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Ideas needed to help homeless animals

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I haven't written in a while because I've been overrun with fosters this summer.....busy, busy, busy.

Anyways, my group (A caring place humane society) is trying to start a new program for our "special Needs" animals. The inspiration for this is my Sissy; a 15+ year old cat who came to me when her owner died. Unfortunatly, there isn't much of a market for cats this old and the reality is that Sissy will probably live out the rest of her life with me; as a permanent foster.

So, we've decided to try to raise funds strictly for our cats that are "less adoptable" and potentially will be in foster care long term. Here are some of my ideas, but I could really use some more:

1. Poster with photos of all of the "special needs" animals, asking for donations.
2. Web page with photos asking for donations
3. Petfinder "donate to this animal" button.

I'm wondering; what would make you want to donate money to these cats? What wording would really make you want to help out?
Any ideas are welcome and there are NO BAD IDEAS.

Thanks,

Karen
post #2 of 18
what a wonderful thing you are doing! I'm not sure i have any really good ideas, but pictures are definitely a plus for me when deciding to donate...or actually seeing/meeting the actual animal.

If you were going to use posters/websites i would probably put stories of the challenges some of these older or special needs kitties of gone through. The obstacles they have overcome and the fact that they are still wonderful, loving cats would be very inspirational for me to read.

Sorry I can't be of more help but keep up the good work!!!!
post #3 of 18
I agree that posting their stories with pictures would help. I'm not coming up with any other ideas though...
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. Here is the text that I wrote......does it make you want to donate....be honest, I can take criticism.



A Caring Place Humane Society is trying to raise funds for some of the animals that we have had in foster care for longer periods of time. It can be a difficult and time consuming process to find a home for an elderly animal or an animal that does not do well in the cages at PetSmart or around crowds of people. Without this much needed exposure; it is very, very difficult to find them homes. A Caring Place is very lucky to have some WONDERFUL volunteers that are willing to foster these animals long term.

Please try your best to be generous with your donations for these animals…..they need your support!!


A Caring Place’s need for extra donations began when Sissy, a sweet, but elderly cat came into our rescue after she had lost her entire family. Her elderly owner had died and the authorities had removed Sissy and her cat brother as well as three dog sibilings from the home and brought them all to Animal Control. A Caring Place took on Sissy and her kitty brother, but he soon passed away too. She was left alone with her foster family. After many vet visits, we determined that Sissy was probably somewhere around 10 to 15 years old and in generally good physical health. She is a bit thin and has no teeth left, but is otherwise healthy. Sissy has been in foster care with one of our volunteers since 2004. She is an AWESOME cat who loves attention, loves most to be brushed and likes to climb down under the covers at night to sleep next to her foster-mom. Sometimes, Sissy will even play and really likes catnip.


Missy is another of our “longer term†foster cats. She is thought to be about 10 years old and is in relatively good health. Missy is battling some problems that she’s had for a while now. Missy had been left untreated with a severe urinary tract infection which has caused her to urinate outside of the litter box. This is the most common cause for cats avoiding the litterbox. When a cat has this type of infection, it becomes painful for them to urinate; they begin to feel the pain while they use the box and then start to associate pain with using the litter box. This is where the problem starts. This infection is easily treated, but because of the length of time that she’s had the infection; her litterbox problems have become a behavior. Luckily for Missy, she found A Caring Place. Her foster home is able to be patient with her problems while she is learning how to use the box again. It may take a while, but we are NOT giving up on her.


Simon arrived at our door with Missy (above). He is also thought to be around 10 years old and is in great health. Simon has no behavior problems, is very social and sweet and is very laid back. Simon is a HUGE cat, weighing in at over 20 pounds!! Because of his age and his size, he can become uncomfortable being moved around a lot and being put into a small enclosure at PetSmart. Although, he will be shown at PetSmart from time to time, because of his age and his size, he has a lesser chance of being adopted. Simon would be a lap kitty (if your lap can handle the weight) and loves to be brushed, pet and generally loved. He would LOVE to find a FOREVER home, but until then, he will be patiently waiting in foster care.


