Giving Up a Cat

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Difficulty finding a home for an older cat with behavioral issues

Jan 2015

I am losing hope about finding a good home for our older cat. Could you recommend more resources to contact or know someone who may take pity on us? Our cat started having behavioral issues after our son was born, but we have had him for 11 years. Since our son has cat allergies, we need to find a better home.

We have tried Craigslist, Maine Coon posting, talking to a couple vets and a senior center and several pet stores, etc.. He would do wonderfully in a home without any other pets or kids and with a family that rarely travels (we have another cat). We have spent $$$ on medical tests, so we are doing the best for him that we can. I hate the idea of taking him to a no-kill shelter. In Berk and will travel for a solution

I am sorry to hear about your problem. This is a long shot, and maybe it's not possible for non-Oakland residents, but hard-to-adopt cats are sometimes placed by Oakland Animal Protection Services at the Cat Town Cafe (, which specializes in placing hard-to-place cats. As I said, I am not sure about the availability of this to non-Oakland residents, nor do I know how many cats are given this chance and what the waiting list is like. But it couldn't hurt to ask! Also, here in El Cerrito there is a web group called Nextdoor El Cerrito, and there are lots of animal-loving people is this group -- they post constantly about lost cats and dogs, and they recover stray animals, etc. Maybe there is a similar group in Berkeley? Good luck finding a place for your kitty (we adopted our elderly gentleman when he was ten, so it's not hopeless!). cat lover

When some friends of mine were in the same position a couple of years ago, I made the suggestion that they post a notice at the local senior centers. It worked- they found their older cat a nice home with an older woman who lived alone and wanted a companion. Best of luck! Cece

Have you contacted the Cat Cafe/Adoption Center in Oakland? Wai

Nine lives cat rescue in Redwood City may be able to help. They are a no kill shelter. You probably have to pay a fee since its a non- profit organization.. A great place to adopt a cat for those looking for a cat. They also have low cost spay/neuter service. The website is Anon

I had this same problem about a year ago; it was suddenly solved for me when I was talking to the cat-surrender lady at the Oakland SPCA, who asked where our cat had come from. When I told her Berkeley Humane, she said to call them and ask about ''returning'' an animal. Berkeley Humane listened to my sad story and said to bring the cat in; that if he was deemed adoptable, he'd be considered ''a return''--no questions, no guilt. (He, too, was a senior cat.)

Anyway, our very shy, semi-feral Percy was found adoptable, and Berkeley Humane located a home in two weeks, one where he'd be the only pet and with two kind people to spoil him because he was so like their own late beloved pet.

Not every difficult-cat story has such a happy ending, but if you did adopt from a local shelter, then call them and see if they can help. Breed rescue orgs can also be helpful, and I've always been impressed by the East Bay SPCA's dedication (they are a no-kill shelter):

If you haven't already tried them, there's also a local Maine Coon adoption group:

Good luck. Cat Person (Usually)

Breaking the news to kids about giving away cats

June 2014

Our family of five is moving this summer and we will need to give away our two beloved three-year-old cats. We have one challenge of finding a home for them (separate post) but honestly my bigger concern is how/what we tell our ten year-olds about this. Initially it was my husband and my idea to get the cats almost three years ago, and our kids kept insisting ''our family was already big enough.'' A few months later they kept saying this was ''the best thing we ever did.'' Since then, we have also had another child and done an international move. So, these kids have been through a lot, and they have been amazing little troopers. We are in a ST furnished rental now where it was a small miracle that we got to bring the cats. Our ''A'' plan had been to buy a house and move in by now, but given the crazy housing market, we have had to resort to Plan B and move into a longer term rental. The rental is really great and we are so fortunate but they are adamant about *no pets.* And as much as I love the furry guys, our lives are pretty crazy right now and finding them a new home would provide a little more simplicity (not to mention being able to actually keep the doors open in the house). How do we have this conversation with our ten-year-olds before they head to the grandparents' end of June (we move while they're away) without totally crushing them?? I am hoping someone out there has had a similar experience or has had to have some sort of similar difficult conversation with kids this age??

