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ASPCA's Meet Your Match Introduces Feline-ality

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

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You've joined a dating website in search of your soul mate. You've advertised yourself in the singles section of the newspaper. You even participated in a speed dating session in pursuit of your perfect match. Finding the "love of your life" is stressful. What you need when searching for a life partner is the help of the ASPCA. They are professionals in helping you "meet your match" ... your pet match, that is.

Meet Your Match

Meet Your Match is an ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) adoption program which is sponsored by Iams. It is designed to increase adoptions, decrease the rate of unsuccessful matches, and decrease the number of unwanted pets in the world. This program assesses the behavior patterns and personality of shelter animals and the character, lifestyle, and pet expectations of potential adopters. That information is used to connect life-long friends.

Feline-ality

Following in the footsteps of the ASPCA's Canine-ality and Puppy-ality (the ASPCA's dog/adopter match programs), Meet Your Match has recently added the Feline-ality program which specifically pairs adopters with their perfect cat match. This program was developed after two years of research in evaluating and predicting cat behavior and testing the match process.

Cats in this program are evaluated based on their behavior in the shelter in order to predict how they will act in a new home. They are graded on their interest in play, communication, curiosity, and their desire to be noticed and attended to. From these evaluations, the nine possible feline-alities are categorized into one of three color groups, designed to help an adopter easily find a good match.
The three color groups include green, orange, and purple. Green cats are considered "Party Animals", "MVPs", or "Leaders of the Band". Orange cats are "Sidekicks", "Executives", or "Personal Assistants". Purple cats are "Love Bugs", "Secret Admirers", and "Private Investigators".

Based on their personal evaluations, the potential adopters are informed of what feline personality type would best suit their needs. The adopters are educated on the feline-alities, and if they choose to adopt outside their recommended color group, they will at least know what to expect from that cat.

The Benefits

Thanks to the efforts of the ASPCA and the match-making magic of the Meet Your Match programs, shelter animals, adopters, and shelter-workers are experiencing greater adoption successes. From aspca.org , results of the program have shown "adoptions have increased by up to 46%, while returns and euthanasia numbers decreased by up to 40 percent. In addition, 105 out of 107 adopters reported that they would probably choose a shelter that uses the Meet Your Match™ program when adopting an animal in the future, and rated their satisfaction to the program 8.89 out of 10".

The program helps potential adopters take a moment to truly focus on the pet that is ideal for their expectations and lifestyle. It reminds soon-to-be pet parents that cuteness is NOT the only criteria for choosing a pet; looks will not be the basis for a close human-animal bond. When an adopter has an educated idea of what animal personality will best accompany his or her own, he or she can choose a pet who will have the best chance of enjoying a permanent, loving relationship with the adopter.

Meet Your Match will cut back on situations such as a retired, elderly woman adopting a hyperactive Boston Terrier who needs rigorous, regular exercise which she is unable to provide. Or a family who owns a 100 pound Mastiff and adopts a timid, dog-fearing kitty. Or an adopter who does not have the patience or desire to provide obedience training and adopts a maniac Jack Russell puppy who destroys his apartment.....

To learn more about the Meet Your Match programs or to find a shelter near you exercising these match-making techniques, visit the ASPCA's website at www.aspcaorg.

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