Find a new home for a pet

If you're facing a financial burden or health issue, unable to find pet-friendly housing or having a hard time managing your pet’s behavior, you may find it difficult to care for your cat or dog. Since many challenges are temporary, it may be possible for you and your pet to stay together.

Consider your options

  1. Could you and your pet stay together with help? Before rehoming your cat or dog, take time to think things through. You know your pet better than anyone, so consider what's best for them—and what's best for you.

    Local organizations may be able to help you and your pet stay together. Reach out to a local pet rescue or contact 211 to explore your options, including advice on pet behavior, training resources, help finding pet-friendly housing, free or low-cost veterinary care and food banks that provide pet food.

  2. Do you need help with your pet’s behavior? The website of the Humane Society of the United States offers guidance on everything from calming a dog’s separation anxiety to stopping a cat’s destructive scratching. Get more tips and resources on training. It may also be helpful to consult a local veterinary behaviorist or training behaviorist.

  3. Check with the animal shelter, rescue or breeder where you got your pet. Some organizations require in the adoption contract that you return the pet to them if you can no longer provide care. Even if it wasn’t part of your contract, the organization or breeder may be able to help you find your pet a new home.

  4. If those options don’t work, reach out to family and friends. Someone who already knows and likes your cat or dog may be willing to adopt them and your pet may be more comfortable with a familiar person. You will have peace of mind knowing your pet is with someone you know.

  5. Post about your pet on social media. If you aren't able to find someone you know personally who can adopt your pet, share a photo of your pet on social media, and explain the situation. A friend of a friend may be able to help.

  6. Set up an online profile for your pet. Rehome by Adopt-a-Pet.com connects pets with people who are interested in adopting them. This free website guides you through the rehoming process step by step, from setting up a profile to signing an adoption contract.

FAQ

How can I be sure my pet is going to a good home?

Arrange for potential adopters to meet with you and your pet. Be honest with them about your pet's needs, behavior and any medical issues. Visit Rehome by Adopt-a-Pet.com for tips on screening applicants and finalizing the adoption.

What kinds of questions should I ask potential adopters?

As you get to know potential adopters, have a conversation with them about what they’re looking for in a pet, what their lifestyle is like, if they have questions about the pet’s medical or behavioral history, and how best to keep in touch if they run into an issue in the future.

Nevie with foster cat Vienna

Nevie and Vienna

Taking funny pictures and sharing stories about a pet can help them find exactly the right home. A friend’s mom saw my photos of a foster cat named Vienna and wanted to meet her. They were the perfect match!

I used to work at my local animal shelter. One day, a woman came into the shelter in a wheelchair, with all her belongings in bags hanging from her chair. She also had a cat carrier. She was experiencing homelessness in addition to her disability, and she wanted help finding her cat, Vienna, a new home. She pulled out a fuzzy cat toy, looked me in the eyes, and asked, “Will she be able to keep her toy with her?”

I decided to foster her cat just so I could tell her that yes, Vienna would have that toy. The goal of fostering is to provide the foster pet with positive experiences so that they thrive in their permanent home, and I wanted to do that for Vienna.

When I foster, I love taking funny pictures and sharing stories about the pets, because it helps them find exactly the right home. A friend’s mom saw a picture of Vienna, came to meet her, and Vienna liked her instantly. I miss Vienna, but I'm thrilled to know how happy she is — and that she got to keep her toy.

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