The ASPCA partners with Maddie’s Fund to support the Million Cat Challenge

One million cats can be saved – and you can help! There is a plan in place by the ASPCA to save the lives of felines in the US.

In the next five years, they aim to save the lives of one million cats. Simple, right? In order to understand how massive this goal is, let’s provide some context. There aren’t one million people living in Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania combined. That’s how big this goal is!

In spite of this, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is undaunted, and along with Maddie’s Fund, the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, and Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, they are undertaking the Million Cat Challenge (The Challenge) to assist animal shelters across North America in saving only a fraction of the felines that arrive on their doorsteps each year.

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Maddie’s Fund, a national foundation founded by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, helped launch the Challenge in 2014. Over 1,100 shelters in the U.S. and Canada have signed up for The Challenge and have collectively saved over 750,000 cats.

While organizers acknowledge that not every initiative will work for every shelter, that won’t stop those interested from taking part.

  1. When admission to a shelter is not the best option, provide positive alternatives to keep cats at home.

  2. The goal of managed admission is to match the intake of cats to the shelter’s ability to provide humane care and safe movement through the shelter system so that each cat receives an appropriate outcome.

  3. Ensure that the shelter has sufficient capacity to ensure the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare for all cats at any given time.

  4. Expand the pool of adopters by removing barriers to adoption, such as cost, process, or location.

  5. In lieu of euthanasia, sterilize, vaccinate, and return healthy unowned shelter cats to the location of origin.

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For tracking results, baseline data will be collected on the number of cats brought into shelters, euthanized, and adopted or returned to the field. It is anticipated that the data will be updated annually, with the ultimate mark of one million being determined by a reduction in euthanasia and an increase in the number of lives saved by participating shelters.

According to the Challenge co-founder Dr. Julie Levy of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program in Florida, bringing in the ASPCA will provide an incredible “lift.” With the ASPCA on board, the momentum that is driving transformational change on behalf of shelter cats will accelerate. Shelters will become the safe havens they have always wanted to be with this unprecedented collaboration.”

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