How to Get Rid of an Unwanted Pet

For whatever reason you cannot keep your pet and need to get rid of it. Sadly many people go about this in the wrong way. Here are the best options.

For the purposes of this article, I am referring to pets that YOU own… not stray or lost animals, however I have included a small bit about these guys at the bottom of the article.
I will also note that if a person has made the decision that they are NOT the best owner for a pet, it is unfair to encourage them to keep the pet. However because there are more unwanted pets than there are homes, getting rid of a pet is always a risky thing. Put some thought into it before you simply get rid of any pet.

What Not To Do

DO NOT give an animal away as “Free to a Good Home”. Studies have shown that very few of these animals actually get “good homes”. Most never get any veterinarian care. Many never get fixed (spayed or neutered). Many who go missing are not looked for, their owners simply go get another free one. Some serial killers have admitted they started on “free to good home” pets. It is possible for somebody to accept a “free” pet, then sell it to a research lab or use it for snake food (as it is their animal now to do with as they will, dependent on area laws). A “good” owner would buy from a reputable breeder or adopt from a shelter.

DO NOT turn it loose, or dump it in the country. Farmers often shoot nuisance animals, or their own animals fight with the new comer. Many farm pets are not looked after to the extent city pets are used to… Many farm cats are not even fed regularly. You might think all farms need more pets, but in reality this is not the case. Abandoned dogs will run for hours after a owner who has driven away. Dumped pets suffer from the inability to find food or water. They are attacked by other animals, like coyotes. They are at risk for being hit by cars and left suffering for hours without care. In many areas this is a criminal offense known as “Animal Abandonment”.

DO NOT rehome an aggressive or sick pet. If you cannot find somebody willing to deal with its problems take it to the vet for euthanasia. In some areas you could be sued for knowingly passing on a problem pet to another person.

Photo by Author.  This cat was left behind when his owners moved away.  Although I agreed to keep him, and look after him, the owner did nothing to check to see if I was going to be a good owner for her cat. 

What To Do

Be Honest

The first thing you need to do is admit why you are getting rid of the pet. Is it because of a condition on your part or something wrong with the pet? For example, many people get rid of cats because the cat is urinating in areas it should not. This is often a medical issue and should NOT be passed on to another owner. If you are not willing to treat the cat, then you should euthanize it rather than dumping it on another person (as mentioned above), or at least be honest about the problem. A new owner who knows of the issues will be more forgiving than anyone who gets a surprise.

If you got the pet from a Reputable Breeder you probably have a contract requiring you to return the pet to them. This contract is usually for the lifetime of the pet. As such the breeder is the first person you should call. The same applies to people who got pets from rescues or Animal Shelters. Read your contract or call them.

Call your local SPCA, Animal Shelter, or whomever deals with unwanted animals in your area. If you are not sure who that is, call a veterinarian. In some areas there are “no-kill” shelters but these are usually full, and this is not always the best option for an animal. They may sit in a cage for years, never getting a home. Other, more adoptable, animals will be euthanized because of your animal sitting in a cage taking up room. If your pet is a problem animal, do not take it to a no-kill shelter were it will only become more of a problem and get more stressed.

Shelters who do euthanize animals after a period of time give animals a fair chance, if the animal is not adopted after a good period of time, it probably will never get adopted and will be humanely euthanized. If your animal is one which is in high demand, they may even have a waiting list and can help find the pet a new home quickly. Be honest… DO NOT lie and tell them the animal is a stray, this will not help your pet. People are more likely to adopt an animal with a known history and some information, than one who comes in as a stray. Shelters are more likely to put an animal up for adoption of they know something about it. When you give them your pet, make sure you give them a few of its favorite toys and its food as well.

If your pet is older, less adoptable, but is spayed or neutered, you “MIGHT” be able to find it a good home. Ask a small fee, and be willing to do home checks. Do not allow a dog to go to a home without a fenced yard. Make sure any prospective owners either own their home or have landlord permission. Are their other pets in good health? Do not be in too much of a hurry to get rid of your pet that you place it in a questionable home. Do not give an animal to anyone who will not give you their name and phone number.

The Truth

The truth is that unless your pet is under two years of age, or is of an unusual breed, it probably wont have much chance at finding a new owner. Small non-shedding dogs are in demand, but an untrained, older, active, big dog will not have much chance, especially if it is not spayed or neutered. Just because you love it (or maybe you don’t) does not mean any one else will love it. Accept the truth from a shelter if they tell you that your dog (or cat) is not adoptable. It will be less stressful to these animals for you to take them straight to the vet for euthanasia.

The reality is that more animals are born every year than there are homes for.

Stray Animals

If you have a problem with animals in your yard and are trying to get rid of them the only thing you can do (in most areas according to law) is to take them to the pound, SPCA, animal shelter, etc, whomever deals with strays in your area. This is too allow an owner a chance to find them, or for them to be put for adoption to find a new owner, or to be euthanized humanely. Picking up strays and dumping them in other parts of your city or country is generally considered Theft and Animal Abandonment.

In most areas if your neighbours pet makes a nuisance of itself coming onto your property you can also take it to the pound or shelter.

Always think carefully before getting rid of a pet, once you have signed it over to somebody else you may not be able to get it back. To avoid being upset, it is best to plan carefully BEFORE getting any pet.

