No one likes to think about or admit it very often, but there are always going to be times where pet parents like, love, and even adore a pet cat, but where that doesn’t change the fact that – for some reason or another – there’s no real way to make things work in the household in terms of the family keeping the pet.
It could be that there’s a new, permanent family member in the household – a new spouse, say – who is physically incapable of living with a house cat due to severe allergies that won’t go away with the simple addition of a daily dose of antihistamines like Claritin to their lives.
It could be that there’s a new baby in the household, and an old, well-loved cat who’s sometimes aggressive has become a threat to the safety of the new baby. While it’s possible to do a lot toward reducing the potential for danger, I can imagine there are times when you could’ve tried everything under the sun to make it work, yet it just flat out isn’t working enough to be worth the risk to the newborn baby, as accidents still do happen.
You might also have an old cat in the household who, upon bringing a new cat in, initially behaved very aggressively toward the new cat. After months of trying to introduce the two properly, and even with may attempts to re-introduce them over and over, they still may not be getting along. At that point you may conclude, for the sake of the new feline’s safety, it’s best to – sadly – get rid of the new cat by finding it a good home in another household.
No situation is completely clear cut. At least not in my opinion. Yes, there are times when it’s 100% possible to make progress on and even completely resolve some of the issues you’re having with a pet, but that’s unfortunately not always the case. Some situations will be sadly unsolvable, while others will not be worth taking the risk in terms of safety of a family member or another pet.
At these points, no matter how desperately you wish things were different, sometimes you do have to get rid of a cat, as heartbreaking as it may be.
So let’s start at the beginning and work our way down, in case this situation is one you’ve unfortunately found yourself in.
Before You Try to Give up Your Pet, Try to Fix Problems You Have With Him/Her
Now, you could be in a really stressful, frustrating situation where you love your pet, but there are certain behavioural issues pushing you to your very limit. You’re exhausted and frustrated and are on your last string, but you still feel a lot of love and compassion for your pet at the end of the day.
You could also be in a situation where you once loved your pet, but now you feel as though you may actually be closer to hating your cat due to how overwhelmingly frustrated you are. Or, you could have a more of a fleeting, every-so-often resentment of your pet building up due to the responsibility of having a pet weighing on you like a burden that never leaves.
If any of these types of experiences are causing you to want to re-home, I encourage you to please do some digging on literally any and all behaviours you’re having issues with to see if there’s actually something left to try that you haven’t.
If you have any problems that you feel – if they’re resolved – you would be ever so happy to keep your pet, it’s really important to try to fix them. I’d recommend starting by searching this blog (especially the training section) or leaving a comment below describing your problem. Maybe a pet parent will be able to help you if they’ve had the same problem and resolved it for themselves before.
I know it may seem like the problem you’re having is insurmountable right now, and that no one else understands or could possibly empathize with what you’re going through, but that’s not true. A lot of pet parents undergo immense struggle with cats, although this is not the norm.
The fact that cats are usually so well behaved may lead other cat owners, especially those who have never had to deal with frustrating behaviours from their own pets, to judge those who have a bit of resentment towards pets they love, but that they’re ever-so-frustrated with due to behavioural issues. I’m here to tell you it’s okay that you feel resentment – so long as you’re treating your pet as best you can, and taking care of all their needs.
If you still love them on some level, there’s hope, and it’s okay that you feel upset and resentful toward them sometimes. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It happens, and you absolutely can get through this, to a future where you no longer feel so negatively about your pet.
I’ve personally dealt with a slew of bang-my-head-against-a-wall level issues with my cats in the past (since I’ve kept and fostered 5 at this point), and I’ve luckily managed to resolve as many of those as have come up. This blog is littered with my advice on issues I’ve dealt with, as well as issues other pet parents have had with their pet cats as well.
My cats used to wake me up early every single morning, meow and cry at night, beg for food all day long. When I took in a second cat, I had so many negative worries as it was anything but a perfect transition for my first cat, and was really upset back then, imagining things wouldn’t go well.
