We recognize that sometimes circumstances make it difficult for you to keep your pets. Perhaps medical bills are overwhelming, you are moving, or your cat’s behavior has changed. Before you begin the steps to surrender your cat, please take some time to look through our advice, including other methods of re-homing your cat(s) without ever going to a shelter.
CAT primarily takes in cats and kittens from other animal shelters, rescue groups, and veterinary clinics. During periods when our intake is open, we can accept cats from the public on a limited, appointment-only basis. CAT is currently reviewing requests to take in cats age 5 years and younger. Please see CAT’s intake process for more information on surrendering or returning a cat(s) to CAT.
Chances are good that you can find a new home for your cat without ever going through a shelter. Studies show that most cat owners actually get a cat from sources other than a shelter. Here are some tips to re-homing your cat without going through a shelter:
Advice on advertising your cat
Place an advertisement for your cat through your local paper, on adoption pet-friendly message boards, and on online pet classified sites such as Craigslist. Be smart when you place your ad: request a vet reference, charge a small re-homing fee, and meet potential adopters in person.
Asking a fee will not deter good families from inquiring about your cat; it may stop unscrupulous folks from answering your advertisement. Don’t be shy about asking questions when you meet potential adopters. You want to make sure your cat goes to the best possible home. Ask if they have children (does your cat do well with kids?); do they have other cats or dogs; have they ever had a cat before; are they able to provide for your cat’s medical needs; can they provide a veterinarian reference; will they allow you to visit their home prior to placing your cat with them, etc. Ask for a valid form of identification and record the driver’s license number for your records.
Make your cat desirable to adopters: spay/neuter your cat; groom and trim your cat’s nails; have your cat current on vaccinations; get your cat tested for FeLV and FIV; make sure your kitten is older than 10 weeks. A cat that is already altered and vaccinated has a greater chance for adoption!
Surrendering to a shelter
Before you surrender your cat to a rescue or shelter, find out as much as you can about the organization. You should make sure the current animal residents appear well cared for, learn about the adoption process, and discuss the holding period or other restrictions. Some county shelters will agree to contact you if they have difficulty finding a new home for your cat. Thanks to collaborative efforts among Portland-area shelters, most area shelters have not had to euthanize healthy or rehabilitatable cats due to space constraints or other holding restrictions.
It’s important to note that many municipal and county shelters primarily cater to lost and stray animals, rather than owner-surrendered pets.
Remember that many animal organizations, including CAT, may have a waiting list or appointment-only process for bringing cats into the shelter and cannot accept walk-ins.
Do not abandon your cat at any shelter or veterinary clinic. Animal abandonment is a misdemeanor offense in Oregon. Shelters can fine and prosecute those who dump animals at their doorstep.
Please check this list for shelters or rescue groups in your area.