Related Reading

Tips on Surrendering a Dog to a Shelter

Tips on Surrendering a Cat to a Shelter

What Happens to Free Kittens

The Reasons Why People Abandon Their Pets at Shelters

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User Comments
  1. Tc and Bj

    On February 27, 2008 at 7:17 am

    We gave our home to a beautiful Cocker Spaniel that we got from the Dog’s Trust 18 mths ago. She sadly had to be euthanised due to being very poorly 2 mths ago but she had been dumped by her previous owner in a remote village. She suffered terribly until being picked up by the Dog Warden & taken to the Dog’s Trust. We may not have had her for very long but we gave her a loving home and made her last months happy ones.
    We adopted 2 cats recently from the RSPCA that also had been dumped in a remote village. They were found in a cardboard box.
    What drives people to dump their pets is beyond us! It is unnecessary & extremely cruel.

  2. JC

    On May 7, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Wow this artical is not very truthfull. I do not believe that all these animals should be put to sleep without really trying. I think this is a cruel artical that is giving the message kill your pets!

  3. Anon

    On July 22, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    I would like a source for these “studies” that were conducted about getting animals a new home.

    And to euthanize a cat with a peeing problem right off the bat? That’s horrible. Not all peeing problems are life threatening.

  4. B Nelson, author

    On July 25, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I have writen a whole article on how to help cats with litter box issues…

    I am NOT suggesting to euthanized a cat because it is peeing.. however I worked at a shelter and MANY cats were “DUMPED” because of peeing, I am only saying that if you are going to dump a cat for this issue, you should euthanize it, rather than pass a problem on to some unsuspecting person, OF COURSE you should try to fix the problem first. I know first hand, a cat taken to a shelter because of this, will NOT do well, shelters euthanize hundreds and thousands of healthy cats every month already, to me this is NOT a good reason to get rid of a pet, saddly it is a common reason, none the less.

  5. Laycee Webb

    On May 1, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    We have a female boardcolly mix she is about 5 years old and we need to find a good home for her we just have to many dogs in this small house she loves to cuddle she love kids and adults and is ok with cats i dont know what to do i need to find a home for her…

  6. Brenda Nelson

    On May 2, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    to Laycee Webb #5
    An adult Border Collie is going to be very difficult to rehome, contact shelters and rescues to see if they have anyone looking for a dog, is she spayed? if so this may increase her chances.

    If you have too many dogs, perhaps she is one you should consider keeping and think about rehoming one of your more adoptable ones? good luck.

  7. martinelli

    On May 15, 2009 at 7:48 am

    We have two black cocker spaniels that we are wanting to find a good home for. Our three children love the dogs, but my husband and I do not feel like we as a family spend enough time with them because of activities that we are all involved in. The dogs spend most of the day outside, and love to have the attention that they so deserve. We do not get home until around 8:00 each night, and we just feel that the dogs shoud be in a home that the owners spend more time with them. Can anyone make a suggestion of where, or what I can do with the dogs. They are 19 months old. Thank you

  8. Brenda Nelson

    On May 15, 2009 at 10:15 am

    to martinelli

    It would be easiest to tell you to honor your commitment to your pets, and cut back some of your other activities. Contact the breeder you got them from – most breeders require you return an unwanted pet to them. Or contact a Cocker breed rescue group. Contact your local shelter to see if they have a list of people looking for a cocker. If your dogs are friendly they will probably have a good chance at being adopted through the shelter – who can screen new owners better than you can, make sure you give a donation to help the shelter help your dogs, rather than looking to “sell” them for a profit.
    to be blunt – next time think more before you get a pet – they really are a LIFETIME commitment.

  9. Mac

    On June 12, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    We have a 4 year old Blue Heeler Cross. We’ve tried to train him but he is way to hyper. We can only keep him outside or in our basement because all he does is pee and poop in our house and chews everything up. We had to rip up our whole entire kitchen floor because he peed so much underneath the fridge and stove that the tile literally came up. It is not a medical problem rather than a “habit” of his. We let him downstairs in my daycare room one time the other day and he pooped on the rug and peed literally inside the toy kitchen for the kids and the kids found it. I want to get rid of him its been 4 years and no change. Hes way too much for our family. We didnt research him enough. Any suggestions??

  10. Brenda Nelson

    On June 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    to Mac, comment #9
    your dog isnt hyper, he is SMART – you are correct, you didnt research the breed nearly enough.

    here are a couple of links that might help

    your dog needs a home with more time to take him to agility or something more than he is getting now. Good Luck

  11. janet

    On June 13, 2009 at 8:07 am

    My mother passed away and left 2 eleven-year old cats. They are obviously stressed and have taken to peeing all over the house. We keep the litter box clean every day, but I think there is more to this problem than that. We need to find them homes, but wouldn’t pass them on without revealing this problem. Is there any way to stop them from doing this and what suggestions can you give to finding them a home. Thank you.

  12. JK

    On June 15, 2009 at 9:23 am

    My husband did research on dogs for over a year and finally went and got one, we have a 3 month old boston terrier and just dont think we made the right decision. The dog is uses my 4 year olds body as a chew toy and we are even starting to think our son is allergic to him…what do we do??? I am so concerned for this dog and for my family!

  13. kathy

    On July 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm


  14. lala

    On July 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    This is true, but no one should GET a pet if they can’t take care of it.
    Come on, people, morals!

  15. Pettipurr

    On July 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    We are looking for home for great cats that need a loving home, different ages, very friendly. NY please email if you’re interested in one or multiple, a small fee will be charged because we love our pets and need to know they will go to a good home as we can no longer keep them.

