One Thing Shelters Can Do with All Those Cats

One of the most popular excuses among shelter killing apologists for why it’s impossible to go no kill is that there are way too many cats and no one wants them – especially the adults.  Even if that were true, and I don’t agree that it is, it does not follow that shelters “have to” kill cats.  In fact, here is a suggestion for what shelters can do with all those adult cats from UPAWS volunteer Ann Brownell in Michigan (brought up from the comments):

UPAWS 9 Lives for $9 cat promotion is June 21 – 30TH! Being June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month we are super excited!! I won a Marketing Grant to promote the event! We’ll be on our local TV stations, newspapers, radio and of course social media. Here is our commercial that was produced for us:

How she did it:

I submitted my marketing ideas to Best Friends Animals Society and I won the grant to advertise the 9 Lives for $9 event – a local TV station produced it for free and on top of it, then donated double in air time for the ad! So I got a 2 for 1 air time and also 20,000 impressions on their website pointing to our website : )

UPAWS saves every healthy/treatable pet in its care.  So can your local shelter.

Next time someone tries to convince you that no kill is impossible because your local shelter doesn’t have an enormous budget or because, “What are we supposed to do with all these adult cats?” – tell them.

32 thoughts on “One Thing Shelters Can Do with All Those Cats

  1. This is the difference between caring and not giving a rat’s ass. How many shelters don’t even list their pets online? Or if they do, give ZERO information about the animal beyond color/size/age? Thanks for the crappy out of focus photo and lack of information, jackasses. That will really help me market this pet for you. Oh wait, you don’t give a rat’s ass, do you? But you’ll whine about how “hard” it is for you to kill pets. Apparently, marketing them is WAY harder because you don’t bother to do THAT, do you?

    Sorry. Too many “dies tomorrow, gassing facility!!” emails in my inbox today.

    1. I reread my ranting and just want to clarify that UPAWS is doing a fantastic thing here and I applaud them for it. They care and are working to market their animals. My rage was directed at those who don’t care and can’t even bother with the most basic of marketing (photo, description, ANYTHING). I’m seeing too much of that apathetic “we’re doing the best we can” crap, so it’s wonderful to see places like UPAWS shining through. I just wish there were more of them.

    2. “What are we supposed to do with all these adult cats?”

      Save them, and find them loving homes.

      The No Kill Equation:

      Fact: Using the most successful adoption communities as a benchmark and adjusting for population, U.S. shelters combined should be adopting almost nine million animals a year. That is almost three times the number being killed for lack of a home. In fact, it is more than total impounds. But the news gets even better.

      There are over 23 million people who are going to get an animal next year. Some are already committed to adopting from a shelter. Some are already committed to getting one from a breeder or other commercial source. But 17 million have not decided where that animal will come from and research shows they can be influenced to adopt from a shelter. That’s 17 million people vying for roughly 3 million animals. So even if 80% of those people got their animal from somewhere other than a shelter, we could still zero out the killing. And many communities are proving it.


  2. This is great for this shelter. However, what about the shelter that takes in over 20,000 cats in a year with only so much isolation space and only so many foster homes? I’m not talking about euthanizing healthy adoptable cats, but the treatable cats with URI because you can’t keep a sick cat on the adoption floor without getting the whole population sick. Efforts need to be made all around. It’s not just about finding homes, it is about educating the public, free and low cost spay neuter programs, TNR programs for areas with large feral populations. Large humane societies often have adoption fee specials and while that helps a little, you can’t “empty the shelter” with a $9 adoption fee every time. As long as cats keep breeding like they do and humans allow their unaltered pets to roam, there will be an overpopulation problem. And unless you want 20 pet cats, everyone needs to work together to solve this. I’m so tired of “kill” versus “no-kill”, working at a high volume shelter doesn’t make you a murderer and having a small rescue out of your home doesn’t make you a saint. Maybe if the animal welfare community spent more time working together and less time playing the blame game, more lives would truly be saved.

