If you can't keep your pet

Consider your reasons for not wanting to keep your cat.

Common concerns

If the reason for not wanting to keep your cat is because the cat has behavioural problems, or difficulty adapting to an existing pet in the household, you can seek professional advice to resolve the problem.

If you are concerned about keeping your cat because you are pregnant and worried about Toxoplasmosis — the risk of disease can be easily managed.

Similarly if you are expecting a new baby, you can find information about preparing your cat for the baby's arrival to ensure your cat 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. This could be with family or friends, or if you purchased the cat from a breeder, they may be willing to take your cat back.

The next best option is to surrender your cat to the local council, an animal shelter or 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. In cases where a home cannot be found, euthanasia may be the only option.

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 Victoria.

As a last resort only, if you cannot find a new home for your cat, it is kinder to have a vet euthanase your cat rather than to dump or abandon your cat. If you have an animal euthanased, it must be done humanely. A vet is best placed to do this.

Page last updated: 06 Mar 2024