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What Makes a Successful Pet Adoption Day

Sleeping kitten is smiling | Australian National Cat Magazine - Ozzi Cat

One day I was lucky to be a part of a very successful Adoption Day. It was overwhelmingly successful! Potential adopters started gathering several hours before PetStock, hosting an Adoption Day from GAWS, opened their doors.

Many people came to adopt a particular cat. Some were not “fast enough” and missed their cat as another couple took the kitty just seconds before them. The day was fantastic! Volunteers had to go back to the shelter to bring more cats as all “morning” cats were quickly adopted!

To reflect on what could make that Adoption Day a success, this is my take from that and other adoption days Ozzi Cat team helped at.

1. Adoption Posters

Ozzi Cat Art helps with a Cat Adoption Day Poster

Ozzi Cat Art helps with a Cat Adoption Day Poster

Ozzi Cat Art helps with a Cat Adoption Day Poster

Ozzi Cat Art helps with a Cat Adoption Day Poster


  • Make an appealing and a positive poster saying about the Adoption Day
  • Use positive graphics and bright pictures
  • Keep it short – what, when, where – people will read the poster on the go and from the cars (depending on where you place them)
  • I made two posters – one with an Adoption Day announcement (text + cute custom cat graphics) and one “Starring on the Day” (photos of a few real cats that will be on the day with what-when-where, see more below)
  • See both posters in this article: http://tiny.cc/OzziCatPosters

2. “Starring on the Day” Poster

Ozzi Cat Art helps with a Cat Adoption Day Poster

Ozzi Cat Art helps with a Cat Adoption Day Featured Cats Poster

  • Show a few real cats that will be on the day. Keep the cat photographs big enough (have about 5 photographs maximum, otherwise they can be too small to see from the distance and see the beauty of the cats).
  • Cats on photos – the cutest the better. Show their name, sex, and age. I heard from many people who saw the poster that they wanted to adopt exactly that kitten that they saw, and they came on the Adoption Day to adopt that kitten.
  • Make very good cat photographs, as much professional as possible. Heart sees through eyes at the first time. Professional photographs not only highlight cats personalities and beauty, they also give a positive image to the Adoption event.
  • Have a photograph of an adult cat among the kitten photographs if there will be adult cats on the day. There are people who prefer adult cats (I personally do – even I love kittens, I would adopt an adult cat to my family).

3. Let People Know

  • Put posters in as many places as possible. People will not come if they are not aware of the adoption event.
  • Use big street “announcement poles” (that Music bands and local politicians use to promote themselves). Make the posters A3 size and put them all around the pole (usually it takes 6-8 A3 sheets to wrap a standard pole depending on a picture orientation – landscape or portrait).
  • Use pet shops message and announcement boards (e.g. PetStock in Corio has one. Check if you need a permission to put a poster on the board.) It’s a good exposure as the boards are usually located right after the entrance.
  • Remove posters after the Adoption Day so they are always fresh for peoples’ eye.
  • Give an image file with posters to your supporters and volunteers. Ask them to print and put the posters as well. Ask them to share on the Internet.
  • My supporters shared the Adoption Day poster at a child care.
  • Think who adopts most, from what area – use a message aimed to that people, concentrate on that area.
  • Spread and ask to spread a word. Ask people to come not only for adoptions but to see cats (many may bring kids), and to buy a sausage – tell that money will go to pets.

  • Internet – share the adoption poster, ask people to re-share. (On Facebook – use “Upload photo” and add a text. It will post a big attractive photo with your text instead of just a text.)
  • Internet – if you use a web site where you post photos of cats available for adoption (e.g. your web site, PetRescue web-site) – update description of all the cats that will be on the Adoption Day – mention that the person can meet the cat on the Adoption Day – when and where. Some people said that information was very helpful to them, and they came on the Day just because they wanted to see that cat and decide on adoption.

  • Mailbox drop-off – Make a small “invitation” card – the size of a postcard or a bit bigger. Drop it to mailboxes in your local area. Give the image file with the invitation to supporters. Ask them to do the same in their areas.

