What to do if you need to rehome your cat?

Most animal charities in Kent are inundated with requests to take in and help cats and will not be able to take your cat in straight away.  Leaving it to the last minute to rehome your cat will not increase its chances of being taken in by a charity due to the last minute urgency of the situation - if there is no room there is nothing we can do about it except put the details on our waiting list (this does not include situations that have arisen through no fault of the owner such as unexpected hospitalization).  Give yourself plenty of time to find a new home - finding the right one is important and we offer the following advice:

Put an advert in the newspaper/s, in your local vets' surgeries & in pet shops, in the post office, and so on (do state that they cannot be split up if there is more than one and they are close). Preferably include a photocopied photograph of the cats, if not in the newspaper then at least in the other adverts. This may sound daunting but is often the best way as the cats won't have the trauma of being fostered by us first and then going on to ANOTHER new home. You know the cats well after living with them and caring for them, often for years, so are also better placed to 'market' them appropriately.

Please be very wary of new internet sites where new homes can be found as there is a worrying new trend of people scouting these sites for 'free to good home' cats and then selling them on for profit, or even worse for bait in dog fights! Please thoroughly vet anyone who contacts you!

If someone rings up to express interest we do strongly suggest you do a brief home-visit first to make sure they don't live on a busy road, don't have inexperienced children who might mishandle the cats, and don't have dogs that are unhappy or not used to living with cats (or you wouldn't want your pets to go to somewhere that only wanted them as sport for their dogs, which does happen!). Our Rehoming Officer will be able to  provide you with information on what to ask and what to look for when you do a home-visit.

Please do not advertise a cat for sale or free to good home that has not been neutered, in doing so you increase that a much loved cat being used solely for breeding for profit. Cats Protection can assist in the cost of neutering a cat. Of course kittens are too young to be neutered, so the best you can do is to make sure a new owner has appropriate finances to cover neutering costs and to make sure they are aware that any CP branch will help towards neutering costs.  If you do have kittens to rehome please do consider contact a rescue BEFORE offering them up for adoption as often a CP branch will have a waiting list of people looking to adopt kittens that have already been homechecked by us. We can then insure that kitten will be neutered when old enough.  Cats Protection will also assist in neutering mum so she does not have any more kittens that may or may not find loving homes.

If/when you find someone who you feel could properly take on the care of your cats for the rest of their lives you should deliver them yourself and ask the new owner to put them in ONE ROOM for the first few days, with their litter tray & familiar bedding & bowls & toys. Leaving them in one room at first will help them to adjust to their new home & to build confidence gradually. Tell the new owner to only let them out of the room when the cats have become familiar with the new scents and sounds, and don't run and hide on their entering the room.  When they are first allowed out of the room tell the new owners to ensure all doors and windows are shut as the cat may try to escape.

They should be kept indoors (preferably wearing a safety  collar with their new address on just incase puss cat escapes. Please do read CP advice on collars.) for AT LEAST 4 WEEKS & the new owner should be wary of opening windows & doors during that time in case they slip out & get lost. 

If your cats have ID microchips remember to change their details to their new address.  There will be a charge to change this over to a new address and its usually the task of the present owner to do this as some microchip companies will ask for proof of ownership transfer. Change of ownership and address changes can take a few weeks to go through the system which is why a safety collar on a cat in teh meantime is a good idea.

Write down what they do & don't like to eat, their routines, their characters, what their health history is, etc, and give this information to the new owner. Also, some photos of them at different ages would be a good idea to 'fill in the gaps'.

Remember, it will be a great shock for your cat/s: not only to move house but also to suddenly have new owners. Animals grieve just like humans do. This is why you should endeavor to do things as thoroughly as possible.

You could try the other animal charities in Kent which can be found at www.catchat.org (go the home page of the website and find the map the drop down menu until you get to the Kent listings) they might be able to take your cats. However, please be warned that they may not be able to help either as all the animal charities are inundated with requests for help and rely only on volunteers. We can only take a cat in when we rehome one, so the more people taking on a rescue cat instead of buying or breeding the less cats we have in to be rehomed.

It does help a rescue and in the longer term rehoming if you cats that are fully up to date with annual vaccinations (and you will need to make sure you have a vaccination certificate to show this). If not then please do consider contributing towards the cost of getting this done BEFORE a cat comes into a rescue. Equally agreeing to neuter and/or contribute toward the neutering cost of a cat will assist with rehoming. Rescues charities have limited finances and are always struggling to keep heads above water, contributing towards the cost of YOUR cat coming into rescue allows us help other cats with no one to care for them.

If your cat was originally from Canterbury & District Cats Protection we will always take the cat back into our care. However, we will be unable to take a cat back into our care immediately; we will need to put the cat on our waiting list and you will need to allow us time to find a foster pen. In the summer months this may take time, as our priority is ALWAYS strays, poorly cats and kittens and cats in distress or danger.  If your cat was from another CP Branch you may be able to receive help from another CP shelter outside Kent and should contact the National Cat Centre on 03000 121212. If your cat was from another rescue organisation then you should make contact with them in the first instance before contacting other rescues.

Please do note that rescues ALWAYS run at full capacity and we rarely are able to help with rehoming an owned immediately (but in emergency situations we will try to help as much as we can). Please do be patient, the main problem is that there are too many cats in the UK and every single un neutered puss cat contributes to this problem by producing more kittens. So the main thing to learn when you have to rehome a puss cat for whatever reason is to spread the neutering message, as we can help more cats if there are fewer cats in rescue.

PLEASE ALSO READ THE ARTICLE 'REHOMING YOUR CAT THROUGH CP' - Click here to read it
Good luck to you in finding new homes for your cat/s.

Sharon (Rehoming Officer)
Updated Jan 2011