The Importance of Leadership
In time, a well-run CCP will be able to demonstrate its success in quantitative terms — an increased live release rate, for example, and a reduction in the intake of young kittens. These metrics can be very useful for persuading any remaining skeptics. But in the days leading up to program launch, and even in the early days of its operation, there are no such metrics available. (And it’s likely that there is more skepticism about the program.)
Planning, launching and operating a CCP is a considerable undertaking, in part because it involves a number of new policies and procedures. More broadly, though, it requires a radical shift in the way a shelter and the community it serves approach community cats (and cats in general). Such a shift requires strong leadership in both shelter and field services operations, and, ideally, among the city and/or county officials overseeing shelter and field services operations.
These leaders must demonstrate to various stakeholders (see below) an unwavering commitment to the CCP and its objectives, and create the conditions under which staff and volunteers can work toward achieving those objectives.
“While we had many staff members who ‘got it’ as soon as we previewed the Community Cats Project, we still had many that felt it wouldn’t work or would not be accepted by the public, or had some other reservation about the program. Our managers and supervisors were instrumental in changing the not-so-accepting hearts and minds of our staff. It takes leadership. It takes teamwork. And it takes off when you combine the two.”
-Kathy Davis, director, San Antonio Animal Care Services (2012–2016)
Download the Community Cat Programs Handbook Basics (862 KB PDF)