Of course, on the poster, I'll add their pictures.

karen
post #5 of 18
I like the stories, but feel like they could use some copy-editing to read a little easier. I'm not sure if that's what you planned anyway, but I'll show you what I mean... Sissies story reads better to me when I edit it like this:

"A Caring Place’s need for extra donations began when Sissy, a sweet but elderly cat, came to our rescue. Her elderly owner had died and the authorities removed Sissy, her brother as well as three dog sibilings from the home and brought them all to Animal Control. Unfortunately for Sissie, soon after coming to A Caring Place her kitty brother passed away too and she was left alone with her foster family. After many vet visits we determined that Sissy was somewhere around 10 to 15 years old and despite being a little thin and missing all her teeth, she is in generally good health. Sissy has been in foster care with one of our volunteers since 2004. She is an AWESOME cat who loves attention, loves most to be brushed and likes to climb down under the covers at night to sleep next to her foster-mom. Sometimes, Sissy will even play and really likes catnip."

I think you might want to add/replace some of the end stuff with a bit about how she is a Happy cat who despite her age has many good years left that she wants to enjoy.

Make sense?
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Sara,

Thanks for the edit. I suck at writing.

Do you think that it would be better (in terms of getting more sympathy) not to add how she is happy at her foster home? What I mean is, do you think people will be less sympathetic for a cat who seems really happy in her current situation?

Any chance you could re-write my other once too? I know (in my head) what I'm trying to say, but it's hard for me to convey on paper.

Karen
post #7 of 18
I think it is important that she is happy at her home, because that's something you want to support, as opposed to her being unhappy. I just think it is too easy for ppl to think that a 15 year old cat is At Deaths Door so I would want to include that she could have 5-10 years left.

That's just my 2 cents of course, my thinking isn't ALWAYS inline with other ppls.

I'm a little busy right now, but I'll PM you later with some re-writes.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatrawfish
I think it is important that she is happy at her home, because that's something you want to support, as opposed to her being unhappy. I just think it is too easy for ppl to think that a 15 year old cat is At Deaths Door so I would want to include that she could have 5-10 years left.

That's just my 2 cents of course, my thinking isn't ALWAYS inline with other ppls.

I'm a little busy right now, but I'll PM you later with some re-writes.

Awwww.....thanks Sara. Don't rush. I won't be able to get the supplies for the poster until Friday anyway, so I have time.

Thanks again!!

Karen
post #9 of 18
I think emphasizing that they are happy is a good thing, and that they are still available for adoption. Where a kitten is a big handful, and potentially a 20 year commitment, an older cat is more mellow, and like you said, potentially a 5-10 year commitment. That can be positive for some people. (Like I already have 2 keeper cats who are just over a year old. If I ever decide to add, the plan is to get an older cat. I don't want to make another 20 year commitment at a time when my kids will be grown in 15 years.)

Any possibility of getting a newspaper article or spot on the TV news? I have heard that agencies have good luck with TV spots. And be sure to include pics, so everyone can see how beautiful these animals still are.

I like the idea of sponsoring an older kitty. I "adopted" a whale for my dd years ago, and we got pics and follow-up stories about how the whale was doing. Maybe if someone paid for a year of expenses for the kitty they could get a pic and occasional updates? Lots of older people who don't want to adopt but are cat-lovers might be very touched by these stories!
post #10 of 18
Our Humane Society started a special fund to do TNR for feral cats. They came up with the catchy phrase "Hole in the Fence" fund for them. People sympathetic to feral cats are repeat donors and ask for the fund name specifically when donating.

It's late and I'm not creative right now, but thought I'd throw that idea out to see if others could help.
post #11 of 18
You are such a good bunch of folks, I have never been so touched by a site that really reaches out to the animal community as much as you folks do. It gives me some hope that there is good in the human race.

