Relinquishing Your Cat

FIRST: If you adopted your cat from a rescue or no-kill shelter, please contact the rescue or shelter first. Most rescues will take their animals back (and many, in fact, have a return clause in their adoption contract obligating the adopter to return the pet to the rescue).

Our goal is to help keep cats in their homes whenever possible. To that end, we’ve listed several resources here.


If you are having trouble affording food for your pet, your area may have a local pet food pantry that can assist:

Bi-State Pet Food Pantry (MO and IL)
AniMeals Pet Food Pantry (St. Charles)
Jefferson County Pet Food Pantry (Jefferson County)
River Bend Pet Food Pantry (Metro East)
Advocates 4 Animals Pet Pantry (Herculaneum, MO)
Lucky Paws Pet Food Pantry (Troy, MO)


There are many  property management companies that allow pets, and many are at low or even no cost! Be sure to exhaust all efforts to secure pet-friendly housing prior to making a move.
Metro Animal Resources National Directory


Sometimes, pet owners have difficulty affording basic veterinary services, or have an emergency they cannot afford. Here are some resources that may be able to help. Owners can also start a GoFundMe campaign and share it on social media to help their pet.


Animal Protective Association of Missouri: St. Louis (Assistance with vaccinations and routine veterinary care)
Central Missouri Humane Society: Columbia (spay/neuter assistance)
Humane Society of Missouri: St. Louis (assistance with veterinary care including spay/neuter)
Humane Society of Southeast Missouri: Camp Girardeau (spay/neuter assistance)
Northland Pet Pantry: Gladstone (pet food)
Operation SPOT: St. Louis (spay/neuter assistance)
Pound Pals Nooterville: St. Louis (spay/neuter assistance)
St. Charles County Humane Services: Cottleville (spay/neuter and heartworm preventative assistance)
Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP): Christian, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk and Webster Counties (spay/neuter assistance)
Spay Neuter Kansas City: Kansas City (pet food and supplies, spay/neuter assistance)
Stray Rescue of St. Louis: St. Louis (spay/neuter assistance)


Anderson Animal Shelter: South Elgin (spay/neuter and vaccination assistance)
Animal Care League: Oak Park (assistance for veterinary care including vaccinations, microchipping and spay/neuter)
Animal Protective League: Springfield (spay/neuter assistance)
The Animal Welfare League: Chicago Ridge (pet food, spay/neuter assistance, assistance for necessary veterinary medical care)
The Anti-Cruelty Society: Chicago (assistance with veterinary care including spay/neuter)
Best Buddies Pet Pantry: Cook County (pet food, low-cost vaccinations and low-cost spay/neuter referrals)
Better Pets Clinic: Moline (spay/neuter assistance)
Blessed Bonds: Palos Park (temporary foster program)
Brown Dog Foundation: statewide (veterinary care assistance and prescription medications)
Catsnap: Champaign County (spay/neuter assistance)
DuPage County Animal Care and Control: Wheaton (spay/neuter and microchipping assistance)
Humane Society of Central Illinois: Normal (spay/neuter assistance)
Humane Society of Southern Illinois: Carbondale (spay/neuter assistance)
National Animal Welfare Society: Mokina (assistance for general veterinary care, including vaccinations and spay/neuter)
PAWS Chicago: Chicago (spay/neuter assistance)
Pets Are Like Family: Chicago (pet food pantry, spay/neuter assistance, vaccines, microchips, pet care workshops)
Pet assistance hotline: 312-725-3315
Quad City Animal Welfare Center: Milan (assistance for general veterinary care, including vaccinations and spay/neuter)
The Quincy Humane Society: Quincy (spay/neuter and vaccination assistance)
South Suburban Humane Society: Glenwood, Chicago Heights (spay/neuter assistance)
Spay Illinois: Homer Glen (low-cost spay/neuter services)
Tree House Humane Society: Chicago (pet food, spay/neuter assistance)
Winnebago County Animal Services: Rockford (spay/neuter assistance)

National Organizations

The Big Hearts Fund: financial assistance for the diagnosis and treatment of canine and feline heart disease
Brown Dog Foundation: prescription medications
Canine Cancer Awareness
The Dog & Cat Cancer Fund
God’s Creatures Ministry Veterinary Charity
Joshua Louis Animal Cancer Foundation: Under the JLACF’s bylaws as approved by the IRS, grants can only be provided for pets under the care of a board-certified veterinary oncologist.
Magic Bullet Fund: cancer-specific
The Mosby Fund
The Onyx & Breezy Foundation
Paws 4 A Cure
The Pet Fund
Pets of the Homeless: pet food and veterinary care assistance for homeless
The Riedel & Cody Fund: support for pets suffering with cancer
RedRover Relief
Rose’s Fund
Shakespeare Animal Fund
Top Dog Foundation “Bentley Grant”: for senior dogs (age 10 and over; breed taken into consideration when determining what is “senior”)


There are many other reasons for surrendering pets (some legitimate, and some not). Please see our FACQs page for advice on many issues that cause people to want to surrender their pets (i.e. allergies, behavior issues, etc.); perhaps you can work through the problem and keep your pet.

If you have exhausted all avenues and still find yourself unable to keep your pet, you can rehome the pet yourself using Rehome by Adoptapet (please select The Cat Network as the referring organization) or NoKillNetwork.

You can also post pets for rehoming on Craigslist and on Facebook in Pets Needing Rehomed St. Louis Area MO & IL. Please ask for a minimum $50 rehoming fee to help weed out unsavory people (there are people who troll these sites looking for free pets to use as bait for dog fighting, to feed to pet snakes, sell to research labs, etc.), and please try to check them out first. You can use sites such as Missouri Casenet or other public records sites to view criminal and civil court records.

If rehoming your pet yourself is unsuccessful, you can contact local rescues to see if they have room (note that no-kill rescues and shelters have limited space and are almost always full). When contacting a rescue, be sure to include the following:

  • good photos
  • a description of the cat’s appearance
  • a description of the cat’s personality
  • estimated age
  • notes regarding health and behavior (including date of last vaccinations/last vet visit)
  • your contact information (including the area in which you are located)
  • reason for surrender
  • all remedies tried in order to keep your pet

Please don’t surrender the cat to an open-admission kill shelter (including the Humane Society of Missouri, Animal Protective Association, or a municipal animal control) unless and until you have completely exhausted all efforts catinshelteroutlined above  and you, for whatever reason, cannot keep the cat until an adopter or rescue is secured. Some open admission kill shelters don’t allow public adoptions and may not allow rescue groups to save these animals, and the majority have very high euthanasia rates. This is especially true if the cat is very young (under 8 weeks), older (over 5-6), is pregnant, or has any health issue (even if it is treatable). Some municipal animal controls have great adoption rates; you can call them or ask around (particularly in the rescue community) to find out if the cat would have a decent chance there. If you have to choose between HSMO and the APA, the cat will have a much better chance at adoption through the APA.

St. Louis Area Euthanasia Statistics

To request admission into The Cat Network, please click here. Please only fill out this form if you have exhausted all of the other options above (especially Rehome by Adoptapet) for rehoming your pet.

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