Animal rescue doesn’t have to be mission impossible - there are plenty of awesome case studies from across the country that prove finding new ways of coupling cats with pet seekers is perfectly pawsible!
From breaking down barriers to putting rescue pets front and centre, we want to talk about ways in which you can connect the cute kitties in your care with interested adopters everywhere.
Darren Eldred and the team from Operation Cat in New South Wales is one such group that are showing real initiative with their inspired ‘policy-free’ adoption process.
Designed to get young homeless kittens out of the pound and into care as quickly and seamlessly as possible, Operation Cat’s inventive ‘Kitten University’ programme is all about streamlining the adoption (or ‘graduation’) process.
This means doing away with what many would consider to be key steps in the adoption process. Not only does Operation Cat bypass things like long-winded application forms or references, but they also don’t require physical home checks or meet and greets.
Instead, the team is endorsing conversation-based adoption counselling, where foster carer and adopter can suss out what fits the adopter’s lifestyle in an informal and more personal way. It’s all about getting rid of barriers and engaging with the adopter in a casual conversation.
As a self-funded project, the group relies upon supporters purchasing ‘scholarships’ to help cover costs such as microchipping, vaccinations and desexing. All up, scholarships can cost around $175. Darren goes on to explain how the group is working towards ensuring adoptions aren’t at all dependent on adoption fees.
“The more contributions we have, the more flexible we can be with the cost. I see charging a standard fee for adoption - and a group being dependent on that - as a failed model. I feel that we would be limiting ourselves in terms of ability and resources by working in this way. I feel adoption should be separate from revenue raising - donations, fundraising, sponsors, grants and so on.
“Basically, Kitten University is policy-free,” Darren explains. “We believe with every policy you make, the more hurdles you put in the way of adoption. And we don’t want to make adoption hard. We want to make it a fun and happy experience for everyone.
“Getting to know adopters and matching them with their next family member is what drives Kitten University’s mission”.
Operation Cat is also an active participant in regular adoption day events. After establishing a relationship with the local PETstock store on Pet Adoption Day last month, Darren and his team are now organising monthly in-store adoption days - giving the public regular opportunities to cuddle a kitty and learn all about adoption.
Similarly, the team from Sydney Dogs and Cats Home are working to establish a permanent presence in their local PETstock store to enable the public to meet and interact with adoptable cats and kittens whenever they visit the store.
It’s initiatives such as these that get pets out of the shelter and in full view of the public. Think about the positive buzz GAWS and Paws & Claws have had with their respective cat cafes in Melbourne and Adelaide.
Adoption is increasingly popular among Australian pet-seekers, and ensuring the pets in our care aren’t ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is one of the most important aspects to promoting rescue pets.
If your rescue group or shelter is seeking a long-term relationship with a local, ethical pet store, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line 'In-store Adoptions Program' including your location.