But I figured out a way to help my two cats get along and shared how here, and that includes my first cat being particularly aggressive to the new cat. He’s not that way anymore. I’ve dealt with a slew of other behavioural issues. But the important point I want you to take away is that I dealt with them – they’re in the past now. And this can be true for you, too.
Due to being stressed and anxious over cat problems, you might think there’s no way in hell you can live with your furry companion. But I guarantee, if there’s plenty you love about your pet, but there are just one or two things you absolutely can’t live with in the bad-behaviour category – more times than not, there’s a resolution, and sometimes it’s a ridiculously quick and easy fix.
For instance, if your problem seems to have something to do with your cat needing to eating regularly – I strongly recommend you do what I did and invest in a PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feeder (I’ve reviewed it here, it’s a godsend…). It’s an automated feeder that will go off whenever you set it – I schedule it to go off every four hours.
It’s fixed so many problems in my household – from cats vomiting on empty stomach to aggression between cats caused by hunger. It helps me prevent my male cats from scarfing down too much food at once (and overeating, sometimes to the point of vomiting). It’s helped me keep my cats awake in the morning so they finally sleep at night (they always get up from their naps regularly for food!). It also keeps my cats mentally stimulated since I use it in combination with the Catit Design Senses Food Maze.
These feeders would also make cats stop begging pet parents for food if you flat out stop feeding them, and leave the job to the pet feeder exclusively. They typically beg the feeder instead. 😉 One product, endless fixes, and the same easy fix might be just around the corner for a different problem if yours isn’t one of these.
Like if you’ve got a cat that scratches furniture? While you can’t stop a cat from scratching (they need to scratch to stay healthy), and you absolutely shouldn’t declaw, you can train cats to stop scratching furniture. Whether it’s a leather sofa or even a velvet that’s much more ideal for reducing scratch damage, there are ways to protect your couch from scratches as well. For instance: couch protector covers, integrated couch scratchers, as well as easy-to-throw-on scratch guards.
Got a cat who never stops asking to play? Does it make them insufferable to live with and maybe wake you up at night so you can’t ever have a good night’s sleep? You should try as many of these toys cats can play with by themselves as you think your cat might like to play with. They’re ridiculously cheap, and they can keep your cat occupied quite well, especially the Spot Ethical Pet Cat Springs, which I wholeheartedly recommend. All my cats love the springs.
A few other self-play cat toys my furries adore? The KONG Kickeroo, which is perfect for cats who like to bunny kick their toys (in my experience, nearly every one of my cats), as well as chew toys like the KONG Cat Hugga Wubba.
Toys like these in combination with high energy cat exercise toys for when you play with your cat one-on-one mean you’ve got a ridiculously good chance of completely remedying your problem within a single weekend.
Do some digging – your perfect fix honestly could be much easier than you thought to resolve.
Okay, now for the part for pet owners who’s issues with their pet cannot be resolved.
How to Get Rid of a Cat You Can’t Keep (In a Humane Way)
Increasing Chances of Adoption With Simple Techniques
If you’re looking to re-home a pet, Pets for Patriots points out, you’re going to want to take a really good picture of your pet, looking as happy and cute as possible, basically showing your cat in the best light possible.
You’re going to want to write up a short biography of that pet that lists any training he or she has (litter training, good with other cats, good with kids, etc.), as well as a medical history and current medical conditions + medications he or she might be on.
You’ll want to list favourites – toys, trees, etc. – whatever you can think of that he or she loves, as well attributes you feel are positive and good about your cat.
Definitely be honest, don’t lie about your cat’s problem getting along with kids if one exists. You don’t want your cat to go to a household that might be a problem for that cat. But make sure you’re paying attention to the attributes others would see as positive in a cat (such as warm, loving, incredibly friendly) even if you don’t necessarily see them that way (maybe for you, this attribute isn’t ideal because you don’t have enough attention to give to your feline, being home not as often as your cat would prefer).
What else? This is a really important bit. Again, from Pets for Patriots:
Prepare your pet. Make sure your dog or cat is groomed, up-to-date on her vaccinations, and is flea- and tick-free. If you have not done so already, have your pet spayed or neutered.
Low-cost vaccination and spay/neuter clinics may be available in your area. Check with local shelters and pet stores.
