Rehoming Your Cat

Re-Homing Your Cat

If you’ve arrived at the difficult decision to rehoming your cat, you can increase your success in finding just the right home, without surrendering your pet to an animal shelter. It’s in their best interest for you to find their new home without them ever leaving your side. Doing this allows you, the person who is most familiar with the cat, to:

  • play a role in placing the cat with a new family,
  • reduce stress of transition for your pet,
  • respond to any questions from the new family,
  • potentially check-in and get updates on the cat, and
  • free up resources for other cats at ASAP

As soon as you realize you will need to rehome your cat, you will want to take the necessary steps to increase success. Rehoming can take time. Do not feel discouraged; this is an important process that you have chosen, due to your care and love for your cat.

Increase Your Cat’s ‘Adoptability’


Increase your pet’s adoptability by having him/her already spayed or neutered. Care4Paws is a local non-profit organization that offers low-cost spay and neuter services. Also contact the Santa Barbara Humane Society for low-cost options.


Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations.


Pets that are clean and groomed tend to get re-homed more quickly. Brush your cat and trim his/her claws.

Get the Word Out


The more people who know about the cat that needs a new home, the greater the chances you’ll find one. Tell your friends, family and co-workers that you’re unable to keep your pet. Many times a close acquaintance will give your loved-one a new home or know someone who may be interested. Don’t be shy – many people do care and genuinely will want to help.

Photos and Descriptions

Photos and descriptions will help people connect to your cat and generate more interest.

Photo Tips

A picture of your cat when relaxed, playing, or being affectionate is the best. Ideally, for their photo, your cat should be well-groomed, looking at the camera, and be seen clearly. Focus on their face and eyes. If the cat is resting comfortably on their bed or yours, on a sofa, playing with a toy, or snuggling up with a person, it will make their adoptability factor go up.

Describe Your Cat

Write a description that highlights your cat’s story, personality, habits, and some little quirks that make him/her special. Include information about any disabilities, health issues, or behavior quirks. Sometimes these are the things potential adopters particularly respond to.

Stories and traits that people may be drawn to include:

  • lap cat
  • loves to cuddle
  • talker
  • playful
  • sweet and social
  • charming and beautiful/handsome
  • everyone who meets her/him loves her/him
  • shy with strangers, love bug with family
  • sleeps on bed at night
  • loves to be brushed
  • descriptions of hardships the cat has experienced and overcome (make this a positive, touching story, moving and inspiring. Have someone else read it to make sure it has the impact you are  striving for.)

Post Flyers

Write a short, honest biography about your cat. Be clear on what his/her needs are. If you’re vague or untruthful, your cat may end up very distressed, sick, or worse.

Flyers should include:

  • Cat’s name, age, gender, activity level, if cat is indoor only, and description and photo.  Spay/neuter status, vaccination status
  • Food/litter preferences
  • Favorite toys

Define needs and considerations of import, emphasize the positive as much as possible.
For example:

Best to a quiet home, enjoys a lot of stimulation/play, loves people, very social, takes a while to warm up to strangers, likes/loves or dislikes other cats, dogs, small children, gives gentle love nips, etc.

  • Your contact information.

Advertise widely

Post flyers in trusted community spots wherever a good prospective adopter may see it: at work, your family and friend’s workplaces, schools, health clubs, churches, temples, veterinary offices, pet supply stores, health food stores, libraries, etc.–anywhere you can find a public bulletin board.


Now that you have a flyer you made, you can post the flyer just like a photo on your Social Media pages. Try making a short video to post. Encourage friends and family to share your posts with others. You can also ask veterinarians and pet stores if they can do a courtesy post for you. There are even websites where you can post your pet and interested adopters can find you! Some examples of those are: