A lot of people contact me about rehoming their pets. And in talking to them on the phone or through email, I have realized that it is not common knowledge about how it should be approached.
When it comes to rehoming a beloved family pet or even one that has come into your yard and has no home, you've got to become a marketing pro. Your cat is your product and you've got to market the heck out of it to find the right home.
It can be a long and exhausting process - but completely rewarding when you find the right home.
SIDE NOTE - this article is about how to rehome your kitty. Another important part of the rehoming process is the adjustment time of older cats and the best way of introducing an older cat into your home. There will be an adjustment period regardless of how loving and out going a new kitty may be in your home . It can be the cause of yet another rehoming if not addressed with new owners. Please read our How To Introduce Cats article to learn more about the importance of that!
Here are some basic guidelines to follow during the rehoming process:
- Photos! - Take excellent photos of your kitty
- YouTube! - Put together a YouTube video of your cat - eating, drinking, sleeping, playing. If you can combine those videos into one file and upload them to YouTube that way - all the better. If you don't know how to do that, be sure to include the URLs (i.e. http://www.youtube.com...) of all the videos that you took - so that it is easy for the potential adopter to find them.
- Description - Put together an awesome description of your kitty - including interesting things about him or her, behavior problems, health issues, whether or not s/he is declawed, whether or not s/he lives with and likes other cats, dogs and kids. Other suggestions include: listing his/her favorite litter, favorite food, favorite toys, favorite treats, type of litter box you are using now, etc.
- PetFinder.com - Find a dog/cat rescue in your area that will do a courtesy posting of your cat on their PetFinder account. Be sure to have a description ready with links to your YouTube videos and those excellent photos.
- Facebook - Create an album of photos on your Facebook page and share that album with your friends. Use the description field on Facebook to post the awesome description you wrote as well as the links to your YouTube video(s).
- Shake with Facebook Friends - Ask your friends on Facebook to share your that album with their friends. Repeat posting every week until the kitty is adopted.
- Ask for an adoption fee! There are many reasons to ask for this. When you pay for something, you take better care of it. If the adopter can afford an adoption fee, then s/he can afford the cost of vet visits, cat litter, cat food, etc - in other words, they can handle the costs of owning a cat. Many people look for free cats to feed to other animals like snakes and to use as bait for dog fights. By charging an adoption fee you are one step closer to ensuring your kitty is going to a safe home. Of course, you don't have to keep the fee. You can always donate it to your local vet or shelter.
- Post Flyers - Make flyers with a nice clear picture that shows the personality of your cat - include a short description with your name, phone number and email address. Drive to local vets, pet shops, pet grooming places, doggie play places, etc. and ask if you can hang a flyer in their lobby.
- Websites/Groups - Find a website like Floppycats with followers that love your breed or kind of cat (like calicos, torties, etc.) and see if they'll do a courtesy posting or find a Yahoo! Group and ask to become a member and ask them if they have any suggestions for people that might be looking for a cat like yours - again, have that description with photos ready!
- Breeder - Is your kitty a purebred? If so, then contact the breeder that you purchased s/he from. Often times they are willing to take them back or at least tell their network of people that the kitty is looking to be rehomed.
- Spay/Neuter - Hopefully your kitty is already spayed or neutered - but if s/he is not, be responsible and spay or neuter them prior to adopting them out.
- Application - a potential adopter should definitely fill out an application for your pet. The application should cover things like their experience with grooming a cat, clipping cat nails, taking care of a cat, etc. The application should ask for their vet reference and references of people that know them with cats. There are many pet adoption applications online that you can just print out and use.
- Craig's List - Don't post your kitty on Craig's List. Craig's List is notorious for bringing out the weirdos (and I am one of those weirdos as I love Craig's List - it's just not the place for a kitty).
- Free to a Good Home - Never give your kitty away for free! There is too much danger involved - as I described in the bullet point, Ask for an adoption fee!, in the DOs above.
- Forget to take photos - some people feel an instant connection with an animal based on their physical appearance - the better the photos in any marketing campaign, the better.
- Forget to write an awesome description - by having a full and complete description, you will field less questions about your kitty. Include every detail - it's never overboard.
- Forget to take action and be proactive - Don't forget to keep on top of it - think of it as your second job or third. Put reminders on your phone, so you don't forget to relist your kitty.
Do you work with a rescue to rehome animals? What are some suggestions you have for rehoming cats successfully?