    1. And I’m so tired of “unless you personally take 20 cats home” and the rest of the irresponsible public garbage. As stated, this is ONE THING shelters can do with cats – market and adopt them. Some of the other things you mention – no/low cost spay-neuter, TNR, etc are also part of the solution. The rest of your “I hate blame so I blame everyone else” is a no sale. Engaging the community is what saves lives, not shaming them.

    2. It is the implementation of many programs that changes a shelter and a community to No Kill. I love this idea – 9 lives for 9 dollars. It takes creativity and participation inside the shelter, in the government, and in with the citizens.

    3. If you get 20,000 cats a year, the population of humans in your area is also larger, so saying a smaller shelter has it easier is ridiculious. By the way, the shelter in the article is not an out of home shelter and not that small. The woman who applied for the grant does not have a paid position at the shelter. She has a full time job but like many people in her area, volunteers countless hours to the shelter. Even if it was a home based shelter, you need to get your nose out of the clouds and stop trying to belittle the efforts of an incredible shelter.

      1. I didn’t say that this shelter was an out of home one, I was just making a point that it seems that it’s always big shelter v. small rescue when we should be fighting for the same cause. Have you ever worked for a high volume, open admissions shelter? Have you ever seen stacks of crates of sick and feral cats tossed away by the hundreds (sometimes in one day). Have you ever been probably the only loving touch an animal has and will ever receive? My head is FAR from in the clouds. I think this shelter’s program is great and I am glad that they have been able to make a difference in their community. The original post implies that this is the magic solution and any “kill” shelter is having a special on cat adoptions. Yeah, marketing is a good thing, but promoting responsible pet ownership is a greater long-run solution, in my (apparently “belittling”) opinion.

      2. AF – No one said anything about a magic solution. Again, ONE THING. And I don’t allow comments that support the killing of shelter pets. If you post a third comment along these lines, it won’t be published and you will be banned. If you wish to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful manner, go ahead and get started on that.

  3. UPAWS has many programs to reach our No Kill status. Our shelter manager is spearheading a summer long Rummage Sale and all the money raised goes to help people spay or neuter there own pets if they have no or low income. We are proactive with helping strays get back home and we never say that folks are irresponsible are if they loose a pet – anyone can loose their pet, accidents happen.
    We are constantly thinking and thinking of ways to keep our shelter in the public eye every single day – and in a positive way – not a “we are gonna kill them if you don’t adopt way”!! My knish is community relations/pet promotions (I am a volunteer – not staff member). I am forever thinking of ways to advertise UPAWS and our pets – and I need to think of ways to do it for free!! Once you get the community behind you and trust you – it gets easier to get them to help. The media, supporters and volunteers are always willing to help – you just have to ask.

  4. I’d like to share a portion of an article about ‘No Kill’ that Reva Laituri, a UPAWS board member wrote for our upcoming UPAWS Summer edition Newsletter:

    Every shelter has a limited amount of space and unless proactive in its programs, will quickly fill to capacity. There are several key areas that must all be addressed.
    It needs a multi-faceted adoption program…special promotions, adoption fee sponsorships, off-site adoptions, a strong return to owner program and inviting facility and friendly staff and volunteers, convenient hours, and advertising, to name a few.
    To reduce to flood of litters arriving at shelters, it needs strong spay/neuter programs, including funding earmarked to offer financial assistance to spaying and neutering owned animals in the community. UPAWS has set up the Spay It Forward fund to allow donations to be earmarked for this program.
    Retention programs provide advice and other assistance that can result in an owner having the ability to keep the animal rather than surrender it to a shelter.
    A Proactive Redemption also known as Return to Owner programs set in place to proactively work to help lost pets find their way back to their families.
    A vital volunteer program is life-saving to the animals. Foster homes give animals a break from the stress of a shelter environment which keeps them healthier and inhibits behavioral issues that can arise in a shelter environment. It also allows a home environment for animals to recover after surgeries or to raise immature litters until old enough to place. Volunteers are key to socializing animals, helping in the day-to-day care and cleaning of the residents, helping with adoption promotions and much more.
    Partnerships are another key element to becoming a successful no-kill shelter. Business partnerships can offer opportunities for off-site adoptathons or a permanent adoption sites. Businesses and individuals can also sponsor shelter adoptions. Local veterinarians often provide low or no-cost services which save lives on a daily basis. Partnerships with other shelters and rescues mean they will be there to offer help if a shelter receives a large number of animals at one time, or there are special needs animals. Transfers between shelters and rescues can and do provide many more placement opportunities for hard-to-place animals and can eliminate long shelter stays. Partners also are those individuals who answer the call to help pay for major surgeries. They are the groomers who volunteer their services, the service organizations and kid groups like the scouts and school organizations who do fundraisers or form work bees. The opportunities are endless and their contributions priceless.

