Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
PetSmart Charities hosted a Cattitude Check at the #BlogPaws Conference that focused on how your content can save shelter pets. Heather Vanna, online communications and social media manager and Karilynn Galiotos, digital content and social media specialist explained to attendees how their content can help save the lives of shelter pets. “We have a ‘cat’-astrophe on our hands,” they said. Check out this blog survey where readers shared their thoughts on the public opinion of cats and cat people.
They explained that a study conducted in 2014 showed that 27 percent of people surveyed said they would not adopt a cat if they were going to adopt a pet. “There are negative perceptions about cats. They are outdated and we need to change people’s attitudes about cats.” The statistics are startling in the fact that almost seven million pets enter shelters annually, three million of those are euthanized; cats are euthanized more often than dogs.
PetSmart Charities said that through their efforts more than 400,000 cats and dogs a year are adopted. Heather and Karilynn also shared that even though cats are wildly popular on the Internet that doesn’t always translate to adoptions.
What are some of the outdated notions people have about cats? They include:
- 71% say there is the “cat lady” stigma associated with owning a cat
- 74% of people say they get their cat information from friends and family and if they have had a negative experience, that is what they pass along
“Could your content change the minds of people?” Heather asked. “Definitely.” She offered some Cat Photo 101 tips for those in the room involved with shelters or rescues:
- The type of camera you use doesn’t matter — it could be a smart phone or a traditional camera
- Find good lighting
- Don’t use a flash
- Either turn off the camera sound effects or get your cat accustomed to the sound
- Get down to eye level
- Use props
- Take multiple pictures at one time
- Edit the photo afterwards to adjust contrast and to crop it
How can your content help shelter cats? This question was posed as June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Here were some tips they offered:
- Use your posts to promote responsible cat ownership
- Share the beauty and benefit of cats in your posts
- Consider using user-generated content for your site
- Share the posts you write. They noted that only one third of the cat parents who post are sharing their information on social media
- Add photos of your cats to your posts
If you’re a shelter operator take the kitties out of the cages and engage them in playful activities when you’re snapping photos. Show them in their true light.
PetSmart Charities kicked off a social media campaign called #meowOUT Yourself. “Take a selfie with your cat and post it on Twitter with the hashtag. ” You can also check your Cattitude with this online quiz.
Declare your Cat Pride and read about Big Bang Theory Actress Mayim Bialik has teamed up with PetSmart to spread the word about about the #meowOUT yourself campaign.