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Help your foster land the best forever home: Photos and details that work magic

As a cat or dog foster for Paws and Claws Chicago Rescue, you won’t be responsible for finding your foster pet a home. However, the details and narrative you provide about your foster pets’ personality, likes, dislikes and quirks can really bring their adoption biography to another level. What adopter doesn’t want to know that their new cat will splash in their water bowl like it’s a pool so that they can prepare by buying a huge mat before they bring them home? When we, the P&C Team, and you, the foster parent, jointly decide it’s time to begin the search for your foster cat or dog’s forever home, we will share a foster feedback form with you where you can share all the ins and outs about your dog or cat. The form asks questions such as: does your cat like being picked up? How does your foster dog do on a leash? Are they good with children, cats, dogs? What is their favorite toy? This is your time to make your foster animal shine and to share any cute or funny stories that will make them stand out. Go into detail on how they are on leash when approaching another dog, a person or a biker. Do they like peanut butter kongs, but only when they’re frozen? Let us know! Maybe your cat only likes being picked up when they exhibit a certain body language signal. The details will help us match them with the home that will best fit their needs and personality, will prepare the adopters on what to expect and prepare before bringing them home and lastly will make them stand out from the many other wonderful cats, dogs, kittens and puppies up for adoption. These little details may be the tipping point that pushes a family to apply for your older foster cat with medical needs who otherwise may be overlooked.

After filling out our foster feedback form we will ask you to send photos and a video or two of your foster pet. The more photos and variety the better. Here are a couple of tips from our photographer Kelsie on taking photos that will get your foster animal noticed:

  • Good lighting. This may be one of the most important things to think about when taking photos of your foster animal. You could capture the cutest photo, but if no one can see it it won’t get noticed.

  • Natural light always looks better than artificial light.

  • Photos where the cat or dog is looking at the camera (you can shake a toy or a treat bag behind the camera to get them to look). Sometimes it’s easier to have one person directing the animal and another taking photos.

  • A variety of different poses and activities (naps, playtimes, mealtime, adventure-time, snuggle time)

  • Take photos in an environment they are comfortable and used to (it’s obvious when a cat is scared or unsure.)

  • If you are fostering a pair who is going up for adoption together try to get a couple of good photos of the bonded pair together. You want to convince potential adopters that they should choose these love birds.

  • Get action shots. Does your dog love the snow? Get a photo of them running in it or catching that tennis ball they love. Or capture a shot of your cat rolling around in catnip.

To summarize, try to take photos with good natural lighting in an environment that your foster animals are comfortable in. Capture photos of them doing the things they love most and a couple of photos of your foster or bonded pair looking directly at the camera. Goofy photos are always a great way to go!

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