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March-April 2012
Table of Contents

March-April 2012 Cover


The People's Power

To do the best job of caring for animals, shelters need to pay attention to those other creatures in the building—their staff. The Shelter Diagnostic System surveys employees on key on-the-job issues—including communication, pay, stress, and role clarity—to find out how people feel about working for your organization, and what you can do to improve it. Learn how two shelters took their employees’ pulse and used that feedback to make their workplaces better.

The "101" Department

Shelters around the country have discovered the benefits of colony-style housing, which can improve cats’ health and well-being while enabling them to show their adorable personalities to potential adopters. But you can’t make the magic happen by simply putting a bunch of cats together. Learn what you need to consider before you start your own colony room, from the physical features to keeping your space clean and comfortable for cats and people alike.




Coffee Break

In your space, you told us about the funniest (or strangest) things you’ve encountered in your animal welfare work.

Life Preservers

Erie County in upstate New York is one of the nation’s poorer regions, and animal welfare organizations there struggle to find the resources and the room for the large number of cats arriving at their doorsteps. Amazingly, they’ve managed for the last several years to avoid euthanizing any healthy, adoptable felines. How are they doing it?

Culture Corner

Books, movies, and other cool stuff for animal lovers.

The “101” Department

Group housing isn’t for every shelter cat, but for those who do enjoy the company of other kitties, colony rooms are a great way to provide an enriched environment that reduces stress on your whiskered residents, wows shelter visitors, and spurs adoptions. Here are some important issues to consider before you “colonize” your cats—and a look at two shelters that are doing it right.

Q & A

Photographer Teresa Berg couldn’t stand the idea that dogs wouldn’t find homes simply because their online adoption pictures weren’t appealing. She set out to fix that.

Humane Law Forum

Volunteers provide essential support to shelters and rescues around the country, but they also bring with them some potential liability issues. Can a shelter be held responsible for a volunteer’s negligence? Can a volunteer sue over on-the-job injuries? To protect your organization against lawsuits, learn the issues and develop smart policies for training and safety.

Behavior Department

Emotional stress in cats has emerged as the key cause of upper respiratory infection. Researcher Nadine Gourkow points out that you can increase a cat’s resistance to pathogens by making him happy. She’s developed a scale to assess a cat’s emotional state, and found that mental stimulation and gentling techniques not only improve emotional well-being—they reduce the incidence of URI.


Shots and stories of your most memorable animals.

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