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10 ways shelters are promoting cat adoptions

Reduced adoption fees, special cat events and humor

We all know it’s easy to find a free cat on Craigslist, in the classifieds or even just by asking enough people.

In order to compete with this, animal shelters must also look for ways to offer free cat adoptions.

The cats don’t have to be free all the time, but offering reduced adoption fees every now and then can go a long way as far as attracting potential adopters.

It’s not enough to just sit back and hope more people will visit the shelter – they won’t. Not unless there’s a reason to visit, such as a fun community event or a special adoption event.

People generally don’t want to visit shelters because they view them as depressing and unwelcoming. Plus, it’s cheaper and easier to get a cat somewhere else.

Shelters need to work hard to attract adopters, and the following are some excellent ideas various shelters are already using. These would be very easy for any shelter or rescue group to replicate.

10 ways shelters are promoting cat adoptions

1. Austin Pets Alive’s “Single and Loving It”
$14 adoptions on cats that would do best as the only pet in the house. A creative way to bring more attention to these more “challenging” cats.

Single and Loving it cat adoption special

2. SPCA of Wake County’s “Almost Home”
(also see very top photo) Free adoptions on long-term cats that have been at the shelter a bit longer than some of the others.
SPCA of Wake County

3. Nevada Humane Society’s “Super Pets”
Reduced fees on all adult dogs ($18) and adult cats ($3) just in time for the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl adoption special Nevada

4. Nevada Humane Society’s “Furry Speed Dating”
Obviously a fun way to attract new people to the shelter. And holding the event on Valentine’s Day will encourage couples to visit the shelter together.
Furry speed dating

5. The Cat Adoption Team’s “Catzilla versus Diva”
Adopters can pay whatever they choose to adopt one of the more “feisty” cats.

6. Nevada Humane Society’s “Great Orange Cat Rescue”
This was a promo from a few years ago when the shelter took in several orange cats from an alleged hoarding situation.
Adoption special on cats

7. Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s “Better with a Buddy” program
An ongoing special to encourage people to adopt two cats. The second cat is always $25 off.
2nd cat half off

8. Norfolk Animal Care Center’s “Black Fur-iday”
Half off adoption fees on black and mostly black animals.
Black Friday adoption event

9. Montgomery County Animal Shelter’s “2-for-1 Kittens”
This shelter also offers $25 adoptions on long-term cats as well as free adoptions through its “seniors for seniors” program. Adopters 55 years and older can adopt a senior animal at no cost.
Kitten adoption special

10. Houston SPCA – $5 cat adoptions
Just a simple way to attract new adopters.
Houston cat adoptions

What are some ways your local shelter is promoting cat adoptions?


Tuesday 4th of February 2014

Doesn't it feel like we are just selling animals??? I mean I know that is not what is ntended but some people might understand it like that

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 4th of February 2014

Animal shelters are in the business of selling animals. They need to be able to compete with pet shops, Craigslist, breeders, etc.


Tuesday 4th of February 2014

I just have a question...I think these are great ideas but I am thinking if bad protectors (owners) are attracted by this wonderful promotion,

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 4th of February 2014

That's why shelters have screening processes in place. So, if a bad person wanted to adopt a cat, this wouldn't be any different. Although the price is less, the person would still go through the same application process that is always in place.

Meanwhile, the lower price would also attract lots of good families, meaning fewer cats are killed for a "lack of homes."


Monday 3rd of February 2014

The shelters in Sacramento, CA have "feline Fridays" where all adult cats at any of the local shelters are only $5.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 4th of February 2014

Oh good to hear!