Should I Surrender My Cat?(Options & Reasons Explained)

Cat ownership can be a wonderful experience, but it doesn’t always go as we plan. Circumstances in life can change where we find ourselves questioning our abilities to care for our cats and continue to keep them. So what is the best option? When it is OK to surrender a cat?

Should I Surrender My Cat?

This is a question that is difficult to answer lightly because there is so much to consider. You need to be honest with yourself about why you are considering giving them up. This will make it easier to come to an informed decision and to explain your reasons to others. The most important consideration here is the welfare of the animal and their immediate future. Are they going to be better off in another home because of current or imminent circumstances? If the answer is yes, you should look into your options for rehoming them.

Is Surrendering A Cat Bad?

Not necessarily. It is all too easy to focus on the negatives when it comes to surrendering animals to shelters or alternative homes. You may feel as though you have failed the cat because you can’t provide for them or have given up on them. But, wouldn’t you be failing them more by keeping them in a home that is no longer suitable, or neglecting their needs? Sometimes surrender is in the best interests of the cat. If you can honestly say that this is the case here then surrendering the cat isn’t a bad thing.

What Are Good Reasons To Surrender A Cat?

You need to think about the health, happiness, and general well-being of your cat and their future prospects within your care. There are many reasons why cat owners feel the need to give up their pet and these are all perfectly justifiable as the cat’s needs come first. Examples can include,

  1. because you no longer have the spare income to pay for their needs,
  2. because they develop medical issues that you can’t handle,
  3. because you have moved in with people with allergies or,
  4. because of changes to your lease in rented accommodation.

It is common to feel guilty about these situations and to try and find a way around them. There is nothing wrong with searching for solutions as long as it doesn’t cause suffering to the animal. The risk here is that you try your hardest to keep hold of an animal you love, only to make matters worse. The kinder thing to do here could well be to admit that you can’t continue and to rehome the cat before things get too bad.

Also, there is no reason to feel guilty or to let others make you feel bad about your choice if it is for the right reasons. You may have people asking why you took on a cat if you couldn’t commit to caring for it for its whole life. This is unfair as you may have had every intention of keeping them their whole life, but circumstances changed beyond your control. Recent events with the pandemic have also led to tumultuous changes in lifestyles and means that are no fault of our own. You may have found yourself,

  1. out of a job with a loss of income,
  2. having to move out of your home into shared accommodation or a new rental
  3. dealing with other matters with your family or health

In these situations, it becomes a lot harder to find the money to care for an animal or to give them the home they need. Alternative living arrangements may also be completely unsuitable for the cat but all you can find at the moment.

Do Cats Get Sad When You Surrender Them?

This is a good question and one that may stop some people from going through with surrendering their cat. They worry that giving up the cat is worse than keeping them because the cat will become resentful and depressed, and things may only get worse at the shelter. However, any distress caused by the surrender is short-lived compared to the damage caused by keeping them in an unsuitable home. Your cat may be confused and stressed at first, but will soon settle in with the right owner.

When Should I Surrender My Cat?

It is better to do this sooner rather than later when you know that it is the best option for you both. It will be hard either way. But, the sooner you do it, and basically rip that band-aid off, the better. Delay will just cause more stress. If a landlord gives you 2 weeks’ notice then start the process now so you can deal with everything more easily. If you know that you will struggle to pay the rent and for the cat with the next paycheck, don’t let it get to that point.

What Do You Do With A Cat You Don’t Want Anymore?

You have options when it comes to rehoming a cat, and you can learn more about this in this other guide: where can I surrender my cat for free. Open admission shelters are a common choice because they have skilled staff that can care for the cat and work on finding new owners. If you would prefer, you can surrender your cat to friends or family in a better position than yourself. This could be easier on you both as it is a quick transition and you can see your cat again. Or, you can set up a profile on an online adoption site.


In short, there is nothing wrong with surrendering your cat if you are sure it is in their best interests. If you are unable to provide the best care or a good home anymore – through no fault of your own – you are doing the best thing by giving them up. It is never easy, but remember that as long as they will be happier and healthier elsewhere, you are doing the right thing.