A campaign to reduce euthanasia in cat shelters has surpassed expectations, saving a quarter-million cats in its first year. The campaign helps shelters implement programs to reduce the number of cats coming into shelters, prevent feline disease and suffering, and promote adoption. The program aims to save one million cats by 2019.

“We knew how hungry animal shelters are to save cats’ lives, so we designed the Challenge to give them the tools they needed to do it,” said Kate Hurley, DVM in an interview with Veterinary Practice News. “Through their creativity, ingenuity, and determination, they’ve gotten us to a quarter million lives saved sooner than we ever expected.”

The program is a joint venture of the University of California Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. So far, 263 shelters have signed up to participate in the challenge.