Help! Heartsick and Nervous Mom

Not giving you advice BUT I will say that I have kept a cat twice in apartments that did not allow cats. I just hid the litter box when the manager needed to come in for a repair or something, and the cat was a "self-hiding" model (ran under the bed whenever a stranger came). If your cats are indoor cats it should not be too difficult. And, honestly, if you are willing to repair any damage they do, I don't see this as wrong in any way. If I told my son he had to get rid of his cat, he'd probably run away from home.

Your posting makes me very sad. I cant imagine the grief I would feel, as a child or as an adult, if someone took away my animal companion without my consent. From what you said, it sounds like your kids really love their cats. Not to mention, the suffering this may cause to the cats. Surely, you could find an alternative housing situation that would allow you to keep your cats. Adopting a pet is a commitment that I wish people would take more seriously. js

Warning: you are not going to like my comment, but you did ask. Pets are family members. How do you explain to you kids that you do not love your cats enough to find a place that will take all of you? Cats are rarely adopted--kittens are. They likely will be euthanized. I was raised with cats and would have been devastated if my parents had given them away. If you do give them away, don't adopt any others because you will have demonstrated that you don't have a commitment to animals. rethink this

I lived through a situation similar to what you describe. I was age 10 when a stray dog wandered into our yard and I adopted it. We suspected somebody had dumped it in the field nearby. Fred was a great dog and quickly fit right in to my family and friends paling around with us all daily. Fred was fiercely protective of all of us around strangers he didn't know. We wondered if he had been a police or security dog as he was a German Shepherd. He faced off with the oil man once and scared the poor guy filling our heating tanks. Another day he bit my grandmother's ankle on her first visit to our house after an illness. The next day I came home from school and Fred wasn't at the bus stop waiting for me. My dad had taken him to the pound citing nobody can keep a dog that bites. I was heartbroken and never really got over that incident having been denied saying goodbye. So don't surprise your kids with the disappeared cats. Tell them you have to find a new home for them so you can have a nice one. Kids are very resilient and they will adapt and accept it. I saw it in my own daughter who was less hurt than I at losing pets. It may be possible for somebody to take the cats temporarily until your situation settles. I did that once for a family sent to New York for two years. I agreed to watch the cats and could keep them if I wanted or return them in two years. I kept them both but their family was close enough to visit them and their kids adapted just fine. No Surprises

Please reconsider. Your kids have been through a lot and they sound like they have a strong bond with your cats. I'm sorry you are in this situation, but in my opinion it's wrong to view pets as ''disposable'' and it's not a good message for the kids. It really sounds like they will be devastated.

I don't fully grasp your circumstances or what lead you to settle on an option that didn't include your pets, but it is truly heartbreaking for your animals and for your children. It's kitten season so your cats will be ''competing'' at the shelter with all the cute kittens too.

Rentals that allow pets are harder to find (less hard for cats than dogs) but we searched in the frenzied market in 2000 (pre-dotcom bust) and found one that would take us and our dog. There was no leaving her behind. She was family! Pets = Furever Family

At the risk of sounding judgmental, I want to implore you to reconsider giving away your cats. I understand that circumstances change in life but your cats are a part of your family, and like it or not, you made that promise to the cats when you brought them home. They are no different in this regard than your children - it's simply more societally acceptable to think of them differently. Your cats are sentient beings who will not understand why they have been abandoned by their family. Just consider the message you are sending to your children that animals are disposable when they are no longer convenient.

And I'm sorry but it is not very easy to ''give away'' cats to a loving home. Have you seen our shelters full of animals that have been ''given away?'' Please reconsider and realize that your cats are your family and they don't deserve to be given away. anonymous

I can't imagine that there is any way to break the news to your kids that you are giving away members of their family (because this is how kids think of their pets). I would recommend talking to a therapist to figure out how to let your kids know that *they* will never be given away. Kids bond to pets very strongly, and they will need to be allowed to grieve and to express their anger at you for making this choice. Also ask the therapist about the long-term repercussions.

