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Rehoming a cat

Giving your cat up for adoption, or helping a stray or abandoned cat


Rehoming is at the heart of what we do at the CatCuddles Sanctuary. We believe that all cats deserve to live comfortably and happily for the duration of their lives in loving, suitable homes, and so for cats who are stray, abandoned, or whose owners who can no longer care for them, we strive to provide a second chance at a life.

We receive a huge number of rehoming enquiries at CatCuddles and many of these are from people who require help urgently, or are regarding stray and abandoned cats living in bleak conditions.

Though we aim to help as many cats as possible and as quickly as possible, as a charity that is reliant on donations and volunteers there are limits on our space, time and funds.

In order to manage the high demand for our rehoming service most effectively, we maintain two rehoming waiting lists for cats. Waiting list times vary throughout the year from 2 – 24 weeks, though in urgent cases we do our utmost to shorten this timescale where possible, and always prioritise kittens due to their vulnerability.

Important; please read why advertising your cat online for rehoming can be dangerous.

The Sponsored Waiting List

The Sponsored Waiting List or SWL is for cats whose stay with the charity will be ‘sponsored’ by their owners. This means that a donation has been pledged by the owner to help cover care costs for their cat once he or she is surrendered, such as general upkeep, veterinary care, vaccinations, microchipping and flea and worming treatments. These donations are usually made by the owner once a date has been agreed upon for the cats’ arrival.

As we receive no funding aside from donations, our finances are not inexhaustible. Having former owners sponsor their cats means that we can help a huge number of cats with rehoming year-round, even when charity funds are limited during very busy periods such as kitten season. This can mean a shorter waiting time as we do not need to secure funds for each cat on the SWL, only spaces.

This list can apply to both to owned cats or strays, as there are many generous people who are willing to sponsor strays to ease financial pressure on the charity and speed up the rehoming process for the cat involved.

The Unsponsored (or Stray) Waiting List

The Unsponsored Waiting List is for cats who do not have owners, such as strays or abandoned cats, or for cats whose owners are unable to pledge a donation towards their care whilst they are with CatCuddles. For cats on this list we must first secure a space, then secure the funds for upkeep and care. This means it can sometimes take us a little longer to help.

Often there are a huge number of unsponsored cats in need of a place with CatCuddles and we simply do not have the money and space available to offer this to every cat right away. Nonetheless we do our level best with the resources we have and regularly accept cats from the UWL.

Sometimes, when we have taken in a large number of unsponsored cats in a short period of time, there will be a brief delay whilst we replenish our funds. Occasionally we fundraise on social media for individual cases, but unfortunately it is not possible to do this for every single cat on the Unsponsored List.

Neutering Policy for Waiting List Cats

Before accepting any cat into the CatCuddles Sanctuary, we must first ensure that they are neutered. We advocate neutering for all cats and making sure it is done prior to each cats’ arrival ensures a harmonious environment at our rehoming centres. It also means that cats on our waiting lists will not produce unwanted litters whilst they are waiting for a place, and this is particularly vital for unneutered strays and female cats, who will become pregnant very quickly once of reproductive age.

Whilst you are welcome to arrange neutering at your own vet and confirm with us when this has been done, we can also help you to arrange neutering for your cat, either for free or at the lowest cost available, at a vet local to you.

How Long Will My Cat be Waiting for a New Home?

The majority of cats that come to us for rehoming are adopted within three months, and this includes older cats. Many are with us for a matter of weeks.

For cats with special needs or behavioural or health issues, the wait may be a little longer, as a more understanding or experienced home will be sought. We do not euthanise cats who are struggling to find a home, and we have succeeded in matching cats with adopters even in the most difficult of cases.

We try to make each cats’ stay with us as comfortable and happy as possible. Cats are housed either individually with foster carers, or in specialized suites at one of our fostering hubs. Due to strict policies regarding cross-infection and to avoid causing undue stress, we do not mix cats who are unfamiliar with one another, and all CatCuddles’ cats receive high quality brand food, litter changes, suite cleans and socialization  (cuddles!) on a daily basis from our volunteers.

All prospective adopters of CatCuddles cats are subject to thorough discussion about their home situation, a home check, and contact after adoption has taken place. All cats that leave us are microchipped, neutered, and up to date with their vaccinations and flea and worming treatments. 

Avoiding Rehoming

Our rehoming team understand that there may be circumstances beyond an individual’s control that lead to the difficult decision to rehome a cat.

However, because there are such a huge number of cats in need of rehoming across the U.K., we must stress the importance of careful planning and consideration for anyone thinking of welcoming a cat into their life.

Though you must first consider whether you have the time, money and a suitable home environment to offer a cat, it’s also important to plan for the long term as cats have a life span of 10-20 years.

Consider whether you can continue to care for your cat if you move home, change jobs, or decide to have children, for example. In addition to basic vet care such as vaccinations, microchipping and neutering, all cats are liable to become unwell at least once in their lives and veterinary fees can be expensive.

The decision to bring a cat into your home should not be rushed or spontaneous, and we strongly recommend adopting, rather than purchasing your feline companion.

Adoption not only saves the lives of formerly unwanted cats; a reputable rehoming organisation can also match you with a cat most suitable for your personal circumstances and provide advice and support for the duration of your cats’ life.

Please think carefully so that you and your cat do not have to experience the trauma of rehoming.

If you wish to contact us about rehoming a cat, please complete the following form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.