  16. Kathy

    On August 13, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I am a Community Organizer in the Parkside area of Camden,New Jersey. We ran an article in our neighborhood paper, asking neighbors to please “not turn unwanted cats loose in the neighborhood, since there are so many trays running around already, but to please bring them to me, and I would give them to the SPCA. Well I ended up with a house full of Cats. When I called the SPCA to turn them in, they said “no way”. They wanted me to pay $78.00 for each of the Cats. I cannot afford that. So I got stuck with all these Cats. I can’t hardly feed them, and I cannot afford any medical care at all for them. Every room in my house is loaded with Cats. I tried to keep the boys from the girls, but it did not work, and they have reproduced. I have so many I’m not exactly sure of the count right now. Every penny I make, goes for Cat food or Cat Litter. They are destroying my house, and all my time is spent cleaning up behind them. Some have that upper respertory infection in their eyes, and I’m sure will need to be put to sleep. Where can I turn? What do I do? I am desperate. I do want to put them on the street, since that would defeat the purpose. I need help and fast.

  17. Brenda Nelson

    On August 13, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    You should have talked to the SPCA first before you advertised that you would take peoples pets and give them to the shelter.
    Or told people to take their unwanted pets there first themselves.
    I worked at a shelter and we always accepted peoples pets even if they couldnt pay. But every shelter is different.

    you need to keep the females and males seperate, fix one or the other when you can
    but although you had good intentions you ultimately also got yourself into the bad situation.
    give the kittens to the shelter – they have a better chance at finding homes.

  18. michelle

    On December 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    its easy saying you shouldnt get pets if in the end you have to get rid of them but life changes i have 2 white boxer dogs and at the moment im concidering giving them a new life and family we find it so hard to spend the time they need they are the best pets in the world so that why i think i should give them a new life they deserve more

  19. John

    On December 30, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    We have cats that we have owned for over 10 years and now my brother who was living with my dad is coming to live with us with his dog. We cannot afford nor do we have the room for 2 cats and a dog and since it’s my brother’s dog we will have to get rid of them .Nobody wants them as they are too old and even if they did they are so used to being with us they would probably run away. We have decided to put them to sleep as this would be the best option for both of them. But alot of friends are saying it’s not right although the bottom line is they have to go and to sleep is the only option. At the end of the day a family member comes before pets. And my brother will only come to live with us with the dog . We have a small 3 bed house and the cats and dog dont get on it would be too stressful , expensive and time conuming . What do you think ?

  20. Brenda Nelson

    On December 31, 2009 at 11:38 am

    to John above.
    I was confused if you were thinking of putting all 3 pets to sleep? I feel this is not the right solution, and may be one you regret.
    The dog is your brothers responsibility. He should look to rehome it, old dogs (especially obedient ones) have a fairly good shot at finding homes. look for a nokill shelter ideally.
    2 cats have plenty of toom in a 3 bedroom house. I have 4 cats myself in a 3 bedroom house.
    Some people look at animals as family members too, and would be horrified by your actions for these purposes (as opposed to health issues in the pets, causing them pain or discomfort).
    So I suggest rehoming the dog, keeping your cats. You said you cannot afford the dog and cats, but the dog isnt yours to afford or not afford, it is your brothers responsibility. He took on that commitment.
    Good luck.

  21. Misty Wood

    On December 31, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I am in agreement with B Nelson above – I have rehomed 2 wonderful cats. Putting an animal to sleep rather than re-homing them is NEVER an option as far as I am concerned!

  22. Darla Beck

    On January 1, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Very interesting article.

  23. Lisa

    On April 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    We have to move and cannot afford to buy a home so we must rent. We are moving to a small area and finding someone who will rent to us is impossible. We cannot find ONE place to rent. No one will take 2 cats and 2 dogs. We cannot afford to offer to pay a large monthly fee per animal to a landlord either. We are at a loss as to what to do. They are all older pets and mean the world to us. I am just sick over it. We have never rented and I had no idea how hard it would be. It is very stressful. No relatives can take them and I am so afraid of giving them to a stranger. Plus two not very adoptable. The other two which might be adoptable belong to our daughter and she does not want to give them up, she has special needs and they are great therapy for her and she is too attached to make her give them up. We just love our pets and are just sick over this.

  24. Brenda Nelson

    On April 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Lisa – this is a sad situation. start looking for rescue groups that specialize in older pets. if any are purebreds their breeder will want them back or there are some purebred rescues worth checking out.

    if your daughter is disabled there are laws saying that they can keep therapy pets, at least in the USA there are.. there was a link on this site about it too.. somewhere..

  25. mary bunch

    On August 18, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I have a small dog she is the best but i cant have her due to property regulations she really needs a home my chicwawa

  26. ViolentCannibal / Kelly Lenigan

    On January 2, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I don’t think a animal should be euthanized just because it doesn’t get adopted. It’s just like killing a newborn human baby because people think it’s ugly. I will go with the no-kill shelters no matter what you all say. :) Apparently I’m the better wiser person here.

  27. Brenda Nelson

    On January 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    to Violent Cannibal above.
    The problem is that no-kill shelters reject animals when full.
    we cannot warehouse aniamls forever there is not the space, so if keeping an unhealthy one in a non-kill shelter often means that MANY healthy ones are turned away, until that one dies.

    The problem is that more cats are born every year than there are homes for, we cannot save them all.

  28. Fed Up

    On February 12, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I’ve had a cat for about 10 years. We’ve given it a good home and timely veterinary care. The problem is that she pees everywhere and she’s flat out dumb. Example: she falls asleep on the window sill and falls off. Immediately, she gets right back up on the window sill and repeats. Once, she broke her tail doing it. She still does it.