Nyzki
post #12 of 18
I think some people have the fear of adopting olders cats(esp people who never had cats) because they don't the the history of the cat and perhaps to some folk-any illness that could be a drain on their finances. Or people want to know about litter box habits.
I would think it would be good to do a bit of background and mention their health.
Perhaps stating what one could expect from the cat.
ie: for a cat needing attention. This cat loves sitting on laps and being petted. He/she will join you at night on your bed for companionship.
Might not want to or maybe funny/naughty things. Like my Ox as 15 still jumps up on the kitchen counter looking for any juicy leftovers!!
Good luck with this project.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by fostermom28
Thanks guys. Here is the text that I wrote......does it make you want to donate....be honest, I can take criticism.



A Caring Place Humane Society is trying to raise funds for some of the animals that we have had in foster care for longer periods of time. It can be a difficult and time consuming process to find a home for an elderly animal or an animal that does not do well in the cages at PetSmart or around crowds of people. Without this much needed exposure; it is very, very difficult to find them homes. A Caring Place is very lucky to have some WONDERFUL volunteers that are willing to foster these animals long term.

Please try your best to be generous with your donations for these animals…..they need your support!!


A Caring Place’s need for extra donations began when Sissy, a sweet, but elderly cat came into our rescue after she had lost her entire family. Her elderly owner had died and the authorities had removed Sissy and her cat brother as well as three dog sibilings from the home and brought them all to Animal Control. A Caring Place took on Sissy and her kitty brother, but he soon passed away too. She was left alone with her foster family. After many vet visits, we determined that Sissy was probably somewhere around 10 to 15 years old and in generally good physical health. She is a bit thin and has no teeth left, but is otherwise healthy. Sissy has been in foster care with one of our volunteers since 2004. She is an AWESOME cat who loves attention, loves most to be brushed and likes to climb down under the covers at night to sleep next to her foster-mom. Sometimes, Sissy will even play and really likes catnip.


Missy is another of our “longer term†foster cats. She is thought to be about 10 years old and is in relatively good health. Missy is battling some problems that she’s had for a while now. Missy had been left untreated with a severe urinary tract infection which has caused her to urinate outside of the litter box. This is the most common cause for cats avoiding the litterbox. When a cat has this type of infection, it becomes painful for them to urinate; they begin to feel the pain while they use the box and then start to associate pain with using the litter box. This is where the problem starts. This infection is easily treated, but because of the length of time that she’s had the infection; her litterbox problems have become a behavior. Luckily for Missy, she found A Caring Place. Her foster home is able to be patient with her problems while she is learning how to use the box again. It may take a while, but we are NOT giving up on her.


Simon arrived at our door with Missy (above). He is also thought to be around 10 years old and is in great health. Simon has no behavior problems, is very social and sweet and is very laid back. Simon is a HUGE cat, weighing in at over 20 pounds!! Because of his age and his size, he can become uncomfortable being moved around a lot and being put into a small enclosure at PetSmart. Although, he will be shown at PetSmart from time to time, because of his age and his size, he has a lesser chance of being adopted. Simon would be a lap kitty (if your lap can handle the weight) and loves to be brushed, pet and generally loved. He would LOVE to find a FOREVER home, but until then, he will be patiently waiting in foster care.


Of course, on the poster, I'll add their pictures.

karen
!st let me tell you Karen that tou have my respect and admiration for what you are doing for the special needs cats

Now for the axe you are waiting to Fall.
You have a great idea there but remember that in this day and agre most people have less attention span than an amoeba. You want to really grab them so I would say that you might wish to trim the stories down a little and when you do the posters think Bright & Bold. Your fellow foster parent in Medford Or, Howard Jones.
post #14 of 18
I think what you are doing is brilliant. I only take on oldies but i know a lot of people think i am strange for doing it, i really do wish the way of thinking could be changed, as for me, these are the cats that need to be in a home environment the most. Cant think of any ideas other than to advertise them, and more pics than text, as that is what people will see first. Fingers crossed you get somewhere.
post #15 of 18
If there is a place such as Petsmart that provides an in-store location for adoptable cats to be seen, you can try to work something out with them where they put a donation system at their checkout lanes.

