If you can't keep your cat
Consider your reasons for not wanting to keep your cat
If your reason for not wanting to keep your cat is due to it having behavioural problems, or difficulty in adapting to an existing pet in the household, consider seeking professional advice to resolve the problem. Find more about Cat Problem Behaviours and Training.
If you are concerned about keeping your cat because you are pregnant and worried about Toxoplasmosis, rest assured that the risk of disease can be easily managed. For more information, visit our page on Toxoplasmosis. Similarly, if you are expecting a new baby, you can find information about preparing your cat for the baby's arrival, to ensure it adapts well to the change.
If you still can't keep your cat
In this case you must find an appropriate new home for the cat, for instance, with family or friends. Alternatively, the breeder you originally purchased your cat from (if applicable) may be willing to take your cat back.
The next best option is to surrender your cat to the local council or an animal shelter / rescue organisation. This decision should not be taken lightly. Staff at pounds and shelters do their best to rehouse cats, and do find homes for many of them. Sadly, however, the reality is that there are simply not enough homes available for all the cats. Even though they love animals, the staff have no choice but to euthanase the cats that can't be rehoused – there is not enough room in the pounds or shelters to hold these cats forever. Although this is a heartbreaking task, it is kinder option for the cats than leaving them to suffer a life of disease and neglect in the wild.
Dumping or abandonment of animals is an offence (under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986), and can lead to substantial fines and potential imprisonment. Dumped animals are likely to suffer starvation and disease, which can lead to death. Report cases of abandoned cats or dogs to your local council or the RSPCA.
As discussed above, the preferred course of action if you can no longer keep your cat is to find a new home for him/her, such as with family or friends. The next best option is to surrender your cat to a pound, shelter or rescue organisation. However, as a last resort only, if you cannot find a new home for your cat, it is kinder to have a veterinarian put him/her to sleep (euthanase them), rather than dump or abandon your cat. If you are having an animal put to sleep it must be done humanely. A veterinary practitioner is best placed to do this.