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Meet the Shelters of Cat Pawsitive Pro 2020

By Rachel Loehner of ThreeChattyCats.com

With thanks to this year’s JGP/Cat Pawsitive Pro writers: Emily Hall of KittyCatChronicles.com, Yasaar Nakchbendi of ChirpyCats.com, Dawn White of LolaTheRescuedCat.com, Sue Doute of IslandCats.com, Melissa Lapierre of MochasMysteriesMeows.com, Nikita Lero, and Cal Setar

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The shelters have been selected, the teams formed, the Trainer-Mentors assigned, and the training materials dispersed – which can only mean one thing. We’re ready to start the 2020 class of Cat Pawsitive Pro (CPP)! Let’s meet the shelters now and learn what they’re hoping to accomplish this semester with this valuable clicker-training and positive reinforcement program.

Animal Welfare Department

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Animal Welfare Department Director: Danny Nevarez
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Marina Mick, Rose Hargis, Kambre Holder, Carolyn Tiseo, Mallory Begay
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Molly DeVoss

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From Danny Nevarez, Animal Welfare Department Director
How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

The benefits of Cat Pawsitive Pro to the homeless cats in our care is multi-faceted, not only does it enrich their lives while here at the shelter, it also increases their chance of finding forever loving homes. Staff and volunteers, in a pet shelter environment, struggle with compassion fatigue and this program will provide focus, unification of enrichment methods and a reason to celebrate as more cats find homes.

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From CPP Team Leaders Carolyn Tiseo and Marina Mick
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

I am looking forward to learning how to enrich our shelter pets in a way we couldn’t before! The power of mind far surpasses anything we can imagine, so tapping into and engaging in this aspect can help our cats past our shelter environment and into their new homes. – Carolyn Tiseo

I’m looking forward to learning more about cat behavior and working with the cats through this program in an effort to decrease their time spent in a shelter. I’m also looking forward to helping the cats come out of their shell quicker in the shelter and become more comfortable during their stay with us. – Marina Mick

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

To be my best for the cats. Then, create an Everyday Adoption Center team spread like a cat in the sun with its influence. I want to own this and really take in everything you have to offer! This opportunity is surreal. – Carolyn Tiseo

I definitely aspire to decrease the time these cats have to spend in the shelter before they are adopted. – Marina Mick

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

At my location of the Everyday Adoption Center (location 4 of 4 in Albuquerque Animal Welfare), we house between 6-14 cats at any given time. We plan to have at least 1 staff (myself) and 2-3 volunteers participate! – Carolyn Tiseo

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Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Two cats that may benefit from the program are Pantera and Sid as they both overstimulate easily and are two of our longer-term cats. We also have some shy cats that have been here a while and would benefit from the program. Some of these shy cats include Athena, Carver, and Marie. – Marina Mick 

Brandywine Valley SPCA

Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Executive Director: Adam Lamb
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Kyler Tatum, Zachary DelFabbro, Aaron Brown, Desiree Pulliam
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Lisa Stemcosky

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From Adam Lamb, Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

We are thrilled that we have been selected to participate in Cat Pawsitive Pro. The skills this program brings to our staff and volunteers will thoroughly enrich and brighten the lives of our cat population while in the care of our shelter.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

We are looking forward to seeing the tangible impact of this program not only on the quality of life of the cats currently in our care, but also what we may learn as we continue to grow and support more animals.

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From CPP Team Leaders Kyler Tatum, Zachary DelFabbro, Aaron Brown, Desiree Pulliam, Lauren Cook, Laura Page, Christopher Farrall
Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We aim to improve quality of life through enrichment, tailor behavior modification to our cats’ individual needs, and ultimately reduce overall length of stay by allowing our cats to shine to prospective adopters.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

Approximately 20

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Misty, Bertha, Moo Moo, Renee, Lancaster 

East Bay SPCA

Location: Oakland, California
Chief Executive Director: Allison Lindquist
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Rebekah Piedad, Micah McKechnie
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Carrie Seay

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From Allison Lindquist, Chief Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

We look forward to being part of this innovative program and the benefits that our shelter cats will receive. Additionally, it is exciting to be able to use the knowledge we gain to serve as a critical resource for owned cats and their owners. We are thrilled to further promote and nurture the cat/human bond.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

The Cat Pawsitive Pro program is an exciting way to provide continuing education regarding cat behavior to our staff and volunteers and to further enrich the lives of our shelter cats. We are looking forward to participating in the program and remaining on the cutting edge of shelter best practices and cat behavior.

