SPCA Takes Part in Maddie’s Fund We Foster Challenge
By Melanie Rushforth, Vice President of Veterinary Services
The SPCA Serving Erie County has been awarded funding for demonstrating success through the Maddie’s Fund We Foster Challenge! The SPCA Serving Erie County has not been awarded funding from Maddie’s Fund since 2019, so this is extra exciting for us.
The We Foster Challenge was designed to help shelter and rescue organizations create or expand community-based foster programs that inspire community members to get involved by proudly saying, “We foster! So can you!” As we shift towards a more community-centric model of animal welfare, it’s important to get everyone in the Western NY area involved. After all, fostering is a job just about anyone can do. Pet owners know the incredible bond that humans and animals have and the importance of keeping families together. Foster care is a powerful way to achieve that. That’s what the We Foster Challenge was all about. The process from start to finish involved an initial pitch of an innovative idea; selection to move onto the working portion of the challenge; reporting out on the results of the challenge; waiting while the experts at Maddie’s Fund evaluate our outcomes…and AWARD!
Throughout the month of May, the SPCA Serving Erie County highlighted Shadow Cats as our We Foster Challenge project. Shadow Cats is an ongoing internal initiative which works to meet shy or fearful cats where they are behaviorally to assist them in navigating the journey to becoming adoptable pets living out the rest of their lives in long-term homes. We are seeing a positive response regarding the acceptance of these shy cats just the way they are, so we expanded the adoption opportunities and housing of these cats to colony settings within the SPCA’s physical shelter as well. If you come to the SPCA, you’ll notice that one of our beautiful colony rooms is dedicated to a group of gorgeous Shadow Cats. While some Shadow Cats need to get out of the shelter to showcase their personalities, some are best kept with their buddies in the colony rooms that we have in our modern shelter. We let the cats help us understand what they need.
Shadow Cats are the best friend you don’t yet have. They are quiet, stealth, and maybe just need a little extra time to acclimate into your home before they settle into being a lap cat. Or perhaps they’ll remain the quiet and polite roommate that is grateful for your companionship and company…. from a distance. Shadow Cats offer the benefit of companionship without the burden of constant attention. They’re great pets for individuals that work from home, or individuals who might work nontraditional shifts. They’d be great roommates in apartments (they don’t need too much space!)
Pets are like people in so many ways, so why wouldn’t some of them be a little shyer than others?
This exciting Challenge was funded by Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Maddie’s Fund® and Cuddly in collaboration with Adopt-A-Pet.com, Adoptimize, American Pets Alive!, ASPCA, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, Best Friends Animal Society, Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE), Community Cats Podcast, Greater Good Charities, HeARTS Speak, Humane Society of the United States, National Animal Care and Control Association, Petco Love, and PetSmart Charities. We are so grateful for the recognition of our part in this important shift in the work of animal welfare. This funding will allow the SPCA to continue to support animals needing a soft place to land outside of the shelter walls, and the supplies required of their loving foster families.
Want to get involved with fostering (or even adopting) your own Shadow Cat? Please contact the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Foster Care Department via email at FosterCare@YourSPCA.org or visit their page!