“If he were with us today, Ivan would continue to be a champion for all animals and raise our awareness of the immeasurable rewards from our communion with them. The Ivan Smith Adoption Challenge was created to help attract the interest of potential adopters who may otherwise have chosen a kitten. We hope that others may find inspiration in the Challenge and create their own funded program to help the MSPCA.”
– Maria Tammik and Marc Schiller
Since the 2011 inception of the Ivan Smith Challenge, we’ve staged six fee-waived adoption weekends – in just those six weekends we placed 1,386 adult cats into forever homes. With respect to senior cats (9 years and older) we’ve adopted out 1,303 since 2011.
The Ivan Smith Adoption Challenge honors a young man whose short life touched the hearts of many homeless animals in need of compassion and understanding. The Challenge brings Ivan’s warmth and love to these animals by underwriting a portion of their adoption fees and educating the public about the plight of the older, homeless cats in Massachusetts.
At a young age, Ivan Smith discovered the delight and the solace of befriending and caring for animals. He enjoyed long periods of play and “quiet time” with his family's older cat, Butler, whose amiable and easygoing nature was rarely swayed by the household's more rambunctious pets. Ivan came to share Butler's sensibilities, often wondering aloud to his mother whether their cats were happy.
In 2000, at the age of thirteen, Ivan participated in the MSPCA at Nevins Farm Children’s Summer Camp. The camp’s staff noted that, unlike most of his peers, Ivan gravitated naturally to the older cats, devoting most of his time to their care and well-being as if he sensed and wished to ease the upheaval they experienced in their lives.
Tragically, Ivan’s life ended soon after, leaving family and friends searching for meaning and a way to honor Ivan’s legacy.
Beginning in 2011, the Ivan Smith Adoption Challenge will highlight the adoptability of adult and senior cats through a series of ongoing programs, encouraging potential adopters to consider providing a home to adult cats.
Cats remain the most frequently surrendered animals to the MSPCA’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers. In 2010, more than 11,000 homeless cats were cared for at the MSPCA’s adoption centers. Often viewed as ‘disposable’ by many owners, these cats are at risk of continued upheaval, having multiple homes throughout their lifetimes. While kittens are frequently adopted quickly, adult (over the age of one year) and mature (over the age of nine years) cats can remain homeless for weeks, months, and sometimes more than a year before finding a new family.
The Ivan Smith Challenge was just a start to our being able to do very innovative adoption promotions. Thanks to the “Catvocates”—a volunteer committee comprised of MSPCA-Angell donors—we’ve been able to secure additional funding that has exceeded even our own lofty expectations for the number of cats we can place into homes.
Your support of cat adoption programs at the MSPCA will make a difference in the lives of cats in our area. Click here to make a donation to cat adoption programs.
The Ivan Smith Adoption Challenge for Senior Cats
Many senior cats, aged nine years and older, are surrendered to the MSPCA's adoption centers each year. They are often outcompeted for adoptive homes by younger adults and kittens. Frequently they need additional medical care to prepare them for adoption (such as dental work, bloodwork, etc.), and that cost is absorbed by the adoption centers. Senior cats may also have ongoing or anticipated medical needs that can make them less desirable to potential adopters.