Shelter medicine experts Drs. Julie Levy and Kate Hurley created the Million Cat Challenge to support and celebrate lifesaving innovations across North America. Since its inception in 2014, the program has helped save more than 830,000 cats.
In an effort to maximize the impact of the amazing Million Cat Challenge, the ASPCA joined forces with Maddie’s Fund, the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida.
We believe Million Cat Challengers are capable of actually far exceeding one million—the original goal set by the Challenge—and further advancing the sheltering field.
The Challenge centers around five key initiatives. Individually, each has powerful lifesaving potential. Collectively, they can change the way shelters approach obstacles to ending the unnecessary euthanasia of hundreds of thousands of cats each year.
The initiatives 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.
- Managed Admission. Schedule intake of cats to match a 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 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 unowned shelter cats to the location of origin as an alternative to euthanasia.
These initiatives are as straightforward as they are impactful. If not always simple to implement, they represent options that give every shelter in every community the opportunity to succeed