Thinking of rehoming your cat?
This is a big decision to make, and one not to be taken lightly. Taking on any pet is a lifetime commitment, and every effort should be made to see that the cat/animal is well cared for, happy and healthy.
Rehoming is extremely stressful for the cat as well as the owner, so please only consider this if you have explored every other avenue.
Please read through and see if any of our tips can help you before you make the decision to rehome your cat.
Do not bring a cat or kitten to the shelter unless we have made specific arrangements with you.
Common reasons for rehoming
- A member of the family has developed an allergy.
- My cat is spraying in the house.
- My cat isn’t using the litter tray.
- We are moving home and can’t have cats in the new property.
- I’m pregnant.
- I have a new baby.
- My cats don’t get along.
If you still need to rehome your cat find out more
A member of the family has developed an allergy.
Depending on how severe the allergy is, there are a wide range of anti-histamine/allergy medicines. You could visit your pharmacist or doctor to see which would be suitable for you or your family member.
Even short haired cats need grooming, so giving your cat a good brush once a week can get rid of most of the loose fur that may trigger an allergic reaction. Long haired cats need grooming daily.
Keep rooms off limits
My cat is spraying in the house.
Is your cat neutered?
If not, this could be the main reason for the spraying. Male cats who are entire (not castrated) will mark their territory by scenting and sometimes spraying. The best way to prevent this behaviour is to have your cat neutered. This means the testosterone levels will reduce dramatically and he will not have the urge to spray. It can even help with territorial aggression that may be seen with entire males.
Is your cat stressed?
My cat isn’t using the litter tray.
Try different litter
Sometimes the type of cat litter or the type of litter tray can put a cat off using it. Try different kinds of litter, there are clay based, paper based, wood based, and many more. Try more than one and see which litter the cat favours. Sometimes perfumed or “odour-control” litters can put the cat’s off using it.
Try different style litter trays
Some cats prefer an open litter tray while others prefer an enclosed litter box. Make sure the tray or box is the right size for your cat, if you have a big cat, they will need a big tray…..otherwise it would be like us trying to go on a child’s potty!!
If you have an older cat, or one that has been diagnosed by a vet and suffers with joint problems etc, they may find it difficult or even painful to climb into the litter tray, so try one with a lowered lip, or modify one yourself, just make sure it’s safe for kitty to use!
Litter tray placement and cleaning
Make sure the tray is situated in a quiet place, easy to access and cleaned regularly. Cats are very clean animals and don’t like to use a dirty litter tray.
Are they stressed?
Sometimes cats will go outside the litter tray when stressed, so trying a Feliway plug in diffuser or spray can help. Try to remove or reduce any possible stress factors.
Are they ill?
If these suggestions don’t seem to be working, it is a good idea to take your cat to the vets and have him/her checked out. There could be an underlying health issue causing your kitty not to use the litter tray.
We are moving home and can’t have cats in the new property.
Speak to your new Landlord
If you are moving home into a rented property, it is a good idea to contact the landlord/housing association and ask for permission to bring your cat/s.
Some do state in the tenancy agreement that no pets are allowed, but if requested some landlords/housing associations will make an exception.
They may write up another agreement that states that you will pay for any damages that may occur due to the pets, or may ask for a deposit, non-refundable if any damage occurs. It is always worth asking, and means you may be able to keep your beloved cat part of your family.
Can family or friends help?
Many pregnant women worry about keeping a cat when they are expecting. Most worry about cleaning out the litter trays, and the first solution would be to give litter tray cleaning duty to another member of the household.
If this isn’t a possibility or you live alone, make sure your cat is vaccinated, and regularly flea and wormed, and when cleaning the litter tray make sure you wear gloves and follow strict hygiene practices.
- Wash hands and forearms with an antibacterial hand wash and using hand sanitizer when possible.
- Make sure the contents of the litter tray are taken straight out to the dustbin.
I have a new baby.
Having a pet in the home with a new baby can be a huge benefit to the child’s development in his/her early years.
The child can build a very special bond, as well as learning respect for animals and how to care for them.
