Animal shelters in the U.S. take in 3.4 million cats annually and euthanize 1.3 million of them. Two shelter medicine programs have set out to save many of those lives with the launch of the Million Cat Challenge.
The Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis, Maddies Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida and hundreds of animal shelters throughout North America want to challenge animal control facilities and private shelters to reduce euthanasia.
Participating shelters can focus on one, some or all of five initiatives, depending on whats right for their organization and community, says Kay Hurley, DVM, director of the Davis shelter program.
The initiatives: Find alternatives to keep cats in homes or the community; manage intake to improve shelter conditions; remove barriers to adoption such as cost; match the number of cats cared for with requirements to assure the welfare of all; return un-owned cats to the field after sterilization and vaccination.