Community Cats, Part One

June 2013 by Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM

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

Video Length: 98 minutes

Are common cat sheltering and animal control policies helping cats? Are they humane? Effective? Not according to Dr. Kate Hurley, Director of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. It's time, she says, for shelters to consider radical solutions to the suffering, stress, illness and death that are the fate of so many cats in our nation's animal shelters, including an array of positive alternative approaches such as TNR or not taking them in at all if we can't offer a lifesaving outcome.

Please join us as Maddie's InstitueSM presents the first of a two-part series, Making the Case for a Paradigm Shift in Community Cat Management, Part One. In Part Two, an expert panel conducts a Q&A discussion on the information in Dr. Hurley's webcast, answering questions submitted in advance as well as live questions from the audience. See Part Two in the related links.

In this webcast, Dr. Hurley will examine assumptions underlying traditional sheltering practices and compare them to the most recent evidence-based information regarding the health and behavior impacts of stress on sheltered cats and the statistical likelihood of a live outcome for an unsocialized cat taken into a shelter. The webcast can be viewed via computer or mobile device.

Information presented will include:

  • Common assumptions on which sheltering programs for cats are based.
  • Evidence and data analysis: Are common sheltering policies about unsocial/unowned cats evidence-based?
  • Do our current methods of running TNR programs really make a difference to the overall problem of community/feral cats coming into shelters and subsequently being euthanized there?
  • As our shelter system moves to a model of capacity planning for humane care and adoption, where do community cats fit into the flow?
  • What lifesaving alternatives really work, and how do we implement them?
  • When is it appropriate to just not take cats into our shelters at all?

Making the Case for a Paradigm Shift in Community Cat Management, Part One is part of an ongoing series of educational programs from Maddie's Institute, the academic division of Maddie's Fund, providing the most innovative animal welfare information to shelter staff, veterinarians, rescue groups and community members to increase the lifesaving of homeless dogs and cats community-wide.

This course has been pre-approved for Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits.

After viewing the presentation, click here to take the quiz and receive a Certificate of Attendance!

Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM

Dr. Hurley has been working in shelters since 1989. She has worked in almost every capacity of sheltering including: adoption counselor, kennel attendant and California state humane officer. After graduation from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, Dr. Hurley worked as a shelter veterinarian in California and Wisconsin. In 2001 she returned to Davis for further training as the world's first resident in Shelter Medicine. During her residency, Dr. Hurley completed her Masters of Preventative Veterinary Medicine (MPVM) with an emphasis in Epidemiology.

Since completing the shelter medicine residency and undertaking the direction of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program, Dr. Hurley has become a recognized leader in the field of shelter medicine. She has worked extensively with shelters of every size and management type, and has consulted with shelters from all regions of the United States on subjects ranging from control of a specific outbreak to shelter health care programs and facility design. She assisted in developing guidelines for shelter animal vaccination in conjunction with the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association, co-edited the textbook Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters (Wiley-Blackwell 2009) and served as a co-author for the Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters.

Dr. Hurley regularly speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to shelter animal health. She was awarded Shelter Veterinarian of the Year in 2006 by the American Humane Association. Hurley loves shelter medicine because it has the potential to improve the lives of so many animals and make life better for the dedicated shelter workers who care for all those homeless pets. Her interests include population health, infectious disease epidemiology and unusually short dogs.

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