Shelters across the country are facing peak kitten season. Last year alone, an estimated 20 million kittens were born during this time. These kittens place a major strain on shelters, many of which do not have the staff or resources to care for an influx of newborns.
We all face the stresses associated with kitten season. But what to do about it? We’ve rounded up creative ideas that will help amp up adoptions. Have other ideas? Share them with SAWA!
Run a story campaign
Use your shelter’s social media presence to your advantage. Highlight stories of the kittens that are close to ready or ready to adopt by utilizing high quality photography as well as short video clips. By encouraging supporters to share these stories with their networks, you can put your audience to work for you.
- Shorter videos tend to do better on social media, unless you have a detailed story to tell and can do it efficiently and engagingly.
- Many people watch video on social media (especially on Facebook) on mute, so having captions for audio can help your content be seen.
- Anyone can broadcast live video through Facebook or apps like Periscope. It’s ideal for sharing sweet moments with the kittens.
- Social media is ideal for showing the “behind the scenes” moments of caring for animals. It’s a place to let your shelter staff shine. Don’t be afraid to be authentic!
- Activate donors who can’t adopt a kitten to give by asking them to sponsor a kitten’s care. Break down the costs of kitten season when you make these asks so that people can feel like they’re giving specifically to support your organization through this time.
- Social media audiences love “before” and “after” images and video, especially of dogs that get cleaned up and ready to adopt. Do something similar with kittens – show the difference in size from when they came in, to when they’re ready to adopt. And remind people how much time and effort it can take to care for them in between.
Collaborate with local partners
It’s no secret that shelters can be stressful for humans and felines alike. Find local partners who are willing to host foster events. Perhaps it’s a busy office that could use stress release, or maybe it’s the locally-run pet store down the road. During the Super Bowl, Uber, the major ride-sharing service, delivered ready-to-adopt puppies for a day, and was able to help place over 70 puppies into homes.
Asking individuals in your community to be partners is also essential. Educating people about the realities of kitten season and kitten care in shelters can be an effective way to empower people to help out. Teach your community what to do when they find kittens, where to take them and/or how to care for them and find them homes.
Start a kitten nursery
Who doesn’t love baby kittens? Start the road to adoption by dedicating a room in your shelter to caring for kittens. Socializing the kittens with one another will help make their personalities more amenable to adoption, and allowing volunteers to have more opportunities to interact with a number of kittens can also increase foster and adoption rates. Live footage broadcast via social media from the kitten nursery may also be a way to share the kittens with a wider audience of potential adopters.
By getting kittens out of the shelter, and into homes or other venues, kittens have more opportunities to socialize, and shelter staff have fewer kittens to worry about.