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From 
CPP Team Leaders Rebekah Piedad and Micah McKechnie
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

Our shelter already has a structured volunteer program for canine volunteers who want to go above and beyond socialization and learn how to train our dogs using positive reinforcement. The support this program provides the Behavior and Training department is invaluable. It has long been a goal to create a similar program for cats, but as with any shelter, change happens slowly. The opportunity to implement a structured training program for our feline population is so exciting. We are most looking forward to creating a culture where positive reinforcement training for cats is an everyday tool in the toolbox of both our staff and volunteers!

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Nearly 200 cats passed through our Behavior and Training department in 2019. With the Cat Pawsitive Pro program, our goal is to be able to take in even more challenging feline cases. Our hope is that with the expanded bandwidth provided by skilled volunteers we can begin to count on multiple daily training sessions for our neediest feline cases, moving them towards socialization and adoption faster and more efficiently.

Additionally, we are interested in changing the culture surrounding cats and training. It is so often assumed that cats cannot be trained, when in fact positive reinforcement training can offer cats so much (especially in the shelter environment!). As an organization that prioritizes education, we hope to gain the skills we need to become a more effective advocate for feline positive reinforcement training in our community and beyond.

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About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We have yet to confirm a total, but we expect at least 10-15 volunteers are interested in offering their time for the CPP program. It’s entirely possible that that number will grow as we advance through the program. At this time, we will have 2 staff members directing the program as team leads.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Though we are working to transfer in many more cats after our successful holiday promotion, there are several in our care who we think will be perfect candidates for the type of training and enrichment offered by CPP.

The first are a set of 3 siblings, Chex, Twinkle, and Binky. All 3 are fearful under-socialized “teens” whose adjustment to the shelter environment has been slow. Though they are making progress, we hope that CPP can offer us tools to help them come out of their shells and put their best paw forward with adopters.

Another cat we are excited to have in the program is Shadow, a beautiful snow-white senior cat who is one of our long-term residents. Despite being affectionate and an active player, she sets clear boundaries (sometimes very firmly!) for when and how she likes to be petted. We hope that CPP training can offer her fun ways to interact with humans that focus on giving her the choices she craves! 

Heartland Animal Shelter

Location: Northbrook, Illinois
Executive Director: Stephanie Muller-Simpson
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Lou Basten, Julie Matos
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Sara Russell

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From Stephanie Muller-Simpson, Executive Director
How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

Participating in the Cat Pawsitive introductory program last winter made a tremendous impact on the lives of the cats in our care. All of our original Cat Pawsitive cats were adopted, including our longest resident cat who had been at the shelter for almost four years. We are eager to provide this advanced-level enrichment to the special cats who need a little extra support to build confidence at the shelter and develop meaningful connections with people, which will allow their beautifully unique personalities to shine when meeting their future families for the first time. Increasing the adoptability of the cats in our care will not just help them find loving homes quicker, but it will also allow us to save the lives of even more at-risk cats in need.

From CPP Team Leaders Lou Basten and Julie Matos
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

We are looking forward to learning the best ways to work with our shy cats and our cats who have behavioral issues. We are hoping to teach other volunteers the methods we learn so that we can help all of the cats in our care for years to come.

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Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

To enrich the lives of the cats in our care and to help them become more adoptable and find their forever homes.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We are expecting to have 1 staff member and 9 volunteers participate in training and are hoping to find another volunteer to help with data submission.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We have a long list of cats in mind – Nickie, Zeb, Annie P, Andrew, Miss Jackson, Welles, Rick, Beamer, Quinn. 

Homeward Pet Adoption Center

Location: Woodinville, Washington
Executive Director: Nanette McCann
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Jenny Black, Megan Yuasa
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Cary Munschauer

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From Nanette McCann, Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

Being selected to participate in Cat Pawsitive Pro is an incredible opportunity for us to improve our already existing cat training and enrichment programs. We are always striving to do more for the animals in our care, and we’re excited that we get to share this new opportunity with our community.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

Overall, I see Cat Pawsitive Pro giving our staff, volunteers, and our cats a big confidence boost. By giving our more challenging cats the appropriate outlets that they need, they’ll have more positive interactions with our staff, volunteers, and potential adopters, ideally resulting in a shorter length of stay and more successful adoptions.

