Investigator(s): Jessica Vigos
Grant Amount: $10,000.00
Project Type: Phase 1
Project Status: Research Complete
This Whiskers study aimed to rescue and place 120 senior cats from three municipal shelters. The goal of the foster-based, Grey Whiskers Senior Cat Program is to develop key fosters, hospice fosters and adopters who are interested in saving senior cats ages seven and up. The study identified key target adopter pools, including senior citizens. The study took in 105 senior animals, 75 (71%) of which were adopted into loving homes, including those with kidney disease, stomatitis, chronic nasal issues or specific dietary needs. Due to untreatable conditions (e.g., heart failure, cancers), 14 (13%) were eventually euthanized. At the end of the study, 15 (14%) were still in Whiskers' care. The largest pool of adopters was in the age ranges of 30-45, attributed to the use of social media to network cats. Elderly adopters, ages 65+, accounted for 8% of adopters.
The objective of the project was: to quantify the reduction of euthanasia of senior cats.
During the study period from November 1, 2019 through October 6, 2020, 105 cats ages seven and up were taken into the program. Veterinary care was administered to the cats, as needed. Data (e.g., adopter age ranges, dentals, extensive medical, assistance and grouping of age ranges for the cats) was tracked via Shelter Manager.
Cat ages were categorized as "Spring Seniors" (ages 7-10), "Silver Seniors" (ages 11-14) and "Golden Seniors" (ages 15+). Cats were provided a loving foster home while Whiskers worked on finding them a dedicated home to live out their lives, while providing ongoing support for some who may have needed hospice or whose owners financially qualified.
One of the largest barriers to getting senior animals out of the shelter and into loving homes is the medical need associated with bringing them back to health. However, the study's success rate of placing senior cats into loving homes suggests there is a market for adopting them. The Grey Whiskers Senior Cat Program provides a model inclusive of veterinary care support, foster services and finding permanent homes. Associated financial costs may lead to needs for funding assistance to achieve long-term sustainability.