Operation Catnip of Gainesville is proud to participate in the Million Cat Challenge. Our Spay Day clinics are a perfect fit for the Return-to-Field initiative.
A 5-Year Shelter Based Campaign
Each year, millions of cats lose their lives in animal shelters. An enormous amount is invested in the capture, holding, and euthanasia of these animals, and the emotional toll exacted by their death is incalculable. Finally, the opportunity for a “cat revolution” is at hand. We now know that euthanasia of healthy cats in shelters can be replaced with programs that are dramatically more humane and effective for cats and communities alike. Shelters are hungry for this change.
The Million Cat Challenge is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of 1 million cats in North America over the next five years. The core strategy of the campaign will be five key initiatives that will offer every shelter, in every community, practical choices to reduce euthanasia and increase live outcomes for shelter cats.
The Five Key Initiatives
The Million Cat Challenge encompasses five key initiatives to balance intake, humane capacity within the shelter, and live release:
- Alternatives to intake: Provide positive alternatives to keep cats in the home or community when admission to a shelter is not the best choice.
- Scheduled intake: Schedule admission 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.
Shelters need not implement or embrace all five initiatives to participate in the challenge. Even one initiative can set the foundation for dramatic improvement. Each initiative can also lay the foundation for others, which can be implemented synergistically in any order. Where for only one cat, for a small pilot project, or in whole, each step toward implementation has value.
Participating shelters will pledge their anticipated decrease in feline euthanasia for the current year compared to the baseline year of 2012. Shelters already euthanizing few or no cats can participate by pledging an increase in live release compared to the baseline year. Baseline data of intake, euthanasia and live release for 2012 will be recorded at registration and updated annually. There is no minimum for participation – even one additional life saved or death averted is an accomplishment to be celebrated as part of the Challenge.
Inspire, Mentor & Lead
The initiatives within this campaign originated from the creativity, determination and courage of many shelters and individuals. Widespread participation will be a foundation for success of the Million Cat Challenge. The participating shelters themselves will serve as a source of inspiration, mentoring and leadership on a local and regional level. We also hope to engage the support of national and regional partners representing the many animal welfare, protection and animal control organizations who have contributed to the development and dissemination of these initiatives.