Is It Possible to Herd Cats?

Room: St Laurent 6
Simultaneous English-to-French interpretation available for this session.

Amy Morris, Manager, Policy and Outreach, BC SPCA
Marieke van der Velden, Outreach Specialist, BC SPCA

In its 2013-2018 strategic plan, the BC SPCA committed to addressing cat overpopulation in BC, and departments came together to develop a strategy called 'Herding Cats'. Now, at the end of the five years, the organization is looking back at their efforts. From trap-neuter-return grants for communities to changing bylaws and developing new partnerships, did we succeed in creating a cultural shift in attitudes towards cats in BC? 

In this presentation, Amy and Marieke will share the objectives the organization set out at the start of the strategic plan and share the successes and challenges in achieving them. We will detail how through messaging and service delivery, your community can start to see a decrease in cat overpopulation. By sharing the challenges we came across, you will be able to increase your effectiveness and even enhance your programs.


  1. Factors and measurements to consider when developing a strategy for cat overpopulation.
  2. How to increase your effectiveness by building partnerships and relationships.
  3. Services that can make the biggest impact for both the cat and human population in your community.

In her 6 years at the BC SPCA, Amy Morris has designed, implemented and evaluated surveys, dialogues, strategies and programs, including the Herding Cat strategy. With a background in public policy, social science, auditing and program management, Amy focuses on ensuring data is accurately represented and used to motivate action. Under her leadership, advocacy campaigns and outreach programs are designed collaboratively and are continuously updated to incorporate new lessons learned. At home, Amy is mom to #clovertheadventurepup.

Marieke van der Velden has 14 years of experience designing strategy and content for non-profit marketing communications. In her 5 years at the BC SPCA, Marieke developed and implemented a social media strategy and now focuses on impactful cat communications, ensuring long-term community behaviour change while spay/neuter programs see immediate success. Marieke is currently developing Vancouver’s first ever catio tour to further the call to action to keep cats safe, In her spare time, Marieke has been a foster mum to many kittens.