    She was hit by a car once in her life and we kicked down ridiculous amounts of cash to patch her up.

    Anyway, she just peed on our brand new sectional couch that we got for Christmas. It’s about the nicest thing I’ve ever owned and she ruined it. Usually she’ll do it on the bathroom floor. I’ve known her long enough to know that once she pees somewhere, it will happen again, training, cat products , and vet visits notwithstanding. This cat will never set foot in my house again and I’d love to pass her on to an owner whose tolerance hasn’t reached its limit. I’ll only do it humanely and responsibly though. End of story/rant.

  29. Brenda Nelson

    On February 13, 2011 at 1:00 am

    to Fed Up
    Read this

    Being hit by the car maybe caused brain damage.
    Sorry about the problem.

  30. jo jo

    On February 15, 2011 at 10:55 am

    unfortunately things change we got this beautifull dog german shepard and rottie cross over 6 years ago due to family break down i am having to think about putting him down because i cant get a house that will allow pets i dont know how to tell the kids i may have to lie to them.

  31. Stephanie

    On May 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I have a 13 month old long hair calico that I can no longer care for, where can I take her to find a new home??

  32. Brenda Nelson

    On May 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    if she is spayed you might be able to give her away but I suggest contacting your local animal shelter first because they can screen people better than you can.

  33. Bella

    On May 6, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I currently have 2 dogs that are my boyfriends, he hasn’t been home in days and not sure if he is ever coming back. I want them to have a good home, i care for them but its tough with me working all the time and he is not here to care for them.

  34. Brenda Nelson

    On May 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Bella, the dogs are not yours to get rid of, you can try contacting him and if you must you can take them to the shelter and surrender them as abandoned – he would have 72 hours to claim them.

    I would try talking to the boyfriend to get his permission first. IF the dogs, and call the shelter to see if the dogs are a type that is likely to get adopted – in most shelters well trained, dogs, young, of certain breeds, are more adoptable than others.

  35. Ashley Kemmerer

    On May 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I adopted a cat from a shelter a few months ago. He’s about 2 years old. He’s very curious – he climbs everything! He also claws the furniture & tears up my curtains. I don’t like any of this, but I haven’t found a way to break him of it, so I’ve sort of just accepted it. I’ve tried yelling, clapping loudly & spraying him with water – but he’s pretty stubborn & doesn’t seem to mind any of it. The real problem is that he bites & scratches me all the time, for no apparent reason & he almost always draws blood. He stalks me & attacks repeatedly. I literally have to hide from him & cover my body with a blanket or something to stop him from attacking. At this point, I’m sort of afraid of him. I don’t know what I should do. I don’t want to take him back to the shelter because I’m afraid he’ll be euthanized & I don’t want him to die. He seems like he may be better suited for a farm or something as he’s so aggressive, but I also don’t want him to be attacked by a wild animal or go hungry. I’m at my wits end – please help!

  36. Brenda Nelson

    On May 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Is your cat neutered? if not this will help.
    also consider the food he is on, some cats have bad reactions to food with red food dye.
    You can also provide a cat with their own cat tower – put cat nip on it for them to be motivated to use their cat tower for scratching.
    Get honeysuckle toys too.
    He might want a friend, but maybe that would be too much for you. Farm cats dont always have good lives, many are not even fed, but if you can he might enjoy having an outside cat section or enclosure built onto your house…

    really neutering is first if not done. Good luck

  37. Cat Lady

    On May 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Hi, I have a cat that started peeing on the couch about a year ago, I have tried everything, a new couch, multiple litter boxes, constantly clean the litter, new couch, and still she insists in peeing there, I just spent over $200 on the vet who treated her as she had a infection, I gave her all the meds and still nothing, yesterday I decided to confine her in the patio, there’s warm shelter , water, food and a litter box, plus I went there several times to pet her and show her some love, and just right now I saw her spraying the patio….she is peeing even there, in her little area, I just think that I don`t know what else to try, I want to find her a good home, but think that will be so hard, please any advices!?!?!

  38. Brenda Nelson

    On May 14, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    To Cat lady, it sounds like your cat has issues and is upset. Spraying is not normal for a female cat. You didnt say if she was declawed or not, that is a very common reason for this behavior.

    To give her to somebody else might not be good – if they are not aware of a potential problem they could punish her for these actions, making her suffer.
    So I really do not know what else to tell you, did the vet recheck to make sure the infection is gone?

  39. Elizabeth

    On June 2, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Where to start… I adopted a female cat, Soha, to keep my male cat, Leon, company. She was timid to start with as expected but three years later she is semi wild. Leon is constantly getting away from her because of her nervous behaviour; she cannot stand still and has to move back and forth constantly. She bolts when we, my husband and I, go anywhere near her, its so bad that she bolts from the cat litter box that she is currently using if we happen to pass by. If we happen to bump into each other, she ends up scratching our legs in an attempt to get away. I end up squeezing myself to the wall to avoid being scratched. She hides under the washing machine for hours until she can’t walk straight from the stiffness, its so pitiful to watch her. She used to hide under the bed for 18 hours straigh,t so we got a bed with underneath strorage to deter her, now she uses the closet.The vet says there is nothing medically wrong with her. She will demand to be pet if I lay down in bed but she will bolt if I move any body part other than the petting hand. I know they would kill her if we gave her away, I would love it if she would not act neurotic and scared all the time….what to do

  40. Elizabeth

    On June 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Additional information, both my cats are spayed and neutered.