As long as strict hygiene practices are in place, as well as a few other points, there is no reason to rehome a cat due to the arrival of a new baby.
- Make sure the baby isn’t left on their own with your cat/pet.
- Ensure the cat’s vaccinations are up to date as well as flea and worms treatments.
- Litter trays and cat food should be kept out of the child’s way when they start to crawl.
To reduce stress that could affect your cat, consider using a Feliway plug in diffuser or spray which can help to keep them calm in new situations.
My Cats don’t get along.
Introducing a new cat to the household and especially your current cat should be done slowly. While some cats are very easy going and will get along with any other cats, the majority of cats find meeting another feline for the first time distressing and overwhelming.
First of all, please make sure your cats are neutered. This will prevent any added stress and hormones from hindering a good introduction.
We would suggest settling your new cat into one room of the house and apart from other cats in the household. When your new cat seems settled in his/her new environment, start swapping his/her toys, and a bed/blanket with some from the other cats. This will allow them to smell each other’s scent and familiarise themselves with it.
When you feel the new cat is ready to explore the rest of the house, swap the cats around so that the new cat can start to feel more confident in the rest of the house. Meanwhile, the other cat/s can be smelling items in the new cat’s room and familiarise themselves with that scent.
Next, you can try feeding the cats at the same time, at opposite sides of a door, so that they can smell and hear each other, but cannot see or get to each other.
When the cats all seem comfortable eating together at opposite sides of the door, you can think about cracking the door slightly, or using a baby gate. (if using a baby gate, position the food dishes so that they aren’t directly next to the gate, the cats will need some space)
If the cats don’t seem happy about this, go back to door closed with a small crack in it. These steps all take time, but patience is the key. And don’t forget to praise your cats for their good behaviour, but never scold for unwanted behaviour, this negative energy does not help any situation.
Face to face introductions
If feeding does go well, and you think the cats may be ready for introducing properly, make sure you play with all the cats first so they drain any excess energy before meeting.
Also, make sure there is plenty of space for the cats and they have escape routes if they want to get away from each other (i.e. cat trees, open doors, cat shelves).
At this point, don’t push things and if the atmosphere gets tense, separate the cats and repeat the next day. A good scenario would be for the cats to acknowledge then ignore each other, or smell each other and walk away.
Using a Feliway spray or diffuser can also help to lower stress levels, so it is worth trying this alongside the introduction.
The process of introducing a new cat takes time and patience and some cats will take longer than others, but even though they are solitary hunters by nature, they are social creatures and when introduced in the correct way, can live quite contently with each other.
Being a small shelter, we work on a waiting list and can only admit new cats once we have rehomed the ones already in the shelter, so unfortunately, we cannot give a precise timescale on when we can take in your cat.
You can also try looking on www.catchat.org for information on other shelters that may be able to help. It is useful to get your cat on as many waiting lists as possible, as this best ensures the cat will be taken in asap.
If adding an owned cat to our waiting list:
- Are you the legal / registered owner? If the answer is no, please ensure you are able to get permission from the owner to re-home, or that the owner can come with you to The Shelter if a suitable space becomes available.
- If the cat is owned by someone else, but you are concerned about welfare. Unfortunately we do not have the power to remove cats from owners if they do not want to sign them over for re-homing. If you are worried that a cat is being mis-treated or abused, please get in touch with your local branch of the RSPCA.
If adding a stray cat to our waiting list:
- Are you certain that the cat does not have an owner? If your stray cat is friendly, there is a chance that it’s just visiting, or has wandered a bit too far and is lost. There is help and advice about what to do when you suspect a cat is lost here.
- Please give all of the information that you can. Knowing things like the health / condition of the cat, how long they have been around, what what their temperament is like, and what steps you have taken to ensure they are not owned (plus anything else you feel that we should know) is incredibly helpful to us. Please avoid giving a reason for re-homing that only says “stray cat”.
To add a cat to our waiting list, please complete our online form. Please be sure to give as much information as you possibly can, as this really helps us if we look into a suitable space. We may phone you while the cat is on the waiting list to see if the situation has changed in any way.
If you contact another shelter and they take the cat in before we do, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can update our records accordingly.