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Getting black (and mostly black) cats adopted

From Animal Sheltering magazine September/October 2012

Looking to improve your luck in adopting out black cats? Consider an adoption event with a creative theme.

Forget the old myths about not adopting black cats on Halloween or Friday the 13th—promotions on these days can be very helpful. Just be sure to put a positive spin on the promotion (“Make Their Friday the 13th Lucky!” could be a tagline). Restricting adoption of black cats during these times is a bad idea. A good screening process for adopters should eliminate concerns over the cats becoming victims of pranksters or those wandering bands of satanic cults shelters used to be so suspicious about!

To get your inky cats noticed, house them in prime viewing locations in top-tier cages, and try to herd potential adopters to your adults before they reach the kittens. Black cats can also be great candidates for satellite adoption locations, where potential adopters can get to know them individually, without the flashier cats around to draw attention. Promote these events on your website, through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in your newsletter, and through the local media.

In addition to adorning your midnight kitties with colorful bandanas, rhinestone collars, and brightly colored nail caps, shelters suggest using cat-chy strategies, plus reduced adoption fees, to get your undercats adopted. Here are some dark ideas!

  • Movie Meows – Name black and mostly black (BAMB) cats after the actors or characters in the classic movie Casablanca (Cats-a-blanca). Play off the summer bat-blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, or riff off other Oscar-nominated films. Place movie posters and other movie-themed props around the shelter. (Animal Care League, Illinois)
  • Me and My Shadow – Charge the regular adoption fee for a nonblack cat and provide a BAMB companion free. (Helen Woodward Animal Center, California)
  • Black CATillion – Use sparkly bows to dress up BAMB kittens graduating from your foster program. Crown a cotillion king and queen, and place them in a decorated cage in a prominent location. (Burbank Animal Shelter, California)
  • St. Cat-rick’s Day – Remind people that the Irish consider black cats lucky. During March, let adopters roll giant “Luck of the Irish” green dice to win a reduced adoption fee for any adult black cat. (Valley Animal Center, California)
  • Black Friday – Promote your BAMB cats on the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, known as Black Friday. Offer 50 percent off adoption fees, and a free adoption kit that includes a cat carrier, litter, scoop, and can lid cover. Enter adopters into a prize drawing for a black cat gift basket. (Cat Adoption Team, Oregon)

About the Author

Nancy Peterson is the former Community Cats Program Manager for the Humane Society of the United States.