Use these questions as a template to draft communication plans for your staff as you implement the Feline Spectrum Assessment process in your shelter. (At the bottom you’ll find some sample questions regarding operational procedures that you may want to answer based on your specific practices.)
Q: What is the Feline Spectrum Assessment?
A: Feline Spectrum Assessment, also known as FSA, is a four-item process that identifies how accustomed a cat is to people.
Q: What will FSA help us accomplish?
A: The assessment will help us learn more about cats who come into the shelter with unknown socialization histories. Ultimately, the assessment helps inform our current placement options (i.e. adoption, foster, behavior modification programs, return to field, etc.)
Q: How long does the assessment take?
A: In general, FSA takes about five minutes per cat, per session. Depending on behaviors we see, the assessment may be repeated.
Q: Which cats are recommended for the assessment?
A: Cats should be at least 6 months of age, appear in good health, and be those who arrive at the shelter with no socialization history. Exclusions include cats with any illness, injury, or reproductive state that would prevent typical behaviors from showing. Also, if a cat is displaying disruptive defensive aggression, in heat or has any distracting behaviors, this will decrease the accuracy of the assessment.
Q: How will we know if a cat is enrolled?
A: Enrolled cats will have notes attached to their files in our animal management software. You will also see a tag on his/her kennel.
Q: Why does the kennel card recommend spot cleaning?
A: Spot cleaning is recommended to lower the cat’s stress and probability of disease. Acclimation will take longer if the cat is removed daily for cleaning.
Q: Why does the kennel card recommend a quiet room?
A: Keeping the room as quiet and distraction-free as possible will help reduce stress. White noise machines are recommended to mask outside noise during the assessment only, otherwise no music should be played in the room for cats at any time during their assessment period. This is important to help the cats acclimate and so that we can get the most accurate information during assessments.
Q: Why does the kennel card say p.m. feedings only?
A: The cats are fed both wet and dry food in the evening of all the days they are enrolled in the FSA program. It is especially important to feed the cats during the assessment on the evening of Day 1 and for the food bowls to be left in their cages until the morning of the Day 2 assessment. The evaluator will need to score whether the cat ate, did not eat, or if it was impossible to tell. Extremely/Unlikely to be Socialized cats tend to take advantage of the food supply and darkness and are more likely to eat overnight on their first night (Day 1 pm).
Operational questions you may be asked:
- How are cats enrolled in our shelter?
- How does this effect animal care/intake staff?
- How does this effect customer service/adoption staff?
- How does this effect receiving or medical procedures?
- Who are the FSA evaluators?
- When and where will assessments take place?
- Where will the enrolled cats be housed?
- How does kennel set up change?