Goodbye to a Good Friend: An Exploration of the Re-Homing of Cats and Dogs in the U.S.


When dogs and cats are not retained in a home, they are re-homed to somewhere, and while there is a collection of research around relinquishment to shelters, little is known about the general re-homing picture. A cross sectional random digit dial survey was conducted with an aim to learn more about who is re-homing, where they are re-homing and why they are re-homing owned dogs and cats in the US. We found the prevalence of re-homing in five years at 6% making for an estimated 6.12 million household re-homing pets every five years. Pets were most likely to be re-homed by being given to a friend or family member (37%) closely followed by being taken to a shelter. Those who re-homed due to a reason related to the pet as opposed to reasons such as family issues were more likely to re-home to a shelter. For respondents who rented, housing reasons were the number one reason for re-homing, and for respondents of lower income, they were significantly more likely to re-home due to cost and housing issues as opposed to pet related issues. We conclude that some reasons for re-homing are not easily modified and humane re-homing is the best option, but that there are many areas in which intervention and prevention programs may increase retention.

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Weiss, E. , Gramann, S. , Victor Spain, C. and Slater, M. (2015) Goodbye to a Good Friend: An Exploration of the Re-Homing of Cats and Dogs in the U.S.. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 5, 435-456. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2015.54046.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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