I know that life without pets is easier, but when you took these kitties into your home, you made an agreement to take care of them for life, and now you're getting rid of them. Unless there is absolutely no other option, please reconsider your choice. My former husband had a mother who gave away his pets, and he carried that heartache well into adulthood. I hope that you will find them a home (together, if they are bonded to each other) and not just dump them at the animal shelter. I volunteer at a shelter, and it is NOT easy for adult cats to find homes, especially a pair of cats. And, please don't get any more pets unless you are willing to take care of them until they die. pets are family

Mom, Don't get rid of the cats. They are members of your family and have been for many years. Your kids love them and would be BROKEN if you think you have to get rid of them. It will be difficult enough for them to move and adjust to new surroundings. You need to find another rental if the current choice doesn't accept pets. It is the only ethical option for your kids as well as being a responsible pet owner. anon

I don't know how you can sugar-coat this for your children. What you are telling them is that even though you ''love the furry guys'' you are going to get rid of them because it would make your life a little simpler. This is either going to mean to them that ''love'' is conditional- only given as long as it remains convenient. Or that you never really did love the cats, and that it's okay to think of animals as toys to be played with and then discarded.

If you absolutely positively will not consider finding a home for your whole family (which includes the cats that your children have grown to love) there is only one way to go about explaining this to your children. Tell them you made a terrible mistake when you adopted the cats, that you didn't take into account that your family wasn't ready to make a lifetime commitment to an animal, and that you understand how painful this is for both them and the cats. Tell them you are very sorry about causing this situation. Tell them that you hope one day when they grow up they will remember how hard this was (for them and the cats) and that they will make sure they can really commit to 20 or so years with an animal before they adopt one. Please, whatever you do, do not turn this into a nice story for them about how the cats will be so much happier and how it will be better for everyone in the end. Cats and Dogs are Family

How do you explain that you love the beloved cats, but but not enough to find a rental that will accommodate them? I don't know; I guess by saying, ''I love the cats, too, but the rental we took won't accept them so we're getting rid of the cats''. What else IS there to say? -- Wouldn't get rid of my cats!

Can't live with feral cat that attacks me and my daughter

June 2013

I feel very, very, shitty, but I am considering relinquishing our cat to the animal shelter. She is spayed and microchipped. This cat was rescued from the gutter (literally) in 2010 as a young kitten but she has never let go of her feral tendencies. She attacks me pretty regularly and I have scars on my legs and arms. She stalks my daughter and attacks her too. She occasionally likes to be touched, but that's a minority. I have had cats my entire life and I have very fond memories of my cats but THIS cat is a nightmare.

I feel strongly that this cat will never be able to be adopted by anyone, and I feel really horrible about letting her go, because it means that she will be euthanized. My son, especially, will be devastated and my daughter will be sad too even though she has been abused by this cat. I am prepared to provide a little ''white lie'' because I don't want them to be part of killing an animal. I've never had this happen to me before and I feel horrible. I would like to know how to start the process. Feel free to castigate me but I seriously doubt I could feel worse than I already do now. If you want her, you can have her.

Wish I had done this a long time ago

Dear owner of feline terrorist,

Don't feel shitty. Relinquish the cat and try not to beat yourself up. I had this happen to me, too, and I felt badly for a few weeks--but not nearly as badly as I did before I gave her up, when I was daubing at the wounds on my arms and legs & cleaning the poop from under the bed (!), etc. Some cats aren't meant for us and it's OKAY to let one go in a case like this.

Honestly, I feel like the pendulum has swung waaaaay too far in the direction of those who think every animal will make a great pet, and who feel strongly that every animal should be ''saved.'' The truth is, we want pets in our lives that we can love and appreciate, that we enjoy caring for, that bring us satisfaction as we give them a good life. You should NOT have to suffer for having a pet; rather, you should derive enjoyment and pleasure from a companion animal you've chosen. You wanted a pet, you tried to ''save'' one, and it isn't working out. It's okay in my book to let go and try again with a more docile feline.