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From CPP Team Leaders Jenny Black and Megan Yuasa
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

It’s going to be rewarding for staff and volunteers to be able to give our cats other appropriate ways to expend their energy and interact with people. The cats that are easily labeled as ‘feisty’, ‘fractious’, or ‘wild’ seem to have a harder time getting adopted. With Cat Pawsitive Pro, we’ll be able to show off their fun side, emphasizing all the positives that come with a smart cat. I mean, who doesn’t think a cat high fiving or sitting on cue is cute?!

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

I’d like to build a really strong core group of volunteers who are consistently working on training and behavior modification with our cats. I’d love to see some of our volunteers break out of their comfort zones and prove to themselves that cats can be clicker trained! I’m also especially interested to see if our bite/scratch incidents decrease as we progress in the program.

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About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We expect 2-3 staff and 5-10 volunteers to participate as Cat Pawsitive Pro team members.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Yes! We have a few spicy long-timers, Speckles and Coruscant, as well as some kitties who are still adjusting to the shelter, Kirby and Buba. We also have a very active, smart 5-month-old kitten, Willow, who is on bite quarantine and would love some extra mental stimulation. 

Humane Animal Rescue

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chief Executive Officer: Dan Rossi
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Kellie Snider, Zee Altherr, Nataliia Muskina, Monica Slate, Natalia Sgrin
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Cary Munschauer

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From Dan Rossi, Chief Executive Officer
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

One of our organization’s primary goals for 2020 is to develop and enhance our cat programs. In 2019 we focused on SNR, and to that end invited Sara Pizano to work with us in the shelter, and to provide a community presentation that would explain the benefits of such programs for Pittsburgh. Adding the Cat Pawsitive Pro program for our shelter cats will bring another level of benefit to cats in our community. We are very excited about this opportunity!

From CPP Team Leader Kellie Snider

What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

We want to learn to work more effectively with our shelter cats, especially the fearful and overstimulated ones. They have such a hard time in the shelter and deserve the best opportunities to find their adoptive homes. I am excited about the chance for our staff and volunteers to learn about operant conditioning and how to implement training strategies for cats, who are, as everyone knows, “impossible to train”!

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Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

When the opportunity arose to apply for Cat Pawsitive Pro, I was planning to create and launch a new cat program for our shelter volunteers. I had the opportunity to participate in the pilot for this program several years ago in Dallas, Texas, so when we were accepted into the Pro program I decided to wait and implement the CP approach as our foundation for cat training and behavior. I knew it would be a boon for our cat program! We are very optimistic that this will be an opportunity to get our volunteers and staff excited about how much they can impact the lives of the cats in our care.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We have approximately 19 people across 2 shelters that will be participating.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Meraitio, Nikka, Eight Ball, Midnight, Fuzzbutt, Shadow, Raven, June Bug 

Liberty Humane Society

Location: Jersey City, New Jersey
Executive Director: Irene Borngraeber
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Kim Saunders, Angela Altomare, Christina Miranda
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Sara Russell

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From Irene Borngraeber, Executive Director
How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

Jersey cats have attitude! We often have cats who are very social, but who can also become overstimulated (and bitey!) in a shelter environment. They want to live in a home, but their behaviors make it challenging to find an accommodating adopter. Of course, these cats are often volunteer favorites. By working to teach new behavior patterns, we hope to be able to help these cats and educate our volunteers, staff and potential adopters about how to create environments in which they can thrive.

From CPP Team Leaders Kim Saunders, Angela Altomare, Christina Miranda
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

The biggest accomplishment would be giving the longer residents, skittish, and overstimulated cats a chance at improving in behavior which would improve their chance of adoption. Whether it is getting them to stop swatting, running/hiding or even attempting to bite. Many of our long-term cats need this help; seeing any type of change would be a great accomplishment.

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Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Looking to get our longer residents into proper homes or living spaces.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We have about 20 new volunteers engaged for the program. Additionally, our staff will participate.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Golden Crisp, Hermoso, Victoria, Topcat, Dishwalla, Vittle V, Tall Tails, Ray

Maryland SPCA

Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Executive Director: James Peirce
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Laura Cassiday, Maegan Campbell
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Lisa Stemcosky

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From James Peirce, Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

Being selected confirms that as a shelter we are heading in the right direction when it comes to making the lives of our cats as enriching and productive as possible while staying in the stressful shelter environment. We feel honored to be chosen and are very excited to learn from some of the best cat behavior experts in the country.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

Our goal is to decrease overall length of stay – especially for those who need a little extra push to be adoption ready. Working with the team at Cat Pawsitive Pro gives us the opportunity to set aside even more time for cats in our care – beyond our current protocols. After participating in the [pilot] Cat Pawsitive program in 2016, we implemented new behavior modification procedures that resulted in positive outcomes. Our staff and volunteers all have the same goal: find our cats homes more quickly and keep them out of the shelter. We are excited to expand our knowledge in order to provide even more support to cats during their stay with us.