  41. Brenda Nelson

    On June 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Elizabeth it is hard to know what the problem is, but I must ask is she declawed? This is a VERY common behavior in declawed cats. Also look at her diet, remove any food that has food dyes red or yellow. Go to a natural health food store and get Bach Flower Rescue Remedy it might help too.. good luck.

  42. jodi

    On August 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    We have a lhasa apso puppy. He’s not quite a year old. we have had him fixed and he is up to date on his shots and other medical needs. He’s absolutely adorable and very loving however, I am a single mother and i recently decided to go into nursing school. I decided this after i got the dog. Now I dont feel as if the dog is getting the attention he deserves from my little family and he spends alot of the day alone at home by himself. I havent been able to find a family to take him in and I just want him to be happy. I dont know what to do next.

  43. Brenda Nelson

    On August 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    to Jodi
    In most areas small dogs are in demand, but you do need to be careful because people may also want a small dog to use as a bait dog for training a fighting dog. Call your local shelter to see if they have people waiting to adopt a small dog. If you got the dog from a breeder you can probably return it to them.
    Or you can adopt a cat to keep the dog company. Lhasa Apso are an easy going breed, that might be okay at home if you have a pet companion.
    Good luck.

  44. none of your bizz

    On August 4, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Wow this could vary well be the most truth I have seen in a artcal about animals let alone “cats” I mean I had not thought of that that serial killers would go to someone for that first kill that seems really creepy and I just could not think of that because I would never have thought that way. I can not believe anyone would do such a thing take advantage of someone let alone a cat If I had someone do this to me and knew what he wa to do with it I do not care if he was like dexter or not he would be goign down. I am like him really just I don’t go round killing people I seek justice where no one is willing a able I do not care what the law states I will do what is needed to help the poor and the living and or dead in findind peace as long as it is just and right and true. That is all.

  45. Tina

    On August 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

    my mate has a cat and got her three years ago, well me and the mate through those three years have been at odds over the cat as the cat is excessively annoying , and we cant even set on our sofa in peace and quiet without this cat always constantly up under us and crawling around all over , its driving me up a wall and has been since she was brought here 3 years ago. I have tried to persuade my mate to get rid of this cat for these reasons, but the mate refuses to do anything about the cat such as teaching her to stop and telling her NO at times, what do I do about this big problem?

  46. Brenda Nelson

    On August 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    If you have your mate get rid of their cat they will always hold it against you. I could never have gotten rid of my pets for my husband, and he never would have asked me to.
    If you are not a cat person I can see the issue, but it almost sounds like jealousy, you are upset that the cat comes between you and your partner. Your partner should try to resolve this by encouraging the cat to let you have some time together, perhaps even by patting it for a short time then putting it down – I wonder if you got another cat would that make things better, perhaps what is bothering you is just that your partner had the cat and its not one you picked together – if you like cats, perhaps adopting a second one – one for YOU would help. Otherwise its something you have to work out with your mate, I am sure they feel bad for the cat knowing you dont like it, but they have loved the cat for years and feel it wont get a home at its age

  47. Bella

    On August 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    If I am unable to contact my now ex-boyfriend ‘ the owner of the dogs’ what can i do then? I do like the dogs however i do not have the time to care for them and i want to move from my present location where dogs more then likely are unable to come with me.

  48. Brenda Nelson

    On August 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm


    If you cannot take the dogs with you and cannot get ahold of their owner, you must surrender them to the local animal shelter and give the shelter as much information on the dogs and give your exes name too. If he does not claim them hopefully they are adoptable.
    If you do keep one, keep the one that is least adoptable.

  49. Tina

    On August 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Hi, well thats just what i have asked my mate to do is sometimes just put the cat down at arms length and to let me and the mate have a little free time together in peace, I am a cat lover and we have 3 other cats whom we have had a long time that I just adore and are no trouble at all, but the reason I wrote for this advice was I have openly talked with my mate alot over this problem with the mates (4th)cat, but the mate does not want to seem to do anything to remedy this situation at all…? and its caused us many arguments over what could have simply been a simple solution like you mentioned.

  50. Brenda Nelson

    On August 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Sorry I cannot be of more help Tina, this is more of a relationship issue than a kitty one! On one hand I cannot help but be sympathetic to your partner for feeling so loyal to the cat, but also I understand where you are coming from too.

    Anyhow hopefully things will smooth down, if this is a new relationship perhaps the cat is jealous of you too!

  51. Angela

    On September 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Brenda,

    You seem extremly knowledgable about pets and I think its great that you have been responding to this post for 2 years. I have 2 cats and have had the oldest one for 8 years. When she was younder she was spayed and declawed. Her and the other cat get along great (except for some fighting which could be more playing). The problem with her is a common one. She pees everywhere except the litter box. She also wont poop in the litter box but only does that on the bathroom floor next to the box which doesnt botther me as much. My other cat only goes in the litter box. I have been treating her for this and other things for at least 5 years. Other than the peeing she used to lick out all her fur so she was completly bald on the sides and stomach. She doesnt do this as much anymore but the peeing has gotten worse. When I say I treated her I mean at the vet with many different medicines. I have a list of 6 meds she has been on since the problems started. I dont know what to do. I cant afford to keep taking her to the vet as I am a single mom and live paycheck to paycheck as it is. Yesterday she peed on my daughters brand new backpack and I am just fed up. I called the local non kill shelter a couple of years ago on advice for this problem and they suggested having her put to sleep. Im sure you can tell I did not like the idea as I still have her. I am moving next year and getting married and I cant go on like this anymore. Do you have any suggestions for me? I am not against trying to find her a home at this point (but really the chance of that is slim to none) and I have consideded having her put to sleep. I hate that I would even consider this but I wonder if she is beyond help at this point.


