Sunday, August 4, 2013

Finding a Home for a Rescued Cat or Kitten

"With my gray and white fur, I can match any color or decor!"
We receive daily emails and calls inquiring if we could take in a kitten or cat or two or more.  The stories surrounding the situation vary. Often the caller has found a mother and litter of kittens or just the kittens. Or an owner has to give up their pet for a number of reasons (valid or irresponsible). More often we hear of scenarios where an elderly person has to move to a nursing home or has passed away. Sadly, no definite plans were made for the continued care of their pets.  The fact that you clicked on this tab and are taking the time to read this post shows you care! Thank you.

Most nonprofits like Riverfront Cats/Pawsitively Humane, Inc. can NOT take them in, not on a daily basis. Why? As a no-kill shelter we are all limited in space and funds.  We have to find homes for our current rescue cats (and dogs) before accepting new ones. Plus, there are half a million homeless pets in South Florida.  There are just not enough shelters to take them in and homes to readily adopt them. It takes time to find homes. But there is hope--in you! Yes you. Individual contributions make a difference.  It requires work but this will ensure your rescue kitty has a chance to live in a permanent home and off the streets. Only as a last resort should you take the cat to a county or city shelter.


In this post we offer proven techniques to help you find a home for a kitten or cat. 

  1. Ideally, it's best to take the kitten or cat to a vet for an initial exam, bloodtest (primarily  for FIV and FLV) and vaccinations.  This is step one in the protocol followed by nonprofit shelters to determine if your rescue carries the two most common illnesses. (FIV = Feline Aids; FLV Feline Leukemia*). If you are limited in discretionary funds, then go straight to step 2. If the cat is more than two months old, please get him/her spayed/neutered.  This is critical to prevent unwanted litters and more homeless cats.  Chances are there is a local organization that offers low-cost spay/neuter.  Check online.

  2. Photos. Lots and lots of photos. We don't mean five or six snapshots. Take at least 50 photos!  Half the trick is marketing or advertising.  ALSO, take the time to stage the setting with solid and contrasting colors, accessories for kitty (if he/she will not get scared). You can have fun with this task!   If the cat is black, use a solid white or bright background or even a pattern.  If the cat has a pattern or stripes, then use a solid background. By taking 50+ photos this gives you the opportunity to take photos in different lighting, changing the props, capturing kitty in cute, funny and adorable positions and poses, using Instagram...GET CREATIVE!

  1. Brainstorm a unique name. Think of the personality of the cat and connect it to popular characters on TV, movies, pop culture, or literature.

  2. Create a nice flyer with one or two quality photos, the name, and a brief description.  Be sure to include your contact information. 
    1. We encourage you to ask for a fee especially if you invested in veterinary care for the kitty's initial checkup. Giving the kitten or cat away for free means the cat has no value and there is higher risk the cat will become unwanted in the near future.  
    2. If the cat's story is sad or heroic, share that story in one paragraph. Stories sell! Please describe more than the cute and adorable attributes. That's wallpaper and attract minimal interest.  HUMANIZE the cat.  Ie.  We once rescued two male sibling kittens.  One was a terror and the other sang opera so we named them Figaro (Italian opera) and Luciano (after Italian mob boss Lucky Luciano). We described their behavior "Figaro will serenade you..." and "Luciano lures into dark alley (the kitchen) and will pounce you for food!"
    3. Post that flyer in every single veterinary office and pet store with public bulletin board in your city.
    4. Share that flyer or photo/description with all your friends, family, colleagues via email, Facebook, Pinterest and all social media. You will learn some people prefer email, some prefer Facebook, some texting. 

  3. If you are not able to keep the cat or kitten for an extended period, you can always invest in a newspaper ad.  This will cost more but you will reach thousands of readers and increase the rate of adopting sooner than later.  It's all a numbers game.  Contact your local paper for rates. 
    1. Craigslist is one form of advertising for free but we strongly advise you to ask interested persons to answer a few questions. You want to ensure the person is ready for the LIFETIME responsibility of adopting a pet.  It costs money and takes time to care for a pet, similar to a child. If they travel a lot, will this person readily invest in a pet sitter? If anyone hesitates to answer your questions, then that is a sign they are not serious. Move on.  In our line of work, we come across many people who fall in love with the cute kitten or adorable puppy but when Fluffy and Fido grow up, owners are not enamored and tire of the responsibility and later dump them into the streets or county kill shelters.  Yes it happens. You can always join a local animal nonprofit organization as a member and use their form.  In Miami, Cat Network membership is only $25 a year.  This will entitle you to low cost spay/neuter ($25) and sometimes free when CN wins grants. You can then use their application and a member will mentor you in interviewing potential adopters and to perform a home visit.  ALWAYS conduct a home visit when working with strangers. Just as a home needs to be baby proofed for infants and toddlers, dogs and cats also need a home free of dangers. Also, hoarders exist more than you know. Here is a sample Adoption Application. Feel free to borrow the questions to utilize in a casual email. Do not adopt out to anyone that would permit the cat to walk onto a balcony of a highrise building--cats will jump on the ledge and fall. It happens more often than people think. All it takes is a flying bug or floating piece of lint to ignite the cat and the next second they are jumping on the ledge and do not realize the actual height.

Do not delay in following these steps.  Also, kittens are easier to find homes for than adult cats.  This is why you want to act quickly with kittens before they get bigger.  Bigger is not as cute.
Thank you for taking the time to learn how to find a home for a rescued or abandoned kitty. Please do not hesitate to email ( us with any questions.  We're all in this together and the more people working together, the sooner we can make a difference in the plight of homeless pets.


* Please do not be alarmed if you learn that your rescue cat is positive for FIV and FLV. Often these cats live long INDOORS.  While initially it was suggested not to mingle FIV positive cats with healthy cats, we are finding more experienced cat owners  willing to let their healthy cats co-mingle with FIV or FLV cats as long as there is no fighting.  Transmission of the diseases comes from blood transfer usually through aggressive fighting.


  1. Great post! This stuff does work. I second what you said about FIV+ kitties, we would not hesitate at all.

  2. Yes I agree this is a great post!Thank you for reaching out,xx Rachel Speedy's mum