Maybe a rescue organization would allow you to relinquish this cat on the condition that you rescue a more docile feline from their brood? Just a thought. I think it would be well worth contacting a few agencies (Milo, East Bay Humane Society) to ask about this, as it sounds like you feel guilty about needing to let your cat go.

I know you're concerned that your kids will be devastated--think of a white lie and deliver it. Once their sadness and shock starts to wane, perhaps another kitty who will love and be nice to everyone in the home will enter their lives. There are ALWAYS sweet and kind adult cats who desperately need homes--maybe this would be a way to feel a wee bit better about your decision.

I'm sorry you're in this difficult position. I've been there, I know it's sad and hard. I've had 5 cats in my adult life and all were rescues--only one didn't work out. Thankfully I made room to adopt a different kitty who loved me back. Cat-tacked too.

You are right that taking your cat to the shelter will be a death sentence for her, but I also don't blame you for not wanting her in your house anymore, but there is an alternative.

I am a former cat rescuer, and my first rescue lived in my house for 8 years. I didn't know what I was doing at the time, and she was semi-feral/semi-tame (I could sometimes pet her). A couple years ago, I ''relocated'' her outside in my back yard, and she is so happy there.

To do the relocation, you need to follow specific steps, not just let her outside.

1. You need to find a suitable outside home. If you are a homeowner, with a backyard, this is perfect, especially since your son could still see and visit with her. If not ask your friends, and family if they are willing to have her live as a ''garden cat''. I have even had luck finding people on craigslist that are willing to have a cat live in their yards.

2. The yard must be relatively secure from people, because the relocation procedure involves keeping the cat in a cage in the yard for 2-3 weeks so that they can get used to their new home, and all the other wildlife that frequents it day and night (you might not know about the nocturnal visitors). This way they usually don't get run off by other resident cats who call your yard their territory. During this time the litter box must be cleaned, and the cats food removed every night at dusk, so that it doesn't attract racoons.

3. After you release her, food and water must be provided daily just like when she lived inside (again- it's best not to have the food out at night, so you aren't feeding skunks, racoons, and other wildlife). It is also nice to have a covered bed and feeding spot for when it is raining, and some people also maintain an outside litter box.

Contact a local rescue group like Fix Our Ferals about borrowing a cage for the relocation, and more advice. They have a great web site, and a ''hotline'', - cat lady

We have taken care of numerous cats over the years: neighbor's cats who adopted us, feral cats (I trapped one, had him neutered, and after many years he is the most loving and amazing cat imaginable) and our own cat that we adopted from the shelter. Since your cat is spayed, assuming that she's not killing birds, why not let her become mostly an outdoor cat who you feed every day? Our feral kitty took about 5-6 years to become a nice guy. He is very strong and was pretty scary for a long time. animal lover

I felt compelled to respond because I feel VERY strongly you should not take the cat to a shelter, but I had a very similar situation with a feral cat that would not ''tame''. In our case he was not aggressive (and would not let us touch him), but he would pee everywhere in the house. After a few years of covering everything (furniture, rugs, you name it) with plastic, and having baby stuff pee'd on, enough was enough and we put him outside. Even though he had lived for years in the house, he never tried to come back inside. We live on a quiet suburban street (so I didn't feel *too* guilty), and a garage with a cat-door, and I put a couple of cat beds (one heated) in the garage. Sometimes he used them, sometimes not. He'd come around every day for food. Would this be a possible type of solution for you? Although I generally agree with keeping cats indoors, I've also had some cats that were definitely happier outside. Anon

