How To Properly Rehome a Cat

The process of re-homing a cat can be difficult. If it has happened because of circumstance out of your control, you will want to make sure that your cat has the best chance of finding a good new home and settle in quickly.

Although it can be painful and you may feel guilty about the process, its important to get the re-homing process done correctly for the benefit of your cat and your own peace of mind.

Is it cruel to give your cat away?

If you have been feeling guilty about abandoning your cat, you probably care about them more than a cruel owner would. Properly re-homing your cat shows that you have come to the realsiation that you can no longer provide for your cat and want them to have a better chance somewhere else. This can come from a feeling of genuine love for your cat. In the long run, this will be better for you and them.

People who get rid of their cats because they have become bored of them are a separate issue. Most people would say that it is irresponsible to take in a cat that you aren’t prepared to take care of. At least in these cases the cats have a chance to go to a new home where they will be properly appreciated.

Where can I take my cat to be rehomed?

When re-homing a cat, you must make sure that the home they are going to is prepared to take care of them properly. Ideally, this would be somebody that you trust and has some experience in owning cats. Alternatively, you can contact a trusted local cat shelter or charity that deals with re-homing and fostering cats.

Cat charities are a good option if you have been left with very little time to re-home your cat. Charities and shelters are available in most countries, just make sure they are a reputable one that has a good history of re-homing cats and an explicit no-kill policy.

Avoid giving your cat away to strangers through social media. Unfortunately, there are a lot of untrustworthy people who are looking to exploit or abuse your pet. Some may even try to sell your cat on while keeping them in poor conditions before the sale goes through.

Steps to rehoming a cat

Being re-homed will be a very difficult time for your cat. They don’t normally do well with change and there probably isn’t a bigger change than switching homes and owners with no warning. There are steps you can take to make the re-homing process easier.

Tell the new owner what your cat is like

It takes time to understand the personality of a cat. You can speed this process along by giving the new owner a cheat sheet of things that they can do to make your cat happy. Favourite treats, places to be pet, forms of play and so on.

You should also notify them of any behavioral quirks. Warn them of things about the house they may destroy if they have Pica for example. This is particularly important if you are rehoming a cat that has behavioral issues like spraying or aggression as new owners will need to be particularly careful.

Give the cat some familiar items

Cats will be comforted by their favourite items like bed, blankets, and toys. These items are familiar and also carry your cat’s scent on them which will help them to feel more confident in their unfamiliar surroundings.

This will be easy if you are handing your pet off directly to the new owner. You could consider providing all of your cat’s possessions like litter trays, toys, and cat towers. Its also understandable if the new owner wants to start from fresh with clean products but giving a blanket or bed at least should be reasonable.

Give a detailed schedule for your cat

Adjusting to a new schedule of life can be stressful for a cat. They don’t know what to expect and what time and this can be confusing for them. If you can provide the new owner with the cat’s previous feeding and play times it will help out your cat. Even if the new owner can’t follow this schedule exactly, I will help them understand what their new cat is expecting.

Give them details of your cat’s diet

Re-homed cats can lose interest in food for a while from the stress of the moving process. If this happens, you can help the new owner out by providing the food that the cat is familiar with. If they are still local to you, it should be easy for the new owner to match brands or types of food to give the cat another thing they are comfortable and familiar with.

Keep in contact

Its natural to worry about your old cat in their new home after they have gone. Their new owner will probably have lots of questions too. Keeping in contact with the new owner can be a good way to make sure your old cat is settling in well. Although it may be bittersweet to see your old cat in a new home, you may feel better by playing a role in taking care of them remotely.

Update details

Lastly, don’t forget to update details. This will include vet and insurance details. Your cat’s microchip and collar will also need to be updated to the new owner’s details. A vet will be able to do this when your cat is given their first check up with their new carer.

Do cats cope with being rehomed?

Although cats don’t like change, they will eventually come to accept and even enjoy their new circumstances. Re-homed cats may take several weeks to settle in. If you are re-homing your cat because of behavioral issues this may take longer depending on the new owner’s experience with cats.

While the move can be difficult on your old cat, it can also be difficult on you. It is common and understandable to feel grief and guilt after re-homing a pet. These feelings will eventually go away with time but it may help you to get updates on how your cat is doing in their new home.


If you have to re-home your cat, you should do it properly with care. This means ensuring that your cat goes to a safe individual or organisation and then providing as much information and resources as possible. This will make the re-homing process easier for your cat. It is natural to feel guilt over this process, but getting it right will mean you have some reassurance that your cat is in a better place and has the opportunity for a good future.