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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Adopting a pet means taking on responsibility, meeting the individual needs of the species and accompanying the animal for the rest of its life in a benevolent and protective way. For most cat owners, giving away their cat is unthinkable, but in some cases, there is simply no way around it. Which reasons for giving away a cat are plausible and legitimate, and where to put the beloved cat? What should I do if I have to give my cat away?

I have to give my cat away: Lack of understanding meets necessity.

A hotly debated topic: Giving away a beloved animal. There are countless entries from angry cat owners in blogs, forums, etc.: “You should have thought about that beforehand, I have absolutely no understanding for it” is just one of the many sentences that you often read as a response.

On the one hand, this reaction is understandable and the statement is absolutely correct. Before you adopt an animal, you should clarify a few things in advance. Factors such as time, money and a suitable surrounding and of course other things, naturally play an important role. 

On the other hand, sometimes things take a different course than expected. Many things in life develop in a different way than planned and are difficult to anticipate in advance. Some people, due to personal events and/or strokes of fate, simply have no choice but to part with their beloved cat. Sometimes you also have to make decisions in the animal’s best interest, for example when the cat gets the chance for a fuller life. 

When to give a cat away?

What does it mean to have no other choice? Actually, it’s quite easy to explain, in the following examples, you as the owner hardly have a chance to change the situation. 

For example, if you have a little “Rambo” at home who likes to tamper with the furniture or who wets your bed night after night, this is no reason to give the cat away. Behavioural training can work wonders here. 

When it is unavoidable to give the cat away?

  • Long-term illnesses of the owner (physical or psychological), accidents and their consequences. Tip: Sometimes family, neighbours or acquaintances help out to look after the cat until it gets better.
  • Sudden cat allergies.
  • Prison sentences.
  • In case of absolute incompatibility of two or more cats, or other pets. Tip: A behaviour trainer can help with socialisation. 
  • Impending homelessness.

Even if you simply don’t want your cat anymore, although there is no good reason, please think carefully about where to give her. You owe her this last favour. It wouldn’t be fair to just put her out on the street where her life is in danger. 

Where can I give my cat away?

Obviously, the first place many people think of is probably an animal shelter. Shelters do a great job, because where else to put all the homeless kittens and all the other animals? However, before you make this decision, you should consider the following points and only give your cat there in an emergency:

  • Most animal shelters are already overcrowded!
  • The lack of staff in many places, makes it difficult to meet all needs equally.
  • The risks of communicable diseases increase. 
  • Uncertainty about whether your beloved cat will ever be adopted again (especially very old, sick, weak and behaviourally challenged cats are statistically much less likely to be adopted).
  • The uncertainty of which new family your cat will end up with.

Alternatives to the shelter:

As you can see, there are quite a few points against the shelter. What alternatives are there? How can I find a new home for my beloved pet?

  • First and foremost, you can look around for a new place for your pet. Perhaps someone in your family or among your friends or acquaintances would be willing to adopt your cat?
  • If there is no one in your immediate vicinity, you can expand your search. In the age of social media, many people have more “friends” on facebook and the like than cat hairs on their favourite jumper. 
  • In general, you can place an ad on certain websites on the internet.
  • You can also post an ad on the noticeboard in the nearest supermarket or similar.
  • Ask veterinarians or place an advertisement there.
  • Some animal shelters offer placement assistance/private placement on their homepage.
  • Find a foster home. A temporary place for your pet until a final solution is found.

If your cat comes from an animal welfare organisation or shelter, please read the protection contract. Often you have agreed to return them to the shelter if the worst happens!

No matter how you place your cat, make sure that the new owner is serious and will be able to take good care of your pet.

Attention: Even if these options involve a bit more “work”, abandonment is never a solution! You still have the responsibility and obligation to find a good place for your cat. 

Found a new home? 

You have found a new, species-appropriate and loving home for your furry friend? Perfect 😊. Now it’s time to exchange the most important information:

  • What does the cat like? What doesn’t it like?
  • Her favourite toys, her usual things (scratching post, cuddly blankets, food bowls, etc.) should be handed over.
  • Which food does the cat get/tolerate, which food does it not like?
  • What is her medical history? Are there any allergies or intolerances?
  • Does she have to take regular medication?
  • Hand over the vaccination certificate, chip number, EU pet passport, pedigree certificate, etc.
  • You can hand over your pet profile to the new owner. This way, they have all the important information at their fingertips. 

Are cats sad when they are given away?

If you are or were one of the cat’s most important caregivers, the answer is clearly YES! Animals also have emotions, which they do not express like humans, but they do feel. This is also the case with sadness.

The good news is, however, that cats can also get over unpleasant feelings.  With patience, empathy and lots of love, you can help a grieving cat. That is why it is important to find a loving home for them.

Familie adoptiert Katze


Life is not static, certain things simply cannot be planned in advance. Sometimes you have to make decisions that make us humans sick to our stomachs. Having to part with a beloved cat is enormously painful for most cat owners, but sometimes it is the best decision.