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From 
CPP Team Leaders Laura Cassiday and Maegan Campbell
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

We are looking forward to learning how best to work with cats with behavioral issues such as aggression, overstimulation, and fear to be able to move them through the shelter more quickly while reducing their overall stress levels.

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We are hoping to use what we have learned in Cat Pawsitive Pro to broaden our skillset and resources when it comes to cats with behavioral issues that are preventing them from being adopted. The ultimate goal of us participating is to get more cats into homes more quickly.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

About 12, give or take a few. We are still working it out.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Ernie, a 10-year-old stray with overstimulation issues who is living in an office because he becomes aggressive in a cage.

Abiline, a 2-year-old return who does just fine in a home but is extremely stressed in the shelter and shuts down.

Mustang, a 9-year-old blind cat who chronically bolts from his cage and gets easily overstimulated. 

Michelson Found Animals Adopt & Shop

Location: Los Angeles, California
Chief People Officer: Lori Hutchins
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Edgar Lopez, Nathan Porter, Meghan Horn, Elaine Allison, Nicki DuBois, Nicole Attaie
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Samantha Bell

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From Lori Hutchins, Chief People Officer
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

Cats are the most vulnerable animal population in Los Angeles. Our mission at Michelson Found Animals Adopt & Shop is to put pets in homes and keep them there. We are honored to have been selected to participate in Cat Pawsitive Pro so we can help more cats gain the trust of people and confidence in their surroundings, so they are ready to interact with potential adopters and meet their new family.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

Shy and nervous cats are often overlooked and are more difficult to find forever homes for. Building the skills of our staff and volunteers to help cats learn new behaviors, be more relaxed and even master some cool tricks to show off is a win for everyone. Staff and volunteers will gain new skills and will feel great seeing the cats progress and get adopted.

From CPP Team Leaders Elaine Allison and Edgar Lopez
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

I want to learn things to help our cats on the adoption floor become more adoptable and help the kittens in the nursery who are often sick. – Elaine Allison

This semester, I’m looking forward to learning ways to make our cats the happiest they can be while in our care and to make our scaredy cats, shut-down, and hissy cats more adoptable so they can live their happy lives furever outside of our organization. – Edgar Lopez

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Right now, my goals are to have our cats (Bodhi, Callisto, Peach and Jesse Pinkman) go home or to foster as they have been with us for a while. And, to use the tools that helped them, help other cats with similar concerns. Lastly, it would be great to have the program running like clockwork in the near future so that all our cats get the same treatment! – Edgar Lopez

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

As many staff and volunteers that we can handle will be participating. Actually, most of our staff with the exception of one or two who happen to be allergic to cats will be participating. And as far as volunteers go, I’m aiming for at least 10 that will be working directly with staff on this program. I’m aiming to have all volunteers do it at some capacity. – Edgar Lopez

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Jesse Pinkman, Callisto, Peach and Bodhi 

Monmouth County SPCA

Location: Eatontown, New Jersey
Chief & Executive Director: Ross Licitra
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Nina Lucow, Brian Schwartz, Rachel Treglia
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Sara Russell

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From Ross Licitra, Chief & Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

I believe the professional and well thought out programs administered by the Cat Pawsitive Pro program can not only increase our shelter felines adaptability but give our staff the tools they need to foster the right minded thinking when it comes to feline behavior.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

This program will obviously benefit our cats by making them more adoptable, which benefits the shelter by decreasing the length of stay and reducing overall expenses. Our staff will have a better understanding of the felines around them and how to foster positive behavior.

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From 
CPP Team Leader Nina Lucow
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

We are hoping for the same successes we saw with [the introductory version of] Cat Pawsitive  – enrichment for some of our tough kitties, improvement in ability to show the tough cats enrolled in CP, highlighting the tough CP cats and even getting them adopted!

