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Need to Rehome Your Cat?

There are numerous reasons why people consider rehoming their cat. Some situations are sadly unavoidable, but in many cases rehoming can be avoided with a little help and information.
On this page we aim to give advice for both situations:

Part 1: AVOIDING the Need to Rehome Your Cat - suggestions »

Part 2: REHOMING Your Cat Successfully - advice »

cat and computer graphic

Part 1 - Avoiding the Need to Rehome Your Cat
Solutions to some of the common reasons for rehoming a cat...

Allergies: If a member of the household becomes allergic, many people assume the only solution is to rehome the cat. This is not necessarily so. If your symptoms are asthmatic in nature, consider whether they are being brought on by the cat litter you are using, rather than the cat. Changing to a dust free litter, such as World's Best Cat Litter, may reduce, or in some cases alleviate symptoms entirely. Some people may develop allergic symptoms when living with a cat for the first time, but find that after a few weeks their symptoms subside, and often disappear once their system gets used to contact with the particles of allergen. Reduce risk of reaction by making sure the cat is regularly de-flea'd and don't groom puss inside the house. It can even help to wipe a damp cloth over the carpet after vacuuming, and even over the cat! Other tips: vacuum every day, limit the amount of soft furnishings in your home, switch from carpets to solid flooring such as laminate or tiles, replace curtains with solid blinds, regularly wash any bedding that your cat sleeps on. An air purification appliance may also help. Some people find their allergic reaction is less by reducing or removing dairy products from their diet, (which reduces the amount of histamines the body produces), perhaps by switching to goats milk or soya milk. There is also a pet cleanser called 'PetalCleanse', which neutralises the allergen. Approved by the British Allergy Foundation it is available from chemists, pet shops, Boots and larger Tesco stores, or for more information, call the Pet Allergy Helpline: 01608 686626 or visit:

dogs trust lets with pets logoRented Accommodation - the "No Pets" Rule: One of the main reasons we hear of for people giving up their pets, is due to moving into rented accommodation with a 'no pets' rule in the tenancy contract. However, many landlords use a 'standard' contract with this rule in, whereas in fact they might be flexible on this issue, if asked. We have even heard of landlords who didn't realise that there was a "no pets" rule in the contract! Remember too, that this rule is put in place based on a 'worst case scenario' to safeguard landlords from pets who might leave mess everywhere and damage their carpets or furnishings. So if you are prepared to make certain guarantees in this regard, that rule can often be changed, at least for the duration of your tenancy. Some things that can help to persuade a landlord to relax the 'no pets' rule, could include: Providing a reference for your pet from a previous landlord (Were they well behaved? Did they cause any mess? etc.), offering to pay a higher deposit or offering to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned when you move out. See: Top 10 Tips for Finding Accommodation with Your Pet.
There is a wealth of good advice & information for Pet Owners, Landlords and Letting Agents on the Dog's Trust 'Lets With Pets' site here:

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Emigration: If you are emigrating abroad, you may still be able to take your cat with you. If the cat is elderly or has a medical condition, you may consider the journey might be too much for them, and decide rehoming would be the best option (in which case, see the 'Rehoming your Cat' section further down this page). But, if they are in good health and you would like to take them with you, you can get advice and information from DEFRA's Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) helpline - Email: or call: 0870 241 1710 or, visit their website: • For transporting cats by air: PBS Pet Travel: • Animal Airways: or Jet Set Pets: or PetAir UK: or AirPets: • Further useful information about pets and travel here:
Pregnancy: The risk of toxoplasmosis contracted from animal faeces during pregnancy is still a major reason why many cats are put up for rehoming. However, the British Medical Journal has largely disputed this as an old wives tale, when a study proved that inadequately cooked or cured meat is the main risk factor for infection with toxoplasmosis. Contact with cats' faeces was found to be a very low risk factor. The basic rules of hygiene should therefore be observed, and to be absolutely safe, rubber gloves should be worn when cleaning litter trays, or get a non-pregnant member of the household to do the litter duty! This simple step, plus keeping the cat's vaccinations up to date, and ensure they are regularly de-wormed and de-flea'd will mean there is no need to rehome your cat. It's also worth noting the benefits to baby of having a pet in the home during it's early years (see New Baby in the Home below). Or, for further advice, call the CP helpline: 03000 12 12 12
New Baby in the Home: If simple sensible precautions are taken, there is no need to consider rehoming purely due to the arrival of a baby. And indeed, having a cat (or dog) in the family can be of immense benefit to the child's development, allowing them to form an early bond with an animal, learning to respect and care for them, and quite possibly laying the foundations of a lifelong love for animals. Also, clinical studies have shown that living with pets during the first year of life can build up a child's antibodies leading to a reduced risk of asthma and allergies. Take precautions such as: closing the nursery door when baby is on her own, keep litter trays out of reach of babies at the crawling and toddling stage, keep baby food and pet food separate, clean litter trays regularly and always wash your hands or wear rubber gloves, ensure puss's vaccinations are current and that they are regularly de-wormed and de-flea'd. For further advice, call the CP helpline: 03000 12 12 12
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Behavioural Problems: Many common behavioural problems can be exasperating if the cause is not apparent. Sometimes this can lead to people feeling that the problem is insurmountable and that rehoming is the only solution. These pages may help:
Cat Chat information page » Inappropriate Toileting / Spraying
International Cat Care (formerly Feline Advisory Bureau) advice pages:
Soiling indoors | Scratching/Clawing indoors | Aggression in cats
If you have a query about a behavioural issue not covered by the above, Cat Chat's qualified behavioural adviser may be able to offer advice - Email: email our behaviour adviser (please give as much relevant information as possible)

