EASEL Animal Rescue League Looks Forward to Increasing Trust and Eliminating Fear in Shelter Cats

By Dawn White of Lola the Rescued Cat
EASEL Animal Rescue League, a no-kill rescue shelter, is passionate about saving lives. They are especially proud to manage Mercer County, New Jersey’s only no-kill municipal shelter, and they believe “every animal should enjoy life.” The Cat Pawsitive Pro (CPP) program fits right in with their belief.

The CPP team at EASEL is looking forward to eliminating fear and increasing trust in their shelter cats. Kirsten Grover, Team Leader and Medical Team Member/Dog Trainer, says, “fear and trust-based issues make me sad.” Although some people may find this endearing if that is all they exhibit, her bigger concern is “for the ones that hiss and or swat and don’t really back away.” Kirsten, who has been with the shelter for 5 ½ years, truly hopes that CPP “will help these cats get noticed for their wonderful personalities and get adopted sooner.”
Kirsten is passionate about helping cats with behavioral issues find adoptive families.  With 10+ years of experience in shelter work, she loves that everyone at EASEL is involved with the cats’ care and socialization. She says that every cat has several “advocats, and everyone knows their names.” There is definitely a passion at EASEL for rehabilitation and finding a home for cats “no matter what challenges they may have.”

Kirsten believes that “cats deserve to enjoy life and love living it!” One cat she is looking forward to working with is Dolly Parton, who she would like to see grow and find her forever home. Dolly is fearful and has and trust-based issues. “[All cats] deserve a great quality of life and a family. I want them to start enjoying a better quality of life with us until we find this family no matter how long it may take.”


Kirsten’s ideal outcome of participating in CPP is having EASEL’s focus be on the quality of the time the cats spend in their care. She would also like to understand how to best help them grow. Ultimately, this knowledge and understanding would help more senior cats and special needs cats who are surrendered to overcome the sudden changes in their lives – with the goal being to find their way into their forever home quicker.

EASEL is a busy shelter, seeing approximately 4 to 5 new cats come in daily between May and December, and about 1 per day in other months. In 2018 they had an impressive adoption rate with 571 cats going to their forever homes. The average length of stay for a cat is 57 days. For cats like Dolly Parton, and others with behavioral issues, the stay is longer.
EASEL Vice President Dr. Georgia Arvanitis is looking forward to increasing the number of cats going through EASEL’s rescue system and shelter. She says, “We can take additional cats from local high-kill shelters and save more lives.” Their location in central NJ is ideal for such an effort. They’ve already increased their number of annual adoptions and want to continue with that trajectory.
“A program like this, well-positioned and publicized on social media and our website, will raise awareness about shelter cats and have a positive impact on their image with the public,” says Dr. Arvanitis. “It will show EASEL as an innovative shelter in our local area and distinguish us from typical rescues which will be impressive to funders.”

Dr. Arvanitis notes that this increased activity by an expanded group of volunteer participants is an exciting aspect of this project, and they are expecting a big buzz among their volunteers and foster families. “Who else trains cats and empowers its staff and team to participate in a cutting-edge program?”
Dr. Arvanitis feels EASEL’s participation in Cat Pawsitive Pro will also increase trust among their partners because of the time and resources they are putting behind the program, allowing both staff and volunteers to spend additional time with the cats for training.
EASEL’s overall goals are to decrease the length of stay in the shelter cat room and increase adoption rates for adult cats; to increase participation for cats in off-site adoption events; and to ensure a better transition from foster home to shelter environment. It’s clear that the team at EASEL is looking forward to helping as many cats as they can with the help of Cat Pawsitive Pro!

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 The Jackson Galaxy Project is a Signature Program of