September 01, 2013


 CATalyst program to connect pet adopters, veterinarians

The CATalyst Council announced July 18 that the Portland, Ore., metro area had been selected for the launch of an initiative to provide the animal shelter cat population with permanent homes and regular postadoption veterinary care.

The CATalyst Connection establishes a formal network between the Oregon Humane Society and veterinarians to ensure the continuation of veterinary care once a cat has been adopted. A major focus of the CATalyst Connection is establishing a relationship between pet adopters and veterinarians.

A key component of the new program is directly transferring health records from the OHS to the veterinarian chosen by the pet owner. The veterinarian will contact the pet owner to schedule a complimentary health check and examination, and will notify the OHS that a relationship has been established so that the OHS can track how many adopted pets receive their postadoption examination.

“The Oregon Humane Society is eager to collect this data,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon. “Portland area veterinarians have shown a real dedication to caring for newly adopted shelter pets to ensure that these animals get the care they need and deserve. We are committed to improving the lives of adopted cats, and we expect great things from this partnership.”

An American Humane Association study, “Keeping pets in homes: A three-phase retention study,” shows that more than one in 10 animals adopted from animal shelters are no longer in their homes six months later, according to the CATalyst Council. This could represent several hundred thousand animals each year that are either given away, are lost, die, or are abandoned to uncertain fates, according to the study.

The council noted that the same study also found about 93 percent of adopted cats and dogs stay with their new family if they visit a veterinarian within six months after adoption. It has been shown that adoption retention rates increase substantially when a pet adopter establishes and maintains a regular relationship with a veterinarian, the council added.

The ability of the OHS to either place shelter pets in new homes or reunite them with their owners is a primary reason why the Portland area was chosen as the pilot city for the CATalyst Connection.

“When it comes to saving lives of shelter pets, no city in the nation surpasses Portland,” said Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council. “In 2012, the save rate for OHS was 98 percent, meaning that 98 percent of the animals admitted to the OHS shelter were adopted, reunited with their owner, or transferred to another humane organization dedicated to finding homes for pets. This stellar record is a reflection of the Oregon Humane Society’s commitment to saving pets. Our hope is to be able to gather the data that will allow us to make the case to other communities that when shelters and veterinarians work together, everyone wins.”

More information on the Catalyst Connection can be found here.