Select entries from our 2005 Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month contest are featured below. Use the ideas as they are presented or tailor them to meet your specific needs. Most ideas can be implemented at no or low-cost without extraneous effort. If you need more information or help implementing an idea, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Adoptions!
- Get Heard: Unexpected Ways to Gain Attention for Your Cats
- Outside the (Litter) Box: Great Ideas for Alternative Off-Site Adoption Locations
- Fancy Felines: Inexpensive Formal Adoption Events to Boost Adoptions
- Themes and Slogans: Have Fun and Boost your Adoptions
- Attention-Grabbing Cages: Let the Enclosure Speak for the Cat
- A Way with Words: Using Creative Writing to Draw Needed Attention
- Pet Notes Promotion: Print your Petfinder Pet Notes to Promote your Cats
- Pretty-Kitty Photos: Highlight Attributes of your Cats’ Personalities
- Cats Market Themselves: Inventive Places to Showcase Great Cat Pictures
- Purring People: Great Customer Service Goes a Long Way
- Even Exchange: Tips to Ensure Adoptions are Right for Cats and New Parent
- Make Friends: Find Allies around Town to Spread the Word
- Fundraisers for Felines: Gain Donations and Adopters
- Special Programs for Special Cats: Matching Those who Need Each Other Together
|Get Heard: Unexpected Ways to Gain Attention for Your Cats||top|
- Increase adoptions using an outgoing voicemail recording! I start with a meow and the ACO is not in right now, then, for example, say “This is Mercedes, I’m a 2 year old spayed female kitty with personality plus. You can’t live with out me. So leave your message and don’t forget to tell the ACO that you can’t live without me. Adopt me today – you won’t be disappointed! Please leave a message and our Animal Control Officer will get back with you as soon as possible.” IT WORKS!!!
Submitted by Jaylin Ramos of Hugoton Animal Shelter in KS
- One idea I recently had was to blog my foster litters. I have done this primarily when I foster a pregnant mom and have a litter of kittens born in rescue. I have found that people really enjoy watching the kittens grow and feel very attached to the kittens when adopted. I have two blogs still online. One at http://ambercatscarmen.blogspot.com/ and another at http://ambercats.blogspot.com/
Submitted by Rob Davies of Friends of Feral Felines in NV
- The musical CATS performed around Christmas at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, CT. With permission, we assembled outside to distribute flyers. We decided to get creative and dress as cats! We stood at the doors yelling “CATS for Cats”, “donate to Halfway Home Rescue”, “Adopt a homeless cat”, etc. We handed out over 100 flyers and had 5 adoptions the following week. We have been invited to come back next time – cat suits and all!
Submitted by Ally Harris of Halfway Home Rescue in CT
- I made a large colorful poster and attached a 1″x2″ five foot handle. Then I went down to a ready made venue, a block in our town where protestors line up for and against the war at a certain hour each day. I jockeyed for position among the various protestors, and waved my Rescued Kittens Need Homes sign to passing cars.
Submitted by Jody Harmon of Feral Night Cat Trapper Rescue in OR
- Don’t Litter! Some municipalities in our rural area of Warren County, NJ are offering roadside cleanup as a way to raise funds for their nonprofit groups. We ran off some flyers of a photo that we took of a roadside “Do Not Litter” sign along with a photo of a basket of a litter of kittens under it. Not only did we receive a great many calls for adoptions, but we helped people find some low-cost spay/neuter programs so that they can help sterilize some “litter-producing” strays!
Submitted by Kathie Tonnessen of Communities Altering The Strays (CATS) in NJ
|Outside the (Litter) Box: Great Ideas for Alternative Off-Site Adoption Locations||top|
- We approach reputable, pet-friendly apartment complexes and offer to hold adoption fairs. The apartment manager publishes ads to advertise our fair while promoting their pet-friendly atmosphere in an effort to attract new tenants. The complexes offer a special, reduced-rate pet-deposit good for any new tenants and current tenants adopting a forever friend from us!
Submitted by Cheryl Knox of Humane Society of Alamance County in NC
- I work at a family-owned used book store located in an old, refinished house in downtown Lufkin. That bookstore has become the official home of the Lufkin Chapter of O’Malley Alley. The customer traffic helps socialize our little ones as well as provides the visibility they need to steal hearts. Customers always ask about the kitties if they are not promptly greeted when they walk in the door. There is no doubt the store has provided an excellent means for O’Malley to showcase all of our bundles of love!
