If you’re a feline fanatic, chances are you’ve heard of Jackson Galaxy, renowned expert on cat behavior and well-being and host of Animal Planet’s My cat from hell. The Jackson Galaxy Project (JGP), a program of Greater Good Charities, has created a lifesaving initiative known as Cat Pawsitive, which introduces positive reinforcement-based behavior training and enrichment to shelter cats. This innovative training program aims to increase feline adoption rates and empower shelter staff and volunteers to maintain and improve cat “mojo.”
This year, Patchogue-based Almost Home Animal Rescue is one of 34 shelters nationwide selected for JGP’s Cat Pawsitive program.
“A lot of the planning went into submitting the application,” says Dawn Donaghey, Cattery Manager for Almost Home. “Then each shelter participates in three phases of online classes, all focused on improving a cat’s life and adoptability.”
Cats who are exposed to Cat Pawsitive’s reward-based training methods are said to gain confidence, experience reduced stress levels, and bond with staff, volunteers, and potential adopters. Cat Pawsitive can help a shy cat learn to feel comfortable coming to their crate to meet an adopter, a feisty cat learn to play nice, and an outgoing cat learn to give an endearing “high-five.” his visitors to seal an adoption agreement.
“We are very surprised at how many cats are motivated by food and/or toys,” says Donaghey. “We hope that being accepted into this program will truly raise awareness for our rescue and ultimately find our animals a loving, forever home.”
Since 2016, more than 1,900 cats have been adopted through the Cat Pawsitive program semesters, and hundreds more cats have benefited from participating in the program and continued their education on the path to adoption. To date, a total of 203 unique animal welfare organizations have participated in Cat Pawsitive Semesters with over 1,700 staff and volunteers participating in training thousands of cats.
Jackson Galaxy will soon be sharing highlights of the Cat Pawsitive program on the Jackson Galaxy Project Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. And to adopt a lucky cat from Almost Home, check out their website at almosthomeli.org.
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