Dr. Hurley and Dr. Levy Aim to Save One Million Cats
The Million Cat Challenge, founded by Dr. Kate Hurley and Dr. Julie Levy in 2014, is working to help animal shelters save the lives of a million cats within five years. It’s a private cause for veterinarians Dr. Kate Hurley and Dr. Julie Levy, as several million cats are euthanized annually.
The initiative is supported by the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. Dr. Hurley is the Director of the Shelter Medicine Program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Levy is Maddie’s Professor of Shelter Medicine at University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The Million Cat Challenge draws upon Dr. Levy’s and Dr. Hurley’s wide-ranging expertise handling and socializing with pets in shelters. To date, more than 250,000 cats are saved and 263 shelters in the United States and Canada have signed up to participate in the challenge.
“Through our work with shelters, we became aware of practical strategies that successfully help balance the number of cats entering shelters with the organization’s ability to treat them humanely and get them placed quickly,” Hurley said.
The Million Cat Challenge encompasses five initiatives:
- Alternatives to ingestion – Provide favorable choices to keep cats in a house or community when entry to shelter isn’t the best option.
- Managed entry – Schedule consumption of cats to fit the shelter’s skill to ensure humane care and safe motion through the shelter system to a suitable result for every cat.
- Capacity for attention – Match the variety of cats cared for at any one time with the capacity needed to ensure the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, which are freedom from hunger and thirst; independence from suffering; independence from pain, injury or ailment; liberty to express normal behaviour; and freedom from anxiety and misery.
- Removing obstacles to adoption – Expand the pool of adopters by removing impediments to adoption for example price, procedure or place.
- Return to field – Sterilize, vaccinate and return wholesome unowned shelter cats to the place of source as a substitute to euthanasia.
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