Do Cats Get Sad When Rehomed?

Do Cats Get Sad When Rehomed

Yes, cats can get sad when they are rehomed. They are often intimidated and frightened with the process. Cats can sense sadness and they will most likely miss their former owners. They may also become depressed and withdrawn. However, they are adaptable creatures! Gradual introduction to their new home as well as lots of tender loving care will allow them to adjust most easily. 

Do cats miss their previous owners?

Yes, cats miss their previous owners because they are affectionate creatures who have retentive memories. If a cat lived with you for some time, the cat will recognize your face and have strong memories of you, even if she does not see you anymore. 

Cats are also creatures of habit who thrive on routine. Abrupt changes in their schedule can stress them out. As your cat begins to acclimatize to her new home, she will miss her previous routine. A big part of that was you since you were the one who fed, pet, groomed, and played with her. She will also miss her previous territory- her former home. 

Cats mark their territories by spraying urine and rubbing their scent on items and furniture. Their scent is an assurance that the territory belongs to them. When they cannot detect their scent anymore because they are in a new home, cats will normally become stressed or anxious. Nevertheless, cats can adapt easily; they will eventually settle into their new home with the right kind of treatment and stimulation. 

Signs that a cat misses her previous owner

1. She may develop an insecure attachment with the new owner. 

Cats tend to become too attached to their previous owner, especially if they shared a deep bond with them.  As a result, it will take some time before they adapt to their new home and owner. They may develop an insecure and unhealthy attachment to their new owner. 

Cats may tend to hide, refuse to eat, or run away from being petted and groomed.  They may also avoid the new owner during the first few weeks. 

2. A cat will excessively groom herself. 

Cats that are overwhelmed with sadness tend to groom themselves excessively. However, this  can be alarming since it is unhealthy and may worsen existing skin injuries. It could also lead to an accumulation of hairballs.  

Excessive grooming is just one of the signs of stress among cats. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Excessive vocalization 
  • Isolation 
  • Sleeping most of the time 
  • Loss of appetite 

3. She may resort to destructive behavior. 

Cats that are sad, bored, or unhappy in their new environment tend to become destructive. They may refuse to eat or drink, poop or pee outside the litter box, and scratch or damage furniture and items around the home. 

4. She may get sick.

Some cats that miss their previous owners may suddenly become ill. It may start as fatigue that escalates into something serious. Certain cats reportedly developed insomnia, while others overslept and displayed foul moods when they were rehomed.  

What is the best way to rehome a cat?

  1. Find a home that is a good match for your cat. If you are rehoming a few cats, it is ideal to rehome them together.
  2. Try to assess if your cat is a good match for a family with kids or if she will do better as the center of attention. 
  3. After you have identified the future owner of your cat, ask them to give you a towel or blanket that they own. When playing with your cat, try to have this item around so she will get used to the scent of her future home. 
  4. Consult the new owner about what food they are planning to give to your cat in transitioning her to a new diet.  Hopefully, the new owner will be willing to ask your advice and ideas on the best diet for your cat. 
  5. Suggest or offer to buy pheromones like Feliway for your cat’s new home to help her relax and calm down. 
  6. Along with your cat, bring her favorite toys and treats to her new home. Provide one of your blankets or towels so your cat can still detect your scent. This will help her adapt easily to her new surroundings. 
  7. Suggest to the new owner that the cat be kept in a single, small room during the first few days. This will help the cat become less intimidated. The small space can also be used by the new owner to help teach the cat to associate them with playtime, food, and attention. This will allow them to have a positive bond. 


Cats tend to be aloof at times, but they recognize and have a deep bond with their owners. They get sad when they are rehomed because they miss their previous owners. Felines are creatures of habit and changes in their routine make them depressed and stressed. Nevertheless, they are adaptable creatures and given the right care and introduction, they will eventually be able to adjust to their new home. 

Image: / undefined undefined