Back in 2014, it seemed like a particularly bold goal: To save the lives of 1 million North American shelter cats within five years. But today, the Million Cat Challenge is three-quarters of the way there.
That’s right; the Challenge has brought together more than 1,100 animal shelters to save 750,000 cats already – which means they’re on track to blow that bold early goal away.
“Shelters across North America have truly risen to the challenge,” said Challenge co-founder Dr. Kate Hurley of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. “They’ve proven that the creativity and determination to save a million more lives is right here in our midst – from the southern tip of Florida to the northern reaches of Canada. They’ve made it work in shelters of every imaginable shape and size.”
Maddie’s Fund®, a family foundation headquartered in California, made the Challenge possible with their generous financial support.
“We are delighted at the progress the Million Cat Challenge is making,” said Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team. “Hitting this milestone this quickly is a clear signal that a lifesaving mind shift has occurred within not only the animal welfare field, but also with the North American public.”
The Million Cat Challenge is based on five key initiatives that help shelters of every size and in every community reduce the number of cats who enter shelters and increase the number who find lifesaving outcomes. Since its inception, the Challenge has evolved from a vision for North America’s cats to become an established program endorsed by nearly all major animal welfare organizations in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to Maddie’s Fund, those include the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, Best Friends Animal Society, the National Animal Care and Control Association, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the Petco Foundation, PetSmart Charities, Alley Cat Allies, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, and the Winn Feline Health Foundation.
In celebration of 750,000 feline lives saved, participating shelters, supporters, and animal lovers everywhere are invited to join the Challenge on our Facebook page on Wednesday, March 15, at 3 PM Eastern Time, where we’ll celebrate the shelters who have worked so hard to make this lifesaving milestone happen.
“This is one of those moments in animal welfare when things change completely,” said the Challenge’s other co-founder, Dr. Julie Levy of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. “Now that we all know this can be done, there’s no turning back. Saving cats’ lives is here to stay.”