Tri-County APL    presents
How to Find a New Home For Your Cat

Back to the Tri-County APL home page

"I'm moving, and I need to find a new home for my cats."
"My cat had kittens - I can't keep them all."
"There's this neighborhood stray that's been hanging around....."
"My mom has to go into a nursing home - she can't take her cat with her."

For whatever reason, animal shelters get calls like this all the time. There are just too many animals, and not enough good homes for all of them. Most shelters are at (or over) capacity nearly all of the time, and some receive so many calls, they have lengthy waiting lists (if they even keep a list). Which means that the more you are able to do, the better chance your cat (or cats) will have of finding a new home.

Whether you're trying to find a home for a neighborhood stray, the litter of kittens your cat just had, or the pet of a parent or friend who can no longer keep it, it can be a tough job. I hope these tips can help.

Just as a side note: If you're trying to find a home for mixed-breed kittens, and you still have the mother, PLEASE get her spayed before she has any more kittens! I'll agree - kittens are cute, but there are just too many of them out there. And just think - even if you have a fairly easy time finding homes for your kittens, each one you place means there's one less home for the thousands in shelters.

Finding a new home for your cat

  • First, honestly answer the question "How adoptable is this cat?" There are plenty of well-behaved, healthy pets waiting for homes. Finding a home for a cat that doesn't use the litterbox, shreds furniture and bites people when petted is not exactly easy. Before you can find it a home, do whatever needs done: retraining, declawing, spaying or neutering - whatever will make the cat more adoptable.
    If the cat is older, has a chronic condition like kidney or heart disease, or is seriously afraid of people, you have to consider how much stress moving to a new home would cause the cat. Sometimes euthanizing the cat may be more humane, but it's a tough decision. Talk it over with your vet or an animal behaviorist, but only you can make the decision.
  • Make sure the cat is:
    • current on its shots, and healthy (a visit to your vet is in order)
    • spayed or neutered (if old enough)
    • friendly around people
    • housebroken
  • Decide what kind of home you want for the cat  Does she need to go to a home with no other pets? A home that will keep her indoors all the time (for safety)? Do you have 2 cats (or more) that need to find a home together?
  • Write an ad about the cat  Make it more like a story - "Tigger's owner has to move....", and include comments about the cats personality. Mention the cats health status, whether it is altered or declawed, and any requirements a new home has to meet (no other pets, no children, indoor cat, etc...). Include a clear picture of the cat or cats.
  • Don't give the cat away for free - ask something for it, even if it's only ten or twenty dollars  There are several reasons for this:
    • People value something more if they've paid for it
    • Someone who can't afford ten or twenty dollars for a cat may not be able to afford proper food or veterinary care
    • People who want cats for less-than-nice reasons (resale to labs, for example) are less likely to pay for one - there are plenty of free cats out there
  • Decide on some questions to ask potential new owners
    • Have you had a cat before? (And if they have - what happened to their last cat?)
    • What vet do you go to (or plan to)?
    • Will you be letting the cat outside at all? (indoor living is safest)
    • Do you own or rent where you live? (If renting, can you prove pets are allowed?)
    • Does everyone in your household want a new cat?
    • How long will you give the cat to adjust to your home? (it may take weeks, or even months, for some cats to adjust to a new home, especially if there are other pets already in the home)
    • May I visit the cat sometime? (even if you never plan on doing this, be very wary of anyone who says 'no' to this)
  • Spread the word  Post your ad everywhere (always ask permission first):
    • Veterinarians offices, pet stores, groomers, obedience training centers
    • Businesses - where you work, and anywhere else that will let you
    • Libraries and community centers
    • Local churches
    • Put a shortened version in the newspaper
  • If possible, arrange to take the cat to the new home, instead of having the new owner pick it up from your house  This will give you a chance to see where the cat will be living. Make sure to take a copy of the cats medical records (or the name and phone number of the vet you've been going to), some of the food your cat's been eating, and a toy or piece of bedding so your cat will have something familiar in its new home.
  • Follow-up:  Call the new owners after about a week or so, to make sure their new cat is settling in, and answer any questions that may have come up.


Site Map