Tortoiseshell cat adopted

If you’ve ever been the last kid picked for kickball, you know how it feels to watch all your friends join their teams while you wait all alone on the sideline. Imagine if the team selection process went on for years, and you’ll have an idea of what life was like for Polly.    

None of the sweet cat’s pictures (even four years’ worth of them) successfully swayed potential adopters to pick her. It’s not that her dark-haired, hazel-eyed face is one that only a mother could love. In fact, she’s actually rather striking. It just seemed that her face was easily overlooked. You might say she had a Jane Eyre quality.

She also faded into the background in person, too. Her quiet, gentle nature was a contrast to the many younger, livelier cats up for adoption in the Ivins Animal Shelter in Ivins, Utah. Year after year, most people opted for those spritely cats, while Polly was left behind.     

So when Polly recently left the shelter in the loving arms of an adopter, news traveled fast. What finally helped her stand out? Her friends at the shelter believe it was ongoing help from Best Friends that flipped the odds in her favor.

Welcome home your new MVP

Polly the tortoiseshell cat at Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter, a No More Homeless Pets Network partnerAfter Polly arrived at the Ivins shelter, Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter (FIAS), a member of the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network, tried everything to find Polly a home.  

“We tried featuring her in advertisements in the newspapers and lowering her adoption fee many times,” says Linda Elwell, director of FIAS. “We even put beautiful framed photos of her and a few other longtime shelter residents on tables for a fundraising event.”

They also promoted her and the other shelter animals through Best Friends’ recent Welcome Home Your New MVP month-long adoption promotion.

The adoption promotions are a way for Best Friends to help Network partners in a different way each month. Best Friends creates fun, professional-quality marketing materials for promotions that focus on a specific type of animal, like large dogs or senior animals, or just offer an adorable way to promote adoption in general.

Help from Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter

Linda took full advantage of Best Friends’ help by filling in the shelter’s contact information, getting the marketing materials professionally printed each month, and then having a dedicated team of volunteers post them around town.

Meanwhile, Polly did as she has done for years. She waited. Luckily for her, FIAS had contacted Best Friends many years ago for help in getting the city of Ivins to commit to no-kill principles for its shelter. So Polly’s life, thankfully, wasn’t in danger, but it was beginning to look like Polly’s fate was sealed.

“All we could do was love her,” says Linda, “because, by the time she reached five or six years old, I had pretty much accepted that she would be a permanent shelter cat.” Little did Linda realize, her group’s marketing efforts were about to pay off for Polly.

Welcome home, MVP Polly

Visitor traffic in the Ivins Animal Shelter had gradually increased over the previous year, and overall adoption numbers were up, too.

“We really haven’t done anything different than before,” says Linda, “except I’ve used the Best Friends adoption materials every month. I think being consistent with getting our message out in a professional way has helped increase awareness, so more people are coming in.”

And FIAS isn’t the only one feeling the love from its community. During Best Friends’ Welcome Home Your New MVP month-long adoption promotion, 73 Network partners across the country participated. In all, more than 4,300 pets found new homes — including Polly.  

“I about fell off my chair when I received the email from the shelter director that Polly had been adopted,” says Linda, who was almost in tears of joy over the news. “There really is a home for each pet. Sometimes it just takes a few years to find it.”

Learn more, get involved

About the No More Homeless Pets Network:

  • Best Friends’ No More Homeless Pets Network comprises more than 1,000 animal welfare groups from every single state, all working to save the lives of pets in their own communities. Ranging from animal shelters and rescue groups to spay/neuter and trap/neuter/return (TNR) organizations, they collaborate with Best Friends to save even more lives in every corner of the country. Best Friends provides marketing help, fundraising events, information and webinars, guidance, grants and more so that, together, we can Save Them All.

Photos courtesy of Linda Elwell