#ShelterSunday: With Purrrsonality

Who are the cats who are saved by Million Cat Challenge shelters?

They are every cat – healthy or not, socialized or not, young or not – who finds a lifesaving, compassionate outcome because the shelter is using at least one of the five key initiatives of our #MonthlyMojo initiative for July, the Million Cat Challenge.

Historically Yolo County Animal Services in California, a public animal shelter, had a live cat release rate of only 30 percent, with an adoption rate of only 11 percent. As recently as late 2011, it was also a shelter that would never have offered a cat with FIV for adoption.

Now that live release rates are closer to 90 percent, the cats who come into Yolo have more time and options, even if they have complications like FIV that make adoption more challenging for them. That’s why Dominique, a stunningly beautiful, friendly cat with FIV, found her happy ending there.


Doing specialized outreach for FIV cats is one way to remove barriers to adoption. So the shelter staff went to work, sending out an appeal for an adopter for Dominique.

Although she was found on the streets, standing on a window sill surrounded by broken glass, it was clear Dominique was used to being a beloved pet. She was friendly from the get-go and, because she seemed lost, shelter staff scooped her up and brought her in to the shelter for safekeeping – a secure harbor they were able to offer her because of increased space and resources resulting from the changes that had been made at the shelter leading up to that day.

They described her personality – totally sweet – and her behavior – a cat who would purr and butt her head into anyone who petted her, and even would strike a pose when the camera came out! She loved to be groomed, even allowing the shelter staff to remove many serious matts without complaint. In fact, she’d just relax and close her eyes and purr in bliss when being stroked and brushed.

One of the most powerful of the Challenge’s five key initiatives is “removing barriers to adoption,” where shelters take a hard look at how they process, approve, and handle adoptions, and see if they can make the process more adopter-friendly so more pets can find loving homes.

In fact, says Dr. Cynthia Delaney, “Thanks to all of our programs following the Million Cat Challenge initiatives, not only did she find a home, but she did it with a length of stay of only nine days!” Dominique went home to be loved, petted, and adored, thanks to five new ways of doing things, the Million Cat Challenge, and an army of animal shelter workers and volunteers who knew things could be different for cats in their community.