When you adopted your pet you made a commitment to care for the animal for the rest of its life. Finding a new home for your pet or “rehoming” should therefore only be undertaken in the most dire circumstances. For example, if the pet’s health or safety is at risk.
Unfortunately, we receive calls from people wanting to rehome their cats simply because they are having a baby. Cats and young children CAN safely coexist in the same house as long as simple precautions are taken and proper introductions are made – see this excellent Cats and Babies article. In fact, some studies have shown that children who have a pet at a young age are far less likely to suffer from pet allergies as adults.
If the reason you are considering rehoming you pet is because it is misbehaving (E.g. potty accidents, chewing or scratching furniture), we strongly recommend you check out our Behavior Issues section for help. The vast majority of bad pet behaviors can be corrected with patient, consistent reinforcement, reward of desired behaviors and by making small changes to your home environment. If your child was misbehaving would you get rid of it?! You owe your pet the same amount of love and patience you would show a recalcitrant child.
If you are considering rehoming because you are having financial difficulty, there are other options. Please check out all the possible avenues for financial assistance for your pet before making a final decision.
If you absolutely must rehome your pet and you adopted it from a rescue organization, the rescue organization should be your first point of contact. Many of these organizations require that you return the animal to them if you can no longer care for it.
If you did not adopt your pet from a rescue organization, we recommend you reach out to people you know – friends, family, coworkers, etc – to see if any of them would be appropriate new pet parents. Remember, just because a friend or family member is willing to take your pet does not necessarily mean that their home is the best place for it. You have a duty to find your pet a new responsible, loving home.
Some people have also had success utilizing social media for rehoming, post a plea for help to friends and family.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES do we recommend taking your pet to one of the local animal control shelters. Pets surrendered at shelters by their owners have a high likelihood of being euthanized, many are not even placed in adoption programs due to animal overcrowding.
We encourage you to contact one of our areas No-Kill Organizations for assistance with rehoming. Please be aware that many of these organizations do not own a shelter and their foster homes are usually at full capacity so you may need to contact several organizations.
If possible, we highly recommend you keep your pet in your home while trying to find it a new family. Shelter animals are usually highly stressed and even animals placed in foster care will be stressed by the new environment and other strange animals. Also, shelter and foster animals are often exposed to a myriad of diseases because of close contact and/or overcrowding. Sick animals are rarely adopted and most shelters have a limited veterinary budget. Ask the No-Kill Organizations if they will post your pet’s picture and information on their website and allow you to bring the animal to adoption events. This way you will be limiting your pet’s stress and giving it a greater chance of staying healthy.
Should you find an organization willing to take in your pet, be aware that they are likely to charge you a fee for surrendering it. This fee helps pay for your pet’s care and housing until a new home can be found for it. These charity organizations are all run on a “shoestring” budget so it is a necessary that they try to manage their costs.
While it may take a while to find your pet a new home, it is a worthwhile and humane thing to do.