Prisoners Have A Program That Allows Them To Care For Shelter Cats

Prisoner With Cat

Everyone knows the deal. Commit a crime that is worthy of a prison sentence and you can expect to do some time. It is as simple as that. At the same time, this does not mean that the individual has to just sit around for years waiting for their sentence to be served. There is still a life to be lived, and a great deal of good can be done. Some prison inmates become college graduates, start a letter writing campaigns, develop work skills, and so much more behind bars. It is also about the mindset. There are also a lot of campaigns where inmates can do some real good in areas where there is simply not enough help outside of prison. One of those would be taking care of shelter animals.

The Background

Animals deserve to be loved. They should not be neglected or abused. As a society, we believe so much in that premise that there are legal protections in place to ensure that dogs and cats, among other animals, are not treated in a cruel manner. Unfortunately, we know that is all too often not the case. Just as humans have the propensity to harm one another, so we do to animals as well. Cats are particularly susceptible to abuse. To rehabilitate them takes time and some tender loving care. That requires people, and that is something that the industry is falling short on. Enter in a new program that has prisoners entering a program where they can learn to take care of shelter cats. The results are rather promising. Inmates are finding a purpose to their time behind bars, while the cats are gaining a new friend a new lease on life as well. Perhaps there is some truth to the notion that cats have nine lives. It could be that inmates do as well.

One of the more well-known programs was started in the state of Indiana back in 2015. This program was called FORWARD and was in partnership with the Pendleton Correctional Facility. The purpose is to help provide faster care to shelter and rescue cats. This is done a safe and healthy environment where the cats can thrive. At the same time, the inmates are taught many skills required to take care of these animals. Among these are included how to be responsible, compassionate, and empathetic. The early indications are that this program has been a resounding success for all involved.

Some Key Points To Keep In Mind

When looking at this program, and others like it, it is important to remember that many of the cats who end in a shelter come there by way of a long history of abuse, malnutrition, and mistreatment. As such, they are not very trusting and they have lost many of their skills in terms of being to socialize properly with humans. As a result, they are not adopted because the average family would lack the propensity to take care of them.

Because shelter cats have been neglected for so long, it is difficult for them to become trusting once again. In fact, it is often humans who have abused the cats, so one can understand why they are reluctant to embrace any sort of loving gesture demonstrated towards them once again. As such, the inmates are first taught a variety of skills that are meant to help them earn the trust of the cat, not the other way around. The humans in this situation are owed nothing. It is the cat who must be given love and compassion, but it will take them time to reciprocate that unto humans, in this case, the inmates. In fact, some shelter cats will never recover form their abuse and therefore not embrace humans at all. That does not mean that they should be cast aside. Instead, the inmates are still going to show them the same love and care that they show that other cats who are making progress.

Inmates in this program must also be patient. It is important to allow the cats the space that they need. Some days, the cats might be quite responsive. However, others might see them lash out on the very people who are showing them care and compassion. This, again, is to be expected. Patience is necessary and it is what this program is adept at teaching.

Animals deserve to be loved. They should not be neglected or abused. As a society, we believe so much in that premise that there are legal protections in place to ensure that dogs and cats, among other animals, are not treated in a cruel manner. Unfortunately, we know that is all too often not the case. Just as humans have the propensity to harm one another, so we do to animals as well. Cats are particular susceptible to abuse. To rehabilitate them takes time and some tender loving care. That requires people, and that is something that the industry is falling short on. Enter in a new program that has prisoners entering a program where they can learn to take care of shelter cats. The results are rather promising. Inmates are finding a purpose to their time behind bars, while the cats are gaining a new friend a new lease on life as well. Perhaps there is some truth to the notion that cats have nine lives. It could be that inmates do as well.

In this particular program, the inmates are responsible for feeding, cleaning, grooming, and playing with the cats. This does as much for the cats as it does for the inmates. For many in prison, this is the first time that they have been able to something that is fulfilling since they arrived behind bars. The importance of this cannot be discounted. For the cats, they have found a friend who can help them begin to trust humans once again, with the possible reality that they will actually be adopted by a family one day.


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