  52. Brenda Nelson

    On September 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Angela sorry I didnt write sooner its been a busy week.

    THisi s a very hard problem to beat and I would say it is totally due to the cat being declawed, I wish vets would tell people that this is a very common side effect.
    This other link might help

  53. Anthony

    On September 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Brenda please help,

    My sister is a sigle mother of two and has a female cat that is not spayed this cat got pregnant and had 5 kittens not once but twice…now my sister has 11 cats at her small one bedroom apartment and the whole place stinks…Also she has a pitbull about 5 years old and is the sweetest, kindest, most gentle dog i have ever met. Well, In the past year she has fallen into some financial trouble and can no longer care for these animals. I was over there recently and the dog is missing patches of hair and looks malnourished..She can not afford to take the dog to the vet. What should she do? Would having the animals put down be the best solution? Is there somewhere she can bring the animals?

  54. Brenda Nelson

    On September 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

    to Anthony.
    Your sister should not have let the cat outside if it was not spayed.
    Putting them down is not fair either, she should contact her local shelter and surrender some of the pets to them, keeping the older animals as those are the least adoptable. She should only keep same sex cats and should Not let them outside.

  55. Nora

    On November 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Brenda: Great article and some thoughtful advice. In these rough financial times, people who never thought of surrendering a pet are being forced to do so. My situation is slightly different – I inherited the cats and dogs, but not the house. The owners (family) let me rent the house because there were too many to have in an apartment. Now they want to sell the house and I cannot afford to buy it. Because the nine cats and two dogs are between 10 and 18 years old, they are not the most adoptable. Mother’s vet reluctantly suggested euthanasia. There is possible solution with a rescue for seniors, but I would like to see where the guys are going. Am I being too picky? Why aren’t I happy that there is even a chance for some of them? And how will I choose the two cats and one dog that hopefully will stay with me?

  56. Brenda Nelson

    On November 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    What a shame the person did not will you the house too!
    Anyhow your choice may just be to keep the ones that do not get homes.
    Some animal shelters adopt pets to seniors for free, you can contact shelters in your area to see if they have waiting lists for people wanting senior pets and that might help you.
    Yes – if you are rehoming the pets yourself – you have every right to ask to do a home check, if a person says NO then you can refuse them, but if you give the pets to a shelter the shelter will not let you check.
    It will be very tough finding homes for older pets, good luck.

  57. Ashley B

    On November 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I have adopted many dogs and cats in my life and have taken the good with the bad. I have a cat now, however, that we can no longer live with. He was abused as a kitten, so he was always high strung and skittish. I had him for four years before I got married. We moved into my husband’s house six years ago, and he has never recovered. At first he just peed on my husbands stuff every now and then. Then it escalated. When my daughter was born 3.5 years ago, he just went into peeing overdrive. He now pees on multiple things a day, including the dining room table. It’s out of control. I’ve tried behavior therapy and giving him his own special territory in the house. I’ve taken him to the vet. Nothing works. The fact is that he wants it to be just us again, but that’s not possible. Shelters won’t take him, and he’s not adoptable. How do I have him euthanized in a humane way? I don’t want him to be scared. Do vets do this? Do you just go in and say, “Will you please kill my cat?” I’m bawling just thinking about this, but I don’t know what else to do.

  58. Brenda Nelson

    On November 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    hi Ashley B
    Sorry about your cat. It is true that some do this to say they are mad at you for changes. This link might help.

    Otherwise you phone the vet up and ask to make a euthanasia appointment, you should plan ahead because the vet will ask what you want to do with the body, some vets offer cremation.

  59. Mo

    On December 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I’m looking for advice. Our 10.5 year old Shepherd-chow male has been acting differently for the past several months. We are losing trust in him. Out of the blue he bit (not hard or really aggressively) a person he is familiar with as he walked by. He pushes people and will knock us down to get what he wants now (out of the house, food, garbage can, etc).We have three grandchildren who are at our home very frequently and he acts very strange around them. He intentionally runs into and knocks over the babies and toddlers. He paces around the house and barks like hes irritated. Now when the kids are over, we put him outside or blocked off in another room but he goes nuts! He barks nonstop and will destroy anything he can. Its awful! He bites at us when we try to clip his nails now. He’s just different.
    My husband insists we find a new home for him and I just don’t know what to do. He has hip dysplasia and can’t run anymore but is otherwise in very good health. I don’t know if re-homing is truly the right thing. I am terribly sad.

  60. Brenda Nelson

    On December 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm


    Rehoming the dog is probably not a good idea, this dog might be dangerous.
    Some chows are known for some unpredictable behaviors, he could have a tumor pressing on its brain causing the aggression, or pains associated with age.
    If you wish to rehome your dog you need to disclose all the information, but you might need to consider euthanasia as an option as terrible as that sounds, it you took the dog to a shelter most would euthanize it anyhow (a few no-kills might keep the dog, but these may be hard to find).

    Its not an easy decision, but you have to weigh the pros and cons for your family and dog, you can talk to a vet to who will be honest.

