Each year, millions of cats lose their lives in animal shelters. An enormous amount of time and money is invested in the capture, holding, and euthanasia of these animals, and the emotional toll exacted by their death is incalculable.
We now know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Shelters are implementing programs dramatically more humane and effective for cats and communities alike. It’s time to make these programs available to every shelter, in every community, across North America.
What We Are Doing
The Million Cat Challenge is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of one million cats in North America over the course of 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, increase live outcomes, and assure humane care for every cat in the shelter.
The Million Cat Challenge is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of one million cats in North America over five years.
For well over a century, the influx of cats to North American shelters has greatly exceeded collective capacity to provide humane care and find adoptive homes. Although spay/neuter and other public education initiatives have dramatically reduced euthanasia across the continent, achieving a precise balance between intake, capacity for humane care, and positive outcomes remains elusive for many shelters.
Hundreds of thousands of cats still lose their lives to shelter euthanasia annually. In addition to the loss of cat lives, this continued euthanasia imposes great pain and cost to shelter workers, volunteers and society at large.
Bridging the Lifesaving Gap – Together!
The Million Cat Challenge was born out of both deep optimism and a profound sense of urgency, feelings we believe are shared by stakeholders throughout the shelter system. The long-held assumption that cats and communities are best served by unchecked admission of cats, without regard to capacity for care or assurance of appropriate outcomes, is crumbling in light of new research, a new understanding of existing research, and, most importantly, programs demonstrating success in the field.
With this new understanding, the range of positive outcomes has expanded to include outreach to a wider pool of potential adopters as well as spay/neuter and return-to-origin for healthy un-owned cats.
The Million Cat Challenge encompasses five initiatives to balance intake, humane capacity within the shelter, and live outcomes. In addition to providing information around these key initiatives, the Million Cat Challenge will serve as a central location to gather resources generated by partners and participants, document challenges, share success stories, and celebrate our collective progress toward the Million Cat goal.
Sweeping change for cats in North American shelters is within our reach.
Sweeping change for cats in North American shelters is within our reach. It is already underway or accomplished at some shelters, while countless others are eager but need additional support or guidance to move forward.