How to give my cat away nicely
June 28, 2010 3:41 PM   Subscribe

"Its me or the cat". How do I get rid of my cat. Nicely.

Long story, short as poss. I have a cat, she was a feral farm cat, over time she has calmed down. Now she is about 5 1/2. She's never been overly friendly to anyone but me. She'll generally avoid visitors, but attack (scratch) people who give her too much attention (stroking will do it). 99.9% of the time she is docile.

I moved in with my other half 3 years ago, me and the cat were a package deal and my other half has been awesome, despite them not really liking each other, and the endless, endless cat crap in the garden is utterly demoralising. My other half has put up with it all.

14 months ago we had a baby, and the cat has never been impressed. Junior is besotted and loves to poke the cat or try and chew her tail and this results in scratching and blood and a lot of crying. We've tried lots of things for everything and finally, theres an ultimatum. The cat has to go.

She's a tabby, feral as I said, fantastic health, very fit, and everyone says - very pretty as far as cats go. I dont think local shelters will take her, I wouldnt want a family with children to have her, I'm not really sure what to do. She's very independant, we go away on holidays and get a once-a-day call in for her and she barely knows we've gone. She's very low maintenance.

I'm in the UK, would appreciate some local advice. I asked my vet who is an old guy and he lectured me about responsibility etc. I understand, and the shelters are charities and really dont need more animals.

And as I know there are people out there who get all fundy about animals and that, she's been well looked after, but my wife and child come first. The cat doesnt get the attention she deserves anymore and if my baby is seriously hurt, thats going to be bad for everyone. I really want my cat to go to a home where she will be happier.
posted by daveyt to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Make a nice ad. Put it up at the vet, at every shelter you can find, at every pet store. Say, "our once-feral cat needs a new home due to new baby" with a paragraph about your situation. Cross fingers. Hopefully some wonderful cat person will take the cat off your hands.
posted by goblinbox at 3:46 PM on June 28, 2010

Not in the UK, but I would suggest you put out the word about your situation to as many people as possible. We had a somewhat similar situation where our cat Waffles did not get along with our other cat to the point where she would evacuate her bowels as a coping strategy. We put out the word at our places of business and eventually a coworker adopted her into a one-cat-household-with-no-kids arrangement. If you go this route, I would be straight up with how the cat acts and be adamant that the cat go to a type of home where he/she doesn't feel the need to compete for your affection (so that the next adoptive parent doesn't have to do what you're trying to do should a problem arise). I know it's hard to give up a cat that you've become attached to, but you're doing the right thing for your family and the cat.

Good luck.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 3:51 PM on June 28, 2010

Is there a cat rescue organization in your area who can help you rehome your cat? They're not quite shelters, just groups of people who work to take in cats and find them new homes.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:52 PM on June 28, 2010

Could you put up an A4 notice at all the local shops/community noticeboards, with a photo of your cat and a description of the wonderful things about her (affectionate, independent, playful etc), as well as saying that you are rehoming her due to baby incompatability and that she would suit a single person or a childless couple? Then just your email or phone number.

Local libraries often have community noticeboards, as do supermarkets.

A token adoption fee - 30 pounds? - will deter the people who are looking for catfur or lobster bait rather than a pet. (Sadly, it does happen.)

Then you talk to people on the phone, get a sense of whether they sound trustworthy.
Ask them if they have had cats before? Do they have cats now? Do they live in a place with a garden? Can they afford vet bills if neccessary?

If they sound trustworthy and as though they can meet the neccessary requirements, offer them an opportunity to meet your cat and interact with her.

