Animal Center to Participate in “Cat Pawsitive” Pro initiative

The overpopulation of unwanted cats has caused rescue shelters to fill. While some cats are immediately adopted out, others sit for months or even years because they are less eligible for adoption. Many cats that have been on the streets come in without housetraining and a fear of people. The more aggressive felines are not suitable for adoption into homes without work. There is a new program designed to help prepare shelter cats to become suitable members of a family household

Animal Center to participate in Cat Pawsitive Pro initiative

According to the Williamson Herald, The Cat Pawsitive Pro program has chosen the Williamson County Animal Center in Franklin, Tennessee to participate in the program. The Jackson Galaxy Project of the Greater Good Charities made the selection. The program offers advanced courses in behavior training for shelter cats through positive reinforcement techniques to help prepare cats for adoption. The 2021 class will prepare staff with the knowledge and skills to help cats change undesirable behaviors and gain social skills. This could make a big difference for cats that are fearful or psychologically damaged from trauma and or abuse and neglect.

Advanced training to enhance feline behaviors for adoption

We also learned that the advanced training program can help staff to teach cats some cute behaviors that will make them seem more adorable to potential pet parents. One of the most interesting tricks that the staff will learn to teach felines is to do a “high-five.” Can you imagine how appealing this will be to visitors who are contemplating cat adoption? The project has reached out to 168 shelters with the program in a five-year timeline. Thousands of cats are being trained to impress potential new families. For 2021, only 11 Shelters were chosen in the United States for participation in the program. With more than 31,000 training sessions already held and 1,600 staff members and volunteers trained, the adoption rates for cats are going up in response.

Other Shelter cat training programs

  • Maddie’s University for cat shelter staff – Cat Pawsitive Pro isn’t the only training program for shelter cats available, although it’s top-rated. There are others that shelters may want to consider to increase the number of adoptions among their homeless feline populations. Maddie’s University is one such program that offers online courses for animal shelter personnel. The organization is currently accepting new students for 2021 online apprenticeships. The coursework is offered in an online format with a self-paced schedule along with Zoom meetings with instructors and classmates. The Zoom sessions are 90-minutes and four are required for completion of the program. Each student who completes the course including submission of a final project receives a certificate of completion with mandatory recertification through continuing education. Only 30 students are taken per session.  This is a lifesaving program that enhances the likelihood of cat adoptions through training and socialization of the animals. A well-trained pet is far more likely to be adopted into a home than one who exhibits fearful or aggressive behaviors. In a related program, Maddie’s fund also sponsors the initiative for shelters to move to a pet foster care system versus kenneling the animals. This is another exceptional way to socialize cats to prepare them for their forever homes.
  • Community backing for cat training programsBest Friends Magazine reported on the benefits of Cat Pawsitive Pro and similar programs, lending their full support for the mission to prepare staff to train cats for adoption-readiness. Best Friends supports the No-Kill 2025 initiative that aims to put an end to the practice of euthanization of healthy animals in shelter care. This is one step closer to achieving that goal. With family-ready pets awaiting adoption, the process of placement in foster care and forever homes will increase dramatically.

Can cats really be trained?

Cat Pawsitive has proven that cats are highly trainable and that they can do some amazing and even entertaining things. This makes them more attractive as housepets. While you don’t see many cats rolling over or playing fetch with their owners, they’re intelligent creatures who definitely are trainable. Some pet owners have even trained their house cats to use the bathroom toilet, then flush when they’re finished with their business.

Free online resources

While it’s best to go through an approved cat training program that offers certification, there are online resources that are affordable for free. Veterian Key offers a unique training program that contains valuable insights and information for shelter staff, volunteers, pet foster care providers, and families who adopt shelter cats. Educational materials help build knowledge and some training methods are shared to help stakeholders get the basics of feline behavioral training.

Final thoughts

Cat behavioral training programs offer hope and promise for a better tomorrow for shelter cats awaiting adoption. There are several available programs offering courses and certification for animal shelter staff, however, the spaces are limited There is a great need for programs like this to help shelter workers prepare the cats in their care for adoption into their new homes. Some online resources are also available for self-study at no cost for anyone who wants to understand the basics of feline behavior modification techniques. There is a great need for cat shelter staff and volunteers to become familiar with the various ways that fearful or aggressive cats can be trained to overcome their emotional issues and learn to trust, along with behaviors that make them desirable as household pets. Although we’re not even close to meeting the need, we’re off to a good start. There is a need for more programs to help reach the staff throughout shelters nationwide. This is a lifesaving measure that can help to move the country closer to the objective of doing away with the need for the euthanization of healthy pets per the No-Kill 2025 goals.

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