more and more people across the UK now renting, this means landlords are missing out on a huge pool of responsible tenants. Most of the time these clauses are included as standard, so you might be able to negotiate a way for you to keep your pet in your new accommodation.

Our Purrfect Landlords campaign is committed to helping people find suitable tenancies so you can enjoy the company of a furry friend. We have plenty of advice available for tenants searching for cat-friendly homes.

I am emigrating or moving across the country. Should I rehome my cat?

Moving home is a big life change and if you have cats, you might be wondering if you need to rehome them. If you’re moving away from home, there are extra measures you can take to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. 

  • Use pheromone sprays to keep them calm
  • Try to keep your routine such as feeding times the same when packing
  • Create a cat-safe zone in your current home and your new home
  • Help them get comfortable with their cat carrier by leaving it out to explore
  • Provide food and water for long car journeys
  • Check with your vet if your cat doesn’t travel well as they can provide advice. Read more about travelling with your cat

If you’re emigrating, you might be concerned about the impact on your cat. For many healthy cats, emigrating shouldn’t be an issue as long as you have the relevant documents and vaccinations.  

If your cat is elderly or has a serious health condition, it is possible that the journey could be too stressful and it may be best to find them a new home. It’s normal to experience ‘rehoming a cat guilt’ in this situation and we’d recommend talking to your vet before making any decisions. 

Find out more about foreign travel and cats

I am leaving my home to escape domestic abuse. Can you help?

We understand that your cat may be another barrier to being able to leave an abusive situation. Our specialist cat fostering service Lifeline could help, offering a free, confidential, temporary foster placement as a short-term solution. 

All information you give Lifeline is completely confidential and you'll receive monthly updates on your pet from our female-only team who are available to help with the process. Find out more about Lifeline, including frequently asked questions.

I’m having a baby. Can I keep my cat?

Welcoming a new baby is a wonderful time for any family, but you might find yourself worried that your bundle of joy and your feline friend won’t get along, especially if this is your first baby. 

You might be particularly concerned if you have a cat that bites. If you’re considering rehoming a cat that bites or gets very anxious about change at home, do seek advice from your vet or a qualified cat behaviourist who will be able to help pinpoint and hopefully resolve the issue.  

Most cats make excellent companions for children, and with our helpful guide, there’s every chance you’ll all be able to live in harmony. 

Find out more about cats and your pregnancy

My family member/friend is going into a care home. How can I rehome their cat? 

Unfortunately many people going into care homes find themselves in a position where they need to rehome their beloved cats. Separating from their pet can be hugely devastating but some care homes may accept residents with their pets, depending on the policy in place. More information for finding a pet-friendly care home can be found on the Cinnamon Trust website.

If they can't keep their cat or if they haven't made provisions for their pet in their Will, get in touch and we can advise on the next steps, especially if you’re rehoming a senior cat who might be used to a quieter, calmer home.

I’m looking after a cat and their owner has died. How can I rehome them?

If you’re taking care of a cat whose owner has passed away, the best thing to do is check if their owner has already made provisions for their care. Many charities, including Cats Protection, offer services such as Cat Guardians for owners to register in advance to ensure that their cat is safely rehomed in the event of their death.

If the owner has not left instructions in their Will or registered for a service, get in touch with us directly and we can help you with the next steps.

Find out more about Cat Guardians

I’m allergic to my cat. What can I do?

If you or somebody in your home thinks they may be allergic to your cat, no need to worry, there are lots of treatments available to manage symptoms. It’s worth speaking to your GP before you consider rehoming your cat, as it’s possible you could be allergic to pollen, dust mites and even perfumes rather than your cat. 

Here are some tips to help you manage cat allergies, without giving up your furry friend: 

  • avoid letting your cat lick you, as sometimes this can make symptoms worse
  • create cat-free zones in your home, especially the bedroom
  • keep windows open to ensure proper ventilation in your home
  • keep your house clean and vacuum regularly to reduce allergens
  • speak to your GP about medication such as antihistamines 

Learn more about managing cat allergies

I recently got a cat but they aren’t settling into my home. What can I do? 

There are lots of reasons why your new cat might be struggling to settle in. Cats are often brought to us because they haven’t got along with cats at home, as they are a very independent species. It can be worrying when your new pet isn’t happy, especially if they are soiling in the house or hiding. 

First impressions count, so take your time when welcoming a new cat into your home. Here’s a few things you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible:

  • bring home something familiar. If you can, take some of your new cat’s litter or bedding home, as a familiar scent can help them feel more secure
  • create a sanctuary in your home. Start slowly by keeping your new cat in a separate room, with everything they need in one place. Providing a place to hide can make them feel safe too
  • consider using pheromones. A Feliway diffuser can be helpful in creating a secure environment for cats, try spraying some in the area where they sleep and eat
  • share your smell. Give them a piece of your clothing to help them get used to your smell, and if you already have cats at home, try using a gentle cloth to wipe their cheeks and swap between cats to familiarise them with each other safely
  • give them space. One of the best things you can do is give your cat time and space, let them explore in their own time and approach you when they feel comfortable 

It’s normal for new cats to hide away or seem quiet initially before they get to know their new environment. By giving them time and space, you’ll increase the chance of a harmonious household. 

Eating less, scratching and spraying are all signs of stress that need to be tackled, however. It’s worth trying to address issues in consultation with your vet or, if you adopted your new cat from Cats Protection, your local branch, as simple adjustments could help.  

Find out more about settling your cat in

How can I rehome my older cat?

Older cats often need a little extra care and attention as they enter their twilight years, and they might also start to have some issues, such as accidentally soiling in the house or vocalising more than usual. If you’re struggling to cope with the needs of your older cat, there are things you can do to help make their life more comfortable. Find out more about caring for elderly cats. If you’re sure you’re interested in rehoming a senior cat, get in touch. 

My cat has had kittens and I can’t look after them. How can I rehome the kittens?

If your cat has had kittens unexpectedly, you may be looking for new homes. Please don’t be tempted to give them away on social media or online, as this could put them in danger and you can’t be sure what kind of home environment they could end up in. 

If possible, you should allow kittens to stay with their mother until they’re at least eight to nine weeks old. Also, having kittens socialised during that time is essential to ensure they will be less likely to experience high levels of stress or develop behavioural problems as an adult. 

However, we understand that you may need to rehome kittens earlier. Please get in touch with the team at Cats Protection and we can help.

To prevent future unwanted pregnancies, you should consider neutering your cat.

How can I rehome my cat with Cats Protection?

If you’ve considered all your options and decided you still want to rehome your cat with Cats Protection, it’s best to plan as early as you are able to. 

You can get in touch by finding your nearest Cats Protection branch, our team of volunteers will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. When you give us your cat, we’ll take good care of them while we find them a new home. We never put a healthy cat to sleep and will look to find the right home for them. 

Once we’ve found a new home for your cat, regrettably we can’t release details of the new owners, so do think carefully when considering if and when you should rehome a cat. 

I need to give up a cat I adopted from Cats Protection

If for any reason you can no longer look after a cat you adopted from Cats Protection, we will try our very best to rehome your pet for you. You should contact your nearest branch or centre as soon as possible to let them know about your situation as they will be best placed to advise. 

Sometimes we might not have the space immediately for your pet as we always have lots of cats in care waiting for a new home, but we will try our absolute best to help you in any way we can. 

Even if you have moved away from where you originally adopted your cat, contact your new local branch or centre and they will be happy to help. Please don’t contact our shops as they are unable to help with rehoming.

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