Can You Give Away Your Pet on Craigslist?

by Alan Sembera

Giving away a pet is never an easy task, especially if you have become attached to the animal. If none of your friends or family will take your pet, you may consider advertising on Craigslist. You can't sell a pet or give one away for free on Craigslist, but you can find someone to "rehome" the pet as long as she pays a small adoption fee. This restriction is designed to limit adoptions to people that really value the pet, and to filter out people who want to sell the pets to medical researchers or use them for unethical purposes such as dog fighting.

Navigate to the Craigslist page for your city or area (see link in Resources) and click the "Post to Classifieds" link on the left side of the page.

Select "Community," then "Pets."

Enter a title for your post. The title will be the first item people see when they are browsing through listings, so try to include something positive about your pet that will make it stand out from the rest. More people will respond to an ad for a "Friendly Siamese Cat - Fixed and Litter-Trained" than they will for an ad for a "Free Cat."

Enter a specific location for your posting. Normally this is the area or city where you live, although if you live in a large city, you may want to be more specific and list an area of the city.

Enter your email address. If you do not want the address to show in the ad, click the "Hide" button. If you hide your email address you will have to give another way for people to contact you, such as a phone number. A recommended alternative is to instead click the "Anonymize" button, which will allow people to email you through a temporary Craigslist email address that will redirect messages to your regular email.

Enter a description of your pet along with anything thing else a potential adopter will need to know. List your pet's good qualities such as house training, vaccinations and how it gets along with children or other animals. If your pet has certain bad qualities or health issues, be up front about them to avoid future problems.

Set a "rehoming fee" for your pet. This is a Craigslist requirement, and failure to set a rehoming fee can result in your post being flagged by other users and removed from the site. There is no set amount for a rehoming fee, but generally the amount should cover your recent costs for vaccinations and other veterinary care, and should be about the same as adoption fees charged by local animal shelters. You can waive the fee later if you confirm that your pet really is getting a good home.

Click "Continue."

Click the "Browse" button if you wish to add pictures of your pet from your computer. Select an image file and click "Open." You can add up to eight pictures.

Click "Done with Images" when you have added the pictures, or if you don't want to add pictures.

Review your ad and use one of the edit options to make any changes. Otherwise click "Continue."

Check your email for a message from Craigslist. Click the link inside the body of the message to confirm that you wish to publish the ad. Once you have confirmed the ad, it should appear on Craigslist in about 15 minutes.


  • Once you have given away your pet, you can use the link in the Craigslist email to delete your ad. You can also use this link to edit your ad.


  • Craigslist does not allow the advertisement of exotic pets that are illegal to possess in your local area. Also, Craiglist does not allow the advertisement of exotic pets that are illegal to possess in California, Craigslist's home, even if you don't live in California. So if you want to give away your pet ferret in Texas, for example, you can't do it on Craigslist because ferrets are illegal to possess in California. (See link in Resources for a list of exotic pets banned in California.)

Photo Credits

  • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images