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Old 01-30-2013, 11:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tips and Tricks to Write An Ad for your Fosters

Here's some of my best tips and tricks for writing ads for my fosters and helping them to get adopted more quickly by homes that are well-matched to them.

****I always put a thorough description. It includes basic personality traits and lots of adjectives (shy/outgoing, rowdy/calm, playful/snuggler, sex, color, age, etc). I also include at least one detail to catch a reader's eye.

For example, in Lucy's ad:

"Lucy is looking for a home! She came to me with three kittens about 6 weeks ago. I got everyone spayed or neutered and the kittens have all been adopted. Now Lucy needs a home. She's 2 years old, per the vet, and is a pretty gray tabby with yellow eyes. She's been treated for worms and fleas and is now spayed and fully healed up from her surgery. She was outdoor only before I got her but is learning to be an inside kitty and has not had any problems with a litter box. Would do best as an indoor/outdoor kitty. She's a sweet girl and acts like an overgrown kitten. She's a medium sized cat. $40 adoption fee to help cover part of her surgery/meds and new home will need to sign an adoption contract. Please contact me if you would like to adopt her, or know someone who would like to adopt her. I'm located in Lacey, WA (near Olympia)."

The "sweet overgrown kitten" part would be her special detail. She is a "pretty" gray tabby.


****Great picture(s) are a must. Not necessarily a fully body shot, but something that really captures their personality.

Here's a picture to fall in love with:





Here's Helios' ad (the kitty pictured above):

"Helios is a beautiful gray kitten with slightly darker gray tabby stripes and gorgeous yellow eyes. He is approximately 6 months old and has been an indoor kitty since he was about 10 weeks. He can be a little nervous, but is learning to trust quickly now and getting better every day. He would probably do best as an only cat, though he does get along pretty well with the other cats and dog in his foster home. He is a very sweet kitten and prefers loving on his people to playing with toys, but when he does play, he loves anything with catnip and feathers. He is already neutered and has been treated for fleas and worms. He had a bit of a rough start with the litter box, but is using it very well now (I think that was related to his anxiety and has disappeared since he's been more relaxed and trusting). He is a gorgeous sweet boy who has a ton of love to give to his forever person or family. Due to his previous anxiety, he would probably do best as the only pet in the home, unless the other animals were very mellow. He would love a quiet, less chaotic home. Also, no very young children (under 7 or so)."


He is a "beautiful" kitten with "gorgeous" eyes. He likes people better than toys would be his special detail.


****Sometimes, less is more. it's great that you've got to know your fosters well, but an adopter doesn't want to spend 25 minutes reading notes on EACH cat they look at. Your entire ad should be able to be read in 30 seconds. Make each word count. Don't repeat yourself. Stick to facts they want to know (sex, temperament, age, spay/neutered or not, parasite treatment or not, shots or not, litterbox trained, indoor/outdoor, health problems, any restrictions on adoption).

****Market your kitty, but never lie. If there's a detail that works against your kitty (older, litterbox issues, solid black coloring), you can still make it a positive. In Helios's ad above, he has/had litterbox issues. But I made a special note that he seems to be past them now. If he had not worked through them and needed to be rehomed as outdoor only because of that, I would have said: "Helios prefers not to use a litter box and will need to be an outdoor or mostly outdoor kitty in his new home." For an older cat, you can say "middle aged" if they are 5-10 or "younger" if they are under 5. If they are less than 2 years old, giving their exact age (if you know it) seems to be helpful. Also, if you aren't getting any responses to your ad, rearrange it. Put the details in a different order or rephraseto see if it catches an adopter's eye.

****Lead with your kitty's most adoptable feature. I generally foster kittens, so I almost always start with their age (or say "young" if age is unknown). For my adult fosters, the next most common factor is color, so if you have an adult or older kitty of a sought-after coloring, lead with that. Cats who are already spayed/neutered and up to date on shots have an easier time being placed than those who aren't.

****Make the adopter see how special your kitty is. Unfortunately, cats are a dime a dozen. The biggest bit of advice I can give is to make your potential adopters realize how special your guys are. Make it obvious how much time you've put in to them and how well you've got to know them. Naming them is really helpful. Don't overload with details though...remember the entire ad should be readable within 30 seconds.


________________________________


Here's the descriptions I wrote for my "B" batch of kittens (I name each litter after the same letter). All 5 kittens were black or mostly black. I used a template, and just swapped out names. Some things were the same for each kitten (like the fact that they used the litter box and got along with our dog), which is why having a template to go off of can be handy.

