Why did this 4-year-old ginger tabby-and-white female rescue cat, Polly, have to wait nearly 450 days to be adopted? She looks great, perfectly normal. And has a nice character being described as “…so very loving, affectionate, and even will give kisses”.
She has featured in two Clear the Shelter events at the Michigan Humane Society in Michigan City.
There is no logical reason why Polly was left ‘left on the shelf’. I’ll have to speculate. One possible factor is that the longer a rescue cat remains at a shelter the harder it is to get her adopted. It is an issue of marketing.
It is like selling a house. If after a few months it has not sold it is best to take it off the market for a while and restart later on at a new, reduced price and after tarting up the place a bit and taking fresh photos.
If a cat is at a shelter a long time her face will show up in pictures of cats to be adopted at the shelter. This will be online on the shelter’s website, or on their Facebook website and perhaps on an agency website such as Petfinder.
The longer a rescue cat is on the internet as an adoptable cat but not adopted the harder it is to find someone interested in adopting her. This is because they start to believe something is wrong with the cat. They believe this because no one wants the cat. It is a circular, self-serving situation which gets worse and worse until someone thinks out of the box or falls in love with the cat whose spent well over a year at the shelter. Some beautiful people actively seek out the unwanted cats and adopt them. These are the real deal people.
I would suggest – and I am not an expert on this sort of thing – that cats like Polly should be taken off the shelter’s website for a month. After 30 days have elapsed I’d take a fresh and good quality photograph of the cat and present that with a new description on the internet. The objective: to give the impression that the cat has just arrived, to present a new face of the cat to potential adopters. It’s about marketing.
And the “Clear the Shelter’ event may have a negative impact on some cats because the cats in the promotion may be labelled, in the minds of adopters, as undesirable for no good reason. The longer a cat stays at a shelter the harder it is to be adopted. That’s my theory and it may have applied to Polly, who is an attractive female cat with a nice character.