With Pro, I’m hoping to delve deeper into the behaviors and protocols for these tougher cats so we can help them even more by understanding them better and having a more in-depth plan to relay to potential adopters.

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what to expect with CPP. I’m very excited to see exactly what’s entailed. I’m not sure what it will look like and what exactly will be expected of us. I’m looking forward to seeing what we will be doing to help our tougher cats!!

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About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

7 – I wanted to limit the amount of participants and keep it to full-time staff that I know can commit to the program. 

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Yes!! Boyzenberry and Cinnamon who participated in [the introductory version of] Cat Pawsitive, Yoshi, Adorabella, Banksy, Harold, Hans and Hector. 

Mountain Humane

Location: Hailey, Idaho
Executive Director: Annie McCauley
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Leslie Krieger, Colleen Crain
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Molly DeVoss

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From Annie McCauley, Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

We are very honored to be selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro. The State of Idaho and the rural location of our shelter makes it challenging to connect with resources to support our work, particularly lifesaving programs for cats. The Cat Pawsitive Pro program brings cutting edge information, training, and support for our behavior staff and volunteers to better support our cat population. We are very proud of the work we have been able to do to help more cats get into forever homes, and we are excited to report that our cat adoptions have doubled in the past year. We know that the support from Cat Pawsitive Pro will only help us further our ability to help more cats and then position ourselves as a resource for other shelters as we share what we have learned in our training.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

We are excited to learn new skills as well as model training and behavior practices for cats in shelter environments. The support from experts in the field and proven training methods is invaluable, and Cat Pawsitive Pro makes this possible. We believe our cats will benefit from this program by receiving behavior support to help them be less stressed in the shelter environment and thus stay healthier and more adoptable. This program also gives a much needed spotlight onto shelter cats which we believe will also help staff, volunteers, and community members have an increased appreciation for cats.

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From CPP Team Leaders Leslie Krieger and Colleen Crain
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

We are most looking forward to gaining skills and tools in order to help adopt out our cats with higher length of stays. These cats stay with us longer because they tend to be “less appealing” to the general public because they may be hiding and fearful, or maybe they are “sassy” and get easily overstimulated, or don’t enjoy most types of handling, etc. We look forward to learning new strategies that we can use even after our time ends at the end of the semester to continue helping these types of cat populations. Our biggest hope after completing this program is to use these skills to help other shelters as well. We may do that through transferring in their “harder to adopt” cats or even teaching them the same skills we learned.

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Our current average length of stay for cats once they become available is 56 days. With 49 cats currently in our care, 33 (67%) of those cats have been with us longer than 1 month, and 12 (24%) of those cats have been with us longer than 90 days. With the skills we learn in this program, I’d like to see our numbers drop to only 50% of the cats having a 30 day or longer LOS and only 10% of our cats having a length of stay longer than 90 days. For a long-term goal after the Cat Pawsitive Pro program, I’d like to drop those numbers even further.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We are hoping to have at least 6-8 team members not including our 2 team leaders, with the majority of team members being comprised of volunteers.

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Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We have several cats that I have in mind. Skittles, who is our longest-term resident of over a year. She is a senior girl with some “catitude”. Freddy, who was our star pupil during the introductory Cat Pawsitive program. Ember, another cat with “catitude” and is easily overstimulated. Harvey, a young cat who came in as a stray with little socialization and has a tendency to hide.

Nashville Humane Association

Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Executive Director: Laura Chavarria
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Becca Morris, Kristen Elrod, Kellie Hopkins
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Tabitha Kucera

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From Laura Chavarria, Executive Director

What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

It is an absolute honor to be selected to take part in such a proactive and positive program like The Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive Pro. Our shelter looks forward to using positive reinforcement via clicker training to help enrich lives for the felines in our shelter’s care.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

The Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive Pro program will truly enrich the lives of our kitties at the shelter while patiently waiting for their loving, forever homes. Not only will our animals benefit, but our shelter staff and volunteers will build new skills. This program helps promote the human-cat bond and ultimately will help improve the kitty’s adoptability.

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From CPP Team Leaders Becca Morris, Kristen Elrod, Kellie Hopkins
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

The team is most looking forward to learning techniques to work with harder to place cats including shy, fearful, and cats that get overstimulated easily.

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We are hoping to find ways to incorporate the teachings of Cat Pawsitive Pro into our everyday shelter enrichment. Additionally, we hope to see an increase in cat adoptions and shortened length of stay, specifically for adult cats.