While waiting at the checkout, the customer can tear a scannable sheet off a pad that says "Donate $1" or whatever denomination and add it to their cart. Ask the store to provide a series of complimentary gifts to be handed out for each donation a customer makes to your rescue group. You can put up some propaganda around the counter and the cashiers can be coached to give a fifteen second explanation to any curious types. The customers will understand their donation goes to the people who are working with the cats being shown in that store. They make a somewhat spontaneous donation and are given a small gift by the cashier as they walk out of the store.

If that works, you can expand the operation to vet clinics who can either give out gifts provided by the store or something of their own. When someone is paying their bill, they can add $1 or $5 to the tab as a donation to your group.

And so on...use your imagination.

The problem with any ideas using the internet is that it is too slow moving. How can you donate over the internet? Okay, through Paypal. Great, now how do you sign up at Paypal? Huh? I gotta type my checking account number into the computer? And how long does this take? And how do I know this is legit? Reminds me of that E-bay scam I heard about, or maybe that tsunami thing. Damn, I was only gonna donate $5. This is a lot of risk and busywork for such a trivial donation. Uh...yeah, I'll check back when I have some more time...maybe. Or maybe not.

Compare that to the simplicity of adding $1 or $5 when you already have your wallet or checkbook out. Real time. Face to face. No further obligations and very little risk. No need to feel embarrassed about making a trivial donation. Etc.

Anyway, please give my comments some thought! All meant constructively.
post #16 of 18
This idea is kind of with your posters idea. My rescue group adopts at Petsmart, too, and we have occasionally put posters up asking for help or donations, but they don't get noticed. So I wrote a newsletter with MS publisher, saying who we are and what we do, and that we need help. Recently, the specific help asked for was food donations. It only costs $5 to get 100 copies made at Kinko's, and I literally walked up to everyone and made them take a flyer. The first day we got two huge bags of cat and dog food! We also got more and larger money donations. Some people are jerks when you hand them the paper, and some don't look at it, but just that food more than paid for the printing!
post #17 of 18
I have an idea, but not sure how doable it is and it could be tooooo expensive and not worth it.

For some not so old cats (maybe around 10 y.o.) who have no known medical issues, if it's not cost prohibitive, maybe offering a 1-year vet insurance at adoption? This may help ease some people's fear of possible extra medical expenses. This could be advertised in the flyers or during adopt-a-pet events at petsmart, etc. Now, I have no clue what the costs would be and think it is quite possible that the cost of the insurance for a year would be toooo much to bother with this idea.
post #18 of 18
I just opened this e-mail from the agency I foster for. What a great idea!


Second Chance Pet adoption is planning on starting a Senior for Senior program. Basically this means a Senior Citizen (age 60 and older) can adopt a Senior Cat (age 5 and older) for no fee. We will of course except any donations the adopting person would like to give us. Due to the fact the adoptee is a senior we may need to arrange a meeting time for them. Most likely one of our shows or our home. I am starting a data base for the available senior cats. Could anyone that has any older cats please send me the following information.

Your name
Cat's name
Age of Cat
Fur length
Color
Declawed
Disposition
Alone/with other cats/dogs
Medical conditons/disabilities

Thanks everyone for your help. Once I get this data base ready and the flyer finalized we will start the program.

http://www.secondchancepetadoption.org/

We also get alot of freebies from Petsmart, for example torn bags of food or litter. I just got some 25 pound bags of Science Diet cat and kitten food that says "not for retail sale" or something on it. And the vets we work with give us good discounts! It never hurts to ask for freebies or discounts!
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