Whoever said black cats have the most personality was definitely thinking of Baja. She is a friendly, rowdy, outgoing kitten who loves people. She is the only solid black kitten of her litter. She has a wonderful purr and also likes to “talk.” She loves to play with her sisters but when she’s tired of that she’s happy to snuggle with her humans. She likes to mouth off and is a very social kitty who will insist on getting what she thinks is the “proper” amount of attention. She loves wet food and feather wand toys. She has been in a foster home since she was approximately 3 weeks old and has been exposed to five adult cats besides her mother and a dog (lab mix) all of whom she got along with well. She has also been using the litter box faithfully.

Bella is a sweet kitten with a delicate, angular face like her mother and a pretty white nose. She can be a bit of a princess, especially at feeding time. She would rather wait until the others have finished than jostle for a spot like a common kitty. If she continues to take after her mother, she will grow to be an excellent kitty, friendly and graceful. For now though, she is an adventurous, curious kitten who loves to play with her sisters. She has been in a foster home since she was approximately 3 weeks old and has been exposed to five adult cats besides her mother and a dog (lab mix) all of whom she got along with well. She has also been using the litter box faithfully.

Bambi is the biggest, fluffiest kitten of her litter and has a tiny spot of white fur near her nose. She is slightly more shy and cautious than her sisters, but generally not more than a few paws behind them on their adventures. She is a very sweet and playful kitten who enjoys the company of humans. Because of her extra hair, she seems to “heat up” and tire out a little more quickly than her sisters, especially on very warm days. She is generally one of the first to the food bowl and one of the last to leave. Her favorite toys are balls she can hit across the floor and then chase after. She has been in a foster home since she was approximately 3 weeks old and has been exposed to five adult cats besides her mother and a dog (lab mix) all of whom she got along with well. She has also been using the litter box faithfully.

Bayla is fuzzy and sweet, the second largest kitten of her litter. She has a crooked white line of fur up her nose for added character. When she plays, she likes to rear up on her hind legs and “box” with her sisters. She is a match for any of them and has no trouble keeping up. She is always right in the middle of whatever adventure they are having and loves to see exactly what is going on. Her favorite toy is a feather wand and she loves wet food. She has been in a foster home since she was approximately 3 weeks old and has been exposed to five adult cats besides her mother and a dog (lab mix) all of whom she got along with well. She has also been using the litter box faithfully.

Bliss loves to play and especially enjoys catnip toys, though they can make her a bit crazy. It’s easy to see how happy her toys make her and adorably funny to watch her play with them. She has a white line of fur going straight up the middle of her nose. She was one of the first kittens in her litter to start eating wet food and likes exploring new things. She does enjoy being around people, when she can pull herself away from playtime. She has been in a foster home since she was approximately 3 weeks old and has been exposed to five adult cats besides her mother and a dog (lab mix) all of whom she got along with well. She has also been using the litter box faithfully.


************************************************** **

Good luck placing your kitties and feel free to add your own tips and tricks!

Last edited by marie73; 05-07-2013 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Most of this is just common sense. I'll never understand why people/shelters/rescues, etc., can't do a better job than they do. (P.S. This isn't a sticky, it's just a new thread.)

Sometimes the difference is a simple as camera angle. Especially true with smooshy faced cats.


looking up






same kitty, NOT looking up

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Old 01-31-2013, 04:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Tips and Tricks to Write An Ad for your Fosters

Great info! I foster kittens a lot and already use several of your pointers. And I'm a pet photographer in my 25th hour of the day so my pics are always great quality. (That sounds like I'm bragging. I'm not bragging!)


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Old 02-04-2013, 03:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Venusworld, I just started thinking tonight how great it would be if shelters and/or foster parents could take video of a couple of minutes of each cat when he or she is doing something typical of his or her behavior. That could be hugely helpful for a potential adopter, to see how the written description in action.

If it were feasible, live kitty cams, like the one I've been obsessed with (my4kitties posted a link in forum fum), would be great. That one is a litter of kittens, obviously too cute for words. But those seems to require an awful lot of technical savvy.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My shelter has the option for us to create profiles and add videos for each kitten, but I've never done the video part. For animals that have a harder time being adopted at the shelter, I think that would be great, but for the kittens and such, it's almost a waste of time as they'll be adopted in a flash anyway. I think I'm going to make a point of doing videos of my adult fosters from now on though--that might help them get adopted.
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I JUST took a cute video of Grady playing with a stuffed bear and the other fosters were saying I should put it on his petfinder profile, so it's going on there and on Facebook. He is an older kitten (6 months) competing with much younger kittens this time of year. Had alot of interest but the only serious one said they spank their other cats, so...
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think writing a great bio is one of the hardest part of marketing a foster kitty. Its so hard to find great phrases and buzz words that would capture a potential adopters interest. I hate the negative sad stories some rescues write. I love Best Friends positive descriptions. Yes you can tell people the back ground but dont guilt people about adopting a particular cat.

You have really good tips! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree...you can't ever "force" an adoption to work out and guilt is just another form of coercion. I try to keep all my bios positive.
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