That concept seems counter-intuitive to a lot of people, but even those who understand that "less is more” when it comes to moving cats out into new homes struggle to understand the math.
How can you calculate the number of cats your organization can humanely care for? Will lowering that number really decrease incidence of stress and illness? How much square footage do cats need? And how do you deal with community members, volunteers and staff who are sure that bringing the number of cats on hand down at any particular time will mean saving fewer of them over the course of a year, rather than more?
Those were the struggles that faced Ollie Davidson, Director of Programs at Tree House Animal Shelter in Chicago, as well as Kathleen Olson, Executive Director of the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County in Washington State, which serves seven jurisdictions as an open admission shelter and has an annual intake of over 12,000 animals. How did they navigate them? And did they, in fact, end up saving more cats?
Tree House had its "aha moment” in 2004, when they had 350 cats in their shelter and did around 300 adoptions a year. In 2014, having lowered their capacity to 150 cats, they did 1,400 adoptions, and were able to triple intake.
The Tacoma shelter saw intake rise in the first year they implemented capacity for care-related changes, but they had more adoptions and less respiratory infections in their cats, and for the first time in their history did not pull any cats for space.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at 9 PM Eastern Time, Ollie and Kathleen will join Maddie's Institute® for Capacity for Care: When Less Adds up to a Whole Lot More for Shelter Cats, a free webcast that will last around 20 minutes, with 40-45 minutes devoted to answering your questions.
This webcast is the fourth in a five-part series on the key initiatives of the Million Cat Challenge. Attendees will learn:
- Immediate changes that can make an immediate difference.
- How to make modifications to cat housing.
- How capacity for care principles can provide better outcomes for community cats.
- How housing cats in roomier environments means more adoptions, and more adoptions mean more strays can be brought in each year.
Register for the free webcast here!