San Francisco Named One of Ten Best Cities for Cats

Friday, March 27, 2009

Several San Francisco Animal Welfare organizations today celebrated the naming of San Francisco as one of the Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities in the nation by the recently formed CATalyst Council. The CATalyst Council, a coalition of the veterinary community, academia, non-profits, industry and animal welfare organizations, hopes to call attention to the level of care cats receive in these 10 cities — and to set the bar for other cities to follow in the annual ranking. The overall goal is to improve the health of felines nationwide.

Cats have overtaken dogs as the number one owned companion animal in the United States — 88.3 million, compared 74.8 million dogs. Nevertheless, cats are more likely to be neglected or abandoned, more likely to end up in shelters, and less likely to receive veterinary care than dogs.

"More cats than dogs are surrendered to shelters nationwide, and this is only increasing in times of financial strain and home foreclosures," said Jan McHugh-Smith, President of The San Francisco SPCA (The SF/SPCA), CATalyst Council Board Member and Secretary of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA). "As a city, we must care for as many of our cats as possible, whether they have homes or not. We are honored to live and work in one of the cities that demonstrate outstanding compassion and resources for cats and guardians, and we hope that the CATalyst rankings will further elevate the status of the cat."

The cities named, as well as San Francisco, include Tampa, Phoenix, Portland, Denver and Boston. The list was compiled after reviewing the top 25 metropolitan areas for such data as cat ownership per capita, level of veterinary care, microchipping and cat-friendly local ordinances.

"The SF/SPCA is focused intently on addressing the needs of cats in our community," McHugh-Smith said. "Cats comprise almost 75 percent of our adoptions, and with the opening of our new Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center, we have more capacity to provide medical, spay/neuter, feral cat assistance, foster care, and rehabilitation services for felines. In these difficult economic times, we're responding to increased need in our community — for cats and dogs — by providing free, low-cost or subsidized care, including spay/neuter services."

Four other city animal welfare organizations also detailed their vital work with cats:

  • A spokesperson for San Francisco Animal Care & Control noted its regular free microchip clinics, Feral Kitten Socialization Program, Owner-Surrender Cat Socialization Program, and Kitty Rescue Foster Program that cares for underage kittens.
  • Pets Unlimited pointed to its comprehensive treatment, rehabilitation and adoption programs for felines, as well as its operation of Saffron House, where FIV+ cats live while they wait for a new home.
  • John Lipp, President of Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) noted the work PAWS does to keep people and their pets together when they need each other most. PAWS provides ongoing support and services for over 500 cats of low-income people living with HIV/AIDS, and other disabling illnesses, as well as senior citizens.
  • Persian and Himalayan Cat Rescue is a group whose primary mission is to rescue, place and care for unwanted, neglected and abused Persian, Himalayan and Exotic Shorthair cats. A spokesperson for the group detailed the comprehensive care and treatment these cats receive while they await adoption in the homes of dedicated foster caretakers.