Pets deserve a happy, healthy home

A city can’t be pet-friendly if its shelters are overflowing with homeless dogs and cats. Instead, in pet-friendly cities, lost pets are reunited with their families, homeless pets are adopted quickly, and the vast majority of pets live happy, healthy lives in loving homes.

Getting there takes collaboration across shelters, rescues, animal welfare, government and other organizations. Education about responsible pet ownership is important. And, cities prioritize making shelters warm and welcoming, and humanely addressing pet overpopulation.

Homeless pets need help

Why do millions of pets end up homeless each year? It’s often nothing to do with them, but rather a life change for their owner. Here’s a quick look at seven key reasons for pet homelessness, plus tips on how you can help homeless pets in your community.

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Collaboration is Saving Hundreds of Homeless Pets in Nashville; Here’s How Your Community Can Do It Too

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Shelters: Traits 1, 2 and 3


Partners collaborate to end pet homelessness

Experts estimate that over 6,000,000 pets end up in animal shelters each year across the U.S. Around the world, the number of homeless pets is staggering. Beyond how sad this is for the pets, it also means millions of families have lost their pet, been forced to give them up, or have never known the joy of life with a cat or dog. In pet-friendly cities, non-profit shelters and rescues, Spay/Neuter and foster programs, government officials and animal control all work together to ensure there are fewer pets in shelters and more pets in loving homes. All of these groups have different funding, objectives and priorities. By building a coalition, cities can identify gaps and areas of overlap, to make the most of the resources available.

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Community cat programs humanely address overpopulation

There are tens of millions of free-roaming, community cats across the U.S., and many more around the world. Since female cats can have multiple litters of kittens a year, their offspring multiply exponentially. It used to be common practice for communities to catch and euthanize community cats. But that’s not humane, doesn’t stop overpopulation, and isn’t cost effective. Trying to get the cats into shelters and adopted doesn’t work either. There are too many of them, and many prefer the life they have. They may be feral, and they likely have a cat colony “family.” In pet-friendly cities, Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs help community cats live out their lives in their colony, but not breed more unwanted cats. The cats are humanely trapped, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and returned to their home location. Studies have shown the cats stay healthier thanks to vaccination. Plus, mating behaviors like roaming, spraying and fighting stop once a cat has been sterilized.

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Shelters are warm and welcoming to encourage adoption

A shelter can be a scary place for a pet. He or she is caged, might be sleeping on a cold floor, and is surrounded by other equally scared animals. If there isn’t space to run around and play, the animals can be even more restless and stressed. This means that when a family comes looking for a cat or dog, the pets may not show their true personalities. They may cower, be antisocial, or even react with a hiss or a bark. In pet-friendly cities, shelters are warm, welcoming places where pets can be more relaxed and, therefore, more adoptable. Plus, when shelters are happy places, people are more likely to visit and potentially take home a pet. There’s nothing better than a fun, friendly place that celebrates pets and the people who adopt them.

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We’re happy to stay in touch to help as you make your city as pet-friendly as possible.

Thank you!

With the Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities, you’re on your way to a happier, healthier place for people and pets alike.