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Viral cat video boosts donations, adoptions for Georgia pet shelter

An image from the Official Furkids Kitty Kommercial video.
Source: Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters

Viral cat videos are a dime a dozen, but this one is helping homeless animals get adopted and boosting shelter donations.

Furkids, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that operates the largest no-kill pet shelter in the southeast, has seen adoption inquiries jump 25 percent since the video was published on Dec. 23.

The video, which has been watched more than 4.1 million times on YouTube, was improvised and created in about 30 minutes at the organization's shelter. Paul Preston, a native Atlantan who works as a contractor with a local rental property management company, endeared viewers with his mock car salesman approach to hawking cats.

Between donations and merchandise sales, the organization has raised more than $13,000 since the video was posted, including a single donation of $5,000, according to Samantha Shelton, Furkids founder and executive director.

"We have received 80 percent more donations of items on our Amazon wish list this week than we normally would receive," she told CNBC.

It costs about $6,000 a day to run the Georgia shelter and more than 60 percent of the workforce is volunteers. In addition to a surge in donations, Shelton noted that volunteer applications have also increased.

Despite a snowy weekend in Georgia, Shelton currently has 50 approved applicants prepared to adopt animals this week. She anticipates, that with walk-up applicants, that number could easily double. Last year, the group found homes for 3,200 pets, two-thirds of which were cats.

"While our adoption rates have been strong, we always have more animals than adopters, and we're grateful for Paul Preston's humorous approach to adoption," Shelton said. "His piece has resonated powerfully and made us recognize that humor touches and motivates people... We at Furkids hope that our video inspires people around the world to adopt homeless cats and dogs and support their own local shelters."