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You Matter to CAT: Prioritizing Inclusive and Equitable Services for People and Cats

Small, brown-striped kitten sits on a wooden bench. In the background, a person pets him. ©Gina Montanarelli

(October 18, 2023) Cats clearly are a top priority at Cat Adoption Team — they’re in our name! But we’re passionate about creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments for people too.

In our work, the well-being of cats and humans go hand-in-paw. Three years ago, CAT established a committee of staff, volunteers, and board members to build more diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into our organizational policies, procedures, and culture. We promised to share about our progress in these efforts over time.

Anna, in a red CAT shirt and nametag, sits at a table, wearing a face mask. She writes on a clipboard on the table in front of her.
CAT team member, Anna, translating documents into Spanish.

Here are a few things we’ve been working on since our last update:

  • All managers and hiring supervisors completed implicit bias training, and we’re adjusting hiring practices to remove barriers and make policies more equitable
  • Increasing gender inclusivity by adding pronoun and preferred name options to name badges, adoption applications, and related documents
  • Giving managers oversight to waive or reduce admissions fees for community members experiencing financial challenges
  • Translating adoption literature and medical discharge information into Spanish
  • Including more culturally significant holidays in our CAT calendar
  • Exploring changes to our holiday closures and paid holidays policy

“CAT has a robust list of DEI initiatives to work on, and we add to it frequently. This work is an ongoing process of learning and effort. It’s not something that will ever be ‘complete,’” says executive director and DEI committee member Karen Green. “We can only accomplish our mission of helping cats by connecting with all people who have cat-related needs or resources. So DEI will continue to be an essential part of our commitment to the cats as well as the people we serve.”

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About Cat Adoption Team

Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the largest cat shelter in the Pacific Northwest. We offer adoption, foster care, and veterinary services to homeless cats and kittens.

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