Our very own Maddie’s® Professor of Shelter Medicine, Dr. Julie Levy, has been hard at work alongside Dr. Kate Hurley and the team at UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program on the Million Cat Challenge, a new initiative that challenges shelters across North America to save the lives of 1 million cats over the next 5 years.
The program focuses around five key initiatives:
- Alternatives to intake: Provide positive alternatives to keep cats in the home or community when admission to a shelter is not the best choice.
- Managed admission: Schedule intake of cats to match the shelter’s ability to assure humane care and safe movement through the shelter system to an appropriate outcome for every cat.
- Capacity for care: Match the number of cats cared for at any one time with the capacity required to assure the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare for all cats in the shelter.
- Removing barriers to adoption: Expand the pool of adopters by removing barriers to adoption such as cost, process, or location.
- Return-to-field: Sterilize, vaccinate, and return healthy, un-owned shelter cats to the location of origin as an alternative to euthanasia.
“Participating shelters can focus on one, some, or all the initiatives, depending on what’s right for their organization and community,” said Dr. Kate Hurley, director of the UC Davis program. “We welcome everyone who wants to find new approaches to saving cats’ lives.”
The participating shelters are given access to support and resources including a private online forum where they can chat with peers as well as seek advice and input from shelter veterinarians. The Challenge participants can also visit a website with a wealth of information including articles, forms, case studies, webinars, and more.
“We expect some of the most valuable information each shelter will get will come from the other participating shelters,” said Dr. Julie Levy, director of the University of Florida program. “This effort is based on collaboration and the sharing of resources.”
For more information on this exciting new program, and to learn how your shelter can participate, visit http://www.millioncatchallenge.org