Thursday, May 23, 2013

Someone in here needs you!

Cats like Freckles (A118662) are waiting patiently
for a purrfect home here at the OHS.

It happens every year about this time:  the number of cats admitted increases dramatically.  In the first week of February this year, we took in an average of 17 cats a day.  In the past seven days, we took in an average of 28.  By June, we will see some days that 35 or 40 cats with nowhere else to go will come into the care of the Ottawa Humane Society. 

Even in our new shelter, our capacity for cats on a given day hovers around 400. (It depends on how many are single adults versus queens with kittens.)  If 35 to 40 cats a days are coming into our care, it is easy to imagine that even this very large facility can fill very quickly at this time of the year.

Over the past winter, we have done a lot of planning and preparing for this annual reality.  More space is not the answer, and our efforts in the community to stem the flow of newborns will only pay off over the long-term.  The key to being able to provide for so many cats is velocity or length of stay.  That is, if we can care for the cats for a shorter time, then our capacity to care for large numbers increases dramatically. 

With so many adoptable cats, cages are starting to fill up,
and we are now housing cats in the Greeting Rooms.
Imagine two scenarios:  Let's say those 17 cats that we cared for in one day in February were with us for 16 days - six days being a reasonable time to assess, vaccinate, sterilize and otherwise prepare the cats for adoption, and then ten days waiting to be adopted.  17 cats for 16 days is 272 care days.   But let's say we could shave two days off the time it took us to prepare those 17 cats for adoption, and four days off the time it took them to be adopted.  Those same cats would only require 170 care days—over a hundred or a whopping 38 percent fewer care days required!

Armed with this knowledge, we began to develop systems that would identify bottlenecks in our systems that added to care days, dramatically increased our number of pet adoption locations in the community, and increased resources in our foster program, all with the aim of reducing the number of days that a cat needs to be in our facility.

Of course all this only works if our community chooses to find their best new feline friend at the Ottawa Humane Society. So we need your help:  Choose the OHS for your next adoption.  Get the word out to your friends and family, your co-workers and contacts that the OHS is the place to complete their family with a pet. 

Someone in here needs you.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director

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