Are you thinking about rehoming your cat? Here are some solutions to common reasons for rehoming a cat.
Allergies: If a member of your household has become allergic, many people assume the only solution is to rehome the cat. This is not necessarily so. If your symptoms are asthmatic in nature, consider whether they are being brought on by the cat litter you are using, rather than the cat. Changing to a dust free litter may alleviate, or in some cases eliminate symptoms entirely. Some people may develop allergic symptoms when living with a cat for the first time, but find that after a few weeks their symptoms subside, and often disappear once their system gets used to contact with the particles of allergen. Reduce risk of reaction by making sure the cat is regularly flea treated; grooming will help also but it’s best to do this outside. It can even help to wipe a damp cloth over the carpet after vacuuming, and even over the cat! Get the cat their own bed so then they have their own spot to sleep to help with fur on the furniture.
Other tips: vacuum every day, limit the amount of soft furnishings in your home, switch from carpets to solid flooring such as laminate or tiles, replace curtains with solid blinds, regularly wash any bedding that your cat sleeps on, and keep the cat out of your bedroom. An air purification appliance may also help. Some people find their allergic reaction is reduced by reducing or removing dairy products from their diet (which reduces the amount of histamines the body produces), perhaps by switching to soy or rice milk.
Moving to “No Pets” Accommodation: One of the main reasons for people giving up their cats is due to many landlord’s ‘no pets’ rule in rented accommodation. However, in many cases this rule is put in place based on a ‘worst case scenario’ where a landlord is worried about animals who might leave mess everywhere and damage their carpets or furnishings. They are often a lot less concerned about cats rather than dogs so do discuss with them whether your cat can live there. If you are prepared to make a guarantee that there will be no damage or that you will fix any damage, the rule can often be changed, at least for the duration of your tenancy. Some things that can help to persuade a landlord to relax the ‘no pets’ rule, could include: providing a reference for your pet from a previous landlord (were they well behaved, did they cause any mess etc) and offering to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned when you move out.
Emigration: If you are emigrating abroad, you may still be able to take your cat with you. If the cat is elderly or has a medical condition, you may consider the journey might be too much for them, and decide rehoming would be the best option. But, if they are in good health and you would like to take them with you, you can get advice and information from your local airport.
Pregnancy: The risk of toxoplasmosis contracted from animal faeces during pregnancy is still a major reason why many cats are put up for rehoming. However, the British Medical Journal has largely disputed this as an old wives tale, when a study proved that inadequately cooked or cured meat is the main risk factor for infection with toxoplasmosis. Contact with cats’ faeces was found to be a very low risk factor. The basic rules of hygiene should therefore be observed, and to be absolutely safe, rubber gloves should be worn when cleaning litter trays, or get a non-pregnant member of the household to do the litter duty! This simple step, plus keeping the cat’s vaccinations up to date, and ensure they are regularly wormed and flea treated will mean there is no need to rehome your cat. There are also many benefits to having a cat in your family with young children (see below).
New Baby in your Home: If simple sensible precautions are taken, there is no need to consider rehoming purely due to the arrival of a baby. And indeed, having a cat (or dog) in the family can be of immense benefit to the child’s development, allowing them to form an early bond with an animal, learning to respect and care for them, and quite possibly laying the foundations of a lifelong love for animals. Also, clinical studies have shown that living with animals during the first year of life can build up a child’s antibodies leading to a reduced risk of asthma and allergies. Take precautions such as: closing the nursery door when your baby is on her own, keep litter trays out of reach of babies once at the age of crawling and walking, keep baby food and pet food separate and clean litter trays regularly.