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Two Alberta shelters commit to life-saving measures for cats

June 29th, 2016

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) is pleased to announce that the Edmonton Humane Society and the Calgary Humane Society have been chosen as this year’s pilot sites for our national cat welfare program, Capacity for Care, which introduces life-changing and life-saving measures for cats.
“In collaboration with award-winning veterinary experts from the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program in California, CFHS is changing how Canadian shelters house and manage their cats to save thousands of feline lives,” says Barbara Cartwright, the CEO of CFHS. “All of our pilot sites have reported lower cat euthanasia rates and less sick bay time thanks to a few simple but critical changes that help cats to have happier, healthier lives in shelters before they go to their forever homes.”

Below are some of the inspiring results of putting Capacity for Care into practice in Canadian shelters:

  • The 3 organizations that have fully implemented Capacity for Care witnessed a remarkable decrease in the number of sick cats at their shelter – a 40-87% decrease depending on the shelter.
  • Length of stay at these shelters went down by 29% at PEI Humane Society and 51% at Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society.
  • Feline euthanasia decreased by 29% at Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society and 63% at Guelph Humane Society.

These glowing statistics demonstrate the great success of the Capacity for Care model in improving outcomes for cats in shelters. To learn more about what CFHS has achieved through Capacity for Care, read our most recent report here.
A big part of Capacity for Care is about increasing the housing space available to each cat in order to separate their eating and litter areas. This can be done by providing a two-cage space, rather than one, and installing portals that allow the cats to move between the two halves of their space. Other important recommendations are switching to scheduled intake hours, fast-tracking the adoption process to help more animals move through the shelter, holding adoption specials, creating special feral cat procedures and instituting changes to cleaning practices. Giving the cats some opportunity to hide when they are stressed is also helpful and can be achieved with a simple tool called “curtails” – privacy curtains to curtail cat stress.
“Calgary Humane Society is incredibly grateful to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies for the opportunity to participate in the Capacity for Care project with the veterinary team from UC Davis,” says Carrie Fritz, Executive Director of Calgary Humane Society.  “We have now completed our kick-off conference call and are all very excited to get to work on the Calgary project in the upcoming months. By incorporating new policies and procedures regarding animal intakes, lengths of stay, and foster parent requirements in combination with education to the public about our role in the community, I believe we can truly become a leader among animal welfare organizations that balances the needs of animals with the needs of the community as a whole.”

“The Edmonton Humane Society was the first shelter in Western Canada to commit to the Million Cat Challenge, and we have made operational changes that support Capacity for Care (C4C) as a way to effectively manage cat populations and enhance the lives of cats in our care,” says Miranda Jordan-Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Humane Society. “With the support of CFHS, we can draw on the knowledge of shelter medicine experts to identify further process improvements to ensure the success of our C4C program.”

Tags: edmonton, yeg

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