Submitted by Brooke Cooley of The O’Malley Alley Cat Organization in TX
- GRASP, Inc. is a foster-based, pet rescue organization, so we rely on volunteer fosters to care for the pets until they’re adopted out. One foster is a first-grade teacher at a local school. She fosters cats and kittens, many of which are a little shy around people. The cats are cared for out of the foster mom’s home and each school day two or three of them get to take a field trip into her classroom. The kittens spend the day enjoying the large cat cage that has been set-up in the “reading corner” of the room. The reluctant first-grade readers in the class are permitted to spend time each day sitting next to the cage and reading out loud to the kittens. The timid kittens benefit greatly from hearing the children’s voices and watching the classroom activity. (Even the most timid cats have warmed up significantly in this environment, making them more adoptable!) The beginner readers have found it much easier to read aloud to the kittens than to read to an adult or peer. The best part is that now over 15 cats and kittens have been successfully adopted out to teachers, parents, and other school affiliates!
Submitted by Cynthia Dewy of GRASP in NY
- We have been very successful with having bi-monthly ‘Cats Only’ adoption days. We rent a room at the Local American Legion post and invite cat rescues to show their cats. The atmosphere is quiet so the cats are calmer and show better. The Hendricks County Humane Society also advertises the event in the local paper and around the county. The result is that we get serious cat people who are ready to adopt a cat. We also allow the rescues to do any fundraising they want. We invite anyone else who has a pet service, like a local pet pantry. It’s a great opportunity to concentrate on cat adoptions and education.
Submitted by Julie Bates of Hendricks County Humane Society in IN
- Advertising on Petfinder with up to date pictures, actual date of birth or approximate date, as well as info regarding de-worming, de-fleaing, vaccinations and screening for diseases has been very successful for me. I also work with my veterinary clinic showcasing adoptable kittens in a condo cage behind the front desk. The clinic gets increased clientele and I get great adoptive parents.
Submitted by Linda Brown of Backyard Friends in ON
|Fancy Felines: Dress up Unnoticed Cats for Formal Adoption Days||top|
- OK folks! Now that we have successfully adopted out every ‘flashy’ cat and kitten in the place, what do we do with all these black and tuxedo cats and kids??!! Well, have an ‘Adoptathon Extravaganva’ that is strictly a black tie affair…for the cats, of course! The room is decorated in a high school prom type theme, all solid black cats get hot pink (for girls) or blue (for boys) soft claws and any cat that is willing gets to wear fancy lace collars. NO other cats are allowed, this is for the black and tuxedo cats only! The staff gets to dress for the special occasion, black tie, of course! This can be done in any shelter that has an open cat room, and does not require extra funding. The adopters love the decorations and get a kick out of the cats ‘putting on the Ritz’. It gives these cats a chance to shine, and gives them a chance to get chosen for how special they are, not trying to compete with the splotchy calico and seal point kitten.
Submitted by Tina Puentes of A Pets F.A.T.E. in WA
- A Black Cat Ball! We are planning this event for the fall, so we can’t speak to it’s effectiveness yet, but we believe it will help us place some of our most difficult cats: Since black cats are so difficult to place, we will put all of our black and black and white cats in one room. This could be done with several rescue groups in an off-site location too. The room will be decorated as for a formal party with black, white, and silver balloons with brightly colored streamers and a table with coffee, punch and cake (or other refreshments). We have the good fortune to have a friend who owns a florist shop who will donate floral arrangements. There will be music appropriate for a formal party or ball. We will have special evening hours to kick off the party. The male cats will wear white collars with little bow ties attached (white tie and tails!) The females will wear colored collars with lace trim. We will be doing this in a cageless environment, but cages can lend themselves to even more decoration, like red cushions, curtains, and “crystal” food and water bowls (from the dollar store). Our volunteers will also dress in black and white with red carnations. In addition to the kick-off party, the event will last for nine days (to include two weekends). Anyone who adopts a cat from our Black Cat Ball will have the cat delivered by limousine, by a volunteer dressed in a tuxedo and will receive a “gift basket” (made from a litter box) filled with kitty toys, treats and grooming supplies. Another volunteer will be on hand to photograph the delivery. Almost everything will be donated: food by a local supermarket, collars by a volunteer who sews, contents for gift baskets by local pet stores. The limousine service is donated by a friend of one of our volunteers who runs a limousine service. We hope to get a lot of free publicity for the event, and we will be putting posters and brochures in pet stores and veterinary clinics. Because of the unusual nature of the event, we believe we can get some spots on the radio too.
