Last Updated: 5 months ago

As hard as it may seem to some feline lovers, cat adoption remorse is a very real thing.

Some feel like they’ve gotten in way over their heads with a new kitten that destroys everything in sight.

Others worry that maybe their new cat’s personality just doesn’t mesh with theirs.

Whatever the reason, we’re talking about what to do and how to cope with it below, so keep reading!

Cat Adoption Remorse Explained

I adopted Coco when she was barely 10 weeks old.

I instantly fell in love with her beautiful blue eyes the moment I saw her in the shelter, and I knew I wanted her to be part of my fur squad.

I took her home, and my kids and other pets were all so excited. She was the youngest in the house.

Even though she got along well with my other animals, the cat adoption remorse still set in. On day 3, though, I woke up feeling so overwhelmed, wondering if I was going to make a great cat mom.

All my other pets had routines, were house trained, and didn’t need my attention constantly. Here I was with a kitten who needed my round-the-clock attention.

She kept scratching my favorite recliner and demanding attention every time I sat down to relax.

It drove me nuts and by the end of the day, I was sure I wanted to give her back. Well, thankfully, I didn’t. Four years later, and we are the best of buddies.

Is it normal to experience remorse after adopting a cat?

I can’t handle my cat anymore!

“I don’t like my cat’s personality!

“I want to get rid of my cat but I feel bad”

All of these statements come down to one thing: “I regret getting a kitten.”

Is it normal to feel that way, though?

Yes, it’s extremely normal to get remorseful after adopting any pet.

It’s normal to feel inadequate, not be sure if you are a good pet owner or if your cat is feeling well taken care of.

It’s okay to feel scared and overwhelmed.

It’s also pretty normal to feel as though your privacy has been invaded and your lifestyle interfered with.

This feeling mostly comes after the excitement of bringing the cat home dies.

Call it the end of the “honeymoon stage,” if you will.

I had bouts of anxiety, panic, and near depression for several days before I adjusted to having a kitten yet I had other fur babies.

Cat adoption remorse is a very real thing, You're not alone. Read on to learn what to do and how to cope when you regret getting your cat.

Why you are feeling remorseful

There are plenty of reasons why one would feel remorseful after getting a new cat.

Start by analyzing what and why you don’t like your new cat. There has to be something that sparks you off. 

  • Is it that you are not compatible with this specific cat even though you love cats generally?
  • Did you just realize you don’t like cats?
  • Does she have some annoying behaviors that you can’t stand?
  • Is the cat too aggressive and destructive? 
  • Is it that the cat is not friendly to you even after showing positive gestures?. Well, some cats take longer to establish bonds with new owners.

A communication breakdown between you and your cat

Amidst the anxiety, it’s important that you take time to really understand your cat’s behaviors.

What you may construe as being naughty may be a sign of an unmet need. 

In our earlier days with Coco, she would furiously claw my leather recliner and I would be heaps upset with her. This further added to my anxiety.

I talked to my neighbor and she advised that I find her a scratching spot. I bought her scratching cat lounger from PetFuision and since then she has never scratched my sofa. 

Another thing that used to upset me so much is her biting and grabbing things with her claws in. I realized this was a sign that she needed a pat from me.

 As you can see, much of my frustrations were because I hadn’t understood what my kitten was communicating to me.

Feelings of anxiety after adopting a kitten

Want to hear something strange?

Your anxiety after adopting a cat could actually be a result of your new kitty’s feelings of nervousness!

Cats, and animals in general, can tell when their owners are stressed and anxious and this can lead them to be anxious too.

Check out for these signs:

  • Hiding and keeping to themselves almost all-day
  • Being clingy
  • Excessive scratching
  • Vomiting
  • Being aggressive and destructive.
  • Not using the litter box to eliminate

To help your new cat manage anxiety, cat experts recommend that you seclude him in a room where he will be alone.

Ensure he has everything he will need like, litterbox, toys food, and water.