If they seem to get on with your cat (and vice versa), you could place your cat with them for a 2 week trial, on the understanding that if it doesn't work out, they return the cat to you, rather than a shelter.
posted by Year of meteors at 3:53 PM on June 28, 2010

Make sure your ad is all "I love this cat and can't bear to part with her, but unfortunate circumstances etc etc." and mention that you are looking for good, loving people to give her a new forever home. Specify her needs in as positive terms as you can - i.e. independent, low maintenance, does well as an only cat, likes quiet homes without children, etc. People respond a lot better to "this is my special cat and I want someone good to take care of her" than to "hey, here's a cat we need to get rid of."
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:55 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Actually, local shelters might be able to place her; definitely worth a call.
posted by theora55 at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

In the US it's quite usual for pet adoption ads to list "no kids" or "no other cats" or whatever for a pet they're looking to place. Most prospective owners appreciate having that kind of information in the ad, and there are many childless people looking for a cat to rescue. You can even say "Cat does fine with older children, but not with young children who are too little to know not to poke" or whatever. I have some childless relatives who always specifically look for ads that say "no kids" when looking for a new pet to adopt; they know those pets are a little harder to place, but no less deserving of a good home.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:56 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Junior is besotted and loves to poke the cat or try and chew her tail and this results in scratching and blood and a lot of crying. We've tried lots of things for everything and finally, theres an ultimatum.

Just one question - maybe it's too late for this - presumably the kid is going to be old enough quite shortly to understand that if he/she simply doesn't touch the cat, the cat won't attack. I thought kids caught on to this sort of cause and effect fairly early on.
posted by Dasein at 4:03 PM on June 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Presumably the kid is going to be old enough quite shortly to understand that if he/she simply doesn't touch the cat, the cat won't attack.

The problem with this approach is that while the child is learning, a cat-scratch to the eyes could cause blindness, or a cat-scratch to the face could cause permanent facial scarring.

Also, sometimes it can take until children are 6-10 years old to learn how to interact with cats in a way that won't result in scratching.
posted by Year of meteors at 4:19 PM on June 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Why can't you keep baby and cat separated? We have cats. They have a cat door to the laundry room but otherwise don't enter the house.
posted by Neiltupper at 5:06 PM on June 28, 2010

I too would suggest you put up offers to give away your cat, with pictures of her pretty self to go along with a frank disclosure about why she is free to a good home. (Please do check that whoever gets the cat is for real, not a front for the kinds of people who want free cats for cosmetics testing.)

Meanwhile I'd keep your cat away from your baby, at all times. If both will be in your home at once, use your doors to keep them apart.
posted by bearwife at 5:15 PM on June 28, 2010

Actually, local shelters might be able to place her; definitely worth a call.
-- theora55

Be careful of 'humane societies' however. They will take the cat, then decide the cat is not friendly and therefore can't be placed in another home, then they will put it to sleep.
posted by eye of newt at 11:01 PM on June 28, 2010

I second the "put up posters" idea. Get out the word through your workplace and all your friends and family. Tell them what you told us. Somebody will want your lovely kitty.
posted by teraspawn at 1:31 AM on June 29, 2010

There's no shame in giving a cat away if it doesn't fit into your family. A child changes your priorities. My family has adopted animals from the RSPCA and The Dogs trust who were given up for exactly the same reasons that you are facing (and also animals that were given up for even less - a six month old dog because she 'destroys things and sleeps on the beds', really?!). They weren't feral as your cat sounds, but I am sure there are people out there who will be willing to give your cat a happy and healthy life in the best way possible for her.

Call the Cats Protection League and the RSPCA and ask them the questions you want to know. There may be local animal protection charities in your area as well. You can do it anomynously if you want to. The Dogs Trust has a no kill rule for healthy animals, but I don't know about the charities that take in cats. If you don't like their answers, don't take your cat there.

The advantage of going to a charity is that most of them (if not all) check potential adopters before they let them adopt, and most, if not all, have policies that say they will take the animal back if they are not happy with its care at any time, i.e. they make sure that your cat will have a good home for the rest of her life. Something you can't guarantee with someone you find yourself.
posted by Helga-woo at 6:20 AM on June 29, 2010

Do you live anywhere near one of Celia Hammond's shelters? They take in some of the grumpiest, ugliest, oldest cats and either find them homes or foster them long-term. They also have farms and other more rural settings where yours could find a place to live that wouldn't involve much contact with people.
posted by vickyverky at 10:16 AM on June 29, 2010

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