Capacity for Care (C4C)
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Capacity for Care (C4C) is the new best practice in North America helping shelters better meet the needs of animals. By creating conditions necessary to provide shelter animals with the five freedoms , we’re ensuring the humane and responsible treatment of every animal that comes through our doors.
C4C is changing the way we work and saving lives in the process. As one of the 2016 pilot sites for the program in Alberta, the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) has shown remarkable results. Our July live release rates for cats have already increased to an impressive 97% compared to last year’s 86%.
How did we do it? It’s simple! We achieved Capacity for Care by ensuring that we don’t have more animals than we can provide superior care for. If we go above our capacity to care, we are no longer treating our animals humanely. Overcrowding becomes an issue and with it some animals will inevitably get sick beyond the point of treatment. C4C decreases euthanasia rates, reduces disease levels and ultimately helps get shelter animals into their forever homes quicker.
We want the cats in our care to have the best possible life before they find new homes. For this reason, we have established an appointment booking process so that we do not overcrowd the shelter and can give each cat the care and attention it deserves. The number of animals we admit in a year is not impacted, but the number of animals we have in care at any one time will decrease. This allows us to ensure there only as many animals as staff are able to keep fed, clean, and provide medical care for – all while providing a stimulating environment with lots of enrichment.
At EHS, we believe in the importance of building a network of partners committed to advancing animal welfare. Together with the City of Edmonton’s Animal Care & Control Centre (ACCC), outlying municipalities and more than 50 rescue groups across the province, we are working to better serve the animals in our community. EHS also works closely with satellite adoption centres at PetSmart, Petland and Mr. Pet's to improve shelter capacity and raise the profile of shelter cats.
Organizations like EHS have been working to find long-term solutions to the problem of cat overpopulation. As a leader in animal welfare, we offer specialized programs like PALS (Prevent Another Litter Subsidy program), Trap-Neuter-Return and Kitten Co-op. Currently, EHS is fundraising to launch its first mobile unit designed to address cat overpopulation by expanding our reach for spay and neuter services, adoptions and humane education.
No physical holding facility will ever be enough to resolve the issue, but spay and neuter programs hold the key. In fact, they’re cited as essential when it comes to addressing the root of the problem – combined with adoption and humane education, the solution grows even stronger.
Outdoor Cats In Your Neighbourhood
If you see a healthy cat outdoors, we encourage you to leave it where it is. Many of these cats have either escaped their owner’s house or are owned outdoor cats that don’t need to come into a shelter. These cats are actually 10 times more likely to find their way back home than if they are brought to a facility (statistic re: Million Cat Challenge).
Tips for Cat Owners
Last year, EHS took in 1,681 stray cats and kittens, but only 76 were reunited with their original owners. That’s less than 5%.
If you are a cat owner, we encourage you to only bring your cat outdoors in an enclosed area or with the use of a leash or tie to help keep them safe and at home. Owners can be part of the solution by spaying or neutering, licensing, microchipping and providing ID for their cats.
Find a litter of kittens?
Listen and watch for 4-6 hours (at least 35 feet away) to see if mom returns. If the kittens remain quiet, that typically means mom is around caring for them and they should remain where they are. A mother cat offers her kittens the best chance for survival, and the best food for them is their mother’s milk. Remove the kittens only if they are in immediate, grave danger – find out how you can help with our Kitten Co-op or Foster programs.