As he gets comfortable in that room, you can then slowly allow him access to other rooms.

This will also lessen your anxiety as you still get your alone-time without the cat being in your face all the time.

In short, both of you will get time to slowly learn each other before invading each other’s space.

Challenges bonding with your new cat

Is your new cat not very friendly? Feel like your bond is taking too long to be established?

It may be that your new cat had abusive or neglectful owners in the past, hence taking long to socialize, trust, and be affectionate.

Take it easy, give the cat some time, and depending on how you treat her, she may come around sooner.

May take a week, a month, or a couple of days. Remember this is not a reflection on you at all.

In other words, it doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t like you. 🙂

Cat adoption remorse is a very real thing, You're not alone. Read on to learn what to do and how to cope when you regret getting your cat.

How to cope with adoption remorse

Adopting a cat is much like adopting a baby, you just don’t know what to expect and how they will turn out.

Even if it was love at first sight, it may be a struggle until the two of you finally become BFFs.

The first way to cope with the remorse that comes with adoption is to try to relax and stay calm, any negative reaction will make things worse.

Chances are, it is as difficult for your new cat just as it is for you.

Talk to your friends, neighbors, or even family who own cats and genuinely express your feelings. They will be more than ready to help. 

There are also countless helpful cat owners forums that you could get info and support from. A good example is the Cat Forum and the Pet Forum.

Also, having basics figured out like what type of food your cat will eat, utensils, beddings and toys to play with helps ease the situation.

And so is creating mealtime and playtime routines. Cats are one of those creatures that thrive on routines.

Where do I take my cat if I don’t want her anymore?

Cat adoption remorse is a very real thing, You're not alone. Read on to learn what to do and how to cope when you regret getting your cat.

What if you have tried everything and you totally feel you just can’t live with the cat?

If that’s the case, if you absolutely cannot imagine ever loving your cat, then rehome her.

Talk to your friends, coworkers, and family, and see if anyone will be willing to adopt him. 

Another safer way to rehome your cat would be through a service like PetFinder. This is an online service that connects pet owners to aspiring owners.

They guide you on the process and ensure you get a good person to adopt your cat.

If you can’t personally find a home for your cat, consider surrendering them to a shelter, animal rescue home or humane society.

However, this should be your absolute LAST resort, the “nuclear option,” if you will.

Shelters are so overcrowded with cats that it reduces your kitty’s chances of finding a good new home.

Please choose a “no kill” shelter. Better yet, choose one that places cats in foster homes.

If you adopted your kitty from a shelter, rescue group, or even just an ad in the paper, they may even have a rule that you must return her to them if things don’t work out.

So, let’s talk about that for a moment.

Is it bad to return an adopted cat?

The answer to that question of course depends on where you got your kitty, and how much time has passed since her adoption.

If you rescued her from a kill shelter, then yes, it is bad to return her to one.

Sorry, but I won’t sugarcoat it for you. Returning your cat to a kill shelter is akin to giving her a death sentence.

HOWEVER, if you adopted her from a no-kill rescue, foster family, or even from a regular person, it’s a bit different.

Organizations or people have a “return to us” policy for a reason. They want to make sure that each pet they place has a loving home.

If you find that you can’t provide it, they’ll try again with another family.

That said, if you’re returning her after years together, it’s going to be incredibly hard on her.

Still, if there’s no other option, it’s better than sending her off to a “kill” shelter or abandoning her entirely.


Feeling remorseful after adopting a cat is pretty normal.

Even if it feels so awful right now, I can almost promise you it gets better with time.

Take the time to get to know each other, establish that bond, and just give each other space to come around.

Things almost always work out beautifully eventually.

But if you really don’t like your cat and can’t see things working out between you, it’s only humane that you find a good alternative home for the cat.

What are your thoughts on cat adoption remorse? Did you ever feel that way? Share your thoughts below.

Cat adoption remorse is a very real thing, You're not alone. Read on to learn what to do and how to cope when you regret getting your cat.
Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.