  61. lizzy

    On December 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    i think if you have a dog and it is too annoying for you and you dont have a backyard or anything go to your relatives and ask if they want it.thats what i did with my dog.i gave him to my sister who lives a couple miles away so i can visit him whenever and she lives up in th mountains and has one big backyard for him and another for her horses. he is very happy there,especially since we meet him once every 2 weeks. we got another nicer puppy and me and my husband and children are very happy. :)

  62. garry

    On December 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

    have 2 corn snakes about 1yr old that we don’t want anymore , have the starter tank and ev thing you need to keep them , you will need to get a bigger tank as they will need one soon , don’t want anything for them , if you want them they are your so let me know. cant travel they will need to be picked up , united kingdom , southampton , bitterne…… get back to me on 07821778507

  63. waltersdj

    On December 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Hey, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on how to go about rehoming my Alaskan Malamute named Roxy. She’s two years old and a brilliant loving dog. However, she’s not good with strange children. Its a massive issue for us as my niece and nephew have started bringing friends from school home. There’s no problem around children that she knows and she’s fantastic with my 1 year old son.

    I’m really upset to get rid of her and i’ve tried everything I can to avoid it. (I’m crying writing this). I know that the article states that dogs over two wont usually find a home but i’ keen to try. Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

  64. Lachlan

    On January 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    For all of you who are saying that euthanasing an animal is cruel, I respect your opinion, albeit in my opinion eithanising animals merely is the best option. As the article above has stated quiet boldly, there are more pets then their are homes. It would be better to quietly die then to have to live in a cage only a few centimetres larger then you for years on end.
    Also the euthanisation is far better then the slow painful death that most of these animals would normally endure.

  65. Trish

    On February 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    If anyone knows of a no-kill shelter in west-central ohio currently accepting new dogs, please post some contact info. Otherwise I have no option that to have my dog euthanized. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  66. tom

    On April 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm


    I have a 14/15yr old Labrador, and she just keeps peeing when she laying down, also pooing too, trouble is she dose not know she doing it, it now becoming to much for my partner to handle and I’m not around all the time, as I work away, the vet thinks she may have a touch of dementia, as its not common for a animal to lay in its own mess, I’m unable to be there 24/7, my partner works, so for 4hrs is not around, she came home the other day and she was covered in wee and poo all over her face where she had slept in it, I’m at a Crosse roads as to what to do the vet says it is a very common reason that people come in and have them euthanized. This is no easy decision to make, I wish I could take care of her, but do I find her a new home, but who going to take a dog so old and with the problem she has, she just give you a blank look every time she done it, as if to say what have I done now, I feel I have no other choice but to do the latter, if anyone knows of a home that takes old dogs with her problem please let me know. As I am finding it hard to take her to the vets for the inevitable end that I feel she may have to have.

  67. chilli bean

    On April 29, 2012 at 10:10 am

    What really gets to me is the amount of people on Web Forums and the internet who think they have the right to criticize, and put EVERY person who can’t cope with an animal into the same box!
    Yes, there are many terrible, nasty vicious people in the world who do not give a damn, but not all animals that are abandoned are by heartless owners, some owners have many troubles that you and I probably will never have to experience in our cosy lives, money problems, and very often cruel family members etc, the list is endless, and for some people the time and energy caring for the animal pushes them into a mental breakdown!
    Think before you speak people, how can you slate these people when you know nothing.
    I am a counsellor, and have so many broken hearted people come my way with the most horrendous problems in their lives, don’t JUDGE.

  68. Greg

    On July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Excellent article. Thank you for taking the time to write it. Very helpful and informative.

  69. Jasmine Holowe

    On July 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    This article can change peoples lives in a postive way. But I don’t agree with having to kill other animals.

  70. Ed Levine

    On July 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Your comments about leaving pets in the country is absolutely incorrect for cats.

    We adopted a 2 year old fully domesticated housecat that was not behaving with our other animals and so we took her to our grandparents house in a rural area and set her free.

    She was never specifically fed or given water and she lived there for almost 10 more years before we stopped seeing her around the farm.

    It is FAR more humane to let a cat go free in a rural environment where it has a chance to live out its natural life than to take it to the pound where it will most likely be euthanized.

  71. ohiodale

    On August 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I had a cat that urinated on my floors. I took him to the vet and tried many things to solve the problem. I ended up having him euthanized because no pet is worth ruinning my floors and putting up with the smell. I since had all my floors replaced and I have two new cats.

  72. Wendy

    On August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I have a pitbull/miniture austrailan shepherd cross and one of her puppies!! I don’t know what to do!! My daughters dad had this dog and let her get knocked up and then let them all get mange and now I have $220 vet bill for the two dogs and nothing is working on them to keep them from scratching and getting open wounds that keep getting infected!! I’ve done antibotics from vet, shampoos etc., and they’d get better then worse again!! I live on SSI I can’t afford this anymore does anybody have any ideas on what to do with them??? I don’t want to get rid of them I want them healed!!! I bath them daily in the shampoo that the vet gave us but it’s physically killing me as well!! HELP ME FIGURE OUT HOW TO HEAL THESE DOGS!!! PLEASE I’M IN DESPERATE NEED HERE!!!!


  73. Jen

    On September 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I have to four year old cats and now one of them is peeing on things. My brand new couch, clean clothes and now my laptop which is destroyed. I dont know what to do, Nothing in our house has changed the male cat is fixed and they have not been declawed.
    My children are extremly attached to these cats and it breaks my heart to have to get rid of them.
    Please help.