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About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We have 6 staff members and 5 volunteers that will be participating as the Cat Pawsitive Pro team.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We have three cats in mind for the Cat Pawsitive Pro program: Snooty, Saban, and Kanye. 

Oshkosh Area Humane Society

Location: Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Executive Director: Joni Geiger
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Cari Tetzlaff, Heather Larsen, Cheryl Rosenthal, Stephanie Strzalka
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Carrie Seay

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From Joni Geiger, Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

I think that without question we are very proud to be selected; we feel as though this is an honor. For our shelter, what it means to us is that we can do better, be better, and it’s a win-win: it’s going to help our cats and it’s going to help our staff and volunteers.

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

I’m really excited about the fact that we’ll be learning how to provide individualized help for cats that fall through the cracks in traditional shelter environments. It’s going to help those cats feel better about being here at our shelter and should also help create clearer pathways to adoption for them.

Seeing how staff are so excited about this program is exciting to me. It shows there is a lot of investment in the program and a willingness to do the very best we can. This will empower volunteers and give them the tools to help more cats feel supported and comfortable.

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From 
CPP Team Leaders Cari Tetzlaff, Heather Larsen, Cheryl Rosenthal, Stephanie Strzalka
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

We are looking forward to adding tools to our toolbox to more effectively provide early training and support to cats who are experiencing quality of life issues in our care or struggling to adapt to the shelter environment. We feel cats deserve to have their behavior analyzed and have science-based interventions just as much as dogs do and can’t wait to learn more from our Trainer-Mentor and the rest of the group!

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We are hoping to target shy and fearful cats, cats who display overstimulated behavior or cats who are simply upset about being here – these are the cats who struggle the most to adapt quickly to the living environments at our facility and also the cats most likely to be overlooked by adopters.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

We believe we will have six staff members participating in our program and five volunteers.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

We have a cat named Amaryllis who is an adorable little tortoiseshell who can sometimes bite during petting. We would love to work with her using the techniques we will learn in the program! 

Rescue Village

Location: Russell Township, Ohio
Executive Director: Hope Brustein
Cat Pawsitive Pro Team Leaders: Erin Hawes, Andrea Giorgio, Wendy Grellinger, Erika Custis
Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor: Tabitha Kucera

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From Hope Brustein, Executive Director
What does being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro mean for your shelter?

We are thrilled because being selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro means Rescue Village ups its game in the world of feline life-saving. It enables us to build essential skills and move forward toward our shelter’s dream of being a visionary leader in our field. Constant improvement is a promise to our entire humane community – thank you to The Jackson Galaxy Project, GreaterGood.org & Petco Foundation for making this possible!

How do you think the program will benefit your cats? Your staff? Your volunteers?

The more we learn about cats – their rescue, shelter life and needs, and the road to adoption – the more we understand that improved enrichment and specialized behavior assistance saves more lives and gets our cats home faster. They are going to love it. Staff will become more knowledgeable and get intensive hands-on experience. This aligns with their dedication and goals. Volunteers selected for Cat Pawsitive Pro will receive advanced training and more responsibility. EVERYONE will take with them an increased capacity to serve our cats (and our Mission).

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From 
CPP Team Leaders Erin Hawes, Andrea Giorgio, Wendy Grellinger, Erika Custis
What are you most looking forward to learning or accomplishing this semester?

We are most looking forward to being able to connect with cats who are struggling in the shelter setting behaviorally by building a language to communicate with them. And really watching these cats respond and hopefully get them adopted that much faster!

Are there specific objectives or goals you are aiming to reach using Cat Pawsitive Pro?

One of our goals is to build a strong, talented team that can take the knowledge they learn throughout the semester and keep it going afterwards so we can continue improving the lives of cats long after the program officially ends.

About how many staff and volunteers at your shelter will participate as CPP team members?

Our idea right now is to have 4 staff members, and 2-3 volunteers participating in Cat Pawsitive Pro.

Do you have any cats in mind for enrolling in Cat Pawsitive Pro?

Yes! We do! Senor Blanco, Cheekie, Van, and Tantor!

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Want to keep up with news about the lifesaving work of The Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive Pro initiative?

Follow us on Facebook at The Jackson Galaxy Project. You can learn more about the program and support our work at http://www.catpawsitive.org. The Jackson Galaxy Project is a Signature Program of GreaterGood.org.