Moving into a new home. The arrival of a new baby. An allergic loved one. Although you do not want to part ways with your cat, there are some situation where you have to give him away.
Will My Cat Miss Me When I Give Him Away?
Your cat will not miss you the same way that you will, not in the hopeless despair kind of way. However, his initial days in his new home will be challenging.
Pet owners consider their furry little pals not just as animals. More often than not, they consider their cats, dogs, or any other pet as a beloved member of their family. As such, it is not unusual for people to assign human emotions to their pets. Whatever your reason may be for rehoming your cat, one of the things that will probably cross your mind is will your cat miss you when he goes away.
The concept of missing someone is something that felines do not necessarily go through, at least in human terms. However, that does not mean that your cat will have an easy time adjusting to his new circumstances.
Although cats form bonds with their humans and get attached to their persons, there are two great challenges that they will immediately face when they move to a new home: the disruption of their routines and missing familiar scents.
Cats are creatures of habits and any disruption in their routines can cause stress and anxiety. Any change in his routine or living environment can trigger stress. More so if that involves moving into a new home with a different human.
Apart from that, cats rely heavily on their sense of smell. Aside from helping them in “tasting” their food, cats use their noses to become familiar with their environments and guard their territories. Furthermore, cats find great comfort in being surrounded by familiar scents, from their humans to their fellow cats to their living environments.
Pulling a cat away from things that he is already familiar with can create stress and make his initial days in a new home difficult. But over time, cats can adjust to their new homes and humans, enabling them to thrive.
The human-cat bond
Initially, experts considered cats as solitary creatures. But later on, studies revealed that cats can and do form bonds with other cats and their humans.
Although cats are generally self-sufficient and do not rely on their humans as much as dogs do, some felines get attached to people, readily sitting on their laps for a cuddle. Of course, some prefer a good measure of distance.
Aside from that, some cats experience separation anxiety when their humans go away for an extended time. Although many cats tend to be aloof toward their humans, they may also have fear of abandonment.
Fortunately, cats are capable of forming new bonds with their new owners. It may take some time and lots of patience but they will adjust and even thrive in their new homes.
How cats respond to rehoming
Cats have individual personalities and they can respond differently to a drastic change like rehoming.
Generally, felines dislike even the slightest change to their routines and established environments. More so with a major change like moving to a new and unfamiliar home.
Some cats are capable of adjusting in a matter of days or a few weeks. Others tend to take longer, succumbing to stress or depression. When this happens, the cat may have a poor appetite and avoid grooming himself. In some cases, rehomed cats can become distant or even exhibit aggressive behavior.
What is crucial is for the new owners of your cat to stay patient while establishing a new routine for him. Over time, your cat will learn to adjust to living with his new humans.
Will your cat remember you?
What happens if you visit your cat in his new home after spending some time apart? Will he remember you?
There is no clear scientific answer to these questions. According to some studies, cats tend to have poor short term memory but have good long term memory.
Furthermore, there are anecdotes of cats remembering humans even after years of being apart. While there is no conclusive evidence that your old pet will remember you or not, it is still possible that he might recognize you.
How to rehome your cat
Rehoming a cat is a difficult decision to make. If you have explored all the alternatives to rehoming and the only viable option left is to give him away, there are a few things that will help your cat get a better restart in life.
1. Do not give away your pet for free.
If time is of the essence and you need to find a new home for your pet as soon as possible, it is tempting to give him to the first person who volunteers to get him or to advertise online.
However, both options might put your cat at risk. For example, cats are sometimes used as bait in dogfighting. Although good families are willing to adopt your beloved pet, some people might have ill intent. The latter group does their best to deceive hapless pet owners to achieve their goals.
There is also the possibility that the people who might get your pet are not responsible pet owners and your pet may end up in a bad situation. The last thing that you would want is to give your cat to somebody who will neglect him.
2. Consider asking the help of shelters and rehoming groups
Instead of offering your cat to strangers, consider contacting shelters and rehoming centers for help.
The people who run these organizations love animals and will do their best to screen potential new owners. They do this by performing checks on each potential pet owner using a stringent process that takes into account your pet’s personality and needs.
Additionally, these organizations provide excellent advice on how to facilitate a faster adjustment for the cat that is up for adoption. Some rehoming organizations even allow pet owners to keep their cats until they find a suitable new home.
3. Ask friends or loved ones.
Sometimes, you do not have to give your cat to strangers. Ask around your own network of friends, family, or even co-workers. You might find a person you trust who will readily adopt your cat.
The advantage of this option is that you will attain peace of mind knowing that your cat will be living with somebody you know. You might even be able to visit your cat from time to time.
But of course, do not just give your cat to any person you know. You have to determine if that person is ready for all the responsibilities associated with owning a cat, from the basics like food to the more important ones like spending quality time with your furry little pal.
Giving your cat the best restart
Whatever option you choose for your cat, there are a few things you can do to make things a bit easier for him.
For starters, make sure that you detail everything your cat’s new owner will need to know. This includes his diet, preferences, medical history, and unique quirks.
Be upfront about everything, especially when it comes to his behavior and medical history. Otherwise, you might be putting your pet at risk and blindsiding his new humans.
Finally, give your pet a good head start by preparing his things. If possible, update his vaccines and make sure that he is free of pests like ticks and fleas.
Parting with your cat is not easy
If there is no other option but to rehome your cat, make sure that you do it humanely. Doing so might not lessen your hurt feelings but at least, you can make the transition easier for your cat.
Image: istockphoto.com / Iuliia Alekseeva