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Rehoming a Pet – Reality is Unavoidable
11/03

I love my cats… And I can’t keep them

I had a sudden change in my personal circumstances. I’m not going to go into exactly what, as it’s private. The end result of this change is that I simply can’t keep the cats. The why isn’t really important. Everyone who needs to rehome a pet will have a different reason. And most people who rehome a pet aren’t dumping them – they love them, and the reality of their life circumstances make it impossible for them to keep their pets.

I know some people dump pets – I’m not talking about them in this article. My cats are on a waitlist – and I’ll be keeping them for the 4-5 weeks until a place becomes available for them. I’ve also reached out to my Facebook page/community to see if I could find anyone who could take them – and I contacted multiple refuges before I found one that could help.

I was a bit reluctant to post on the Facebook page, and I copped some judgement. Not nice! I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

The reasons that people need to surrender a pet could be many – financial, due to domestic violence, because they are moving and can’t find a rental that will allow pets, due to an illness, a death, or whatever.

You don’t know the person’s circumstances

Even if you think you do, you don’t really know. You are not in their shoes. You can be sure of this: The person surrendering their pets will have agonised over their decision, and they will have only decided to rehome their pet because of the awful reality of their necessity, driven by their personal circumstances.

Here’s a suggestion. Bite your tongue. Swallow your judgements. Airing them is not supportive, and will actually make it more painful and harder for the person who needs to surrender or rehome their pets.

If you want to be supportive, maybe connect and enquire what’s going on, and how the person is feeling about having to rehome their pets. I can tell you that they will be sad. I am. It’s a difficult, stressful, awful thing to need to do.

And I need to rehome my cats. Why I need to is my business, but I can tell you that I thought long and hard about this before coming to my decision – and I believe that most people who need to rehome their pets will do the same.

Be kind, seek for understanding, don’t judge

People who need to rehome their pets need you to be kind. It’s emotionally difficult for them. It’s not something they want to do, it’s something they need to do.

Even if you don’t agree with what they are doing, or their reasons, surely you can respect the fact that they are individual humans who have the right to make difficult decisions about what they need to do.

Be kind. Be supportive. Be understanding, and accepting of their decisions.

I have to tell you, it’s a really bloody hard place to be in, and I know I am making the best choice I can, given my personal circumstances. I’ll be so sad to see them go, and I have found a great refuge that has them on their waiting list.

Comments (6)

  1. 11/03
    By vanessa sainty

    I have done some volunteer work with shelters and know full well the heartbreak that comes with the decision, usually there are no other options and it’s very difficult to say goodbye to a loved one for those involved. Sometimes life presents us with challenges and circumstances that leave few if any other options. You are so right, it isn’t a good thing to be judgemental , no one knows the facts and reasons behind this hard but necessary step.

  2. 12/03
    By Cheryl

    I would be absolutely devasted if i was in your shoes . I have been thru the same thing almost 35years ago , had 2 beautiful dogs all but big ones , and due to marriage breakup , could not keep. Looked high and low searched everywhere , asked everyone , in the endi had to havethem put down , still to this day ithink about what i had to do and still devasted . People need to understand what you aregoing thru , and i highly agree with your points . To some its just an animal , but to other like you and me they are family ???????????????? i certainly hope your fur babies find a fantastic loving home

  3. 12/03
    By Sherry Alexander

    Some people are born judgmental and not nice to be around. We have a dog and are in a retirement village. When my dog passes away … I won’t be able to replace her. The thought of it brings tears. I fully appreciate the heart ache of rehousing a pet.

  4. 13/03
    By Beth

    Anyone with any sense know that this is not a decision made lightly. Best wishes to the cats for quickly finding a new happy home.

  5. 25/06
    By RKay

    My heart aches for you, could never imagine how hard it would be to give up my lot. Tho it s becoming harder by the year to look after them both financially & physically, me & my husband try to keep pulling on reserves to take care of them all. 8 old horses, 1 old rescue doggie & a younger rescue feline. Are both getting on , have a heavy mortgage, but our animals do take priority. Love our rescues so much we don’t have any other life, but hopefully you can find peace & for your loved creatures. A hard decision, at least you are searching for a good outcome for your pets . Wishing you all the best 🙂

  6. 19/03
    By fab

    So interesting, I just helped a friend through an agonizing decision to rehome her two dogs as her circumstances had changed and stress and depression were getting the best of her. I was initially puzzled as to HOW she could make that decision given the love she had for her dogs, but when I heard WHY she was thinking along those lines I began to understand and felt it was the BEST decision for her and for the dogs. BE supportive, kind and understanding..it is so hard for most of us to fathom…

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