Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

If You Surrender a Cat, Can You Adopt It Again? 2024 Guide

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat sleeping on owners lap

If You Surrender a Cat, Can You Adopt It Again? 2024 Guide

As a pet parent, there may come a time when you find your situation has changed, and you can no longer keep your beloved cat. While there is no shame in surrendering your cat to a shelter, it’s heartbreaking for you and the cat.

In most cases, when you surrender your cat, you no longer have any rights to the cat and cannot adopt it again. However, some shelters or rescue centers allow you to adopt your cat again. You’ll have to talk to the shelter in your area to see their specific policies.

It’s critical to put a lot of thought into whether you want to surrender your feline, but we’ll discuss your options for rehoming to help you decide.

3 cat face divider

Top 4 Reasons for Most Cat Surrenders

Cat parents end up having to surrender or rehome their feline pals for a few reasons. You’ll find a few of the most common reasons below.

1. Money

Owning a cat can be expensive. You must pay for food, toys, treats, and checkups at the vet. It’s better if you have pet insurance, but that also costs money. There’s always the possibility of incurring additional expenses. Emergency vet visits for disease, trauma, and sickness are real possibilities. Some pet owners can’t keep up with the costs and must surrender their pets due to money issues.

cat owner in hotel lobby
Photo Credit: Frau aus UA, Shutterstock

2. Strays

Many people go to shelters to surrender stray cats from their neighborhoods. It’s important to note that stray cats have been abandoned or have become lost, whereas feral cats were born in the wild and have had no human contact. Lost cats can be scanned for microchips at most shelters and vet offices, so they can be returned to their owners.

3. Behavioral Issues

From destructive behavior to urinating outside of the litter box, many cats are taken to shelters because of behavior issues. In some cases, these behaviors stem from the cat being stressed, such as bringing a new baby home, a new pet, or even moving the cat from one environment to another.

Many pet owners surrender their cats due to behavior issues because they can’t deal with trying to fix the problem themselves.

4. Accidental Litters

Cats being surrendered is very common when it comes to accidental litters. During what the shelters have dubbed “kitten season,” which is in the late spring and early summer, they expect hundreds of kittens to be surrendered due to accidental pregnancies. The best way to avoid unintentional litter is to have your cat spayed or neutered.

a woman holding siamese kittens in her arms
Photo Credit: Yulia Kostyushina, Shutterstock

3 cat face dividerThe 4 Tips to Finding a New Home for Your Cat

While it may be heartbreaking to find a new home for your feline, if there’s no other choice, you’ll need to know your options. We’ll discuss a few of the safest options below.

1. Breed Specific or Foster-Based Rescue Groups

You can contact breed-specific or foster-based rescue groups in your area before resorting to surrendering your feline to a shelter. The groups can provide various opportunities for your cat; some even allow the cat to stay in a foster home for pets until a new home can be found.

2. Use the Adopt a Pet Rehoming Tool

You can use to rehome your pet. You simply create a profile and list your pet, and interested people will apply. This takes a lot of guesswork out of rehoming your pet, and the site has dedicated professionals that help with everything.

ginger cat and woman in bed with laptop
Photo Credit: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock

3. Spread the Word on Social Media

You can spread the word about needing to rehome your pet on social media. However, you want to be careful with this option. You never know who will step forward to adopt your cat, and there are bad people in the world who are out to just hurt animals instead of loving them and giving them forever homes.

4. Surrender to the Shelter

If you can’t find a home for your cat any other way, surrendering the cat to your local shelter is an option. Just remember that when you make that decision, you need to stick with it because you give up all rights to the cat when you sign the paperwork to leave it there.

yarn ball dividerAvoid Placing Classified Ads

The one thing you don’t want to do when trying to rehome your cat is to place a classified ad. Craigslist and other sites are often used to procure animals to use as baiting animals, especially for dogs. Cats can also be used for training, and that’s something you don’t want to happen to your beloved feline.

Free pets on Craigslist are often picked up by hoarders, backyard breeders, and other criminals, so it’s best to avoid classified ads when trying to rehome your cat.

cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

When you surrender your cat to a local animal shelter, it’s expected that you won’t want to adopt the cat again. However, in many cases, a shelter will let you do it if you get there before the cat is rehomed. However, it is essential to note that once you sign the paperwork to surrender your cat, you lose all rights to the feline, including getting any information about the cat going forward.

If you have no choice but to rehome your cat, there are many options, as we’ve listed above. Search your heart and find the best option for your little friend if giving it a forever home with you and your family is no longer feasible.

Featured Image Credit: Karpova, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.