This is a short follow-up story to the one about the New York cat who was kicked by a 21-year-old youth in Brooklyn while someone else videoed it. You may remember the story. Andre Robinson was charged with animal cruelty. I suspect that his trial is due to take place in the not too distant future. The online newspapers report that the cat, whose name is King, has been adopted into a “wonderful home”.
The Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Centre, Gail Buchwald, says:
“We know some people may be disappointed they did not get a chance to take King home. However, we want to remind you all that this month is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month and there are many adoptable cats and kittens in need of homes in shelters across the country.”
You can see that she implies that there were a number of people, perhaps many potential adopters who made an application to adopt King. He deserves it and I’m extremely pleased he has found by a nice home and I bet it is a nice home because the ASPCA would have had a lot of people to choose from.
Wouldn’t it be nice if every rescue cat had the same options and recognition from the public? What can we take away from King’s story regarding shelter cat adoptions.
King is a beautiful grey and white cat. There have been millions of unwanted cats just like him at shelters who have ended up in the backroom being euthanised for no other reason than nobody wanted him/her. Nobody wanted him because he was not high profile enough. He wasn’t advertised or publicised enough based on King’s story. That is the brutal truth of it.
There are too many unwanted cats at shelters and not enough homes but the story of King indicates to me that people respond to celebrity and they respond to publicity surrounding a cat that needs a home. You can see that it is a rather shallow way to select a cat to adopt.
People are attracted to the idea of adopting a cat that has become a minor celebrity albeit for all the wrong reasons.
I realise that cat shelters cannot make every one of their cats a minor celebrity but I think it is worth asking the question whether some shelters could do a little bit more to heighten the profile of their cats by devising methods to publicise their cats more effectively.
It isn’t just about taking really good photographs of cats to be adopted, is also about writing first class descriptions. People respond to vulnerability. One of the attractive aspects of King’s background was that he had been abused. That is very sad but it is a reality. Many people, good people, respond very positively to nonhuman animals and humans who have had a difficult time and who need some tender loving care and nurturing to bring them back to full health.
I believe that this aspect of cat adoptions might be utilised a little bit more effectively.
Cat shelter management need to understand human psychology and how to sell products..and, No, shelter cats are positively not “products” but shelters should, where appropriate, use similar selling techniques that are utilised in the commercial sector. It may save the lives of more cats.
I realise there are funding issues. I guess it is about using available funds as effectively as possible.