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Marketing Cat Adoption: ‘My Furry Valentine’ and ‘Flabulous Felines’ Promotion

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

My Furry Valentine/Saint Catrick’s Day Promotions

Katherine McGowan, Vice President, Asheville Humane Society, Asheville, NC

My Furry Valentine was the first of several adoption promotions the Asheville Humane Society is holding this year. We have found that holidays and special events help call attention to adoptable animals and get us a lot of publicity. As part of these promotions, we are always looking for sponsors to help us maintain the momentum of successful fee-reduced and fee-waived adoptions. For February’s My Furry Valentine, our shelter stayed open all weekend and offered fee-waived adoptions of cats/kittens, thanks to a grant from the ASPCA. In three days, we adopted out 45 cats and kittens, the majority of which were over 1 year old, and every available cat was adopted (with the exception of three cats placed up for adoption on Sunday). In addition, 18 dogs and puppies were adopted out that weekend.

During the one-day Saint Catrick’s Day event, adoption fees for the first 17 cat/kitten adoptions were waived, all cat/kitten adopters were registered to win a year’s supply of Science Diet cat or kitten food, and both cat and dog adopters were entered to win a gift bag from a local Irish pub. A grant from the ASPCA covered our lost revenue, and our partner, the Humane Alliance, covered spay/ neuter costs for those kittens who had not already been altered. We adopted out 19 kittens and 11 dogs for a total of 30 pets in seven hours! This was terrific, because we normally adopt out about 50 animals per week.

‘Flabulous Felines’ Promotion

Leilani Vierra, CEO, Placer SPCA, Roseville, CA

In order to encourage adoptions of overweight cats (and ensure they didn’t spend too long confined without exercise in cages), we offered “Flabulous Felines Free to a Good Home” during February 2008. Local author Martha Garvey donated several signed copies of her book, My Fat Cat: Ten Simple Steps to Help Your Pet Lose Weight for a Long and Happy Life, which were given to the first few adopters, and all adopters received special counseling to understand the needs of their new plus-size pets.

As a result, 11 of the 12 hard-to-adopt overweight cats were adopted during the promotion, with the 12th going home a few weeks later.

Other monthly cat specials at Placer SPCA have included Kitties at the End of the Rainbow in March (green-eyed cats), Celebrate Mothers in May (spayed female cats), Paws for Your Pa in June (neutered male cats), The Color of Independence in July (tortoiseshell and calico cats), Go for the Gold in August (yellow-eyed cats), and Fall Fashions: Everything Goes With Black in September (black cats and kittens).

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