To the poster considering having a semi-feral cat put down (I don't use the term ''euthanasia'' in such cases, since the cat itself is not suffering--it's simply incompatible with the humans who adopted it) my first suggestion would be to contact a feral cat advocacy org (sites below) and ask their advice. If that doesn't pan out, I'm going to strongly suggest an unconventional alternative (that will no doubt be controversial to other BPN members). First, let's face it--your cat will not get adopted from a shelter. Likely the shelter will not even consider the cat eligible for adoption, and s/he will go straight to the kill list. A shelter death is a horrible death for any animal, but even more so for one who is semi-feral and not fully accustomed to humans--they are in an alien environment, surrounded by alien sounds and smells (and remember that their sense of smell is much more acute than ours--the cat will actually be able to smell death as soon as it enters the building). What about just letting this already somewhat wild creature be wild? Evolutionarily speaking, cats were domesticated much more recently than dogs and most (not all--I'm not advocating everyone dumping their pet cats in the woods or anything) revert to a wild state more easily than most dogs. (Again, I am NOT saying this is ideal--I'm just saying that from the cat's perspective, it surely beats dying in prison, which is the closest human equivalent to a high-kill animal services facility.) My first idea would be that you simply keep the cat outside so that your kids aren't getting frequently scratched and continue to provide him/her with a reliable source of food. If that option doesn't work for you, then I sincerely, as a huge cat lover (who also fully understands the consequences of suddenly introducing a large cat colony into a new environment, but that isn't what we're talking about here--it's one cat, who would otherwise die what is from a feline p.o.v. a very bad death) recommend you release her somewhere far from freeways (but not necessarily far from human habitation, as someone else might be willing to bring her/him into their life as an outdoor cat) and at least give her/him a chance at life in the semi-wild. Think about it--given the choice between death in prison and making a go of it on your own, which would *you* prefer? And humans aren't nearly as naturally equipped for hunting as cats are! Just PLEASE make sure you spay or neuter him/her first if you haven't already, so that there aren't more cats in the same position. A ''TNR'' (trap, neuter, release) program for feral cats can help you with this. Fix Our Ferals: Feral Cat Foundation list of resources: Please don't kill the kitty!

Hi, I feel for you in this difficult dilemma. But I believe that your first responsibility is to the humans in the family. It's not okay to have an animal in the house that attacks people, especially kids. Maybe medication? I've heard that sometimes Prozac can help. The only other thing I can think of us trying to find a farm who might take the cat as a mouser. My sister was able to find a farm to take her similarly problematic cat. But if meds don't work and you can't find a farm to take him, I think you will have to being the cat to the pound. It's really sad. And yeah, I wouldn't let a child know that the cat is likely to die. No need to make kids sadder than necessary. I hate lying to my son but I think it's sometimes called for. If you can manage it by omission that would be best. Maybe your family could have a little goodbye party or something to mark the end of the cat's time in your home. And don't let yourself be immersed in guilt. I suspect that your intention in posting your question was to receive ''permission'' from others that giving up the cat is the right thing to do. Sometimes we all need a little support in making a decision that we already know is right, but hard. I hope others don't give you grief over this. In my mind, at least, you don't really have a choice. Anon

Please don't be so hard on yourself. Research a no-kill shelter and take the cat there since it is not likely that another family would want to adopt it. There are so many loving, gentle cats languishing in local shelters, it is such a shame that you should be stuck taking care of a cat who has no interest in living in your house with you. Please take the cat to a shelter and rescue another cat who really needs and wants a home.

I'm sorry to hear you. Why don't you try the cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy in ''My Cat From Hell''? He gives a lot of tips in his TV show. Check the website Cristina

Have you watched the TV show, ''My Cat From Hell?'' Jackson Galaxy is a cat behaviorist and he is amazing even with the most challenging cats and situations. You might want to write to him before you put your cat down. Good luck! Cat Lover

I started off expecting to feel sorry for the to-be-relinquished kitty, only to laugh out loud at the description of her extreme behavior. Why not get her fixed and just give her the boot outside? At least that way she can hang around if she wants, or not. We take care of a feral and it's definitely a different animal. It also seems fine outside for the most part. And, due to my daughter's allergies we had to move our indoor cat to the garage/outdoors - and she has adjusted. I think a cat that attacks it's people needs to be outside. Bye-bye! Hope this helps. Also a cat person

You have made it clear that you know it is wrong to relinquish your cat and that doing so would necessitate lying to your children (who would be ''devastated'' you say) because you rightly acknowledge that no animal shelter will find a home for him.

