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Contributed by
Cats Protection


Each year Cats Protection helps around 200,000 cats. They are the UK’s leading cat welfare charity. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped their face-to-face rehoming methods and the whole process had to be moved online – but they still had thousands of cats that needed new homes.

Too much paperwork would put off potential adopters, preventing cats from finding new owners and leaving less room for new rescues.

Cats Protection have used Adobe Sign, which enables e-signatures allowing all the paperwork to be done promptly online, meaning cats go to their forever homes faster. This new ‘Hands-free homing’ process has been a great success, with over 15,000 cats rehomed by the end of 2020.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since April 2020.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Cats Protection’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need a safe way to sign paperwork
  • As a staff member, I need a way to get documentation signed in a COVID-19-safe manner (non-contact)

Software and tools used

Adobe Sign

Adobe Sign allows users to send, track and collect e-signatures. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign gives you tools to create and edit PDFs, collaborate with others and manage e-signatures in one simple experience.


Adobe offers a free seven-day trial.

The software is a transactional cost model (not licence-based).

5,000 transactions cost £10,800, which works out at £2.16 per transaction on the VIP account-model.

Cats Protection has an Adobe ETLA account model, where transaction costs are then negotiated over time with an Account Manager.


With Adobe Sign, process time is shortened, and issues of capacity are eased.

The digital solution’s ease of use decreases barriers to participation.

It can allow for a reduction in carbon footprint, with less use of stationery, printing etc.

Ensure that the Project Manager/team have sufficient company process knowledge and a good working relationship with the Adobe Account Manager, as their support documentation is very generic and you may need a hand to configure for your organisation’s requirements.

Recipe steps

1. Consider the needs of going green and paperless

Look at your paper-based processes and see where changes can be made and implemented. Review these processes and ask relevant departments from your charity to get involved to make these changes.

2. Decide on software

When considering software that can be used to replace paper-based processes, make sure to look at what can be used by everyone in your organisation and also by the general public, since they are your service users. You can then look into where this software would make the biggest impact.

3. Train relevant teams

Once you have decided on your software, consider what teams will be involved in using it so that you know who needs training.

4. Pilot the new process

You can use a handful of centres or sections of your charity to go through live workshops of the new process and pilot its delivery for a couple of months. Ensure that you run a training environment before running these processes in a live environment so that all team members are fully briefed and comfortable to go live.

Get feedback from the pilot studies and implement any changes reflecting what team members have suggested.

5. Get in contact with the service user

Call the service user to let them know about the process and that paperless forms will be sent to them via email. This is also a good time to get consent for obtaining their information.

6. Get feedback

Adobe Sign has reports that can be set up and can be scheduled to produce monthly reports. For the first few months, you can also implement Microsoft forms to see how everyone copes with the new process. You can then log support tickets or give team members a call to get a better understanding of where issues lie.


Make sure that feedback is implemented throughout the process and you are regularly reviewing what changes may need to be made.

Ensure that end-users are aware of the changes you have made so that they know they can still go through the process you are offering remotely through paperless forms.

Review your forms frequently, as you don’t always need everything on the form that you may have initially thought you did. Equally, you may be missing information that could be helpful to include in the form. You may also want to change the layout, to ensure that some information presents itself more immediately than other details.


Data privacy is something to be aware of. If it is a work transaction, make sure that when you are sending the forms from your charity, you use the recipient’s organisational email as opposed to a personal one.

Check that the software you use can offer data protection, for example, information stored with Adobe Sign is safe. When storing forms, ensure those systems, databases, and files are protected and secure.


Many thanks to Cats Protection for contributing this recipe.


This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Cats Protection and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on March 30th, 2021. Last updated March 30th, 2021