HSDC is one of the many shelters in the United States that have joined in on the Million Cat Challenge. The challenge is simple, to save more cats. HSDC has always been faced with re-homing more cats than we have space for and over the past year we have been using some creative methods to handle the cats that come to us for help.
We have a variety of living spaces for the cats in our care, including condos, a small entry way, a large room with patio access, a "shy" room for those who need a bit more quiet, two kitten rooms, one with patio access, large cages in the lobby for cats with health issues or loner cats and an offsite adoption area at Pet Supplies Plus. The staff at PSP has been instrumental in helping us get more than a dozen cats adopted over the past year. We really appreciate their teamwork and dedication.
The five key initiatives of the Million Cat Challenge are:
Alternatives to intake:
Provide positive alternatives to keep cats in the home or community when admission to a shelter is not the best choice.
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.
HSDC has instituted many of these initiatives already and the final step is to do more targeted TNR (trap-neuter-return) for community/working cats in our area. We have applied for grants and have the resources in place in the form of volunteer teams to help trap/return and vet staff to perform the procedures, but this need will extend far beyond the help that the grants can offer.
If you want to be part of the Million Cat Challenge, you can donate to our spay/neuter fund which will be used in part to help make this a success in our community. You can also help by recognizing that some cats just don't belong in a home and are better suited to being community/working cats. These cats will help control the stray population and also work to maintain the rodent population in rural areas. Stray, unowned cats are often brought to the shelter and the challenge is these kitties don't want to live indoors. By returning them to field after spay/neuter services, these cats can continue living the lifestyle they enjoy, without contributing to the overpopulation in an area.
We at HSDC strive to help all of the animals that we can, and by our community understanding and embracing these creative ideas, we can all work together to continue this help.