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Clear the Shelters 2024: Origin, How It Works, Success Stories & FAQ

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

two women adopting cats at the shelter

Clear the Shelters 2024: Origin, How It Works, Success Stories & FAQ

Animal shelters are crucial in caring for abandoned and surrendered pets, providing temporary refuge until they find permanent homes. However, overcrowding and limited resources often pose significant challenges for these shelters.

The annual Clear the Shelters campaign hopes to raise awareness of this issue and increase adoptions. It occurs yearly in the summer months, usually in August, and there are several ways to participate. Keep reading for a discussion of how it started and what you can do to help.


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Clear the Shelters Origin

The Clear the Shelters campaign started as a collaboration between animal shelters, rescue organizations, and media outlets to match loving families with pets in need while addressing pet overpopulation and promoting responsible pet ownership. The team also partners with many other organizations, including the Stray Cat Alliance.

Clear the Shelters has been running for 9 years straight and has helped find homes for more than 860,000 pets since 2015, with a new single-year record in 2022 with 161,000 adoptions. It also raised more than half a million dollars in the same year.

cats in animal shelter
Image Credit: Yulia Grigoryeva, Shutterstock

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How Does the Clear the Shelters Campaign Work?

Adoption Fee Waivers and Reductions

The core of the Clear the Shelters campaign is adoption fee waivers and reductions, which help put pet adoption within reach of more people. This strategy incentivizes adoptions and draws attention to the numerous animals awaiting homes.

Promotional Events and Partnerships

Promotional events, partnerships with local businesses, and media coverage help generate awareness and attract potential adopters. Shelters and rescue organizations collaborate with community stakeholders to host adoption drives, pet-centric festivals, and educational workshops to encourage adoptions and educate the public.

woman adopting a cat
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

Social Media

New pet owners can share content, stories, and photos across social media channels, as these help draw attention to the campaign’s goals. Pet profiles, complete with endearing photos and descriptions, make it easier for potential adopters to find the right pets.

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How Can I Get Involved?


If you want to bring a new pet into your home, the Clear the Shelters campaign encourages you to consider adopting from shelters and rescue organizations rather than buying from breeders or pet stores, as this helps find a home for an animal in need and reduces stress on the shelter.

About 3.4 million cats enter shelters every year in the U.S., and over 1 million must be euthanized because they don’t get adopted.

Spread the Word

Even if pet adoption isn’t possible now, you can still contribute by spreading awareness about the campaign. Sharing social media posts, attending adoption events, and encouraging friends and family to consider adopting from shelters all help the campaign achieve its goal, and you can make a real difference in its success.

Volunteer and Donate

Animal shelters and rescue organizations often rely on volunteers and donations to provide quality animal care. Those passionate about the cause can contribute their time, skills, or financial support to help shelters continue their mission beyond the campaign period.

You can often sign up to play with the cats, for example, and this can help reduce stress on tired employees and make the animals happy.

cat at an animal shelter
Image By: JW Design, Shutterstock

Clear the Shelters Success Stories: Cats

  • Clear the Shelters flew 155 at-risk cats from Florida to New Jersey and Massachusetts to help them get adopted, and each cat found a new home.
  • The Stray Cat Alliance, working with the Clear the Shelters campaign in 2022, found homes for 1,600 cats.
  • More than 860,000 dogs and cats have found new homes since the Clear the Shelters campaign began in 2015.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When Does the Clear the Shelters Campaign Take Place?

The campaign usually takes place during the summer months, often in August. However, specific dates can vary from year to year and from region to region. It’s best to check with local animal shelters or the campaign’s official website for the most up-to-date information on campaign dates.

Why Is Adopting From Shelters Important?

Adopting a pet from a shelter helps save the lives of an animal in need. Shelters often house abandoned, surrendered, or rescued animals, including stray and feral cats. Adopting from shelters provides a home for a pet that might otherwise face uncertain circumstances.

Are All Types of Animals Available for Adoption During the Campaign?

Yes, the campaign typically includes a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, and sometimes even small animals like guinea pigs and birds. Shelters may also have animals of various ages and breeds available for adoption.

two pet sitters with dogs and cats
Image By: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Are There Any Requirements for Adopting a Pet During the Campaign?

Adoption requirements can vary depending on the shelter. Typically, they will have an adoption process that includes filling out an application, meeting the animal, and possibly providing references. Some might have specific criteria based on the needs of the animal and the potential adopter’s living situation.

How Can I Find Out More About the Clear the Shelters Campaign in My Area?

To find out more about the campaign in your area, you can visit its official website, follow its social media channels, or contact local animal shelters and rescue organizations. They will have the most up-to-date information about your region’s campaign dates, events, and participating shelters.

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Clear the Shelters is an annual month-long event that usually occurs in the summer, most often in August. It hopes to encourage adoption from animal shelters to help find new homes for animals in need and reduce strain on the shelters. It started in 2015 and has helped find homes for more than 800,000 animals so far, many of them cats, and last year was the most successful year yet.

You can participate by adopting a new pet, spreading the word about the event to your friends and family, and posting about it on social media. You can also donate your time to the shelters to help out.

Featured Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

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