How to rehome a cat

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Even though cats are famous for their independence, our felines love a place they can call home. With thousands of homeless cats waiting in pet rescue centres, we explain the process of cat rehoming.

Whether they’re prowling along their territorial lines or purring on your lap, cats know their own mind. Proud and independent as they may be, cats are pets and they need looking after. The Blue Cross rehomed 9,253 pets last year and Cats Protection rescued and reunited 44,000 felines.

Cats have different temperaments and come in all shapes and sizes, so animal rehoming is an exciting prospect. An adult cat has formed its character and you can expect plenty of entertainment from your adopted pet. There are also plenty of kittens for adoption, so if you want to give a cat a new home, you can adopt no matter what age you’re looking for.

Cats typically live to the age of 12 to 14 years old, but they can sometimes reach the ripe old age of 20.

How to adopt a cat

The process is similar to adopting any other pet. First, look up your local cat rescue organisations online and ask around your neighbourhood for recommendations. You will soon have a shortlist of places to look and start the search for your adopted animal.

Once you’ve found the cat you want to adopt, contact the charity and provide information on your living circumstances (e.g. flat or house, garden, family), your experience with cats and whether there are other pets or children in your household. If the charity thinks you are suitable to own a cat, the next step is to choose your new feline friend.

When you’ve chosen the cat of your dreams, the organisation’s staff will consider whether you’re a good match for the cat you’ve chosen and will organise for a member to carry out a home-check. They’ll send someone to visit your home to ensure it’s suitable and safe for the chosen pet, and they’ll ask you lots of questions – for example, whether you can afford to look after the cat, where the cat will live most of its life and whether you have a vet lined up.

Preparing your home for a new cat

Once you pass the home-check, next comes the preparation. Apart from food, bowls, litter tray and toys, you’ll need a crate to collect your cat in and to use as a ‘den’ for the new arrival at home. Cats are territorial and need their own space. A crate, perhaps with a throw covering most of it, is an ideal hiding space from where she can observe her new home.

Finally, only let your cat out if she’s used to the outside world and once she is settled and comfortable in her new home.

How to find a kitten to adopt

Adopting a kitten is, in principle, no different to adopting an adult cat. You may be surprised at how many kittens are homeless or born to stray mothers.

Getting a new kitten means you have to litter-train her and potentially get her spayed/neutered and microchipped. The rescue centre should give you the kitten’s medical records, so you can keep up the vaccination schedule necessary for a long and happy life.

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