Cleveland APL rocks with cats on the road to adoption
Cleveland Animal Protective League
1729 Willey Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113
In the Home of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame
If it's summer concert season (which happens to coincide with kitten
season), it must be time for Cats on Tour. Almost every weekend, from
May through October, the Cleveland Animal Protective League (APL) loads
fabulous felines of all ages, colors, and personalities into Rover,
their mobile adoption van. Rover heads out to street fairs, community
festivals, and busy store parking lots throughout Cuyahoga County to
showcase these adoptable animals.
Getting Their Act Together
Before hitting the road, a little organization is in order:
- All the cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, FeLV and FIV tested, and ready for their close-ups.
- Adoption counselors are on board to bring the stars and their fans together.
- Special reduced fees apply.
- Adoptions are done on the spot using the same policies and
procedures used back at the shelter. As in all adoptions, follow-ups
are done a couple of weeks later.
- Sometimes dogs are included. For those events, fliers
advertise "Cats on the Main stage with special guest openers, the APL
- A concert T-shirt - black, of course, with logo on the front
and tour dates on the back - has proved so popular that a tank top was
"It's Like a Purring Springsteen Tour."
a quote from APL Executive Director Sharon Harvey. But behind the fun
is a very serious purpose - raising awareness about:
- the staggering number of homeless cats in the Greater Cleveland area,
- the importance of cats as members of the family, and
- the need to adopt shelter animals.
Cats on Tour makes cat adoption easy and fun for people who might
not go downtown in search of a new pet. For older cats or cats who
don't stand out in the shelter environment, Cats on Tour is a chance to
take center stage and be rock stars for the day.
- In the first season, 51 cats were adopted through the program.
- Halfway through the second season, 61 tour cats had already found forever fans.
Cats on Tour appearances create positive buzz for the organization
and provide opportunities to educate the public about spay/neuter, TNR,
and other life-saving APL programs. During this economic downturn,
people who are having trouble caring for their pets sometimes approach
the van to ask about relinquishment. While this can be discouraging,
APL staff are glad to be approached and to have a chance to provide
assistance to these pet owners.
For Feline Rock-Star Wannabes
The APL identifies several factors that are central to the success of a mobile cat adoption program such as Cats on Tour:
- Friends in the community: The APL receives an overwhelming number
of requests to make appearances at city parks, the zoo, local
businesses, and outdoor events. Cats on Tour is popular not only
because of the clever theme and terrific animals, but also because of
Rover, the giant moving billboard with its engaging "You Stay....We'll
Roll Over." message. It's an attention-getter for sure.
- In some cases, Cats on Tour is the main attraction in a bigger event with the proceeds going to the APL.
- Event planners and hosting businesses advertise Cats on Tour
to drive traffic to their venues. This draws more adopters as well as
more attention to the APL and its work.
- A mobile adoption vehicle: Rover makes it possible for the APL
to transport and display large numbers of animals in a safe, managed,
climate controlled environment, minimizing stress and risk of disease
and injury. While it would be possible to do this without a mobile
adoption van, APL staff members agree that it would be much more
labor-intensive and much less impactful.
- A staff member dedicated to the program: The APL's full time
Offsite Adoption Liaison is responsible for building and cultivating
community relationships and handling all aspects of offsite
appearances, including Cats on Tour.
- Four to eight volunteers for every appearance. The APL has
found that Cats on Tour fans are more than willing to become roadies:
volunteers are lining up to staff the tour dates.