OKKitty: Feline Matchmaking Program Goes International
The Delta Community Animal Shelter in Delta, British Columbia, has brought a program from "south of the border" to help cats find their perfect homes.
Meet Your Match was introduced by the US-based ASPCA and is currently being used by many shelters in the US. The Delta shelter is the first in the Vancouver area's Lower Mainland to adopt the program.
Through Meet Your Match, shelter employees spend the first three days after a cat's arrival at the shelter assessing its behavior and temperament in order to match it with a potential adopter's preferences.
Shelter manager Sarah Lowe explained that the temperament exam tests cats to see how they react to certain situations to determine their level of interest in play, exploring, "talking," and being the center of attention.
When people visit the shelter looking for a cat to adopt, they're asked to fill out a one-page questionnaire. Based on their answers about what they're looking for in their feline companion, they are also assigned a color. Armed with that information, they can peruse the cats and hopefully find that perfect companion.
Lowe said the Meet Your Match program works well because it can help prevent a person looking for a mellow kitty that likes to cuddle from taking home a cute yet energetic independent cat that wants to explore.
Potential adopters are not required to get a cat of their color, but Meet Your Match does allow people to have a better idea about how their future friend will fit with their own lifestyles.
She said the program has been shown to reduce the instance of euthanasia by 50 percent (in shelters that employ that practice; the Delta Community Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter) as well as the number of cats returned after adoption.
Currently, Delta only uses Meet Your Match for cats older than nine months of age. There is a version of the Meet Your Match program for dogs, but the shelter is not yet using it.
[Source: Delta Optimist]