Submitted by Linda Young of KittyCorner of CNY, Inc. in NY
- Since we all know how hard it is to find homes for black or tuxedo cats, my organization came up with a “black and white ball” where we featured only our black and tuxedo cats. We decorated in only black and white and had Oreo’s and black and white M&M’s for snacks. It was a great success and found many of our long-timers homes though this event.
Submitted by Melanie Mawn of Pet Rescue of Mercer in NJ
|Themes and Slogans: Have Fun and Boost your Adoptions||top|
- We are having a “Baby Shower” at our adoption day. We encourage customers to bring kitten/puppy/bunny supplies as donations to help during this critical time of baby season. We will also be showcasing some of the many adult female cats that have had their babies and now need good homes. We will be decorating like a baby shower for the day.
Submitted by Debbie Ringer of S.T.A.R.T. in NJ
- The Providence Animal Rescue League is holding a Kitten Shower to welcome the many kittens who have come through our doors. Guests will bring much needed kitten supplies like Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR), small feeding blankets and cat beds. The items brought have been requested on a “Kitten Gift Registry”. In return for the gifts, guests will enjoy food and drink donated by a local bakery, and they will receive a shower gift to take home. While guests enjoy the shower, they will be invited to visit with the cats residing at the shelter, and consider adoption.
Submitted by Tyler Lewis of Providence Animal Rescue League in RI
- We are sponsoring a monthly event at a local pet supply store. We give it a catchy name and advertise it in the newspaper and with flyers. The store also helps to promote the event. The first month we placed 16. The theme for the month of May was “KITTEN MANIA” (I’m sure all cat rescuers can relate to the opening of kitten season). We placed 18. This month is of course “Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat-Month” and we hope to do well, especially with all of the promotional materials from the ASPCA. We are planning a “Mother’s Day” adoption event featuring all the little mama’s who are the “leftovers” of the kitten season. They are often only kittens themselves. They have paid their dues and deserve to be placed in good homes. For all qualified adopters, we offer a goodie bag full of coupons, samples and handouts and of course a low-cost spay/neuter certificate for the very young kittens. Our plan is to continue to have monthly themed events and continue to post on our Petfinder website, which is responsible for more than half of our total adoptions.
Submitted by Rebecca Endsley of C.A.T.S. Cats Are Totally Special in TN
- PATCH is lucky enough to be a store-front shelter with very big windows we use to drag people in with varying signage. Our most popular saying was the one used in March: “We have Irish Cats”. On each cat’s cage was a shamrock with the cat’s Irish name. (Example: Sonny became Sonny O’Patch) People stopped in to see what an Irish Cat looked like, at which point we told them everyone has a little Irish in them in March. Once we had them in the door, we would get them talking and gave them a tour to get them hooked. Donations increased, we recruited volunteers, and had adoptions. One year when we were over-run with kittens our sign said “New 2004 models just arrived”. We named our kittens after luxury cars!
Submitted by Cindy Seigel of PATCH in NJ
- Our organization exists to help our municipal shelter place more animals in loving homes. We have an offsite adult cat adoption center, known as The Purr Pad, located inside the best locally owned pet center in the New Orleans area. This center is a collaborative effort between three organizations: two shelters and one humane group. We began hosting a great event for the first anniversary, in the first week of May, Cinco de Meow-O! The first year the event went very well, but the second year, just this past month, was a fabulous success! Our volunteers canvassed the city with signage weeks before the event. We got great media coverage just prior to the event, which included a newspaper column, radio shows, and a great local morning TV spot. To raise money to continue improvements for The Purr Pad, we had both a pre-event ticketed raffle, and an event raffle for more than 25 prizes. All were donated, including a TV-DVD player, as well as gift certificates from area restaurants and other goodies. We had a boutique with donated gifts, fabulous Cinco de Meow-O t-shirts, and a food and drink booth. There were over fifty adult cats for adoption, as well as several kittens. There were more than 30 adoptions in that one day alone!
Submitted by Elizabeth Ledet of Friends of the Jefferson Animal Shelter in LA
- We have used the following slogan during our June Adopt a Cat month and it seems to get the point across. “Cats are like potato chips, you can’t have just ONE!” When you adopt a cat or kitten during June you get to take home his or her “feline buddy” for no additional fee. AND you will also get a bag of potato chips! In addition, we give out “goodie bags” which include toys, balls and catnip for the cats that are adopted during this month.
