While no one should ever have to consider giving away a member of their family, sometimes pet owners face several situations that lead them to needing to find a new home for their cat. But what happens next? How do they get on in a new home?

Providing a rehomed cat with a new safe place, love, and care can be extremely rewarding. With a bit of patience and dedication, rehomed cats can be faithful, loving, and grateful pets.

What sort of cats are up for rehoming?

Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. From financial problems to changes in the household, some situations may make owners unable to continue providing proper care for their pets. In these cases, rehoming may be the most viable solution, but also the hardest one.

This means that rehomed cats can come from all walks of life and may have a wide variety of experiences, personalities and needs. It’s essential to consider what you can provide for a cat looking for a forever home and seek out a furry friend whose needs match your resources and availability.

If you’re committed to rehoming a pet, local shelters and rescue organisations can help you find a cat looking for a loving and trustworthy family. Some nationwide charities that deal with rehoming include:

Welcoming a rehomed cat

Try seeing the situation from the cat’s point of view. Moving to an unknown household that’s full of strange people can be confusing and intimidating. Making them feel like they are welcome and loved can be a little challenging. However, there are plenty of things you can do to achieve this. You should aim to provide the best conditions for a smooth transition into their new home, including:

Have everything set up beforehand: 

Make sure your home is furnished with cat amenities, such as bowls, comfortable resting spots, toys and a litter tray;

Provide a safe space: 

Providing a quiet room with hiding places and away from negative stimuli, like other pets or loud noises, will significantly help in reducing stress for your new cat;

Calming scents: 

Synthetic pheromone sprays or diffusers help reduce anxiety by mimicking naturally occurring “happy” feline pheromones. These synthetic pheromones can be placed before your new friend arrives to help them feel more comfortable and secure;

The power of play: 

Cats love playing, so having an adequately enriched home with toys, boxes and scratching posts can help them take their mind off of things:

Keep calm and be patient: 

Pets can easily understand when we are stressed or angry, so do your best to interact with your cat in a positive, calm and patient manner.

Doing your part to help your rehomed cat become part of the family 

Not surprisingly, your new cat may not be too fond of you at first. But don’t take it personally! Patience is key, and spending short periods in the same room as your cat and gradually increasing interaction time is a great strategy to earn their trust. Avoid rushing any interactions and go at their pace, because trying to do something your cat is not ready for, like picking them up or extended handling, may hinder your previous efforts.

Until your cat is confident enough to explore the rest of the house, it’s best to keep them in the same room. As soon as they are ready, you can let them wander around but make sure the rest of your home is cat-friendly first. That means avoiding loud noises, not leaving any windows open, and blocking access to dangerous hiding spots.

Learning to recognise signs of stress may help you better understand your cat and take action to improve it as soon as you spot trouble. If possible, learning about their previous behaviour patterns, as well as likes and dislikes, can be very helpful. Every cat has a different response and tolerance to stress, but common signs include:

  • Hiding;
  • Hissing;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Aggressiveness;
  • Restlessness.

Once your cat is settled, it’s time to get them registered and seen at the vets. Having previous medical records from your pet is extremely helpful for your vet, as some pets are rehomed due to health and behavioural issues. Their medical history is essential to address these concerns adequately. In case this is unavailable, your vet may need to conduct a more extensive examination to determine the overall health of your new cat.

The adaptation process of a rehomed cat can be challenging, frustrating, and lengthy. 

However, choosing to provide a new home for them can also be genuinely life-changing – for you and your new best friend! With patience and an open heart, your cat will soon feel right at home. 

And don’t forget, if you have any questions or you’re struggling to find the best way to help your new friend, don’t hesitate to contact your vets!

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