Guide On Rehoming A Cat To Avoid Behavioral Issues

The cat (Felis catus) is a domestic species of small carnivorous mammal. It is the only domesticated species in the family Felidae and is often referred to as the domestic cat to distinguish it from the wild members of the family. Domestic cats are valued by humans for companionship and their ability to hunt rodents.

Relationship Of Cat With Humans

According to an online source, Domestic cats, no matter their breed, are all members of one species.

Felis catus has had a very long relationship with humans. Ancient Egyptians may have first domesticated cats as early as 4,000 years ago. Plentiful rodents probably drew wild felines to human communities. The cats’ skill in killing them may have first earned the affectionate attention of humans. Early Egyptians worshipped a cat goddess and even mummified their beloved pets for their journey to the next world—accompanied by mummified mice! Cultures around the world later adopted cats as their companions.

#1. Hunting Abilities

Like their wild relatives, domestic cats are natural hunters able to stalk prey and pounce with sharp claws and teeth. They are particularly effective at night when their light-reflecting eyes allow them to see better than much of their prey. Cats also enjoy acute hearing. All cats are nimble and agile, and their long tails aid their outstanding balance.

#2. Communication

Cats communicate by marking trees, fence posts, or furniture with their claws or their waste. These scent posts are meant to inform others of a cat’s home range. House cats employ a vocal repertoire that extends from a purr to a screech.

#3. Diet

Domestic cats remain largely carnivorous and have evolved a simple gut appropriate for raw meat. They also retain the rough tongue that can help them clean every last morsel from an animal bone (and groom themselves). Their diets vary with the whims of humans, however, and can be supplemented by the cat’s hunting successes.

I read from an article that there are many circumstances as to why people need to rehome their cat – moving house, moving interstate or overseas, or due to financial reasons. There are several options available to an owner, however, ensuring this is the right decision first is very important.

Here are some of the common reasons to surrender a cat, and some solutions to the common problem.

#1. Moving house

Make sure to perform an extensive search that includes cat-friendly accommodation. It is common now to arrange a ‘CV’ for your pet to present to your real estate agent. This provides a summary of your pet’s medical history, vaccinations and is a sign of commitment to the landlord to accept responsibility for the pet. It’s also a good idea to include references who can vouch for your cat and their behavior. Often, rental properties are not advertised as ‘pet friendly, but by directly calling the landlord you may find they are open to negotiation.

#2. My cat has a behavior problem

If your cat has a behavior problem it is likely to reduce the chances of being re-homed. Training is essential to address this problem and there are many veterinary behaviorists and qualified trainers that are available to help. Most problems can be overcome or successfully managed, so with a little time and effort, you may be able to avoid re-homing altogether.

#3. A new baby

Welcoming a new baby to the family is an exciting time for parents, but not always for cats. Take the time to introduce your cat to a new routine, smells, and changes in the house before you bring your new baby home. Ensuring minimal change in routine is the key to a successful introduction that is stress-free for cats and their owners. Simple examples include sticking to the same meal times and maintaining a small percentage of the day to give attention to your cat. Ensure your pet is up to date with vaccinations and worming before bringing your newborn home.

There are excellent resources available for expectant parents including Australian veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lewis Kirkham’s book Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant – a guide to combining the patter of little feet with the patter of paws.

#4. Cat allergies

Maintaining a clean home is important to reduce the allergens in the environment that are responsible for the allergies. Animal dander (skin dandruff that flakes naturally) is the cause of most cat allergies. Regular grooming and brushing the coat can help reduce the flaky skin in the house.

Regular vacuuming and dusting will eliminate this from the environment and air purifiers can clear the air of animal dander, dust, molds, hair, and other airborne irritants. Avoid carpet and rugs which can accumulate dust and hair. Specialists are also available to discuss other causes and treatment options.

#5. No Time

There is no doubt pets require your time and commitment. It’s about finding a happy medium between you and your pet. It may be as little as half an hour a day or as simple as bonding on the couch with pats in the evening. Cats can benefit from environmental enrichment with toys and food games while you are out, stimulating their minds and avoiding boredom.

Responsibly Rehoming Your Cat

#1. When to Start Looking

As soon as possible!  Responsibly rehoming a cat can take months.  If you only have a week to find a new home, you will not have much luck, and you probably will end up settling for a home that isn’t right for your pet out of desperation.  If you know you are moving overseas in six months, start looking now!  Take as much time as possible to find the right home – don’t just give your pet to the first person who offers.  This rarely results in a happy arrangement.

#2. Preparing Your Cat

Make sure your cat is current on vaccinations, has been FIV/FeLV tested (especially if your cat goes outside at all), and is spayed/neutered.  You will have much more luck finding a home for your cat if you can provide veterinary records showing the cat’s health status. A responsible and informed adopter will want to know this information.  You might also consider preparing a Pet Resume.  Do not separate lifelong friends or littermates.  Many people are willing and eager to adopt two cats who are friends and bonded to each other.

#3. Where to Look First

First look to your circle of trusted friends, family members, and coworkers. Are any of them willing to give your cat a loving and responsible home? Please do not contact any other rescue for that matter until you have exhausted every other option. All rescues are overcrowded, and for every cat surrendered to a rescue, another remains on the street or in a shelter awaiting euthanasia.

#4. Screening Potential Adopters

Thorough screening is strongly recommended for any interested party. NEVER agree to give your pet to someone until you have properly screened them and visited their home!

When you finally take your cat to his new home, be sure to take his usual litter box, dishes, toys, scratching post, bedding, food, litter, and a worn article of your clothing to place with his bedding at his new home.  The familiar scent of these items will make the transition easier.

About Behavioral Problems

Behavioral problems are rarely a good reason to rehome your pet because you are just passing on the problem to someone else.  If you have tried all of the tips listed above and still need to rehome your cat, be candid about your cat’s behavioral problems with potential adopters. The last thing you want is to adopt your cat to an unsuspecting person who later rehomes the cat again or surrenders the cat to a shelter due to an unanticipated problem.

Purebred Cats

Is your cat purebred or mixed with a purebred cat?  If so, try searching for purebred rescues online. Some of them will take owner surrenders, depending on how much room they have.  However, you should exhaust every other option first. Keep in mind that purebred cats also attract a lot of people who may not have the experience or knowledge needed to deal with a purebred cat and the health problems that may come with it.

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