What to do if the Inconceivable Happens and You Need to Rehome Your Cat
Unless they are a regular foster parent, no one ever takes a cat into their home thinking, “I’ll have to find you a home one day.” But, too often, the unexpected happens: A family member becomes allergic. Your new job requires a move and the new landlord is opposed to cats. Financial hardships strike. An aging parent passes, leaving you to care for a cat you never planned to have, and your resident cat doesn’t take kindly to the new feline companion.
If these circumstances arise, you should understand your options. Naturally, you want to have a clear conscience that the cat you have cared for will continue to be loved and spoiled.
First, ask yourself: Is there a way to keep my cat if I had some assistance? Would a bag of food help bridge the gap between paydays? Would advice from a cat behavior specialist help? Maybe you are dreading putting the cat in the carrier and making a trip to a vet: would just talking to a cat veterinarian help answer your questions? If so, look for community pet help desks in your area. They may or may not be affiliated with your local shelter, but a google search will likely locate them most quickly.
Your Local Shelter
You might think your next best option is your local shelter. But, it really should be your last resort! Shelters are designed to care for stray animals and victims of neglect and abuse. They have limited resources, so the last thing you want to do is add to the population of pets they are caring for. You owe it to your cat to try every other alternative before going this route. Shelters are scary places for creatures as sensitive as cats. The shelter environment will expose them to stress, illness and even the possibility of being euthanized.
Family & Friends
Another possibility is to see if you can keep your cat in your extended family or friend community. Reach out to trusted animal lovers that you know personally and see if they might want to adopt your cat.
If you can’t find anyone in your immediate network but want to still have an active role in rehoming your cat, try a rehoming and adoption site like getyourpet.com. The home-to-home process of the site bypasses the shelter system by putting the current pet owner (in this case, you,) and potential future adopter in charge. This benefits everyone involved, your cat most of all. If you and the new owner agree, you might be able to stay in touch, get updates and even visit after the adoption.
Whichever option you pursue, if you find yourself in this situation, trust your gut. Do what feels right to you. If you do, you won’t look back and regret your decision.