Part 2 - Successfully Rehoming Your Cat, if that is the only solution
The 'Do's and Don't's of Rehoming Your Cat

We strongly advise against advertising pets as being 'free to a good home'. Firstly, and most worryingly, the recent upsurge in illegal dog-fighting has led to a demand by these criminals for cats, kittens and small dogs to use as 'bait' in fight training. Animals offered for free are sometimes obtained by deception, through this type of advert, either in local papers or through on-line classified websites. Secondly, you have no guarantee of where they will end up, whether they will be cared for long term, or if they will end up being dumped. Apart from the high risk factor, some people who are simply after a free cat, may not have considered any other expenses such as veterinary bills and cattery fees, and might not be in a position to cover them. Giving your pet away free often means a very uncertain future for them.
It is much safer to go through a Rescue and Rehoming centre, as detailed below...

Rescue Centres & Rehoming Organisations: Our preferred option when needing to rehome your cat, is to go through a rescue centre or rehoming group. There are around 1,600 shelters, cat rescue centres, rehoming organisations & branches, and independent rescue groups all over the UK, so there will be more than one which covers your area. Find the Rescue and Rehoming Organisations near you on our UK Cat Rescue database here (or click the map below).
map of cat rescue centres in the UKWhy go to a Rescue Centre? For Three very important reasons:
  1. Rescue centres help cats because they love them and have their best interests at heart.
  2. They will do their best to ensure each cat goes somewhere suited to their individual needs and personality, either by carrying out a home-visit or by a thorough ‘interview and matching’ process - some rescues do both. This ensures they have the best chance of finding a loving home, chosen to match their needs.
  3. Rescue centres will be able to offer advice to the new owners, if there are any 'settling in' issues, and will usually take the cat back into their care if the home doesn't work out.

Important notes - when contacting a rescue centre:
1. Please remember, most rescue organisations are very full, and will usually have a waiting list for cats needing to come in, particularly in kitten season (April - November) when they are busiest. They often need to prioritise the more urgent cases, so let them know what your timescale is, and please be patient if they can't help straight away.
2. Before signing your cat over, first check that the rescue has a 'non destruction' or 'no kill' policy, which means that they will never put a healthy animal to sleep, regardless of age, temperament etc.

Direct Rehoming (with the help of a rescue): If you are able to keep your cat until a home is found, you could ask a rescue if they will help you with a 'Direct Rehoming', which is where the rescue will source the home for you, without needing to take the cat into their care. Most rescue centres have a waiting list of cats needing to come in, so they may not have a space to accommodate your cat straight away, so Direct Rehoming can often be a preferable route for the rescue too. This can also mean less stress for the cat, as he will only have to 'move house' once. Find out about Direct Rehoming here » Direct Homing Information
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Rehoming Pedigree Cats: Although any rescue centre may help find a home for a pedigree cat, there are also a number of rehoming organisations specialising in particular breeds. These specialist rescues often have experienced homes already waiting for that particular breed. Pedigree rescues are listed on our shelter listings (shown alphabetically by breed), here » Pedigree Rescues. Or, the Governing Council of Cat Fancy lists regional welfare officers for rehoming pedigrees on their web page as follows: GCCF Welfare. Most pedigree rescues, will assist with a 'Direct Rehoming', which is where the rescue will source the home for you, but you keep the cat until the home is found, rather than being taken into rescue. More about Direct Rehoming here » Direct Homing Information
Rehoming Privately to Friends, Family or Colleagues: Organising the rehoming of your cat yourself can be fraught with problems, both during and after the rehoming. This is why we don't feature 'private rehomings' on Cat Chat. Our preferred option is always to go through a rescue centre or rehoming group as detailed above. However if you decide to try to rehome your cat privately, these suggestions may help:
First, ask around people you know and trust, such as friends, relatives, and close work colleagues. You may find that even if they cannot take the cat themselves, they may start thinking of people they know and trust who might consider adopting a new cat. Speak to any prospective new owners first to find out if they are serious, that they are prepared for costs such as vet bills, and that they realise it's a long term commitment, and aren't just adopting 'on a whim'.
Some points to consider:
  1. A good idea is to ask your local Cats Protection or RSPCA branch to do a 'home-visit' to assess the suitability of the prospective new owners and their home.
  2. If you decide to do the home visit yourself, never go alone, and take a check-list of questions to ask the prospective new owners. Don't take the cat with you on the first visit - you should be satisfied first that it is the right home, before returning to hand the cat over.
  3. NEVER rehome your cat privately without having thoroughly checked the home. It is sadly not uncommon for cats or kittens to be obtained by deception, for use in illegal dog-baiting.
  4. Ask if the new owners will agree to give you updates / photos of your cat during the first year after rehoming. If they won't, that could be cause for concern.
  5. The new home should not be too close to their old home. Cats have been known to travel great distances to get back to their old home, risking getting lost or killed on the road. If the new home is quite close, the cat should be kept indoors for 4 weeks, to reinforce it as being 'home' and prevent it from straying back to the old house.
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Other useful contacts:

UK Animal Rescue

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