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Home Pet Q&A Cat Questions How Long Does the Humane Society Keep Cats?

How Long Does the Humane Society Keep Cats?

The Humane Society keeps cats for varied periods of time, depending on multiple factors including if the cat is a stray or a surrendered pet. While the exact hold times vary by location, the minimum time is usually shorter for a surrendered cat than it is for a pet brought in as a stray. Laws vary drastically by city and state, but in some cases, there is no minimum hold time for surrendered cats and the organization is not required to keep them for any set time period. Of course, the goal is to find all adoptable animals a loving home, but this isn't always possible.

Why is the Hold Time for Surrendered Cats Shorter than for Strays? 

When an animal is brought in as a stray, the Humane Society and other shelters have to give the owners time to claim their pet. A stray cat's hold time could be as long as two weeks. When a cat is surrendered, however, there is no need to give the owners a chance to come forward, so they are not required to hold the pet for any set amount of time. This is important to keep in mind before dropping your pet off at a shelter. If you must rehome your cat, consider one of these other methods that will give your pet the best chance of finding a new home.

  • See if a friend or family member is interested in adopting your pet.
  • Check with local rescue organizations to see if they have space for your cat.
  • Take the time to find a new home for the cat yourself. 

Rehoming your cat yourself gives you the most control over your cat's outcome because it allows you to choose the new owners and to see how they interact with your cat. 

Help with Rehoming 

It can take time to find the right home, and you may not even know where to begin. Fortunately, there are resources available that simplify the process. A website called Rehome offers many resources and services at no cost, including the ability to create a profile for your cat and screen adopters right through the site. 

If you can find a way to keep your cat with your family, that's the best option. You can view our tips on keeping your pet here. If that's not possible, do all you can to ensure your cat will be happy, healthy, and loved in a new home. 

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