Submitted by Lorraine Askam of Maui Humane Society in HI
|Attention-Grabbing Cages: Let the Enclosure Speak for the Cat||top|
- All of our cats are kept in foster homes, but are brought to PETCO for adoption days. Every cage is “staged” with a great write-up from the foster mom who knows the cat best, and cute little stuffed animals to make the cats even cuter than they already are! Also, we stage using color — like putting a blue towel in the cage for a Siamese to bring out the blue in its eyes. These are all things that can be done by anyone, and the cost is minimal.
Submitted by Dee Carroll of Marin Cat Connection in CA
- For our off-site adoptions, we got the idea to buy inexpensive rugs and towels and use those in the cages (instead of newspaper) to give the kitties a more important and homey look. We color-coordinate each cage to show off the cat’s coloring best and at holidays we decorate with special theme domestics. The litter pans are hooded and covered with a nice towel to make a comfy, attractive perch and cat beds are provided. Yes, it is more work to launder all that, but cage cleaning is no worse, and we get many positive comments on how clean and well cared for our kitties look! We are a very small overextended group of foster homes and only have adoption hours 12 hours a week, yet FoF adopted out almost 400 cats last year. We think our attractive home-style cages are one reason why!
Submitted by Linda Hickam of Friends of Ferals/Greater Huntsville H.S. in AL
- We take our fosters to the local Household Cat Show and have a whole table lined up with their cages. We decorate them like show cats, and we enter them in all the appropriate competition CAT-egories…we put all the ribbons they win on the fronts of the cages, both at the cat show, and at adoptions each weekend! It really gets people’s attention!
Submitted by Lee Ann Causey of Little Orphan Angels in TX
|A Way with Words: Using Creative Writing to Draw Needed Attention||top|
- To find cats a new “FOREVER” home, I suggest getting creative with their kennel dcor and information cards. I have found that by adding lines such as “types 50wpm, snow boards and does windows!” You grab peoples’ attention! Add that along with a little more “decorative kennel” (maybe a theme to go hand in hand) and watch how people are drawn to the kennel…. and soon he/she finds that “FOREVER” FAMILY!
Submitted by Michelle Brandenburg of Brenton-Franklin Humane Society in WA
- We promote the adoption of adult cats by placing cut-out stars and hearts on their kennels with benefits of adults cats & some funny ‘facts’ printed on them. (examples: “Adults cats know their way around a litter box”, “Trained with Jackie Chan”, “Former Beauty Queen”, “Speaks 7 languages”, “Adult cats love couch potatoes”, “Adult cats don’t climb curtains”, “The bigger the better”, “Official food taster”) These make people stop and look a little longer (and laugh!).
Submitted by Andrea Traganza of Noah’s Ark Pet Adoptions in AZ
- Every month we publish ‘Pet Personals–Cats Looking for Laps’. People love to read personals ads, and we entice them with photos of each cat and a personal description directly from their whiskered mouths. TwinkleToes was recently adopted after this 20+ pound had us explain her needs in three lines: “Full-figured single black & white spayed female seeks human for brushing, petting, and LONG walks.” The very talkative Smudge wrote his ad all by himself: “Young single gray & white neutered male seeks Lovely Lady (or Gentleman) for late night chats and long naps in front of the fireplace or on the vent.” Kayla preferred a quiet home, and her ad helped her find just that: “Recently divorced mother of two seeks quiet family who will take care of me during my retirement. I’m sweet and spayed!” Connecting pets with people takes more than photos, it takes creativity. Make it personal with personal ads from your pets!
Submitted by Jeannette Srivastava of The Kitty Cat CARES in MI
- PVHS staff have incorporated “personal ads” for the cats on the adoption floor as a fun way to help potential adopters connect with the kitties on a personal level instead of choosing a cat based on appearances. The ads are printed and hung on cage doors. For cats that maybe harder to place because of age or other special needs, the “personal ads” are posted throughout the shelter to draw attention to them and featured as the pet of the week. An example is Whiskers. An excerpt of his personal ad read: “I’m a 7 year old Libra. I enjoy long naps in sunny locals and prefer chicken over tuna. My ideal home is one where I can be adored…meaning I prefer to be the only cat. Some describe me as sensitive, and this can be said about me on many levels. Not only do prefer a quiet household, I eat a sensitive stomach diet. If you are looking for a long-term committed relationship, please speak with my representatives at the front desk.” Volunteers that work with the cats love to help write creative ads for their favorite kitties (and the more creative and humorous, the faster the adoption), so the time it takes to help an animal stand out is not a responsibility that has to fall on the staff. People are generally overwhelmed by the number of animals to choose from. This is a way for potential adopters to feel the adoption process is a mutual decision…the cats are choosing them as well.