  74. Kevin

    On October 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I have two cats, Molly age 5, and Zorro age 3. My wife and I love these two cats. They are part of our family. We also have a 2 year old Mini Schnauzer named Heidi. All three get along great. The unfortunate part of this story is we also now have a 6 month old baby girl. It turns out she is allergic to cats. We have tried everything we can think of to help the situation. We even went as far as pulling up all the carpet in the house and putting down wood and tile. Cost a small fortune. We clean and sweep multiple times a week. It has helped a little, but our baby girl is still having allergies. With an extremely heavy heart, we have come to the conclusion that Molly and Zorro will need to be placed in a different home. They are both spayed and neutered, are microchipped and up to date on all vaccines and vet visits. I don’t want to give them to a shelter because frankly, I don’t believe they stand a chance to be adopted due to everyone wanting kittens. Please help me. I don’t know what to do. Putting them to sleep is absolutely not an option.

  75. Jessica

    On October 31, 2012 at 6:24 am

    To Wendy
    with the mange problem. If you happen to read back on this article my husbands grandfather knows a cheap and easy solution for this problem he told him years ago. All you need is some sulphur and motor oil or something similar to cling to the dogs coat. Mix it up and completely cover the dog and make sure it stay outside cause it could be quite messy. DONT wash the dog let it wear off, this should take about a week. Then the dog should be cured. He’s seen this first hand on his own dog years ago, this really works, he swears by it. You might try googleing for similar solutions, sulphur is the key ingredient.
    Good Luck!

  76. Heather

    On December 11, 2012 at 1:11 am

    I have rabbits that I can no long take care of due to prego. I would had to see them go but I can’t take care of them due to me being prego. I have 2 males n 2 females. what do I do I been trying to get rid of them for wks now.

  77. Brenda Nelson

    On December 11, 2012 at 11:59 am

    to Heather
    Have you tried your local humane society or SPCA?
    Maybe even if you just got rid of two and kept the other two it would be alright for you to manage. There is no reason why a pregnant person cannot have rabbits.

  78. cw

    On December 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I have a black cat that my friend gave me.he is a funny cat but he is tearing stuff up and I can’t get him too stop meowing.the bet said its cause he is lonely. I can’t give him more attention cause I work to much. If anyone would like him please contact me 8178996098

  79. Beryl Lynn

    On February 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I have 5 pittbull puppys needing a good home. They were born Dec.20th 2012 One female and 4 males. you can call me 405-441-5436 . They realy need a good home. They must go.

  80. LISA

    On March 19, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I have a female 1 yr old English Mastiff that I need to find a good home for. Preferred fenced yard. If anyone is interested please email me at

  81. Sandy

    On March 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Hi, your article has really helped me, although I am at a crossroads.

    I have 2 dogs, 1 five year old blue heeler and about 5-6mos ago weadopted a 1-2yr old catahoula. We fostered the catahoula (Lee) bc he was to be euthanized the next day…after a week or so of fostering, we ended up adopting him. He is a male, neutured, 65lbs, and we have a large fenced in yard. Lee gets along with our other dog and plays with my 3yr old son. However yesterday he managed to break into our rabbit hutch and kill our beloved rabbit Willow. I am devastated. My husband wants to get rid f him now and all my family that heard about it, agrees saying “I should be worried.” I am just so distraught on what to do. He is a loving dog, althoughis deff still a big puppy and doesnt seem that smart. (compared to our heeler), prior to this the only problems we have is he is not trained and chews/eats everything and listens to nothing. His size does not help either as he is clumsy and brings in lots of dirt! I do not know what to do, keep him or rehome him? I am not scared of him but my family makes me feel like I should be. :/

  82. Sandy

    On March 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Hi, your article has really helped me, although I am at a crossroads.

    I have 2 dogs, 1 five year old blue heeler and about 5-6mos ago weadopted a 1-2yr old catahoula. We fostered the catahoula (Lee) bc he was to be euthanized the next day…after a week or so of fostering, we ended up adopting him. He is a male, neutured, 65lbs, and we have a large fenced in yard. Lee gets along with our other dog and plays with my 3yr old son. However yesterday he managed to break into our rabbit hutch and kill our beloved rabbit Willow. I am devastated. My husband wants to get rid f him now and all my family that heard about it, agrees saying \”I should be worried.\” I am just so distraught on what to do. He is a loving dog, althoughis deff still a big puppy and doesnt seem that smart. (compared to our heeler), prior to this the only problems we have is he is not trained and chews/eats everything and listens to nothing. His size does not help either as he is clumsy and brings in lots of dirt! I do not know what to do, keep him or rehome him? I am not scared of him but my family makes me feel like I should be. :/

  83. Sandy

    On March 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Hi, your article has really helped me, although I am at a crossroads.

    I have 2 dogs, 1 five year old blue heeler and about 5-6mos ago weadopted a 1-2yr old catahoula. We fostered the catahoula (Lee) bc he was to be euthanized the next day…after a week or so of fostering, we ended up adopting him. He is a male, neutured, 65lbs, and we have a large fenced in yard. Lee gets along with our other dog and plays with my 3yr old son. However yesterday he managed to break into our rabbit hutch and kill our beloved rabbit Willow. I am devastated. My husband wants to get rid f him now and all my family that heard about it, agrees saying “I should be worried.” I am just so distraught on what to do. He is a loving dog, althoughis deff still a big puppy and doesnt seem that smart. (compared to our heeler), prior to this the only problems we have is he is not trained and chews/eats everything and listens to nothing. His size does not help either as he is clumsy and brings in lots of dirt! I do not know what to do, keep him or rehome him? I am not scared of him but my family makes me feel like I should be. :/ Maybe he is too much for us to handle.

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