In honor of Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month in June, we asked animal welfare professionals to share their tips and tricks for promoting cat adoptions. Way to go to get those kitties out of your facilities and into their forever homes! Here are our favorite success stories.
P.S. You don't have to wait until next year to try these ideas out at your shelter.
Great Pick-Up Lines
Love this innovative idea recently implemented by the Monadnock Humane Society, West Swanzey, NH. "We've started putting up 'one liners' on our shelter roadside sign," says Sharon Wirant, Monadnock's director of operations. "For example, we had a long-term resident who was diabetic. We put up the one liner, 'Mac prefers sugar-free,' and he was adopted within 3 days. To date, we've had 3 successes since implementing the strategy."
No Place Like Home
How to get bonded pairs adopted together? At the Lowell Humane Society in Lowell, MA, it's the Dorothy Fund to the rescue. "The fund was established in 2007 by a donor who loved cats and hated seeing them sit in the shelter for long periods," says Chris Arnott, community outreach coordinator.
The fund pays for a portion of the adoption fee for senior citizens who adopt a cat over 3 years, or for anyone who adopts 2 cats cats over the age of 3. The fund most recently benefited Moby and Charlie, a shy 6-year-old pair adopted in June. "A family came in one day looking for just one cat, but fell in love with the duo," Arnott tells us. "We've just received an update that they're settled in wonderfully, with a big thank you and an additional donation to the shelter from the family."
The San Francisco SPCA celebrated Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month in a big way, promoting available kitties via Facebook, Twitter and its Litter Did You Know… blog.
But best of all we like the Rogues' Gallery, a special website section showing off SF/SPCA's older felines. Totally rooting for 16-year-old Monkey! (FYI Her description reads: "Such a silly name for such a dignified lady. We suggest you change it in the car on your way home.")
One, Two, Free…
"2-for-1 adoptions have been successful in our area," says Denise Hill, vice president of Friends of the Animals in the Redwood Empire (FAIRE), an organization that works to increase adoptions at six local shelters in northern California's coastal counties. "It not only helps move adult cats out of the shelters, but they go with a buddy!"
The county shelters also offer half off adult cat single adoption fees at certain times during the year.
License to Thrill
Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) in Spokane Valley, WA, occasionally offers free adoptions, too, but took a different spin this Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month. The shelter advertised that all cats would be free with the purchase of a license—just $15—for the entire month of June. How did the promo go?
"In June 2008 we adopted 30 adults cats," says Jackie Bell, SCRAPS development coordinator. "In June 2009, we adopted 52. That's an increase of 73 percent!"
All Cats, All the Time
The Richmond SPCA geared up for major promotion of its special deals: half-price kitten adoptions and reduced fees for senior citizens adopting cats age 5 and over—all throughout June. The programs were listed both on the web and on Richmond SPCA's Facebook and Twitter accounts. "Our community relations manager also spoke of these specials during our regular spots on local radio and TV," explains Angi Baber, director of the adoption center. "We did speak to the stations about using our time to specifically talk about cats during this month—in some cases getting cats into studios where they'd never been allowed before!"
It was a successful month—124 kitten and 28 adult cat adoptions—but one in particular stands out to Baber. Constantine, a 7-year-old black Javanese mix who was transferred from an area shelter on March 5, went home on June 13, thanks to the Seniors for Seniors program. The adopter recently sent Baber an email 'from' Constantine:
"Remember me? I adopted a human last Saturday. She's got a lot to learn but I think she is trainable….I'm attaching a picture of me in the kitchen. Love that room! Can eat there and then go look out the back door into the woods. Miss you guys, but I have it made here!"