June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, so you’ll be seeing several articles about cats and cat adoptions through the rest of the month. With the Kansas Humane Society celebrating its first anniversary in the new building this weekend with special adoption fees, this seemed a good time to cover the Meet Your Match program implemented several years ago.
Meet Your Match is adapted from the ASPCA’s personality profile system to reduce adoption returns. The Kansas Humane Society started with this system for dogs in 2002 and added it for older cats in 2007. Being able to identify the type of cat and collect adoptive family information on the survey form, Meet Your Match increased cat adoptions by 50 percent, according to Kim Janzen, KHS president.
Adoption counselor Coral Hollowell explained: “A key question is the first one on the survey. If the household is ‘a library’ then we know that a cat identified as a Party Animal is not likely to be a good fit. This type of household will match better with one of the more laid back personalities such as a Secret Admirer.”
KHS staff spend time observing and interacting with new cats and use a multi-page form to fill out what they see in the cat’s play and human interaction habits. The score will indicate if the cat is a Sidekick, a Personal Assistant or one of seven other personality designations. Cats with purple tags are more shy and retiring, those with an orange card are “middle of the road,” and the ones with a green card are going to be the most active and playful.
Though I can attest that our latest older cat adoption was identified as an orange Personal Assistant (which she is), she is the most playful and active older cat we’ve ever had, not to mention the most unique personality cat we’ve adopted in 30 years. At only 2 years old, she is still very much a kitten. She is a real joy and special addition to our household.
Having an idea of the type of personality a cat has improved not only adoption rates for older cats at KHS, but also reduced returned adoptions. While there is normally no information on how the cat will interact with dogs or other animals in the household, again, the personality profile can provide some indication, as a curious, investigative cat may hiss and spit to start out with, but curiosity will eventually get the better of it.
Kittens are not evaluated with Meet Your Match simply because their personalities are still developing. Is personality nature or nurture? A little of both, but kittens are always playful and need someone who will keep them entertained.
Another change the KHS made was that there is no adoption fee for cats 9 months old and older. They will come microchipped and spayed or neutered, and all have been tested for feline leukemia. Saturday (tomorrow) June 19, for the first anniversary party, kittens will be $30 and dogs and puppies will have a $50 adoption fee.
Please take a moment to look at the slideshow of some of the available older cats that have been waiting quite a while for their forever home. Then plan to go to the Kansas Humane Society this weekend to find your “perfect match” and adopt a cat during Adopt a Shelter Cat Month!
Don’t forget to check out cakechow.com’s Spring Fling adoption drive!