Getting Rid of an Unwanted Cat

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 20th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Cats

For whatever reason many cat owners may find themselves unable to keep their pet. These people soon look for ways to get rid of their feline companion. My wife, who spent many years working in animal rescue has helped me compile a guide for getting rid of an unwanted cat. Also for the purposes here, we are talking about a cat you own, not a stray.

The First Thing to Consider

Always ask yourself how likely your cat is to get a good loving home.

If it is a young, friendly, and well behaved animal it may stand a chance. If it is an older cat, of a common type, and has behavior issues, it has a slim chance of finding a home. Cats that are up-to-date medically, and are spayed or neutered have a better chance at finding a new home.

Cats of uncommon breeds, or uncommon colors, have a better chance of being selected when there are other cats looking for new homes.

If you are getting rid of your cat because it has a health issue, such as not using its litter box, you should tell the new owner the truth, otherwise the cat may be abused when the bad behavior becomes apparent. You might want to note that many behaviors are fixable, and although rare, some new owners are willing to care for cats with medical or behavioral problems IF they are made aware of them in the beginning.

If the cat is totally unlikely to get a new home, or will not be able to handle the stress, it can be humanely euthanized.


In cases where a cat was acquired from a breeder, adopted from an animal shelter, or came from a pet rescue, there may be a contract stating that if it is ever unwanted it should be returned to them. Indeed if a cat is ever unwanted this is the best place to consider taking it, as well it may be legally required by contract.

Taking the Cat to a Shelter

Although shelters do not "want" more cats, most would prefer you bring it to them rather than rehoming it on your own to total strangers, particularly if it is not spayed or neutered.

When people take "FREE TO GOOD HOME" pets they might be people that the shelter refused to adopt to for whatever reason. They might be people that cannot afford proper food, emergency care, or even regular veterinary visits. They may be people looking for cats to use as bait for illegal dog fighting (to teach the dogs to kill), or as cheap snake food. In the past some serial killers admited they started by torturing and killing "Free to Good Home" pets (as noted in the New York Times, by the FBIs studies).

Shelters cannot always find every pet a home, but they try, and they do screen potential new owners as best they can.

No-kill shelters often turn pets away when they are full, often selecting to take only the animals they think they can find homes for.

Always call ahead before bringing an unwanted cat to the shelter, find out what days are best, and what hours. Find out what to bring. In many cases they prefer if you bring the cats food and supplies (that you don't want) as these can be passed along to a new owner. You should also bring a copy of your cats veterinary records, and they may ask for a relinquishment fee (which will go towards your cats care, remember shelters are non-profit, they need this money to help your pet). Some will waive the fee if the owner cannot afford it.

Giving It Away

If you opt to give it away, put a price tag on the pet (assuming it is healthy and up to date on vaccinations). The price tag can be small, but will show commitment. If your pet has not been vaccinated then ironically it is worth nothing, as nobody should pay a cent for a pet that is potentially sick, and may have health problems.

Screen any potential new owners. If they are not willing to give you their name, address, and phone number, do not allow them to take your pet. Remember all those serial killers that took free pets did not come to the house looking like they were going to kill the animal.

Ask new owners if they have had pets before, what happened to those pets, and why are they looking for a new one. Be willing to turn somebody down for any reason. You do not have to say "yes" to the first person (or even the second) that comes along.

A Litter of Kittens

One should not allow their cat to breed if they do not have owners lined up ready to take the kittens. Additionally it must be noted that there are already a surplus of kittens needing adoptive homes in the shelters world wide. As such breeding anything other than a registered purebred, quality animal (as proven by going to shows), is unethical.
With that said... accidents happen (although they should not as all unspayed females should be kept indoors and away from males), and kittens may be the result.

Litters of kittens are the most risky to give away, because if the new owner does not get them spayed or neutered, the cycle of unwanted kittens continues.

Free Kittens are also in demand by people looking for snake food. No good farmer wants (or needs) free kittens, any farmer looking for more cats probably has something killing cats at his/her farm.

The best way to rehome kittens is to take the litter to a veterinarian, have them checked, dewormed, and vaccinated. Charge the new owners exactly what you paid for the medical care. If they refuse, then its doubtful they are good owners after all, since a good owner would have to invest this in a new kitten on their own anyhow, and if it is already done it saves them the work.

Failing to rehome a litter of kittens, one should take them to the local shelter, kittens are often quick to be adopted as most people want small, young, new pets. They should not be removed from their mother until 6-8 weeks of age.


In most areas it is illegal to set your cat "free" to live and survive on its own.

Farmers regularly shoot animals dumped in the country, or these animals are killed by the current farm dog/cat or wild animals in the country.

Passing off a problem pet onto an unsuspecting person is unfair to both the new owner, and the pet.

If you give the pet away, let the new owner know you want to check up on it a week later, and do so. If the sitution is poor either ask to take the pet back, or report them to the local ASPCA, RSPCA, SPCA, or whomever deals with the problems in your area.

If cash is exchanged, get everything in writing.

Related Links

Cat Care

How to Tame Feral Kittens and Cats

Rabies: What to do if you are Bit

General Information Every Pet Owner should Know

Join Me and Write for Wikinuts!