Submitted by Moon Wymore of Pioneer Valley Humane Society in MA
- This was an editorial we sent to the local newspapers:
I turn one year old this month. Everyone has been coming in and saying “Happy Birthday, Mary!”. You’re probably saying “Congratulations”. Except, it’s not a happy day for me — you see, I’m a shelter kitten, correction, a shelter cat. Very few people look at the cats in the shelter; they go for that cute cuddly kitten. The younger the better, or so they think. I hear them when they come in to the shelter, “Do you have any kittens?”. If the answer is “no”, they don’t take the time to look at the others like me. And the volunteers at the shelter sing high praise about us cats, but so many visitors have their mind set on a kitten. Can’t they see that we older cats are smart, playful, full of love and looking for someone to share our lives with? Don’t get me wrong, we get love from the volunteers at the shelter, but they are there only so long during the day and they have so much to do and so many cats to love. It’s just not the same as having a family of your own to love you. Oh! To have the freedom to roam around a real home, looking for a sunny place to sleep, or a warm lap to curl up in. This is my dream. If you think it’s bad for me, there are cats who have been here for years. They came in as older cats and no one even stops at their cages. Please, would you help us and print my plea, so when people are looking to add an animal to their home, they adopt from a shelter, and take time to look at the older animals? We make great companions for humans of all ages. Thank you for listening to me. Maybe after this is printed, my family will find me. Mary, A Shelter Cat
A follow-up note from Mary: Shortly after this was printed in The newspaper I was adopted! I now have a loving home, my sunny spot to sleep in and people who adore me as much as I adore them. My dream came true!!
Submitted by Cindy Seigel of PATCH in NJ
|Pet Notes Promotion: Print your Petfinder Pet Notes to Promote your Cats||top|
- We placed 4-color tents at tables in area cafes/restaurants (similar to “Drink Specials”) with a cute little bio and something about our shelter. The idea came to me when we were eating at a restaurant for breakfast and I noticed how many people were reading the paper. People enjoy reading while they are waiting for their food to be served or while they eat if they are alone. We not only received more interest on our website about specific animals, but we also recruited more volunteers.
Submitted by Kathleen Moore of Dog & Kitty City in TX
- We took a nice framed picture of one of our cats with a little bio saying “I need a home!” to a restaurant which had a very cat-friendly manager. The manager kept the picture by the cash register and everyone who came to that restaurant saw the adoptable cat. We placed a lot of cats this way – some pictures were there for months, but the manager would not change the picture until that cat got adopted! It was a way to reach people who really just didn’t know they needed a cat until they saw the picture and fell in love.
Submitted by Joanne Ventresca of Pet Adoption Fund/Cat Rescue in CA
- In my other life, I am a fourth grade teacher. With my principal’s approval, I post photos and information from Petfinder in the halls, front doors of our school and in my classroom. I set aside a couple of weeks every year to visit every class during my “free” period and explain the importance of adopting shelter animals, being responsible owners, and treating all animals humanely. A local veterinarian also visits to reinforce those ideas. I sponsor a poster contest in which dozens of winning posters find their way into store windows, on community bulletin boards, and on display at adoption events. We raise money for needy kitties through our “Pennies for Pets” fund drive. Our parent/teacher organization caught the enthusiasm and donated a huge basket of goodies for our foster pets. This year, one of my students adopted a cat through our organization. Twenty pounds of contented cat, he sauntered from student to student in my classroom with barely a twitch of his beautiful whiskers. We voted him our “Class Cat,” because he was so at home in the limelight, and certainly had more than his share of class! I am planning to expand my program to include an after school club for pet lovers. They will pose for photos to be posted on Petfinder, continue to make our community outreach posters, and volunteer at adoption events. At the request of many pet lovers, we will continue “Pennies for Pets” all year long. At my school, we recognize that learning to help needy animals is a great part of character education.
Submitted by Linda Jordan of Edgar County Humane Association in IL
- We plan to leave photo albums at several vet offices around the area that contain kennel cards of adoptable pets. The albums will have our name on the front and business cards inside for clients to take.
Submitted by Tina Sullivan of Pet-4-Pets in MD
|Pretty-Kitty Photos: Highlight Attributes of your Cats’ Personalities||top|
- We have an outstanding photographer that uses different backgrounds in our pictures. She uses colors that go so well with the color of the cats and those pictures have been a dream come true to help get the animals adopted.
