Choosing to surrender your cat is a decision pet owners hope they never have to make, but there may come a time due to unforeseen circumstances where your home is no longer suitable.

Regardless of the reason, knowing where you can take your cat can be a bit of a minefield. Whether it’s financial, environmental or health that has placed you in this situation, knowing where you can surrender your cat free of charge is a huge weight off your shoulders.

1. Local Homes

The best option is always to find a home locally, with people you know and trust. This may be a family member, friend or neighbor. For cats, being rehomed in the same neighborhood is best because they do not have to learn a new area or re-establish a territory from other cats.

Rehoming them with someone who lives within the same area as you can provide a safety net. Even though the cat will take time to settle into a new home and new owners, they will still feel comfortable and safe when venturing outdoors.

The most important thing to remember when choosing a new home yourself is to make sure the home you choose is a safe environment. There are many people who will take advantage of a free cat, but they may not be the best owners. This is why it is better to choose someone you already know.

If you are choosing a stranger, be sure to ask if you can visit their home first and meet the people who live there. If they are genuine and want to take good care of your cat, they will not hesitate to invite you into their home.

2. Cat Rescue

A dedicated cat rescue is a great option, as they focus only on cats, compared to shelters that accommodate a host of different animals. Rescues usually rely on foster homes to care for the animals until the animal is ready to be adopted by a new family.

Rescues are usually private organizations, with no government support. They rely solely on public donations and fundraising. Many will offer you to surrender your cat for free or you can choose to make a small cash donation.

The pros of choosing a rescue is that your cat will remain in a home environment rather than in a shelter. They will still have all the things they are used to, with access to the outdoors whenever they choose.

3. Animal Shelter

This last option is the one people like the least. The simple reason for that is people prefer to purchase kittens rather than adopt from a shelter. This is why cats tend to spend such a long time waiting in shelters for a new home.

The shelter environment is nothing like a home. The cat is kept in its own enclosure with limited human interaction aside from daily feeding and cleaning. Some shelters have enclosures that have a connected outdoor run, but many shelters do not have the space to offer this.

The pros of choosing a shelter are:

  • Most shelters offer surrendering for free
  • All potential adopters have to submit to a home visit
  • Shelters carefully choose the right home for their animals

Shelters are usually the easiest to access. Many are run by large animal charities and some receive government funding towards their day-to-day expenses. Be mindful that some shelters are no-kill, while others will euthanize cats if they do not have space or believe they are unlikely to be rehomed quickly.

Any no-kill shelters will advertise this or you can contact your nearest shelter and ask them directly. Shelters with a no-kill policy usually rely on volunteer fosterers to take cats where there is no space to house them at the shelter.

There is no right or wrong decision when it comes to choosing where to rehome your cat. The decision has to be what is best for you. The most important thing is that your cat is surrendered to a place that has their best interests at heart. Knowing that your cat will be well cared for will make the process that little bit easier for both you and your cat.

It may be difficult but try not to visit after your cat has been rehomed. This will only confuse your cat and make the situation more stressful for you. Be happy knowing your cat is in a safe and loving environment.


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