Shelters and rescues should use pet adoption websites

With the number of pets killed yearly in animal shelters, using the internet to promote the cats and dogs in need of a home should be a top priority for shelters and rescues alike.

Pet adoption websites
Pet adoption websites
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can go a long way in getting the word out there that a cat or dog is running out of time and will soon be killed if a home isn’t found. Unfortunately, those who live on social media don’t realize there’s a large percentage of the population that doesn’t approve of sharing their lives and photos with the rest of the world. They avoid Facebook like the plague, don’t understand the meaning of hash tags on Twitter and have no desire to constantly post or keep up with posted photos on Instagram.

In the end, this can hurt shelters and rescues, many of whom only post animals on their Facebook page or on their online website. The problem comes from people who don’t know which rescues operate in their area, and instead turn to sources like freebie ads and Craigslist (which can prove deadly if you meet up with the wrong person). As for animal shelters having their own page on county government sites, many people don’t connect “pets” with “government,” despite a high percentage of shelters operated under city or county leadership.

It’s time to think like the average person looking to adopt a new pet into the family. That person is going to use a search engine and enter “I want to adopt a new pet,” or a similar phrase. Several options will pop up, with the ones listed below being the top sites. I’m not sure how many of these are worldwide, but most cover the U.S. and Canada.

  • Petfinder
  • Petango
  • Rescue Me
  • Adopt a Pet
  • PetHarbor

With any of these sites, all a prospective pet parent has to do is enter their zip code or their city and state, and information and a photo of registered adoptable pets will pop up. Not only are these sites user friendly to both adopters and those trying to place a pet, they give a totally different platform that benefits everyone. Shelter or rescue volunteers can work on these pet adoption sites in much the same way they do now in “sharing” shelter pets on social media. The world is full of animal advocates ready to help. It’s time to educate them on new ways to get life-saving results.

PetHarbor goes the extra mile, listing available dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, sheep and horses, parakeets and hamsters. Their pets come from local animal shelters, SPCA, Humane Society, county or city Animal Control, and many private animal-welfare organizations. PetHarbor even has a section for lost and found pets.

Most of these sites offer tips in the selection of a pet, pet care and success stories. Petango is the first adoptable search service that offers real-time updates of adoptable pets in shelters, and are partnered with thousands of animal welfare locations across North America.

The idea for this article came after several of my shelter articles were unpublished by Examiner, where I write about cats and dogs. The reason was not having two linked sources. What this means is there has to be two URL’s to find the pet. The Facebook thread can count as one. An adoption website would provide the other URL. This sounds petty, until I began checking shelters, and found the majority don’t use an pet adoption website to further advertise a cat or dog needing a forever home.

We need to share this article with shelters and rescues, with the hope they’ll decide to start listing their adoptable pets on a pet adoption website. There’s no such thing as too much exposure, and it can often mean the difference between life and death. It’s just one more way we can be the voice for the animals in need of a forever home.

Do any of the readers have experience with using one or more of these pet adoption services? Please leave a comment if you have a preference or if I’ve left out another service that should be listed here.


It would help PoC and rescue animals if you made a short comment using Facebook below – thanks in advance.


Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

9 thoughts on “Shelters and rescues should use pet adoption websites”

  1. Looks like you have decided to go the FB comments only route Michael – the post about the Japanese street cats has an instruction to “comment using FB”

    That won’t help cats!

    • I’ve noticed I can read the comments or comment from my smart phone. I have to get on the computer. I just did a survey on my wall and over half of my friends use a cell phone to read articles. They need to be able to see everything like it used to be.

      Here’s an interesting article saying Facebook isn’t all it’s cracked up to be on sharing.

      • Elisa, I am testing FB comments as a way to publicise PoC. It appears to work as comments published here are also published on FB. FB comments render nicely on smart phones too.

        At the moment, I don’t intend to transfer to FB comments exclusively.

    • Thanks for your comment. I am in two minds about it. I am just testing things to see if the FB comments improves exposure for PoC. It appears to be working. But I don’t want to go down the route of solely using FB comments as it excludes some people (non-FB people).

      At the moment I am using both comments, which seems to work okay.

  2. I think the reliance on FB by so many rescue groups is part of the laziness in commerce that is seeping throughout society.

    Some groups use FB exclusively, but they don’t make their pages open to non FB members (the general public) so at the point the prospective adopter is told they can’t view a page unless they join FB, they give up and go elsewhere. The rescuers who do this are sabotaging their own efforts by not making the pages easily accessible.

    I use the term ‘laziness’ because I have found that many companies will automatically tell you to “just check it out on FB” rather than attend to your enquiry or issue. These are the companies that lose my custom.

    Rescue in the UK is a mess, often success depends on how IT savvy the rescuers are.

    • CatChat site keeps a handy list of contact details for U.K. shelters which can easily be searched by area. They also have a gallery of the cats most urgently in need of homes.

      Everycat: I totally agree that it depends upon how IT savvy the rescue is. The smaller organisations also have very little spare time for keeping a web site updated.

      Nice to hear from you again. You’ve been missed.

      • Hi Michelle, I wondered if it was you. Nice to know you have missed me. Hope all is well with you and pusscats 🙂

    • I agree that FB should not be totally relied upon to deliver. When you do that you rely on someone you don’t know. FB could pull anything from their website. They can change their terms and conditions etc..All these people could lose their FB pages. Unlikely but possible.

      I am a great believer in openness. I agree with what you say about laziness.

      I tend to “use” FB a limited way to my advantage (if I can) which reciprocates what they do to me and the internet.


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