Many people know about our dog matchmakers here at Austin Pets Alive!. You walk into our adoption center and they’re the ones greeting you with electric energy and an excitement to find you the perfect new family member; but what about the cats? Do they have a team dedicated to making sure they find their purrfect home? You bet we do! Our cat matchmakers may be offsite, but they work endlessly to ensure that when they send a cat home with their person, they stay there for good.
The Cat Matchmaker Program began to help get harder to adopt or long-stay cats into homes. The mission of the program is to provide great customer service and to help adopters come to a decision on which cat is best for them. Time and time again, we would see people end up deciding not to adopt because they are faced with too many options, and are left with the pressure of which decision is best for their family and that pet. Our cat matchmaking team is a point of contact and resource for any questions that might come up when adopting a cat in order to make the process less overwhelming.
Allie Wassel, APA!’s Cat Matchmaker Team Lead, shares more about what the program does for our very special population of cats: “We're able to bring attention to the wonderful felvies, the ringworm positives, the tripods, the shy guys, cats whose personalities just don't show well in photos, and more through this program. Most commonly the process works by potential adopters emailing me, and I'll talk through with them what they're looking for in a cat and what their home environment is like. From there, I'll put together a list of about five cats that I think would do well in their home. [I do this so] that it's much less overwhelming and stressful for the potential adopter when they don't have to read every single profile on our website to find the right cat for them.”
One of her favorite matchmaking stories is when she found a forever home for a cat that had been the victim of a hoarding case: “Riddle came to APA! understandably nervous and shy. Staff and volunteers could see how sweet he was, but he just didn't shine for visitors, mostly because he liked to sleep under all the beds. A wonderful woman emailed me looking for a sweet, laid back lapcat for her parents, and I knew this was a house Riddle could thrive in. I explained to her exactly how to get him to trust her and that he'd just need a little patience. She visited him twice at our Tarrytown location before bringing him home to be a permanent part of their family!” Without the Cat Matchmaking Program, Riddle could have been continued to be overlooked for weeks to come.
“Often people come into the shelter and expect to have a cat jump into their lap right away, and of course I match those cats too, but that's not always the case,” shares Allie, who goes on to explain that the adoption process isn’t always the fairytale image that many people have in their heads. “How many human strangers do you meet that want to be run up to and hugged immediately?”
Thanks to our cat matchmakers, cats like Riddle are given the chance they deserve to be fully happy in their forever home. They’re there to help the cats that need us most find their purrfect person.