Cannot Keep, Cant Keep, Cat, Cats, Get Rid, How To, Kitten, Kittens, Pet, Pets, Sell, Unwanted

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar Char lambert
28th Jun 2011 (#)

My mom 86 just had a heart attack needs to find homes for 5 adult cats can you help me I live in Monroe mich.

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author avatar Irca Vasquez
6th Jul 2012 (#)

I cannot keep cats anymore (4 adults and 5 babies) The landlord gave me a final date to get rid of of them. Please I need your help

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author avatar Vyckie Tyson
4th Oct 2012 (#)

I have a 1 yr old cat. Her name is Dasiy.. She is consided a ginger stripe white and orange fluffy. I got her for my son.. At the time I was making pretty good money. But as of right now I'm not.. I do t have tw extra money to take care of her anymore.. She is a very sweet cat.. I wish I could keep her but I dont have the money to take her to the vet and food and liter is starting to cost more and more. If any one is interested I her please email me. I live in Toledo oh

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author avatar Norma Bernal
4th Dec 2012 (#)

I'm moving in 5 day and have no where for my cat she's a two person cat don't like being around kind she's boxs trained and she's alarm clock and she's a watch dog let's you know when someones at the door and she'll let you know when evils I'm your home. I love her and hate to have to get rid of her she need a good home so please help me

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author avatar Clare
18th Dec 2012 (#)

I have a 7month female tabby cat. She is absolutely beautiful, timid around strangers but once she gets to know you she's a great companion, I'm moving house on 2 weeks and I'm not allowed pets. In very sad she has to go and would love a loving owner to take her. She's micro chipped, injections up to date, trained, fleed and wormed. Please email me if interested.

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author avatar Ian
27th Apr 2013 (#)

Hi my grandmother recently passed away and she just took on 1 male cat and 1 female cat, both are 6 months old and are brother and sister. I live in a flat and unemployed and can no longer take care of these cats so if anyone is interested you can email me as i can only keep them for a limited time, thankyou

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author avatar Laura
22nd Jun 2013 (#)

i have a one yearold sweet cat he has been fixed and shot are just about up to date he likes to play ball and loves to have someone hold him he is best with female human

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author avatar Jason newbury
29th Jul 2013 (#)

two unwanted cats, one male black an white 5yrs old,house cat. one female white and brown 2 yrs old.good home wanted free. 07521789660

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author avatar Marvic
15th Sep 2013 (#)

i have a male cat , he is 6 months old he is healthy but i cant keep him in my flat , my land lord wants me to get rid of him , i want to find him a good home ,i live in barking london if some one is interst in mob is 07780274895,

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author avatar Claire
20th Sep 2013 (#)

my mum passed away from cancer age 49 and left her cats I cant keep them any more as my son has asma they are all female (3 off) well house trained and brilliant around kids as I have 5 hope some 1 can help please please please

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author avatar Steve andersson
14th Oct 2013 (#)

i cant care for cats cause my health is bad i cant walk anymore so i cant keep the litter box clean noe the hse please can someone help me please please

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author avatar Richard
6th Dec 2013 (#)

unwanted 6 year old female cat..chipped and neutered,free to good home...location manchester....07769047004

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author avatar Sandy edwards
11th Jan 2014 (#)

I have a ten year old sweet lap cat who has stopped using the litter box. Been working with the vet to find the problems. We have actually had to replace the floor. I read this article and was appalled about the dog bait and snake food. Absolutely not taking the chance. Thank you.

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author avatar Rhonda
24th Feb 2014 (#)

I have a cat that my daughter felt sorry for and we toke it in. I am at my wits end and can't keep the cat her name is dot. I don't want to put her out in the streets but I can't keep her any longer please help me if you would like a cat she is black and white very loving not even a yr old yet

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author avatar Rhonda
24th Feb 2014 (#)

318 673 7811 or 313 4767

Thank you Rhonda

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author avatar Random and unafraid
28th Nov 2014 (#)

I cant care for them. They are too much. I am deploying in 6 days. They will be set free.

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author avatar Nancy
22nd Aug 2017 (#)

Please help us! Must find loving homes for 10-15 tame, potty trained, spayed/neutered cats & 10-15 feral cats ranging from 3 months-7 years old.

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author avatar Candy
23rd Oct 2017 (#)

I have been rescuing cats for years. My landlord just found out that there are 11 cats living in his house,not 3!!My ex boyfriend dumped cats on me, his mother dumped cats on me,her daughter dumped cats on her that she left here with me. I didn't know what to do but take care of them. However, now my daughter who is 8months pregnant cant take her cat who had 3 kittens 5 weeks ago! She hasn't been fixed and is now attacking the other girl cats! I have fibromyalgia and the stress of this situation is effecting my health. I can't sleep or rest because the 2 girls are being stalked by their own MOTHER! Please someone help he! I don't know where to turn. No one wants to help me now, and all I have tried to do is help these animals that for YEARS no one has fed, held or loved. I am heartbroken that I have to separate my babies. Please, I don't know where to turn anymore. Thank you for your help, or at the very least reading this.

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