Most cats are spooked by the noise, the clumsiness and the pulling and cornering done by children. Children need to respect this. That your cat still has his feral tendences will probably exacerbate his biting habtis. Please don't give him up. Feed him. Let him go outside if he has safe access to outside. And tell your children that touching the cat could lead to a nasty bite. (By the way, it is VERY rare for a cat to cause serious injury to a child even with major provocation.)

You articulate your reservations. Don't try to convince yourself, or let others convince you that euthanization is the right solution. Love my kids and my cats

I love all of my animals dearly but sometimes their behaviors are intolerable. I would turn him into an outside cat - that means you still take responsibility for him, shots, food, id, etc., but you just provide a nice place in a garage or outside. And when the weather is bad you might want to be sure he's as warm as can be - but in my view that would solve your problem. You can also explain that to your children - shows a lot of responsibility but also shows you aren't just dumping your animals or telling a big LIE about where they are going. cat owner

Hi there fellow cat lady,

I'm a little late to the party, but I feel your pain-if you have a lifetime of cats, your'e bound to get a couple of stinkers! I've had it happen a couple of times-one cat HATED our other cats AND all of the humans in our home but ADORED my co-worker (who was catless and childless), and who happily adopted her. Ask around, but be straight about the fact that the cat's a psycho.

Another bad kitty became an outdoor backyard cat who alternated between the garage (catdoor w/bed) and the backyard-cat will need to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated for FLV, etc.

This wasn't my cat, but my neighbor fostered a bunch of kittens (?for Milo) a couple of years ago and all but one ended up socialized and adopted, but the last really feral koo-koo one went to a cat retreat called (i kid you not) Cathouse of the Kings, which the Milo people may be able to help you with. It's a huge ranch with lots of shelter and outdoor space for cats that just arent people kitties.

These are all better alternatives to relinquishing your psycho kitty to a high-kill shelter.

wishing you the best, Lisa

Many people suggested that the most compassionate thing you could do with a severely disturbed cat would be to release it into the wild. I am sure those people had the best of intentions for the life of the kitty, but I would like to strongly urge you NOT to take that advice. Releasing any domesticated animal to the wild (even if its behavior seems feral) severely alters and disturbs the natural environment and ecosystem. (true of ANY pet you would like to relinquish). Cats, in particular, have been shown to significantly reduce the local songbird population. So, releasing a cat into the envronment is like covering your eyes and plugging your ears, and pulling the trigger randomly on other animal species. For that matter, Kitty could also be killed by a local dog, bird of prey, coyote, fox, bobcat, or car. It's like trying (and failing) to find a way to feel better about your need to get rid of an impossible pet, so as not to let yourself think about the domino effects. As if it's better as long as you don't have to think about the dead birds or potential for dead kitty.

''Mousers'' are not needed around here, and it's not likely that a Mouser will go after the local Norway rats, which SHOULD be reduced (though I'm sure they might have some supporters in this community). And from what I read about your Pet From Hell, you shouldn't worry about it except to try to avoid adopting such a cat next time. And making sure it's sterilized.

As for the kids,you'll need a mourning period. You can say this was not a well kitty, and that was why he was terrorizing everyone, and this was not the right place for him or her). Try not to let yourself feel guilty, if you can can manage it. Remember your primary responsibility is to yourself and your family and the environment and the laws, which were put into place for the benefit of all.

What to do with an unwanted cat?

April 2013

I'm struggling to figure out what we should do with our senior cat. She has always been needy and we have been able to mostly accommodate her before having children. Now that we have two young boys, she is driving us crazy. She wakes them up during naps and us during the night with her loud cries. She has a cozy bed and access to food & water at all times so I think it's our environment that is making her unhappy. I believe she would do best with a single person that has an extra room or two so she can retreat to a quiet private place. Maybe someone that would also allow her to sleep with him/her. We are at our wits end and my in laws have offered to take her to a shelter. I can't bear to think she will be put down because we are annoyed by her but keeping her is no longer an option for us. I also don't think anyone would adopt her because she is older, has a sagging tummy and some hair loss. What are our no kill options? How can we give her another chance to find her happy home? Suggestions please! Stressed Cat Owner

These posts always make me so sad. You're right that nobody wants to adopt a senior cat, even a healthy great-looking senior cat, much less one with hair-loss.