  • If there will be a discount on the Adoption Day – let all supporters and volunteers know about that in advance. It’s a pity when people don’t know about the discount you offer and so they don’t come to have a look at gorgeous cats thinking that it will be unaffordable for them to get a cat.

4. On the day – Adoption Area

  • Put cat cages at the peoples’ eye level. It will allow contacting cats easier. Many people are adults or cannot bend as easy as they would like to. Make it easier for people – they are potential adopters.
  • One of main concerns of some people is that they had to adopt if they come to the adoption area. Break that feeling. Let people know that they don’t have to adopt on the spot (even it’s the most awesome outcome we all want). Today they fall in love, tomorrow they will come to adopt.
  • On the outside of the building, where the entrance is, put a big cute poster mentioning that the Adoption Day is right now right there. Many people pass the shop without even knowing that it’s something awesome going on inside.
  • Put a poster asking people to buy a sausage, if you host a BBQ
  • Ask the shop staff to mention to the customers about what’s going on (Adoption Day) and about the BBQ, money from which go to pets.
  • Have a clear poster about where the cats are from (which shelter). Some people come in to the shop and they don’t understand what’s going on – needs a big clear short message.
  • Do talk to people, answer their questions. It’s wonderful if several volunteers are able to answer the same person. People are different and they all feel a bit confused and shy when they come at the Adoption Day. Make them welcomed. They are your “customers”.
  • A few people come to find out about foster carer opportunities. Have materials in place and advise them on further steps.

5. BBQ

  • BBQ – make clear posters that money goes to animals. Many people don’t know that, only a few ask. Put posters on all sides of the BBQ covered area so they are visible from all sides where people can approach it from. Let them face the road if the BBQ area is close to the road and people can park nearby.
  • Have an Adoption Box. Some people did not want a sausage, they just wanted to donate. If they see a donation box, it makes it clear for them that they can just drop money there.
  • Sell not only sausages but other things if possible. I planned to give away a few copies of Ozzi Cat Magazine and cat-themed greeting cards that I draw so they raise money for cats right on the day.
  • Have a BBQ on a not very sunny day. It’s a tricky one though. If it’s a bit chilly, people will buy more sausages, but may be less will come to the shop (depends on how well the Adoption Day was promoted).
  • Have a BBQ in a place where lots of people pass by
  • Have a BBQ on days of a pubic event. E.g. A footy event keeps the people flow going. More chances that they will grab a sausage.
  • Book a BBQ event with big stores (e.g. Bunnings). Many people come and will be glad if their money support a good thing.

6. After the Adoption Day

  • Share with the relevant media (newspapers, magazine, web sites, and social networks) your Adoption Day story (even if only 1 cat was adopted), share successful cat adoptions, and share what you do. Tell how you feel fulfilled and looking forward. This helps with the image, awereness, and notifies the public on Adoption Days, demystifies them, and make people feel more comfortable to attend an Adoption Day.

7. Main Points

  1. Keep a positive image of the Adoption Day
  2. People don’t know. Let them know about the Adoption Day – when and where
  3. Showcase and mention cats that will be on the day, upfront.
  4. Keep notifying people on where and what’s going on. Navigate them to the venue. Ask to do additional things – to donate, grab a sausage, pass information to friends.
  5. Make cat photographs as professional as possible
  6. Make it easier for people to interact and see the cats on the Day. Supermarkets use techniques to position goods well, cats are more important – position them strategically.

And keep up the good job!
You are saving lives – this matters most.

Successful Pet Adoption Day – Have Your Say

Have you tried anything from the above at an Adoption Day?
Share your experience and tips – what worked, what did not. Post in comments or submit as a separate article.

Re-print and Re-share The Above Tips

If you re-print and re-share the above tips, please keep or mention an active link to “http://OzziCat.com.au” so more people can share their tips and experience and we can share it further.

Photo by: Glenn Sajan
Share With Cat Parents and Cat Lovers!

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