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Half a Million Shelter Cats Saved So Far in Million Cat Challenge

Half a Million Shelter Cats Saved So Far in Million Cat Challenge

Alachua County Humane Society teamed up with North American shelters and saved 500,000 cats

million cat challenge logoSaving the lives of 1 million cats in North American animal shelters over five years may be an audacious goal, but the Million Cat Challenge is halfway there, thanks to the Alachua County Humane Society and shelters across North America.

alachua county humane society logoFounded in 2014 by Dr. Kate Hurley of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and Dr. Julie Levy of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, the Million Cat Challenge will hold an Internet celebration on Monday, April 11, 2016, to celebrate reaching its 500,000 milestone with the nearly 400 shelters across North America who are taking part with the nearly 400 shelters that are taking part, including the Alachua County Humane Society.

“From the far north of Alaska to the southernmost cities on the east coast of the United States, this is a social movement we’ve been waiting a long time to see,” said Levy.  “The Million Cat Challenge is a map for change.”

A total of 51 participating Florida animal shelters have saved 107,241 more cats in the first 2 years of the Challenge than they saved in the baseline year of 2012 and are pledging to save another 80,728 cats in 2016.

“We are so pleased to be part of this life-saving effort and are proud to work alongside all of Alachua County’s animal rescue partners to help save thousands of cats across North Central Florida,” said the Alachua County Humane Society’s executive director, Heather Thomas.

Shelters expanding the challenge to include every cat-lover in the community has gotten the Challenge to the half-million milestone more quickly than anyone predicted.  “We’ve learned to design better facilities, optimize operations, and market adoptable pets and services more creatively,” said Hurley. “Most importantly, we’ve found new ways to engage the community as our partner in lifesaving.”

Hurley and Levy, both pioneers in the study and practice of shelter medicine, knew that shelters were ready for change. Still, even they were staggered by the groundswell of support that quickly surrounded the Challenge.

In celebration of 500,000 feline lives saved, participating shelters, supporters, and animal lovers everywhere are invited to join the Challenge on its Facebook page at on Monday, April 11,  at 3 PM Eastern Time. Confetti, a celebratory video, and kittens galore will be part of the festivities as supporters gather to watch the Million Cat counter roll over.

“We’ve reached a tipping point; nobody wants to turn back now,” said Hurley.  “Shelters now have strategies that are more humane, more effective, and better serve cats and communities. These strategies really work, and on April 11, we’ll have 500,000 witnesses to prove it.”

About the Million Cat Challenge

The Million Cat Challenge is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of one million cats in North America over the next five years. The core strategy of the campaign will focus on five key initiatives that offer every shelter, in every community, practical choices to reduce euthanasia and increase live outcomes for shelter cats. Drs. Levy and Hurley are available for interviews. For more information, visit

 About the Alachua County Humane Society

The Alachua County Humane Society is a limited intake, no-kill animal rescue shelter. ACHS has been dedicated to helping healthy and treatable dogs and cats in Alachua County, Florida for more than 40 years. Our goal is to become a community where not healthy or treatable animal is euthanized due to lack of space.

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