Yes, if you take her to the shelter she will be killed. Even no-kill shelters kill many seniors as they fall into the ''unadoptable'' category. I hope that you will re-consider the possibility of keeping your cat. I am assuming you have had her for many years since she is older. This is not the time to give up on her. You are her family - the only people who care about her, the only people she has to depend on.

First, if you have not already, please take her immediately to the vet. She may be yowling all the time because there is a medical problem and she is in pain. Secondly, try giving her some undivided attention each day so she doesn't feel so lonely and abandoned. A ''cozy bed and access to food and water'' is not enough. Our animal friends need attention to be happy. Can you enlist your children in the job of taking care of the cat's need for some attention? Even a 3 year old can be taught how to gently hold and pet a cat.

I sympathize with your situation. I really do. I have lived with several annoying cats (they can be endlessly frustrating in ways that a dog would never dream of) but I also have a child who annoys me and is much too loud much of the time, a husband who keeps me awake with his snoring, and various other problem people I wish I could get rid of... but I can't/won't/don't want to because they are my family. Please don't give up on your kitty. Anon

Wow. I feel so bad for your cat. I want to word this as non-judgmentally as possible because I honestly want you to hear me. There are not many options for this cat to get adopted or live if you bring it to a shelter. Old cats have an impossible time finding homes. I'd like to offer some suggestions for working with your cat so that she can have a decent life. My cat is 18 years old and howls all the time, and I want to strangle him sometimes We have created a nice place for him in the garage that he can access at any time from outside, so when the howling gets to be too much, we put him outside. Please take your cat to the vet to have her tested for hyperthyroidism,which makes old cats howl a lot (and makes them lose hair). In fact, get her tested for everything. There is an amazing place called Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah that is a no-kill facility. Please look them up and call them for advice. Maybe you can drive your poor cat there so that she can spend her remaining years with people who will care for her? There's a show on tv called ''My Cat From Hell'', where this guy comes in to homes and changes cat (and owner) behavior. He literally saves cats from the fate that seems to await yours. Look him up online and see if he will come help your cat. I'm sure there are also animal behaviorists right here in the Bay Area, too; please call one of them to help.

The most important advice I want to give you is to not get another pet, please. Adopting a pet should be a commitment to that pet for his/her life. The fact that you mentioned her saggy belly and hair loss seems a bit superficial. Yes, you have young children, but you will always have life changes, and you can't throw away a pet every time you feel overwhelmed. Besides, what is the lesson you will teach your children by throwing away the animal member of the family because she's gotten to be a little annoying? Please, please think this over. Found a way to work with my annoying cat

I'm guessing you're going to get a little bit flamed with this, and honestly I sympathize because I've got a kitty who's diabetic and it's a drag and expensive to boot. BUT- this is what you signed up for. Nobody wants your aging, annoying cat. Your choices are put it to sleep or buck up and try to make the best of the situation. Jessica

you do not say how old your cat is - I think that is a significant question. You could possibly rehome him at a no-kill shelter such as East Bay SPCA - a private no kill shelter, see if they have space. Yes, if you give him to a public shelter, most likely he will be killed. This is very sad considering he is your pet who you have had for a long time. If I were you, I would contact the foster people (Home at Last, HopaLong, Milo) and get their advice.

Have you considered turning your cat into a mostly outdoor cat? or do you have a garage he could sleep in? I don't really like my cats outdoors either but it seems like some significant changes need to be made if the cat is going to live with you. If they have really nice cats beds and boxes I think they adapt to that relatively well. Some cats even LIKE it. pet owner

Dear Stressed Cat Owner:

I absolutely sympathize with you. My daughter's cat (whom she left with us when she went off to college, for which I could cheerfully throttle her) was taken away too young from his feral mother, and has always been a malcontent. While not a mean animal, he is a real pain to live with: pacing around meowing loudly, ready to be fed at dawn, always demanding more food, attention, etc. I'm sure you can relate, and dealing with that sort of low-level but continual stress must be extra difficult when you also have small children to tend.

