Can’t Keep Your CH Cat? Here’s What To Do.
The decision to surrender your CH cat can be a gut-wrenching one. These fuzzballs can be our constant companions, best friends, or sometimes just a warm body. But no matter what your relationship is with your cat, finding a new home for your feline can be a challenge.
Here are some tips if you ever find yourself in that predicament.
Depending on the situation, reconsider.
One of the many responsibilities of being a pet owner is understanding that your pet is a commitment for life. That said, cats lose their homes for many reasons, everything from behavioral problems to a roommate suddenly developing allergies to a couple moving overseas.
To be honest, I’ve become (maybe unnecessarily) cynical when it comes to folks giving up their pets. While volunteering at my local shelter for the past few years, I’ve heard all sorts of reasons from the most flippant and irresponsible to those where you truly see it as the person’s very last resort.
If giving up your cat isn’t the last resort, please reevaluate the situation and try to find a way to make your cat a part of your future. For example, many behavioral problems can be corrected with a simple life change and some patience. Some folks who are allergic to cats turn to shots to help them with their allergies. Similarly, it’s not impossible to move with your cat to another country. Sure all of these solutions require a little work, but aren’t our CH cats worth it?
Unfortunately, some situations are simply more complicated than those. I remember hearing about one man who was called to go overseas for the army; he had two weeks to find a new home for his CH cat. He was devastated, but made it a priority to find his cat a new home before he left.
If you absolutely have to surrender your cat for a few weeks or a lifetime, please consider these options:
Turn to a family member.
Hopefully you’re close to someone in your family who loves you and appreciates your CH cat. This person should be your first option for several reasons:
- They know you best: They know your situation and are most likely to help you out in a time of need.
- They know your cat: They should be somewhat familiar with your cat, his antics, needs and habits.
- You can visit your cat: No matter if you move out-of-town or out of the country, if you come back to visit, you can always visit your cat, too.
- You can always take your cat back: If your situation changes, odds are they’ll likely return your cat. That is, unless they fall in love with him!
Approach a close friend or friend-of-a-friend.
Of course you’ll want to start with your closest circle of friends and move from there. Like family, close friends are the next most logical option to help out.
One thing to keep in mind is that most people have the number of pets they desire. Consequently, you may have a more difficult time finding someone who’s willing to take in your special needs cat. You may be lucky enough to have a friends with big hearts, but that doesn’t guarantee that they’re the right person or can afford to adopt your cat, too. Make the decision wisely.
One suggestion to sweeten the deal is to offer some sort of financial assistance, especially if the situation isn’t permanent or if your cat requires special care like prescription food or frequent vet visits.
Network to find your cat a home.
Reach out to the folks at the Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats and Kittens Facebook group. A few of the dedicated are currently creating a list of people around the country who may be able to help if a CH cat needs help. Some of them may want to adopt, others may be able to foster, and still others are connections to shelters.
Join the group and post your situation there. Odds are someone will contact you in a few hours and get the ball rolling.
It’s a tough truth, but please keep in mind that many of the cats these wonderful people try to help on a daily basis are emergency cases. That may mean that a cat facing euthanasia may receive priority over your cat. There’s also no guarantee that your cat will be re-homed or fostered, which is why we suggest reaching out to family and friends first.
Visit your local shelter.
*Some folks in the CH community highly recommend against surrendering your CH cat to a shelter. At kill shelters, CH cats, who are considered less adoptable, may be the first ones to be euthanized. That said, please take this into considering when visiting your local shelter.*
Take an afternoon to go over to your local shelter and explain your situation. Find out if they have space for your cat, or if they can recommend another shelter nearby that may be able to help.
Depending on the severity of your cat’s CH, they may recommend your cat being placed in a foster home. If they don’t have any openings, ask if they have any other suggestions.
If they can take in your cat, remember that special needs pets have a lower adoption rate than “normal” pets. On top of that, house cats can have a tough time adjusting to the shelter life. Some simply shut down. This is why taking your CH cat to a shelter should be a last resort.
Please, under no circumstance should you abandon your cat at a shelter. “Anonymously” dropping off your cat when no one is around can lead to many problems not limited to forcing a shelter to stretch its already stretched resources as well as traumatizing your cat.
In the end, it boils down to this: While some people don’t really care about giving up their cats, others become heartbroken over it. No matter which one you are, please take the proper steps to make the best, responsible decision for you and your cat.