If you’re a feline fanatic, chances are you’ve heard of Jackson Galaxy, renowned cat behavior and wellness expert and host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell. The Jackson Galaxy Project (JGP), a program of Greater Good Charities, created a life-saving 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.
“Quite a lot of planning went into the application submission alone,” says Dawn Donaghey, Almost Home’s cattery manager. “Then each shelter participates in three phases of online courses, all geared towards improving a cat’s life and adoptability.”
Cats who are exposed to the reward-based training methods of Cat Pawsitive are said to gain confidence, experience reduced stress levels, and build connections with staff, volunteers, and potential adopters. Cat Pawsitive 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.
“We’re very surprised how food- and/or toy-motivated many of the cats are,” says Donaghey. “We’re hoping that being accepted into this program really brings awareness to our rescue and ultimately finds our animals a loving, forever home.”
Since 2016, more than 1,900 cats have been adopted during Cat Pawsitive program semesters, with hundreds more cats benefitting from being in the program and continuing their training on the road to adoption. To date, a total of 203 unique animal welfare organizations have participated in Cat Pawsitive semesters with over 1,700 staff members and volunteers taking part in the training of thousands of cats.
Jackson Galaxy will be sharing highlights of the Cat Pawsitive program on The Jackson Galaxy Project Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages coming soon. And to adopt a lucky kitty from Almost Home, check out their website at almosthomeli.org.