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PAWS Is Writing New Chapters in Life Stories of Cats with Cat Pawsitive Pro

by Rachel Loehner

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For PAWS, an organization established in 1967, it’s all about people helping animals. And some of the animals in their care are cats with behavior challenges. These cats often stay at the shelter longer than others, which is why the staff at PAWS is looking forward to participating in The Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive Pro 2018 Spring Semester.

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Currently, cats with behavior challenges stay with PAWS on an average of 6 to 8 weeks in their Lynnwood, Washington facility, compared to the overall length of stay for cats of just over seven days. Helping these cats is clearly a priority for the staff at PAWS.

Animal Behavior Lead Rachel Bird says, “Having a structured program that utilizes positive training techniques will provide enrichment, confidence building and some level of predictability for the cats who are experiencing the stress, fear, boredom and frustration that can come along with being in a constantly changing shelter environment.”

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While Cat Pawsitive Pro will surely benefit the cats, the program is also something that the volunteers are looking forward to.

Tracey Rogers, CAS Programs Manager, says, “Our volunteers are always looking for ways to help the cats entrusted to PAWS’ care. They come to us with varying levels of personal experience [with cats], and to have a program that teaches them how to engage with cats who are shy, scared, overwhelmed and frustrated will enable them to make a real difference for every cat.”

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Tracey goes on to say, “Additionally, it gives volunteers a pathway to grow their cat behavior knowledge and put it into practice, which will keep them engaged as a volunteer and doing work that they are passionate about.”

PAWS will have four team leaders working through Cat Pawsitive Pro with their JGP Trainer-Mentor, Sara Russell. In addition, there will be 10 staff and volunteers participating in the program.

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Rebecca Oertel, PAWS Cat City Manager, reflects on how the staff at PAWS will be able to easily incorporate Cat Pawsitive Pro into their routine: “In shelter work, there have been readily available tools and support for developing enrichment and behavior programs for dogs but not very many options have existed for cats. The Cat Pawsitive Pro program is exciting because it is ready to go, easy to integrate into our already overly-busy days, and brings hope for the cats who are often overlooked by adopters.”

And perhaps Rebecca puts it best when she says, “As hard as our staff work to provide a great place for cats, the shelter should only be a single chapter in their life story and my greatest joy is saying good-bye to each cat as they go home.”

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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 support our work by making a tax-deductible donation today. The Jackson Galaxy Project is a Signature Program of GreaterGood.org.