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Marketing Cat Adoption: Adopting Out Cats at Pet Shops and 35th Anniversary

The following is from the Summer 2010 issue of Protecting Animals, American Humane’s quarterly journal for animal welfare professionals. Used by permission. To learn more, visit

Adopting Out Cats at Pet Shops

By Birgitte “B” Skielvig, Executive Director Humane Society of Sedona, Sedona, AZ

Two local pet shops have quit selling puppies and kittens, partly because of bad publicity about puppy mills, and partly because one of the pet shop owners sponsored our Petapalooza event, and when he saw the number of animals available for adoption, he decided not to sell pets anymore. So we started showing shelter cats and kittens at the two pet shops, and 10 percent of our cat adoptions now come from those stores.

We provide the cage, food, litter box, litter and toys. The shops can have from two to four animals at a time, and there is no set limit on the time the cats can be there. The store owner fills out the adoption application and other paperwork, and faxes it to us. If the prospective adopter is a renter, he or she has to wait until we contact the landlord. Stores reap the benefit of selling pet supplies to adopters.

We also run a thrift shop that’s about 10 miles away from our shelter and show dogs at a local bank for a few hours every Friday, and they both do very well in terms of adoptions. The more animals we can get out into the community, the better off we are, because some people are still funny about coming to shelters.

35th Anniversary Celebration

By Stephanie Wimbish, Shelter Director, CHA Animal Shelter, Columbus, OH

This year is CHA’s 35th anniversary, so that is our theme all year. In January, all cat adoptions were $35. In February, we did “Twice the Love” where two cats could be adopted for the price of one. We also had an adopt-athon and used a spinning wheel that was marked with different percentages off (10 percent, 20 percent and so on). Adopters could spin the wheel to determine their discount level. For March, it’s half off all adults, which makes the adoption fee $35.

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