Submitted by April Nolen of Martinsville-Henry County SPCA in VA
- When photographing our animals (and time permits), we dress our animals in silly costumes to draw attention to them and show how sweet out animals are. We then take these fun photos and make a calendar to use for fundraising. We’ve had Santa, elves, reindeer, angels, Easter bunny-with basket and eggs of course, and an Irishman. We’ve had kittens coming out of picnic baskets and watering cans (with flowers). We just did a shoot with an animal wearing a bikini top, and sun glasses on a beach towel with umbrella. And of course, we did the patriotic flags photos. Girls’ hair scrunchies make fun holiday cat collars for photos.
Submitted by Anita Disch of Green County Humane Society in WI
|Cats Market Themselves: Inventive Places to Showcase Great Cat Pictures||top|
- We have a teacher representative from the middle school to come to the shelter and photograph our adoptable animals. These photos are then shown on the school’s televised morning announcements! It has been a great hit with the students and has resulted in additional adoptions.
Submitted by Rosemary Lyons of Pasco County Animal Control in FL
- Not every cat shows well at adoption days. So for those cats, our volunteers wear customized shirts (donated by a local vendor), each one featuring the name, photo, and bio of a cat that can’t attend. These shirts have generated buzz among adopters, many of whom will come to adoption days not only to view the cats we have there, but also to see if anyone new is featured on the shirts!
Submitted by Rachel Levy of Stray Catz, Inc. in NJ
- Many people see and like our pets at the mobile events but are not ready to commit on-the-spot. I am sure they think about our animals later but may not be able to remember which group, animal’s name, etc. and are unable to contact us about adopting. I began making business cards for each animal with their name, title, picture, shelter information. Example: Angelo, Quality Control Analyst, Treat Department. We distribute their cards to potential adopters. It is very important to include the animal’s picture on the business card. (I am hoping when the card is viewed later that the pair of sad eyes will tug at the hearts of potential adopters and prompt them to adopt!)
Submitted by Rebecca Leinenback of Open Door Animal Sanctuary in MO
- After thinking long and hard on a way to really spark interest in our shelter cats and let people see what a joy cats are in our lives, we decided at ARF to really have fun with the fact that our free-range shelter is in fact fun, healthy, clean and friendly. We created a webpage including pictures of our cats celebrating with fun captions and upbeat music. It supports the fact that our cats are happy here and having a grand ‘ol time before their new owners arrive.
Submitted by Christine Peterson of Animal Rescue Foundation in NY
|Purring People: Great Customer Service Goes a Long Way||top|
- We greet our potential adopters at the lobby, welcoming them to our shelter and pointing them toward the adoptable animals. We give them a few minutes to view the animals, then an adoption counselor talks to them about the different cats and kittens that we have, calling them by name and pointing out what makes each cat or kitten special. The counselor talks to them about their family’s lifestyle and introduces them to the cat/kitten that would best “fit in” with their family. The cat’s condos are tastefully decorated with colorful beds and lots of toys, so those clever teenager kittens can show off their personalities. We offer adopters a 10-day guarantee on every adoption, so that if it’s not quite a perfect match, they can return the cat to us for a full refund of their adoption fees. We want every adopter to feel confident about adopting a pet from us, and feel no guilt about returning the animal if necessary. We have discovered that when introduced to visitors by a member of our staff, the cats and kittens have a better chance of finding the right home for them, instead of adopters just picking out the cutest kitten in the group. We have had a great improvement in the number of black cats and kittens that have been adopted since starting the introductions.
Submitted by Tricia Power of Bryant Animal Control & Adoption Center in AR
- We provide each adopter with a homemade “Kitty Kupon” booklet of coupons to help with their new kitty expenses. It includes a coupon for a free grooming, free treat bag, visit from a volunteer to help with the new kitty, and other goodies to help the kitty AND pet parent adjust. Adopters also get a T-shirt with “I Adopted a New Feline Friend”. We do what it takes to help these precious kitties find new homes.
Submitted by Nancy Job of Affection Connection Rescue in MI
- Our Cat Adoption Program “Double Your Fun” has been a great success at both increasing adoptions, as well as making life-long happy feline friends! The program allows adopters to choose a second feline companion at no additional adoption fee for up to 2 months after their initial adoption. We make great relationships with adopters who often come back into the shelter and match-make for a second time, as well as successfully place littermates together. This helps with the shelter’s bond with the community, almost ensuring that we can successfully bring adopters back into the shelter. It also helps the shelter to communicate with adopters, and confirm that the current adopted cat is well-cared for and content. The program is greatly beneficial to stay-at-home cats, who enjoy the company of a friend.
