–Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART) has been selected by The Jackson Galaxy Project (JGP), a Signature Program of GreaterGood.org, to participate in the 2020 class of Cat Pawsitive, a life-saving initiative that introduces positive-reinforcement training to cats in shelters and rescues. Supported by the Petco Foundation, this innovative training program for cats aims to increase feline adoption rates and maintain cat “mojo.”
Jackson Galaxy (star of the television show My Cat from Hell on Animal Planet, and founder of JGP) developed Cat Pawsitive with a team of feline behavior experts.
Highlights of the program include:
● Maintaining cat “adoptability” and feline social skills by enriching cats’ day-to-day lives
● Increasing adoptions
● Decreasing length of stay
● Engaging and empowering volunteers and staff
● Showing potential adopters that cats are cool and can even be trained!
“As a shelter worker in the early 90s, I found myself frustrated by the lack of resources and know-how afforded to the cats in my care. Unsocialized cats, traumatized cats, adoptable cats whose spirits were dwindling from lack of stimulation – were all being euthanized. Dogs, however, were being saved thanks in part to burgeoning enrichment programs geared towards physical exercise, confidence-building and the bond created with the humans participating in these programs,” said Galaxy. “With the help of a dog trainer, I adapted these clicker-based programs to cats – and the results were immediate and, at least in my eyes, profound. My overwhelming desire at the time was to bring the liberating effects of this approach to as many other shelters and rescues as I could, and in just 4 years we have already helped well over 1,200 cats in 174 shelters find their forever homes, with hundreds more receiving enriching training every day.”
The Cat Pawsitive program is designed to keep adoptable cats mentally and physically active in a shelter or rescue environment. The focus is on fun, positive reinforcement-based training sessions that go beyond playtime-as-usual to help cats maintain their mojo and connect more quickly with potential adopters. From teaching high fives and head bumps to “sit” and “come when called,” caregivers at Cat Pawsitive participating organizations engage with cats in a brand new way to really help cats to “click” with adopters.
Brittany Donecho, RVT and Homeless Animal Rescue Team’s Foster Coordinator and Cat Pawsitive team leader says she is excited to help HART’s shelter cats gain more confidence and learn skills that will make them absolutely irresistible to adopters. She said she feels this program will assist many of their cats and kittens in finding their “mojo” and even more importantly, their “purrfect” forever family.
Since 2016, more than 1,200 cats have been adopted during Cat Pawsitive semesters, with hundreds of more cats benefitting from being in the program and continuing their training on the road to adoption. To date, a total of 174 animal welfare organizations have participated in Cat Pawsitive programs and conducted over 20,000 training sessions, with over 1,100 staff members and volunteers taking part in the training of thousands of cats.
HART is a volunteer service organization and no-kill shelter with a threefold mission:
1. Rescuing and caring for kittens and cats in need;
2. Placing cats and kittens in caring, permanent homes; and
3. Reducing feline overpopulation with an active spay/neuter program for HART’s felines and a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program for feral cats.
HART is committed to ensuring quality of life to all living creatures, both feral and domestic. Founded in 1983, HART began with a small core of volunteers who fostered animals in their own homes. In 2000, the group rented a former veterinarian’s office and consolidated its rescue operations, allowing the organization to expand its services to the greater Cambria community. HART purchased the current shelter, located at 2638 Main Street in Cambria, in 2012.
The Jackson Galaxy Project is a Signature Program of GreaterGood.org, a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Founded in 2014 by leading animal advocate and cat wellness consultant, Jackson Galaxy, host and executive producer of Animal Planet’s long-running hit show “My Cat From Hell” and New York Times best-selling author, The Jackson Galaxy Project seeks to improve the lives of animals at risk and help the people who care for them through innovative programs that educate, inspire and empower staff, rescuers and adopters to continually raise the bar for animals at risk and reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters. For more information, visit TheJacksonGalaxyProject.org.