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Your kitten, should you choose to accept It

From Animal Sheltering Magazine January/February 2013

In October, Asheville Humane Society staff realized they were facing the proverbial "feline cliff": 105 cats and kittens who had been in foster care over the course of kitten season were about to come back for adoption. But the North Carolina shelter already had 75 cats and kittens in the facility.

The answer (cue the music and the sound of the lit fuse): Kitten Impossible, a three-day event during which all cats and kittens were offered at $3 adoption fees. Using only social media (Facebook, Twitter, and a very cute YouTube video) to spread the word, the shelter managed to adopt out 60 cats and kittens in three days. That’s only 18 hours, since the adoption center’s hours are noon to 6 p.m.

The concept and artwork came from a source close to shelter president/CEO Katherine McGowan’s heart: her husband (and Asheville Humane volunteer) Chris Shenar, who started the artwork with a kitten paw lighting the fuse. McGowan’s part-time executive assistant, Heather Hayes, is a graphic designer and used her skills to create the ads. “If we didn’t have Heather on staff, I would have created the ads myself because we can’t afford graphic design costs for the amount we use,” says McGowan.

The YouTube video was viewed about 400 times over the course of the three-day event, and the ads were shared about 300 times on Facebook, McGowan says. With more than 15,000 followers on Facebook, the shelter is clearly using social media to its advantage; the adoption promotion got no traditional media coverage and was still a great success.

“Our social media fans feel like they are making a difference, and they get to see the end results of their advocacy,” says McGowan. “It’s a feel-good way to get your community involved and save lives. We always post the adoption promotion results, and our fans help us celebrate.”

To view super-spies way more adorable than Tom Cruise, go online to Kitten Impossible.

About the Author

Animal Sheltering is for everyone who cares about the animals in their community—from shelter directors and animal care and control officers to kennel staff, volunteers, and private individuals working as activists, breed rescuers, wildlife rehabbers, veterinarians and more.