Adoptions During COVID-19

Just a few short months ago, if anyone had told us that our whole adoption process would soon happen online, we probably would have thought they were joking. After all, the SAFe Rescue model has always relied on an in-person, conversation-based approach… 

Yet here we are this week, celebrating our 75th online adoption and counting. Keeping our community safe during COVID-19 has meant temporarily changing every aspect of the Rescue’s operations. Prospective adopters now “meet” cats online, adoption counseling conversations happen over the phone, and kitties go home via no-contact pick-up. The Adoptions Team still takes the same care to match adopters with the purr-fect kitty—but every step of the process looks different. 

Throughout this process, we have been inspired and overwhelmed by the number of people in our community choosing adoption. On some days, we receive hundreds of inquiries for only a few available kitties. It is truly wonderful to see such caring and eagerness to adopt! We only wish we could match everyone with a kitty right away.

Fortunately, with resourcefulness and lots of hard work from the SAFe staff—and thanks to the generosity and support of the community—we have been able to create this new adoption process “from scratch.” While this process takes more time and effort than simply having visitors stop by the Adoption Center, it keeps humans in our community safe… And keeps finding kitties homes! The work to carry out SAFe Rescue’s mission continues.

Our next goal is to fine-tune and scale up this process. Lately, each week has brought more adoptions than the last. 75 online adoptions is only the most recent milestone: we’re looking forward to passing 100 soon!

How Do Online Adoptions Work?  

  1. When there are available kitties, we post them on our website by 7PM. This gives prospective adopters a chance to read their bios, get to know more about the cats, and see photos or videos. 
  1. The next morning, we open the wait list for prospective adopters at a predetermined time. The wait list automatically closes after a certain number of submissions are received—usually 6-20, depending on how many kitties are available. Right now, it’s often the case that 30-60 people are hoping to adopt on any given day and the wait list usually closes within a minute or two of opening. (As restrictions on intake and transport gradually begin to ease and additional organizations re-open, more kitties will become available locally for adoption. Right now, it may take some time to find a feline friend, but it will get easier!)
  1. The Team of Adoption Counselors then goes through the list in order, calling each prospective adopter and engaging in a virtual version of SAFe’s usual counseling. This continues until every kitty has found a home. (Prospective adopters on the list who didn’t get a call receive an email encouraging them to sign up again on a future day.) Then an Adoption Counselor makes arrangements for adopters to have a no-contact pick-up for their new furry friends. 
  1. Then the process begins again! New kitties who have become available go up on the site, ready for the next day’s wait list…

Want to Learn More?

For more details about the online adoption process and how to participate, read our Adoption FAQ.

For a list of available kitties and a link to the wait list, visit our Available Felines page.

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