Today’s blog has been written by Sheryl Leonardi, our founder. Amongst other things she deals with all of the rehoming requests for the group, so spends a lot of time advising people on how to rehome their cats safely and responsibly. Please note that if you want us to take your cat into rescue, you need to contact us. Why not read this first and get some tips?
Having to re-home our cat/s is never something we think we may have to do when we add one to our family and is always a heart-breaking decision to make. Every month I read hundreds of e-mails from people who need to re-home their cat for one reason for another. At Lina’s we have a policy which assures people they will never be judged when asking for help for their cat, we will also never ask questions on the circumstances although advice will sometimes be offered if the circumstances are voluntarily disclosed to us.
Unfortunately our waiting lists are long and it is unlikely that you will be offered an immediate space unless the cat is what we would consider to be an emergency.
STEP ONE – IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP MY CURRENT SITUATION?
Do you really need to re-home your cat? Are there any changes you can make which may mean you can keep your beloved furry family member? The most common reasons for re-homing a cat is as follows:
We are moving house and due to our landlord we are not able to take the cat with us
– If you are dealing with a letting agency, see if you can speak to the landlord directly. Sometimes letting agencies have a blanket policy which is not changed unless the landlord requests it, the landlord may infact be happy for you to have a pet.
– Offer to pay a larger security deposit. A landlord’s primary concern is damage to the property which may be caused by the cats. Offering a larger deposit gives them more security and assures them that it will be able to cover any damage which is caused.
– Suggest the landlord visits your current property for reassurance that your cats are house trained and that you take care of your home.
– Be honest and upfront from the beginning about the fact that you have cats and how many you will be bringing to the property. The landlord is much more likely to come round to the idea of cats in the property if permission is asked for, rather than the discovery that you have broken your contractual agreement by having undisclosed pets in the property.
I/my partner/my child is allergic to the cat
The first step is a visit to your GP to have the allergy diagnosed. There may be medication you can take which eliminates the symptoms, that alongside daily vacuuming may be enough to control the allergy.
I am pregnant and I am worried about toxoplasmosis and the risk to my unborn baby
There is no need to reduce contact with your cat if you are pregnant. Statistically speaking cat owners are not at any more risk than non-cat owners and you are more likely to contract it from raw meat or unwashed vegetables.
The parasite which causes toxoplasmosis is shed in cat faeces but ONLY becomes infectious after a week. This means if you wear gloves, scoop every day and thoroughly disinfect the litter tray every week then you are ruling out all chances of catching toxoplasmosis from your cat.
We just don’t have the time to give her the attention she deserves anymore
Cats are self-sufficient, independent animals. Although they are all different generally (especially in older cats) they will be content with being fed twice a day and a bit of attention after work or when the kids are in bed. If you live in a safe area, allowing outdoor access to your cat via a cat flap can give them free range to come and go as they please throughout the day. They may also appreciate a companion to play with, or perhaps toys that they can play with alone (such as cat trees/climbers, a “Cats Meow”, rotary tracks and cat nip toys).
My cat is toileting outside the litter tray and I just can’t take it anymore!
First of all take your cat to the vets with a fresh urine sample, they will be able to check your cat over and test the urine for any medical causes such as UTI’s, cystitis, etc.
Once this has been ruled out, turn your attention to the cat and your home.
Not enough litter trays is just one of the reasons your cat may toilet inappropriately. Read more about inappropriate toileting here: http://www.catchat.org/urination.html
STEP TWO – OK, I’VE THOUGHT LONG AND HARD AND THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO WHICH WOULD RESULT IN BEING ABLE TO KEEP THE CAT. NOW I NEED TO CONTACT AS MANY RESCUES AS POSSIBLE
The first port of all in any re-homing situation is to contact as many cat re-homing rescues as possible. Here’s the link to our email so that you can contact us. All will have waiting lists and most of the time will not be able to offer immediate space. Even if you think you may try to rehome the pet yourself first, please contact the rescues anyway. We often have people contact with very short notice because they had made a private arrangement with a friend or family member who have pulled out at the last minute. No rescue will mind if you need to remove your cat from the waiting list because you have found an alternative!
STEP THREE – MY CAT IS ON WAITING LISTS BUT I DON’T REALLY HAVE TIME TO WAIT FOR SPACE TO BECOME AVAILABLE. I WOULD LIKE TO TRY AND RE-HOME THE CAT MYSELF
If you choose to privately re-home your cat, there are steps you can take which will mean you have tried everything you can to make sure your cat goes to a responsible, loving home who is fully committed to the lifetime of your cat. The following steps are very similar to the procedure Lina’s follow when cats are adopted, as the last thing we want is for the adoption to fail.
State a price
Asking a price for the cat is a very important factor in making sure the cat goes to a good home. Putting a price on will discourage impulse buys and spontaneous decisions, it will discourage the less desirable, illegal activities such as dog fighters looking for free “bait” and it will also help to prevent people taking a free cat to sell on for profit.
If you do not want to profit from re-homing your cat then you can donate the money to a charity of your choosing.
Be honest about the cat’s temperament/behaviour
No matter how quickly we need the situation resolving, we have a duty of care to pets we are responsible for and we must make sure that the home they are going to are willing to take on-board any behavioural or medical issues they may have.
Neuter your cat before re-homing
Neutering your cat is the responsible thing to do and will prevent unwanted litters should she escape from the home. It will also in most cases stop males from spraying which is a huge deterrent for people who want to have a cat. Many charities will help with low cost neutering or you could use the cost of the operation as the price to sell your cat for if costing is an issue.
Ask for interested parties to visit the cat in the home
A chance to meet the cat in his home environment will ensure that people are happy with the cat and that the cat is happy with them! It will also give you a chance to talk about the cat and discuss his likes/dislikes and to ask questions about their home and lifestyle to see if it would suit the cat.
After they have visited the cat, ask to visit their home so you can see where the cat will be living
It is best to mention that you would like to visit the home from the off-set so that people are prepared for this and know that if they want to buy your cat they will need to have a home check. It is a great deterrent for anyone who has something to hide or may want the cat for something other than a pet! Consider your own safety first and if you can’t take someone with you make sure you always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back by. If you do not drive, many rescues may know someone who can go on your behalf using the rescues own home checking procedure.
Things to check/look for during a home visit:
Surrounding area – If the cat is to be let outside check that they do not live near any main roads. Are there any hazards in the immediate area? For example garden ponds?
ID – Are they who they say they are?
Other pets in the home – Ask to see them if they are not visible. Do they look happy, healthy and well looked after? Do they envisage any problems when being introduced to your cat?
Condition of the home – We all have clutter and our kids rooms are always a bit of mess. Dust on skirting boards or mantel pieces shouldn’t bother us, but is the home generally hygienic and are there any hazards that may be a risk to a cat?
Have they re-homed any other pets in the past and why – There are genuine reasons for re-homing our pets, but asking this question will help to reassure you that your cat will not be re-homed for a trivial reason.