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2) Publicize and promote the cat for adoption.

Once you feel certain that you cannot reconnect the cat with her home, it’s time to help find her a new one. Read more information on adoptions. »

  • Prepare the cat for adoption. To increase your chances of finding a home and the likelihood of success in the new home, we strongly encourage you to have the cat neutered and vaccinated before placement in the adoptive home.

  • Create an attractive flyer and post them in as many places as possible. Flyers are inexpensive and often highly effective, especially when they include a good color photo and description of the cat. Include a striking color photo of the cat, looking relaxed and straight at the camera. The photo should focus on the cat’s face and body. Creatively describe the cat’s coloring, size, approximate age, positive personality traits, habits, and some of the things that make her special. Give the cat a name, and explain the name if it is applicable.

    Keep the flyer short and only include relevant information about the cat—not what you have done for the cat, etc. It should also be positive in tone, even when describing restrictions or potential negatives, (including health problems, disabilities, age, or behavior quirks), which should also be included. Cut the bottom of the page into pull-off strips, so that people can rip off your name, phone number, and email address.
    See a sample flyer »

    Put the flyer up anywhere you can; a great place is on community bulletin boards. Other places to consider: coffee shops, supermarkets, veterinarian offices, health clubs, pet supply stores, religious institutions, and libraries. Pass them out to your friends and family and ask them to post them in their neighborhoods or offices as well.

  • Contact local rescue organizations and breed-specific rescue groups. If your stray cat seems to be a recognizable breed, such as a Siamese or Persian, research breed rescue groups online and ask for their help. They may be able to place the cat right away, as they often have waiting lists. Although you do not want to bring the cat to a local shelter, these organizations may still be able to offer other assistance. Your local shelter or rescue groups can help by allowing you to participate in one of their adoption events, post on their online pet listings, or put up a flyer on their bulletin boards. Some have low-cost neuter clinics, as well. Find them online by searching by your zip code on www.petfinder.com.

    Also, virtually every Petsmart and PETCO store in the country has local rescue groups that conduct cat and dog adoptions in their stores.

  • Place an ad online or in your local paper. Write a creative, punchy ad and post it in your local paper in print and electronically. Post ads online at www.craigslist.org.

    Sample Classified Ad Text: Orange tabby with great personality ready to steal your heart! Simba is a 3-year-old neutered male. Gets along well with other cats. Up to date on all shots. Call Susan at 301-555-1234. Adoption fee required.

    To discourage dishonest people, do not say “free to a good home.” Indicate that there is a fee to adopt.

  • Pass it on. You give the cat her best chance of being adopted by telling as many people as you can. Share adoption information in a company email listserv, in newsletters for your neighborhood or place of worship, at meetings of organizations or clubs, when you visit your veterinarian, and when you go to dinner with friends. Ask those people to do the same thing.

  • Be creative and persistent. Creativity and persistence are usually rewarded. Think about the best kind of environment for the cat and explore all options. There are many animals needing homes at any one time, so finding a home can take some work. The key thing this cat has going for her is you. Stay positive. There are good homes out there.

  • You are the cat’s best option for finding a new home. Some people think shelters or rescue groups would be best for placing the cat because they have experience, facilities, and screening guidelines. However, an individual, particularly one who knows the animal, can focus all of their efforts on that particular cat, provide the most information to prospective adopters, and screen for the appropriateness of a new home. Also, shelters or sanctuaries are often stressful for a cat. The shelter setting, no matter how nice, can bring on stress-related problems. Anxiety, aggression, and even illness are common, and these natural reactions may make adoption difficult or impossible. Lastly, remember that a shelter offers no guarantee on the cat’s life, and the cat could be killed.

Next Step: Adopt the cat into the best home possible.