Capital Area Humane Society stripped away barriers to cat adoption and discovered great success

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Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

This is another good example of intelligent, enlightened thinking by shelter management to dramatically improve cat adoption rates. The new program is called “Revision” and entails a three-pronged approach…

Shelter program reduces euthanasia rates

The outcome? No cats at the Capital Area Humane Society have been euthanised since October 2014.

“The transformation is remarkable,” Executive Director Rachel Finney said.

For the period Sept 1st to April 30th, the kill rate is at 36% of the previous kill rate over the same period last year (down almost two-thirds).

Placement rates have dramatically climbed to 71% in April 2015.

People who bring healthy cats (domestic or strays) to the shelter more often go away with the cat they brought in, having adopted him/her.

The Society achieves this by introducing the following:

  • For stray cats brought in for a health check, once the ‘customer’ finds out the cat is healthy they can adopt him/her confident in the knowledge that they don’t have a surprise, large veterinary bill in the near future.
  • All cats brought to the shelter are (a) checked by a veterinary team (b) low cost vaccinations and spaying and neutering are offered (c) free supplies are offered (d) anything feasible is offered such as carpet stain removers and odour-neutralising sprays if it will convince the person to adopt the cat.
  • A dramatic cut in adoption fees from $45 to $10 for adult cats and from $70 to $25 for kittens.

This program has resulted in 355 cats destined to be relinquished at the shelter going home with the person who wanted to give him/her up. I find that very impressive.

The Society also uses a members only Facebook page via RescueNet to rehome cats who stay at the shelter.

All this has cost money: about $200k per annum. It seems that money well spent is the route to maximising adoption rates. Does that mean shelters have to raise more or go cap in hand to local government for grants?

Petsmart Charities have contributed and their grant helps to pay for spaying and neutering 7 days a week as opposed to 4 days previously. Feral cats trapped as part of a TNR program are spayed/neutered at no cost.

The Society is keen to reduce the number of feral cats in the area estimated to be at 400k.

Nathan Winograd, the guy who proposed genuine no-kill throughout the US would be proud of them and very happy.



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8 thoughts on “Capital Area Humane Society stripped away barriers to cat adoption and discovered great success”

  1. Once I went to the local Humane Society with a friend of mine who was turning in a litter of young ones. Oh, they gushed and cooed over the kittens, even gave all of them names before we left, but Brenda had an older cat she decided to turn in too (she was moving to a building that didn’t allow pets). I picked up on the tone in the shelter worker’s voice and figured out that according to their guidelines the older cat was less desirable and would most likely be euthanized that same day. When the worker strongly suggested that Brenda keep the cat I told my friend that I’d take her. There was nothing wrong with that animal. She was 8 years old.

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  2. Excellent article, but I can’t help but wonder how many senior cats were adopted during this program. Usually many misguided people consider those cats to be even more undesirable and disposable than cats of any other age.

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  3. We all know that the HSUS operates no shelters, although much of their publicity seeks to mis-inform, as I noticed in their most recent information, which I’ll post when I find it again.

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    • This is just one paragraph that shows “mis-information”:

      “What’s been the most wonderful to see is the change in the dogs’ disposition after arriving at “our shelter”. They’re active and they seem happy. Our goal is to make sure the dogs remain happy and active and that they never again know the cruel neglect we see so often when we rescue dogs from puppy mills….”

      There is no mention of any particular shelter, which leads readers to believe that it’s a HSUS shelter. I know they do a lot of good with lobbying, especially for farm animals, but they make a lot of money, and there’s been some negative publicity regarding their president, which I’m inclined to believe.

      They put a lot of money into TV ads of sad dogs and cats, which make people believe that they actually rescue them. Mostly, it’s volunteer rescue organizations that do the work, and HSUS gets the credit, and the money.

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  4. “For the period Sept 1st to April 30th, the kill rate is at 36% of the previous kill rate over the same period last year (down almost two-thirds),”
    I’m a little confused as to where this “Humane Society” may be, as it is impossible for any branch in the U.S. to admit to a kill rate at all. The HSUS boasts about being no-kill, as bogus as it might really be.

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  5. This is a wonderful story of how we can all save cats and us from the heartbreak & necessity of having to euthanize an unwanted pet or one that would have been adopted; if the new stewards could have afforded to do so.

    The bottom line with most cases is decided in the cost of veterinary services & adoption fee’s. Michael__Thank you for sharing this as an example.Eva_

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