Cats Count In Canada

by Humane Canada
Cats Count In Canada

On April 16 Humane Canada brought together Canadian Stakeholder Workshop on Developing Collaborative Relationships for Healthy, Safe, and Wanted Cats in our Communities to develop a framework that supports the advancement of collaborative cat welfare programming in Canada.

Following from our earlier initiatives, including the bench setting survey in 2013 and follow up in 2018 on cat population and welfare, we know that there are multiple stakeholders in communities across Canada committed to quality of life for all cats. This workshop was put together to advance cat welfare by uncovering how collaboration among diverse stakeholders can have a positive impact on cats’ lives.

33 participants attended included people from humane societies and SPCAs, cat rescues and sanctuaries, Trap Neuter Release and Spay/Neuter programs, veterinarians, municipal councilors and municipal managers overseeing animal control, and other community partners who are active on cat issues including funding partners.

Participants were identified as individuals committed to collaboration and/or who have experience with collaborative relationships to advance cat welfare and who wanted to listen and share, from first-hand experience, the strategies and tools that are proving effective in addressing cat issues in their communities from across the country.

Humane Canada will be working with the members of it’s Cat Overpopulation Task Force to take the results from this meeting and develop a plan for moving forward.  

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Humane Canada has just released its annual Canadian animal shelter statistics report, which measures outcomes at Canada’s humane societies and SPCAs and provides a national picture of shelter animal welfare.

We’re pleased to report that, in 2017, we saw more of the shelter cat population adopted and fewer shelter cats euthanized than ever before.

For six years now, we’ve been seeing a steady improvement in outcomes for cats, and we are thrilled that more cats than ever are finding homes across Canada. Thanks to the committed, ongoing work of humane societies and SPCAs, we’re seeing public attitudes shift, spay/neuter rates go up and more cats with permanent ID, like tattoos and microchips – which help pets to find their way home if they ever get lost or separated from their owner.


  • The proportion of shelter cats being adopted in Canada continues to increase, and is currently at the highest rate ever seen.
  • There has been a corresponding decline in shelter cats being euthanized.
  • The number of animals taken in to humane society and SPCA shelters is trending downward, and the average amount of space being used at these shelters is almost half of what it was in 2015 – meaning that overcrowding is on the decline.
  • Similar to recent years, more than twice as many cats entered shelters as dogs in 2017.
  • Only 12% of stray cats were reclaimed by their families in 2017, compared to 72% of stray dogs.

“Canadians love cats – they are still this country’s most popular pet,” says Dr. Toolika Rastogi, Policy and Research Manager for Humane Canada and the author of this report. “But, despite the affection we feel for them, historically cats have received much less care and concern than dogs. If we are to going to reverse this legacy of negative outcomes for cats, we must take their needs as seriously as dogs.”


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

For decades now, cats have been Canada's favourite companion animal, and is there any wonder why? They capture our hearts with their love, devotion and strong personalities.

At Humane Canada, we're committed to ensuring that cats have a good quality of life and the best possible chance at a happy ending, whether that's by promoting cat adoption, helping to shift public attitudes about our feline friends, creating original Canadian research about the state of cat welfare or implementing innovative shelter management programs like Capacity for Care that are responsible for saving the lives of thousands of cats across Canada.

Today, we wanted to share some great news about feline health and welfare in Canada: our recently released national report on our Capacity for Care pilot program shows how many happy endings are possible when we shift how we care for shelter cats:

  • The average reduction in euthanasia at our 6 pilot shelters was 34%. It was reduced by as much as 55% at Edmonton Humane Society and by 63% at Guelph Humane Society.
  • Length of stay decreased by an average of 20% at the six shelters.
  • The average decrease in the number of sick cats was 48%, and the range was 30% to 87%, depending on the shelter.

Support our cat welfare work by donating today and help us help Canada's cats get the happy endings that they so richly deserve.

As the national organization representing Humane Societies and SPCAs in Canada, Humane Canada is the go-to national voice on animal welfare issues for industry, media, government, non-governmental organizations and the public. But our important work is not possible without your donations!


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

“It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done here! It had the biggest impact we have seen in such a short time with the best results. We definitely didn’t expect to see results as soon as we did. We expected to see some changes over a 2-year period, not within months.”

“Internally, the staff have never been happier. They enjoy what they do because many of the stresses, such as overpopulation, no longer exist in the shelter.”

“Staff turnover is down. Staff members are much less stressed, as they have the time and are able to provide cats with the care needed. The best part is being able to see the team members enjoy their jobs again.”

Your support helped fund an innovative on line boot camp during the first quarter of 2018 which allowed us to ramp up the great work of our Capacity for Care program and make it accessible to as many shelters as possible.  We recruited 4 organizations to take part in an online training program we called a Boot Camp.  Each of these organizations made the commitment to change their shelter management system to provide improvements for cats and to make sure each animal’s needs are best met. 

We’ll be releasing the results of this on line boot camp soon on. Stay tuned!

If successful, this approach will be a key part of the plan to take Capacity for Care across Canada allowing us to help even more homeless cats have a good outcome!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Thank you for saving my life!
Thank you for saving my life!

Thank you for investing in improving the welfare of cats across Canada.

We wanted to provide you with an exciting update to the work that is being funded through donations to this project.

To recap, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies introduced Capacity for Care in 2014 to our member shelters in Canada. This innovative program is a new way of managing a cat’s journey through the shelter system, providing improvements to meet their needs at the shelter and managing their length of stay.

Our first three test sites showed a remarkable decrease in the number of sick cats at the shelter, a decrease in length of stay and a decrease in euthanasia rates.

We’ll be releasing the results of the next three pilot sites in April. Stay tuned! We are seeing the same great results for cats in those communities, based on the reports we’ve received. 

One thing we are hearing that was a bit of a surprise is that the positive results for shelter cats achieved through Capacity for Care are also having a positive impact on the humans who work so hard to care for these cats and find loving homes for them! Traditionally, shelter staff have high burnout rates, and sometimes feel overwhelmed, reporting they just can’t keep up with the influx of cats into their shelters. They are heartbroken seeing otherwise healthy cats languish in the shelter for long periods and become sick. Being able to change the outcomes for these animals has staff reporting that they are happier, resulting in better staff retention rates. 

So now we want to ramp up this great work and make it accessible to as many shelters as possible.  We’ve recruited 4 organizations to take part in an online training program we’re calling a Boot Camp.  Each of these organizations has made the commitment to change their shelter management system to provide improvements for cats and to make sure each animal’s needs are best met. 

And the work starts this week with the first video conference call!  During the next six weeks they’ll take part in a training course that will allow them to improve their shelter operations. If successful, this approach will be a key part of the plan to take Capacity for Care across Canada allowing us to help even more homeless cats have a good outcome!

Your support is making this Capacity for Care Bootcamp possible. Please share our project with your family and friends to help us reach our goal to fully support this program.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Humane Canada

Location: Ottawa, ON - Canada
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @humanecanada
Project Leader:
Barbara Cartwright
Ottawa, ON Canada

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Humane Canada that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.