Final report shows nationwide success in saving the lives of cats

JULY 25, 2018 – Guelph – Guelph Humane Society is thrilled to announce the release of Humane Canada’s final report on a nationwide pilot program to save the lives of shelter cats, which reveals tremendous success in achieving better welfare and outcomes at our shelter and five others across Canada.

“The implementation of the Capacity for Care Program at the Guelph Humane Society has been instrumental in helping us continue to elevate the care of cats within our shelter and within our community,” says Lisa Veit, Associate Director of the Guelph Humane Society. “We’ve seen a significant decrease in the amount of stressed, sick, or nervous cats in our care, which enables us to adopt them out more quickly to their future families.”

Humane Canada brought the Capacity for Care Pilot Program to six Canadian animal shelters, including Guelph Humane Society, launching the pilot in 2014 and wrapping it up at the end of 2017. This report outlines the results from all six shelters, demonstrating the program’s success in lowering euthanasia and reducing stress-related illness for cats.

“We are very proud to have brought this innovative pilot program to Canada,” says Derek deLouche, Acting CEO of Humane Canada. “As you can see from the numbers, this program works – and we aim to bring it to many more shelters across Canada.”

Capacity for Care was developed by the team at the University of California Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, based on a concept outlined in the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. The Canadian pilot was spearheaded by Humane Canada and funded by the Summerlee Foundation.

“Canadian shelters have led the way on this initiative, and they have proven its value in saving the lives of cats and improving their overall welfare,” says Dr. Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM, the Program Director of the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. “We’re very impressed by the results we’re seeing in Canada – both for the cats and the humans who work with them.”

These case studies describe the overall experience of each shelter as they changed their operational procedures for sheltering cats, and the remarkable benefits this brought to their organizations.

As a next step, Humane Canada and the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program team have just piloted an online version of this pilot program, called the Capacity for Care Online Boot Camp. To date, three new Canadian shelters have completed the program, and the outcomes look promising.


Capacity for Care (C4C) is a management model that helps shelters better meet the needs of the animals in their facilities. It creates the conditions necessary to provide shelter animals with five essential freedoms, thereby improving the welfare of individual animals. The “Five Freedoms”, as they are known, are freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from fear and distress, freedom from pain, injury or disease and freedom to express normal behaviour. A fundamental premise of C4C is improving the flow of cats through the shelter in order to reduce their length of stay and get them more quickly into adoptive homes or other locations where their needs may be better met than in the shelter.

Download a free copy of the final report here:


The Guelph Humane Society advocates for all animals, and in particular those animals whose lives we can influence, through care, education, community support, protection, and leadership. Founded in 1893, the Guelph Humane Society provides care and shelter for approximately 3,000 homeless, stray, injured and abused animals each year. GHS is a registered charitable, non-profit organization that does not receive government funding.

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Humane Canada convenes Canada’s largest animal welfare community, representing humane societies and SPCAs from coast to coast. As the nation’s voice for animal welfare, we drive positive, progressive change to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.


The UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program is a privately-funded program that aims to advance shelter medicine as a veterinary specialty through research, specialty training and education, and performance of veterinary service in animal shelters, and to improve the quality of life of animals in shelters through improvements in veterinary preventive medicine and management of disease.



For media interviews or further information, contact:

Luna Allison
Communications and Marketing Manager
Humane Canada
(Canadian Federation of Humane Societies)
613-224-8072 ext. 12


Lisa Veit
Associate Director
Guelph Humane Society