Using Video To Rehome Shelter Cats

Videos can sell products. In the harsh world of modern reality rescue cats are “products”. Cat rescue is about selling the cats to the public so they can enjoy a new and better life. Animal rescue organisation should be involved in video marketing.

Note: I am not saying cats are products. I am saying from the standpoint of finding homes for them (marketing) a bit of business-like thinking can help.

Flip Camera

Flip Camera

Google loves YouTube videos. It ranks them high in Google search results – people will see them. This is because it owns YouTube. Also videos are animated (alive) and they communicate directly with the public: the web surfers who are looking for a rescue cat to adopt. Sell ’em a cat because the cats at rescue centers are gorgeous. They are loveable and they will give so much pleasure to a person. I realise this sounds commercially but it is.

I believe that not enough use is made by cat rescue organisations of video as a marketing tool to sell their cats to the public.

It is actually very easy these days to make and upload a video to YouTube. There are other video hosting websites. I also use Vimeo (as well as YouTube), which is excellent, by the way. You can put adverts on YouTube videos too and make a few bucks. It all helps.

What a cat rescue organisation could do it set up a small studio area in their facility. It would only have to be about 6 square feet. You then put in a background of some sort such as white or gray velvet attached to a simple frame. Buy some cat teases (extremely cheap in the US) and employ, for about, ten minutes, two employees or volunteers at the center to make a video of the rescue cat.

What I am suggesting is a very small shift of work duties towards marketing cats. It will be fun too.

The Camera

I would recommend a 720p video camera. Flip still sell these. They are very easy to use. 720p is a nice, high quality format but not too large. If the format is too large (too high a quality) it becomes hard to manage and upload because the file size is too big. There are many cheap 720p video cameras around (other than Flip). Flip comes with video making software which is easy to use. If any rescue organisation wants to talk to me direct about this, just email me (mjbmeister [at] and we can talk on Skype if needs be. I am happy to help. I know about video as I am a YouTube partner with some big hitting videos.


This can be an obstacle because it can seem complicated. To be fair, it can be complicated but Flip provide video making software that is simple and as long as you keep the filming simple you can create a nice video, pretty easily. Believe me, this is not me trying to sell the idea. It really is easy.


Opening an account is straightforward and so is uploading videos. Cat rescue videos will not get many hits on YouTube. The view rate on YouTube will be appallingly low. Who cares? It is not the reason for uploading the video to YouTube.

The reason for using YouTube is because it provides some code which allows you embed the video into your website and nearly all cat rescue organisations have websites.

It is just a case of copying the embed code and pasting it onto the page.

The End Result

You’ll have some videos of some of your cats that need homes. The cat will be animated by the cat tease. The customer (visitor to your website) will get a much better feel for what the cat is like both visually and in respect of personality. You can more easily create a connection between customer and cat. Bottom line: it all about that.

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Using Video To Rehome Shelter Cats — 3 Comments

  1. Michael, great article. Some might be offended by the “cats as products” angle, but this is the reality.

    I would add this: not necessary to get specialized video camera. A friend was posting very good cat videos on flickr, and I asked him what camera he was using.

    It was a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. I went to my favorite camera place on the internet (will only apply to those in the US), B&H, and checked out the camera. At the time, it was $200 (discounted, but that was for the red version). Current price at B&H is $226. Shipping is free, as it was when I bought mine. B&H is in New York, and only New York. This is relevant b/c of US sales tax laws. If I were in NY state, I would have to pay sales tax. Add 8-10% to the price. Or, if I bought it via Amazon (which is every where) or at a local store, same deal- add 8-10% to the price.

    Even though I grew up with SLRs, I’ve grown to love my little Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. I’ve been very pleased using it for video. I think you might have seen some of the Tootsie vids.

    • Yes, the reference to “products” is difficult to digest but if shelters marketed cats as well as business marketed their products it would save some lives. What I am saying is in respect of saving lives it is better to treat the cats as products to be sold. In respect of treatment the shelter should treat them as beautiful creatures. That is the point I am making. It is an important point.

      As to cameras, I agree with you. However, the Flip is so damn easy to use and it comes with video making software. The making (editing) of the video is the hard bit. Flip makes it easy.

      • I agree – the business world is purely objective so to market a product it matters not what the product is. To reach a compatible level of advertising words like ‘product’ become a part of it.

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