PetRescue’s Shy Cats and Senior Citizens program
We all know how hard it is for shy cats to put their best paw forward when meeting prospective adopters.
Shy cats tend to stay in foster care for a lot longer than their more confident, cuddly counterparts. This takes its toll on rescue organisations with limited resources, with the cost of feeding, litter, worming, flea and vet treatment rolling over month after month - in some cases, even years.
It also limits how many other incoming cats and kittens can be helped, when a foster spot is taken long-term. But we don’t need to tell you all this!
It takes a special sort of person to open their heart and their home to a shy cat. And we believe senior (human) citizens are a super match for these shy felines. Senior citizens are wonderfully placed to be able to offer shy cats the time, patience and love that they need to blossom in a quieter environment, offering human and cat a chance for both to enjoy some quiet company.
The special love of a shy cat is such an incredible addition to a seniors’ life - there’s the proven physical and mental health benefits of pet ownership, and the satisfaction and sense of purpose that comes from performing a valuable service to the community.
Barriers to adoption
While most seniors and pensioners can manage the standard ongoing costs of pet care, forking out a large adoption fee has been shown to be a barrier to pensioners who are traditionally more careful with money.
Research has also shown that some senior citizens would dearly love a companion, but are they are so concerned about the future of their pet, that they would rather live without one, than live with the fear that their pet would be abandoned if their circumstances were to change - if they are hospitalised, their health declines or indeed if they pass away.
There are so many good homes going empty due to these barriers, and we want this campaign to help change that.
Breaking down the barriers
For most rescue groups, a vital part of the adoption contract is the requirement that, should the owner’s circumstances change and they are no longer able to care for the pet, the pet must be returned to the group.
By highlighting this policy and pitching the shy cat program as a ‘long-term care’ or ‘permanent care arrangement’, our hope is to alleviate the concerns many seniors have about what might happen to the cat, if something were to happen to them.
And being part of a community and feeling useful are strong drivers for senior citizens, so our campaign asks ‘Can You Help?’ by providing a long-term safe and caring environment for a shy cat.
Nothing really changes in your adoption policy, it’s just the way the we communicate the message to our senior audience.
We’ve also sourced subsidies of $50 per shy cat. So, if you are willing to adopt your shy cats to a senior citizen at $25, you will get $25 adoption fee + $50 subsidy = $75 per cat.
The subsidies are thanks to our wonderful partner Woolworths, and a newly-forming foundation with an interest in the human-animal bond.
This is a pilot program, and subsidies are limited to the first 300 participating cats adopted. However, if the program is successful, we hope to expand it and continue this extra support for shy cats.
How to get your shy cats involved:
- Register via the sign-up link below
- Select your participating shy cats, using the ‘Include this cat in the Shy Cats $25 adoption campaign’ checkbox on the pet listing form
- Your usual adoption fee can continue to be advertised - you don't need to change it on the listing. This reduced fee only applies to senior citizen matches that have come as a result of our marketing campaign.
- PetRescue will be in touch once a potential senior match is sourced! From that point it's over to you for your usual adoption processes.
You must have agreed to the terms and conditions to have your cats included in the program.
Senior adopters may need some extra support with finding the right match, and with completing paperwork. We want to make sure participating rescue organisations are aware of this, and are willing to help seniors in their journey.
We are hoping that those groups keen to trial this program will be flexible in their approach. We also want to hear about any obstacles that you might face during this test program.
PetRescue will be heavily marketing this campaign, and we are looking into media that’s accessible to senior citizens, including print media and radio.
This campaign is being conducted in conjunction with the Pet Helpline Research Project. This will involve following up with adopters via phone at set intervals over a ten-month period - to measure pet retention rates, identify potential areas of support, and to gauge the overall success of the campaign.
To be a part of this campaign, and to be eligible to receive the $50 adoption subsidy, you’ll need to register and agree to the campaign terms and conditions, including agreeing to provide contact details for adopters to be interviewed as part of the Pet Helpline Research Project.
Got a question about the program? Please get in touch via email@example.com