Get it done. It will go a long way in helping your cat find a family because then there’s nothing for the new family to do besides take the cat in, all ready for a new life, no stress involved in the adoption. Now onto the steps for re-homing a cat.
Humane Ways of Re-Homing Cats
1. Find a family member, friend, co-worker, or other acquaintance to take him or her.
If you know someone firsthand who you feel would be interested in meeting and taking in your pet, and you feel this person is trustworthy and would give your cat a good home, this is absolutely the first place to look for a new home.
It’s really hard to say whether someone would be interested in taking a cat without outright asking, in my opinion. Sometimes people are interested in having pets themselves, but are stressed over worries first time cat owners typically have – try to talk them through the process if you feel they’re interested but hesitant, and explain you’re always available to provide help in case they need it.
List all the types of things you’d be happy to supply with your cat – any food he or she is on, litter boxes, cat beds, cat toys, and/or cat trees if you have any you’d be happy to give away. This can help ease the burden of the cat’s new family if they take the new cat in.
Explain why you’re looking to get your cat re-homed – if it’s allergies or stress or you’re moving away. Whatever the case may be.
And definitely do encourage those who might be interested to meet your furry feline. You never know, they might have an instant connection that makes the decision for them.
Besides that, if all your friends and family are uninterested…
2. Ask those you know if anybody they know would be open to adopting your cat.
Somebody you know might know someone interested in taking on a new pet. Maybe you’re looking to get rid of a cat who’s a perfect little feline for a family that’s looking for a second or third addition, or maybe there’s a friend yours knows someone who’s been thinking of getting a cat for a long time, but has cold feet.
Whatever the case may be, be sure to inquire about whether your friend or family member thinks this person would make a good pet parent. Are they responsible? Have they known each other for a while? What’s their living situation like – is it safe?
It’s important to make sure your cat is going to a good home.
3. Reach out to a cat foster home and ask if they have advice on re-homing in your area, or know someone who might want to adopt.
There are so many amazing people who foster kittens and adult cats to the point where they are able to be re-homed. See if you can find a few in your area and ask them for advice about re-homing in your area, as well as if they know anybody who’s “in the market” so to speak for a cat with your feline’s attributes.
4. Use pet re-homing sites & services to find your cat a good, new home.
While I’m not sure quite how good of a job they do, a lot of sources advise using them over sites like Craigslist or Kijiji, as with regular classified ad sites, your cat has more of a chance of ending up in a home where abuse is possible.
The best option, in my opinion, is giving your cat away to a person you know firsthand or through a friend, someone you vet yourself and would trust. If you can’t, than going through a cat foster parent is another excellent way, since those who foster can typically do the vetting themselves.
Using re-homing sites and services that are reputable gives you a lot more assurance that your cat is going to a good home than the alternative (the alternative being looking for a home for your cat on free classified sites).
5. The Final Option: Surrendering to a Shelter or Animal Rescue
As a final option, you can get rid of a cat by surrendering it to a local shelter or animal rescue.
As Pets for Patriots Points out, “many adoption contracts require you to return pets to them rather than have you rehome on your own.” So if you brought your cat in from a shelter, be sure to reach out to that shelter again in case things didn’t work out and you need to return your pet.
Explain why things didn’t work. Describe your pet’s personalities and any behavioural issues that may have existed to the shelter so they know, when finding a new home for the pet, what type of household to look for and what to advise new pet owners.
In my opinion, this should absolutely be a last resort, and you should 100% try to re-home yourself if you can find a home that’s safe and loving for your pet. But there are times when that isn’t possible, sadly, so this final option exists for cases like those.
Your Thoughts on Getting Rid of Cats?
Have you ever had to get rid of a cat before, and if so, what was the circumstance like? Was there anything you did or tried to fix the issue, or was it an unsolvable circumstance?
Do you have any advice for pet parents looking to re-home a pet? Any advice on what to do/what not to do to make sure a pet goes to a good home?
Please leave any and all thoughts, opinions, stories, and ideas you have in the comments below. You’d definitely be helping pet owners who need to get rid of cats but want to do it in the most humane way possible out considerably.