Our cat is in good health, but has taken to spraying when his routine is upset--e.g., when I'm out of town--and our vet has put him on a tranquilizer called Elavil that appears to be helping. (It's bitter tasting, so I stick his dose in a little square of cheese.) You might ask your vet about kitty downers--not the greatest solution perhaps, but you need a break from this situation, and so do your family, and so does your cat! Good luck. Another Stressed Cat Person

I would like to suggest a few things that might be preferable to drugging your cat. One, since he is spraying, you might try neutering him and all the problems might just go away, and you might find he is much calmer. Two, consider getting a cat door and letting him play outside. Indoor/outdoor cats are much better adjusted and happier, as cat's prefer larger territories to call their own. Lastly, I would seek out another vet. Any vet who prescribes cat tranquilizers for a non-neutered cat aught to have his license revoked. me wowed!

Need to find a new home for anxious/antisocial cat

March 2013

We are facing the reality that we should try to find a new home for our 9 year old cat, Miles. He started as feral, though we've had him since he was 8 weeks old. He's always been shy/skittish, but it's gotten worse over the years. We suspect this is due in large part to all the changes in our lives -- the other two cats we had (one the same age as Miles and one much older) both passed away, we moved a few years ago, got a dog, had a baby. He's very antisocial -- usually perches in a safe elevated spot or hides when there is commotion or people come over. When he was younger, he would sleep in our bed (with the other cats) and come to be pet as long as we were seated or laying down. He very rarely comes to be pet anymore. We've debated making him an outdoor cat in the hopes he'd be happier, but between our dog and the various neighborhood cats who consider our yard their territory, we worried about his ability to cope.

Now with a second baby on the way and another move coming up, we think it might finally be time to find a new home for Miles. We would love for him to have a better quality of life, and we just don't seem to be able to make him happy. We definitely don't want him to end up in a shelter, so would like to find a new home with someone who understands his needs and can hopefully help him.

Any suggestions of placement agencies or other re-homing services?

Many thanks. Ashley

I'm not sure why you think that your cat would be happier somewhere else. Many cats aren't friendly are don't want human contact. Maybe he's as happy as could possibly be being warm, well fed, safe, and anti-social? I seriously doubt that he would be any more social in a different environment and moving would probably freak him out and make him more nervous. I think that you should keep him and let him live the way that he wants. animal lover

When I needed to find a new home for my cat, I created an e-flier with her best qualities and cutest pictures and my reason (I was moving to another state, not that she was awful) and her requirements (no dogs in the house) and emailed it with a personal message to everyone I knew. I asked them to send it to everyone they knew. Maybe 80-100 people saw it and I got 2 offers. One was good enough to follow up on - a friend of a friend told someone at a party who happened to be a vet. I felt I owed the cat that level of care for such a big change. Ask the moderator for my email if you want to see the poster I made. - She has a good life now

I really understand what you are going through with Milo and what the cat is going through. I know a lot about cats, and what you describe isn't necessarily abhorrent. He's just being a cat. Cat's are inherently anti-social creatures. They are fiercely independent and they don't easily adapt to the commotion and chaos in certain human environments. He seems like this type by his skittishness and only being comfortable when humans get down low. I have a cat with the same proclivity. I can imagine that the loss of his kitty siblings has put a kink in his comfort level and with only humans and dogs in the picture, poor Miles is out of sorts. I feel sorry for him and I wish I could adopt him. You don't mention if he has any territorial spraying habit - which is typical of male cats especially stressed out ones. This is a super hard habit to tame and may be a turn off for potential adopters, and may actually dictate that he live outdoors. Our male cat is like this.

I would recommend you advertise him for a single cat, no kids household. I see cats advertised that way at shelters. This just is best for certain cats. He probably would do best with a real cat person as his owner who would coddle him by letting him have his space. I wish you the best of luck and I hope someone responds with a personalized placement service, like some of the cat rescue organizations out there. Good luck finding him his forever home! cat lover