Portland, OR Chosen as Launch City for Cat Health and Welfare Initiative
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Portland, OR Chosen as Launch City for Cat Health and Welfare Initiative
July 18, 2013

The CATalyst Council, a national organization dedicated to improving cat health and welfare, has selected the Portland Metro area for the launch of an initiative designed to provide the animal shelter cat population with forever homes and regular post-adoption veterinary care.

The new program, the CATalyst Connection, establishes a formal network between the Oregon Humane Society (OHS) and veterinarians that focuses on ensuring the continuation of veterinary care once a cat has been adopted and joins a new home. A major focus of the CATalyst Connection is helping establish a relationship between pet adopters and veterinarians.

A key component of the CATalyst Connection is the unique step of 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 exam, and will notify the OHS that a relationship has been established so that the OHS can track how many adopted pets receive their post-adoption exam.

“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.”

A national study shows that more than one in 10 animals adopted from animal shelters are no longer in their homes six months later. This could represent several hundred thousand animals each year that are either given away, are lost, die or are abandoned to uncertain fates.

The good news, according to the same study, is that about 93 percent of adopted pets stay with their new family if they visit a veterinarian within six months after adoption. It has been shown that adoption retention rates increase significantly when a pet adopter establishes and maintains a regular relationship with a veterinarian.

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.”

“This concerted effort will enhance cat health, reduce pet shelter populations and help fill gaps in data about how many cats actually go the veterinarian once they are adopted, and whether those visits lead to forever homes and forever health,” Oregon Humane’s Harmon said.

Brunt and Harmon will be hosting Portland area veterinarians during a reception July 31 announcing the CATalyst Connection program. The reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Oregon Humane Society’s facility at 1067 NE Columbia Blvd. in Portland. Both will be available for media interviews before and during the July 31 event.  More information on the Catalyst Connection can be found at www.catalystcouncil.org/connection


The Oregon Humane Society is the Northwest's oldest and largest humane society.  OHS is not affiliated with national humane groups (such as the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States), and relies on donations to support its adoption, education, and animal cruelty investigation programs.  Visit oregonehumane.org for more information.

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