If You Need to Rehome a Cat

How to Rehome a CatYou are Your Kitty’s Best Advocate!

1)      If you or someone you know becomes unable to care for a feline companion and must rehome a cat, start by contacting your own networks. Try reaching out via email and social media to your family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Your kitty’s new home may be closer than you think. Share, share, share!

2)      If you find that you are not able to rehome the cat by reaching out to people you know, try widening your search to include the public via online posting, flyers, etc. Share, share, share!

  • This guide to rehoming your pet from Best Friends offers tips for writing pet profiles and taking appealing photos, screening potential adopters, and more.
  • Neighborhood-specific social networks (E.g. Nextdoor.com) and cat-specific social media groups can be a great place to reach your local community.
  • You can reach an even wider audience by posting your kitty’s profile online. For example, Adopt-a-Pet’s “Rehome” database makes it possible to post a bio of your kitty for prospective adopters to browse.
  • Be sure to have your cat’s medical records available and make sure kitty is up to date on vaccines.

3)      Try going back to the person or organization who originally gave you the cat. Even if they are not able to take the cat back, they may be able to reach out to their own networks and help spread the word.

Rehome a Cat: the Shelter Option

If you have tried all other strategies to rehome a cat but have had no success, consider surrendering the kitty to your local public shelter or to a rescue group.

NOTE: Taking a cat to a shelter does not mean it will automatically be euthanized. In the Puget Sound area, we benefit from a high number of adopters and a strong network of cooperating organizations. (Here at SAFe Rescue, for example, we take in many felines from other shelters). As a result, the “save rate” for healthy, adoptable animals in the Puget Sound area is very high.

If you surrender your cat, your local municipal or private animal welfare organization can make sure that it gets spayed/neutered and vaccinated before it goes to a good home.

For cats that become withdrawn or aggressive when confronted with change, for elderly cats, and for cats with chronic health or behavior issues, entering any public or private shelter environment should not be your first choice. Play up your kitty’s positive qualities, take some adorable photos, and keep reaching out to your networks. Share, share, share! Going straight from your home to a new owner will be the least stressful option for your special feline.

We’re here to help. Even if we’re not able to take in and rehome a cat right away, we may be able to offer advice on behavior, suggestions for finding a new home, or a spot on the wait list until we are able to find kitty an adopter. You can contact us at info@seattleareafelinerescue.org.

NOTE: Many organizations take in surrenders by appointment only as space for that age/type of cat becomes available. Thinking ahead and contacting multiple organizations as far in advance as possible will help avoid a last minute panic!

If You Find a Stray Kitty

Helping a stray kitty is a different process from rehoming your own kitty. Stray animals can only be surrendered to your Municipal Shelter. In each area, there is only one shelter legally authorized to take in stray animals. That makes it easier for their owners to find them, since there is a central place to look for their lost pet. But before you bring the animal to a shelter, you can ask yourself:

1)      Does the kitty have a microchip? Take the cat to a local vet or rescue group for a free microchip scan. If they detect a microchip, you may be able to locate the owner directly.

2)      Is the kitty lost? Try putting up fliers and posting on local social media groups and networks.

NOTE: Even if the kitty has been wandering in your neighborhood for a long time, there might still be someone missing it. We have seen reunions where the owner had been searching for months! Removing a lost or stray cat from the area without trying to find the owner first may actually reduce the kitty’s chance to be reunited with a loving family.

3)      Could the kitty be a “community cat”? Sometimes homeless felines live outside but are fed and looked after by neighbors. Try asking around to find out if anyone nearby knows about the cat. (If the kitty has a collar, try attaching a note with your contact information so that other caregivers will see it.) Is the cat altered? Community cats that have been spayed or neutered may have a visible ear tip.

By answering these questions, you can help the stray kitty have the very best outcome. Thank you for looking out for animals in need!

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