  5. …what? “There are no homes for these adult cats so if we give them away for almost free there will suddenly be homes for them”….is that the gist of this article? I don’t understand how lower adoption fees will create more homes.

    1. “There are no homes for these adult cats” is not a thing you read in this post or any other on this blog. Rather the opposite. There are more than enough homes for every tame shelter cat in America. And feral cats already have homes so shouldn’t be in shelters unless it’s for a brief neuter/vax visit before being returned.

      1. “….there are way too many cats and no one wants them….” “…here is a suggestion for what shelters can do with all those adult cats…” (video about a program offering lower adoption fees on adult cats). I fail to see how lower adoption fees would make anyone “want” the cats more. Lower fees enable people who DO want a cat but can’t afford the fee to adopt, and that’s great, but lower fees don’t make people want the cats more.

        “Next time someone tries to convince you that no kill is impossible because your local shelter doesn’t have an enormous budget or because, “What are we supposed to do with all these adult cats?” – tell them.” Tell them what? Lower adoption fees so they have less funds to spay/neuter/vacc the cats? This article makes no sense.

      2. Although it’s possible you are truly dim, I’m going with my gut on this one and put you down as trolling. Which is not allowed here.

        On Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 11:59 AM, YesBiscuit!

  6. Year after year, rescue organizations and shelters report a huge increase in cat adoptions when they take part in reduced adoption fee promotions. The increase in advertising brings adopters to your door. It is a great way to bring more people to your shelter to adopt. Here is a informative pdf link on the topic of reduced adoption fees and concerns:

  7. It amazes me how many ways people can find to tear down a good thing being done by good people. So sad to see.

  8. I live a couple miles down the road from UPAWS and am an active volunteer and supporter of their shelter. They do some amazing work and are really dedicated to their jobs. They even have a large amount of foster families in our area for both their dogs and cats and they post daily about individual pets, giving their profiles and temperaments and even update when they get adopted! Now that’s some good shelter care! <3

  9. I think the lower adoption fee is a great idea and if someone can’t see how that will get more pets adopted then perhaps they haven’t seen how high fees can be in some shelters. I am allergic to cats but if the same were done for dogs I would think about adopting another just like the little bich-pom that I have.

  10. Great first day of the 9Lives for $9 promotion. 6 adult cats (and 2 dogs) adopted. Three of the cats were at UPAWS since March! Everyone who came in said they saw our ads : )

      1. Two were from the colony of cats that Grizzabella came from : ) Our staff and volunteer socialization program is working : )

  11. First day of the 9 Lives for $9 adoption promo had 6 adult cats adopted. The second day had 8 cats adopted = 14 adult cats in two days!! PLUS dogs and kittens were adopted too! We really needed this – we are still full of cats but making progress and finding them loving homes!! I believe the 9 Lives for $9 promotion is working : )

    1. Congratulations on getting those cats into new homes. What kind of advertising did you do? My local (MI) humane society ran the same promotion, but most of the adoptions were kittens with many fewer adults being adopted.

  12. Hi,
    We had a TV commercial (view at this original post), local newspaper and Shopper newspaper ads, radio PSA’s ran and I also went on a local morning radio show and TV show to talk about it. A local radio celebrity talked about it daily at 1:30pm on her show M-F, I made a Facebook Event, posters were brought around the community, front page of our website and posted daily on our Facebook page.
    We work closely with our local media : )
    Thank you,

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