Capacity for Care

Capacity for Care - Learning Track

How many pets can your shelter house while still providing them with appropriate care, veterinary attention, space, stress relief and attention? The answer to that question is your organization’s "capacity for humane care,” a number that will vary depending on the shelter’s resources. The Million Cat Challenge website has a number of tools that will help shelters determine what that number is, and demonstrate how having fewer animals at any given time can actually help you save more animals over the course of a year.

While that’s counter-intuitive for many people, it’s a formula that can not only prevent and relieve animal suffering but save the lives of both cats and dogs. These resources can show you how to calculate just what your shelter’s capacity for care is, give you tips on how to make basic changes immediately, and plan for more extensive ones down the road. Either way, you can start saving more animals today!

Check out the following content brought to you by Maddie's Institute® and experts in this field. 

Audience(s): Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team 

Webcast: Capacity for Care - When Less Adds Up to a Whole Lot More for Shelter Cats

Ollie Davidson and Kathleen Olson
April 2014

Match the number of cats cared for at any one time with the capacity required to assure the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare for all cats in the shelter.
Go to the Webcast

Conference Presentation: Cats and Capacity for Care, Part 1 and Part 2

Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM
May 2014

Dr. Kate Hurley will discuss the elements of Capacity for Care in the context of the Five Freedoms and the ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters; describe in detail the steps for calculating required physical and staff capacity for care; and provide a variety of practical, real-life strategies to make sure there is a good match between the actual daily population and the required Capacity for Care.
Go to Part 1 of the Presentation

Go to Part 2 of the Presentation

Video Interview: Know Your Capacity for Humane Care

Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, DACVIM and Jan Scarlett, DVM, MPH, PhD
May 2010

It's tempting to admit more animals than shelters can reasonably care for. After all, there are so many animals in the community that need help. Yet most shelters face limitations of space, staffing and financial resources. To help you face this challenge, our experts share methods for creating faster flow-through in the shelter - and ultimately save more lives.
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Webcast: Calculating Your Humane Capacity

Sandra Newbury, DVM, UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and ASPCAPro
November 2013

Every organization has a capacity for care that, when exceeded, results in over-crowding, sickness, and suffering for animals. But how do you know what that capacity is? In this 90-minute webinar, Dr. Sandra Newbury guides you through understanding housing and care issues to determine your shelter’s capacity for humane care, and how to stay within it.
Go to the Webcast

Read Using the Adoption Calculator
View the Adoption Capacity Calculator

Article: What's Your Magic Number?

Humane Society of the United States, Animal Sheltering Magazine
May/June 2015

Learn all about capacity for care in this article which shares success stories, key principles and ways to get started now!
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Tool: Handy Dandy Group Housing Calculator for Cats

UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
How much space do cats need in shelters? Don’t guess – use this handy UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program calculator and find out!
Go to the Group Housing Calculator

Fast Tracking/Length of Stay

Article: Life in the Fast Lane

Humane Society of the United States, Animal Sheltering magazine
November/December 2012

Long shelter stays are very stressful for dogs and cats. The longer they’re there, the more likely they’ll contract a disease, or develop stress-related health or behavior conditions that will make it harder for them to get adopted – a vicious cycle. But some special pets do need a little more time. How can we balance the flow of animals from the front door to their new homes so the pets who need extra time get it, and those who don’t are sent happily on their way as soon as possible? Dr. Sandra Newbury and Dr. Kate Hurley present "fast tracking” as a solution.
Go to the Webpage

Download the Article

Housing/Portals

Webpage: Facility Design and Animal Housing

UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
If you’re planning on building a new shelter or renovating an existing facility, this overview from the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program is essential reading.
Go to the Webpage

How-To: Cat Cage Modifications Making Double Compartment Cat Cages using a PVC Portal

UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
Fast, easy, and inexpensive portals can make housing easier to clean and far less stressful for cats in shelters!
Go to the How-To-Guide