Submitted by Nikke Beer of Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania in PA
- At our shelter we have found that our “house cats” help people who may not even be interested in looking at cats think again. By having some friendly cats approach people as they enter really helps warm their hearts and make them want to see the cats.
Submitted by Melissa Wetzel of DeKalb Humane Society in IN
|Even Exchange: Tips to Ensure Adoptions are Right for Cats and New Parent||top|
- Giving adopters the option of exchanging cats if the one they fell in love with does not adapt well to their new home has helped us adopt out the older cats. There is nothing worse than living with a cat that is not happy! We always ask that if for any reason they can not keep or want the cat they return him or her to us. I firmly believe that our exchange and return policy is responsible for finding many an older cat a forever home. Match making is the name of the game! Forever Happy homes is the goal!
Submitted by Wendy Oby of Wendy’s Feline Friends in VA
- Not all cats are “people cats” – some like to be alone. For those cats who are loners, why not let the prospective owner take them home for a few days and let them check out their prospective pet/owner? Instead of a cat being adopted, taken home and brought back because of extenuating circumstances, the cats would have a chance to explore before adoption. This could get them adopted quicker and would also require less kennel space.
Submitted by Rebecca Loos of Odessa Animal Control in TX
|Make Friends: Find Allies around Town to Spread the Word||top|
- We choose a hard-to-place cat and do a write up on Petfinder.com. The girl scouts then make copies of it, put it in on posters and put them up in stores. Working with the scouts has been successful to place an otherwise hard-to-place cat. They spread the word and people seem to take more notice since the girl scouts and the shelter are working together.
Submitted by Sue Webb of Stray Pets in Need of Massachusetts in MA
- We were doing weekly “wanted” posters and putting them up around our town. One day I brought one to a Realtor meeting and the other agents were very positive! We have been able to keep the shelter turnover high and have a whole new group willing to help us! Don’t forget every Realtor knows someone in a new home that needs a pet!
Submitted by Judy Tilton of Franklin Animal Shelter in NH
|Fundraisers for Felines: Gain Donations and Adopters||top|
- A Karaoke for Kitties was held where the public could sing, sponsor a singer, send a donation or come just to show their support. The winners were recipients of “Ameri-Cat Idol” prizes. These included trophies for: “Purrrrrfect Singer” (best voice), “Money Cat” (most sponsors) and “Alley Cat” (the crowd pleaser). Everyone that sang was awarded a little “Cool Cat” trophy. But the big winners were the cats. The donations from this fundraiser were used to pay down our vet bills.
Submitted by Diane Show of Sheltara Humane Society in MA
- In addition to our weekly adoption shows at local area pet stores, CARA attempts to garner as much attention for our animals as possible. We all know the key to attention is visibility! During our annual fundraising pool tournament, tables are “named” after select foster care animals. When players’ names are called to play, they must locate the placard at the appropriate table and identify the kitty’s table at which they are required to play. This presents the opportunity for player #1 and player #5 to play at “Nugget’s” table. Players are forced to read the descriptions of the foster cats and locate the name within the description. In this manner, our kitties gain additional visibility and tournament participants learn about the animals who are receiving the donated entry fee. Sometimes, even a few adoptions can arise out of this technique!
Submitted by Vivian Cooper of Companion Animal Rescue Alliance in MD
- A cake(cat)walk just may help the homeless and abandoned kitties in your town find a home. How’s that? Well, everyone can be nostalgic at times and what better than an old-time cake(cat)walk. You actually have cakes and cookies only they are decorated as kitties – just a face with licorice whiskers or a photo image cake/cookie with any kind of kitty scene. The stepping stones the participants will be walking on are the actual pictures of kitties looking for homes. This can spread the visibility of your orphans looking a home in an eye catching, fun and entertaining way. Use songs like “cat scratch fever” and other songs that have something to do with kitties. Get participants to sponsor and have a poster made up to show where their money will go such as; $5 pays for a shelter kitties vaccinations, $10 pays for the vaccinations plus worming and frontline, $25-$35 pays for the spay/neuter, $50 covers most of the above expenses unless you are treating a sick kitty requiring medication and vet visits. You can also include kitty prizes; cozy kitty beds, kitty toys, bowls, calendars, etc. I’ve used the stepping stones (8 1/2 x 14) as placemats also. Nothing like a 8 1/2 x 14 kitty picture with a story staring at you as you try to eat your “free” pancake breakfast. A hostess always stops in at the table to introduce themselves and their organization. They are available to answer any questions the public may have.
