PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pima Animal Care Center was selected by The Jackson Galaxy Project (JGP), a Signature Program of GreaterGood.org, to participate in the Spring 2018 Semester of Cat Pawsitive Pro, a life-saving initiative that introduces positive-reinforcement training to shelter cats.
Supported by the Petco Foundation, this innovative training program for shelter cats aims to increase feline adoption rates as well as educate the shelter staff and volunteers on how to implement it.
"This program is absolutely going to change the game for cats at PACC," said Kristen Auerbach, director of Pima Animal Care Center, in a recent news release. "We care for nearly 10,000 cats each year and often have 500 or more cats in our shelter. Up to this point, they've received very little socialization and enrichment. It breaks our hearts to walk by and see cats who are scared and shut down that just need a little support and TLC to come out of their shells so they can be adopted. This program is going to help us save so many more lives!"
Samantha Bell DiGenova, a feline behavior expert hand-picked by JGP, will lead the program for the shelter beginning Feb. 21. Throughout the Spring, PACC staff and volunteers will participate in weekly seminars with DiGenova and will have direct access to the entire training team for specialized consultations about the cats in their care.
Cats who are exposed to reward-based training methods of Cat Pawsitive Pro gain confidence, experience reduced stress level and build connections with staff, volunteers and potential adopters. The program can help a shy cat learn to feel comfortable coming up to the front of her cage to meet an adopter, a feisty cat learn to play nice, and an outgoing kitty learn to give an endearing "high five" to his visitors to seal an adoption deal.
Jackson Galaxy (star of the television show My Cat from Hell on Animal Planet, and founder of JGP) developed Cat Pawsitive Pro with a team of feline behavior experts. Highlights of the program include:
- Improving cat “adoptability” and feline social skills, particularly for shy or fearful cats and long-term residents
- Enriching day-to-day life for cats in shelters with physical and mental activity
- Promoting the human-cat bond
- Teaching and empowering animal shelter staff and volunteers
"The genesis of Cat Pawsitive stemmed from the simple desire to duplicate the "AHA!" moment I had in the early stages of my life with cats as a shelter worker," Jackson Galaxy said. "By utilizing the training concepts that were, to that point, only used for the dogs in our care, not only were the cats stimulated, motivated and energized, but so was I. That, along with the most important result, lives being saved, was the win-win I envisioned passing on to as many cats and shelters as I possibly could. So today I am filled with an indescribable mix of joy and anticipation as we enter the 2018 sessions of The Jackson Galaxy Project's Cat Pawsitive Pro program."