How to “Market” Your Foster Cat
Fostering a pet can be a very rewarding experience, but the ultimate goal is to find him or her a forever home. Foster pets rely on YOU and your efforts to get the word out. Think about what you would want to know about your cat if you were considering adoption and what type of person or family would be the perfect fit for your foster cat.
Here are some helpful tips for marketing your pet:
- Take photos of your foster cat in a variety of poses—both full body and head shots.
- Write a biography of your foster cat that captures its personality and characteristics.
- Provide the photos and biography to the Foster Coordinator
- Coordinate with the Foster Coordinator to determine when your foster cat will beready for adoption. Do not publicize until that time.
- Distribute flyers in strategic locations to garner interest in your foster cat.
- Participate in off-site adoption events.
Tips for Taking Great Photos of Your Foster Cat
A picture is worth a thousand words and you don’t want those words to be unflattering or shed your pet in a bad light. The photo is the FIRST thing people see when they visit your listings. Don’t let your foster get passed over because of a bad hair day. A few things to consider:
Quality is Key. Take large, clear, high resolution photographs of your cat alone. A good picture is often the difference between a cat who generates inquiries and one who doesn’t.
Quantity is Quality. Take a lot of digital pictures. You may have to take 50 pictures to get 1 or 2 really great shots. If you don’t have a digital camera, borrow one from a friend or contact the shelter and we can arrange for a special photo session.
Consider the Lighting. Pictures taken in natural light are usually much better than those taken with a flash. Lighting is very important for accurately capturing a cat’s coloring and detail. Have the sun or light source behind you and check to make sure you’re not casting a shadow on your subject.
Reward the Talent. Use treats and/or a toy to capture the cat’s best expression. Sometimes having two people makes this process easier.
Contrast and Compliment. Try taking pictures using a neutral backdrop. Select a background that contrasts with the cat’s coloring. Darker‐colored cats will show up better against a lighter backdrop. Most cats look great against a lush green lawn.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize. The cat is the subject of your picture so he should take up the majority of space in your picture. Avoid excessive amounts of background. The cat’s eyes should be focused on you. Try to capture at least one “hero” shot, where the focus is on the cats face. A full body picture is also a great way to show size and scale.
Do Your Homework. Check out the competition and look at photos of similar cats and see which ones pop out to you. Then try to mimic these shots with your own foster cat.
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again. If your first attempts fail, don’t be discouraged. Just keep trying and have fun. When you are having fun, your foster cat will have fun too!
How to Write a Killer Bio
Accentuate the Positive. Highlight your cat’s good qualities and let potential adopters know why they should consider your cat. You will improve your cat’s chances of finding a home if you write a thorough description.
Tell a Story. A good bio is part press release, part story telling. Don’t turn it into a lengthy restaurant review, but instead try to pull the reader into the bio so that they can start to imagine a life with this new feline friend.
Do Some Research. Don’t be afraid to check out other bios for inspiration.
Write in the First Person. Tell it from the animal’s perspective — the most compelling thing you can write on behalf of an animal is what you imagine the animal is thinking, feeling or remembering.
Lay the Ground Work. A list of just facts probably won’t catch a potential adopter’s eye. The introductory paragraph should describe “who your cat is.” This will help a potential adopter visualize the cat. Your second paragraph might go into personality traits, and provide information about training, tricks or cute behavior. Your final paragraph should outline the perfect (required) forever home environment.