Submitted by Denise Novak of Save1Pet in MS
|Special Programs for Special Cats: Matching Those who Need Each Other Together||top|
- We have coordinated efforts with senior assisted living facilities and nursing homes to place 10 adult cats. It works great for all involved. The cats and staff are thrilled.
Submitted by Ellen Stephenson of Elizabeth Lake Animal Rescue in MI
- Callie’s Home for Cats has successfully used our Senior Cats to Senior Owner’s “Love an Experienced Cat” promotion. Our flyer is posted in all vet offices, pet stores and feed stores inviting senior owners who cannot afford a pet deposit on their apartment to contact us. We help by providing a portion of the pet deposit and with the adoption provide a gift from local merchants containing cat food, litter, toys, etc. offered as promotions from local merchants. Senior owners must have experience with cats and be qualified otherwise and the cat is returned to Callie’s Home when the owner can no longer keep the cat. This has been an excellent way to place a wonderful “EXPERIENCED SENIOR CAT, with a LONELY QUALIFIED OWNER. They provide love and care for each other, a good match.
Submitted by Carol Storm of Callie’s Home for Cats in CA
- I had trouble finding a home for a deaf Cornish rex. I called the Oregon School for the Deaf where the outreach coordinator and her deaf children adopted the cat. They are now teaching him sign language!
Submitted by Diana Nelson of Cornish and Devon Rex Rescue NW, Sphynx Too in OR
- Long term cats or hard to adopt cats are eligible for a unique program that allows potential owners to take a cat home before officially adopting it called “Paws to Consider”. Different from a foster program, the cats are available for adoption in the shelter and their cages and habitats are labeled with the “Paws to Consider” program logo. Clients who are thinking about adopting, but aren’t sure if the cat is the right one for them, may select to take the cat home for a one week trial period with no fee. We supply the client with a cat carrier, collar and id tag, litter and food for the week, the cat is microchipped, spayed/neutered, tested for FIV/FeLv, dewormed, and vaccinated. The client not only leaves all their personal information including a driver’s license number, but a credit card number as well. We call the client the day after they take the cat home and the day before the cat is due back. If the match is successful, the client comes in, returns the supplies, completes the adoption paperwork and we process the adoption fee. If the cat wasn’t perfect for them, we find out why and in most cases help the clients find a better match. At first we were worried that this approach would invite clients who weren’t seriously committed to having a cat and to those not prepared to make a lifetime decision. But the more we thought about it, we realized that these cats deserved a better chance and by allowing clients to take one home without any long term obligation, they were more comfortable taking home special needs, undesirable or long term cats. And once at home, many of the clients simply fell in love with their temporary guests. The program has been very successful, with over 80% of the animals in the program staying in their homes. Some of the clients who returned the cat realized they weren’t ready for a pet and we consider that a successful ending as well since we helped someone truly understand what responsible pet ownership meant.
Submitted by Rachel Long of Oakland SPCA in CA
- Our new program is a pet therapy program we call the Purrfect Companion. The idea is to place older cats that otherwise maybe unadoptable (due to age) with a senior that will benefit from the cats love! From our website: The PURRfect Companion offers you all the benefits of cat ownership without all the hassles! You can enjoy the unconditional love and therapeutic benefits of a cat companion without all the worries and costs. Pet Angel Adoption & Rescue Inc. will provide you with all the supplies needed to care for your new companion, for a one-time fee. For a small monthly fee we can also deliver cat food and litter to you. Anytime your kitty companion requires a Vet visit we will take him to the veterinarian and bring him back to you. This includes the annual vet visit, vaccinations, etc. All veterinary bills are at our expense – not yours! You only need to provide daily care and lots of love and we do all the work! You will select a cat or kitten, male or female, of your choice. All PURRfect companions are spayed or neutered, FIV/FELV tested and up to date on all shots. At the end of your contract period you may choose to renew your contract, return the cat to us, or you or a family member may choose to adopt the cat from Pet Angel Adoption & Rescue Inc. for a modest adoption fee. If you find that you are no longer able to care for your PURRfect Companion due to situations beyond your control, we will take it back and provide it a new home. If you are ready to share your life and your love with a PURRfect Companion, contact us today to schedule a cat or kitten showing. PURRFect Companion is a soon-to-be non-profit Pet Therapy Program designed for cat lovers who may: Be Home-bound Have limited access to transportation Are living with restrictions in a home care environment Utilizing Hospice / Homecare Services. This program is available in a 15 mile radius of Frankenmuth, MI.
Submitted by Nancy Engel of Pet Angel Adoption & Rescue Inc. in MI