Philadelphia Animal Shelters to Feature Prominently in Jackson Galaxy Foundation’s Cat Pawsitive Program
ACCT Philly and PAWS selected as two of nine shelters selected from a national pool of applicants
(Philadelphia, PA) January 26, 2017 – Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) and Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) today announced that they were both selected by The Jackson Galaxy Foundation (JGF) to participate in Cat Pawsitive, an initiative that introduces positive-reinforcement training to shelter cats.
Jackson Galaxy (star of the television show My Cat from Hell on Animal Planet, and Founder of his namesake organization) developed Cat Pawsitive with a team of animal behavior experts. Highlights of the program include:
- improving cat “adoptability”
- enriching day-to-day life for cats in shelters
- building feline social skills, especially for shy or fearful cats
- promoting the human-cat bond
- teaching and empowering animal shelter staff and volunteers
Lisa Stemcosky, a feline behavior expert hand-picked by JGF, will lead the program for ACCT Philly and PAWS beginning February 2. Throughout the four-month program, ACCT and PAWS staff and volunteers will participate in weekly trainings with Stemcosky and will have direct access to the entire training team for consultations about the cats in their care.
“I am excited and honored that ACCT Philly was chosen to participate in the Cat Pawsitive program,” says Vincent Medley, Executive Director of ACCT. “As an open admission shelter with very limited resources, we are constantly looking for new, innovative ways to help save lives. We hope ACCT Philly’s participation in the project will expand our ability to provide live exits for behaviorally challenged cats.”
“PAWS is looking forward to working with the Jackson Galaxy Foundation to help Philadelphia’s homeless cats. We have always worked to provide behavior enrichment and a positive environment for the cats in our care, so this program is a natural fit for us,” says PAWS’ Executive Director Melissa Levy. “Matchmaking is a central part of what we do, so we’re hopeful that Cat Pawsitive can enable us to make more adoptive matches by helping cats’ personalities shine through.”
“ACCT Philly and PAWS are already great collaborators. Their participation in Cat Pawsitive is another example of what can be done to step up the game and improve outcomes for cats in shelters in Philadelphia,” says Jackson Galaxy. “Cat Pawsitive is about awareness, enrichment, innovation, and increased adoption placement on a grassroots level. I know that the work done during this program will have a ripple effect, helping so many Philly cats in need and the humans who care for them.”
Cats who are exposed to reward-based training methods gain confidence and experience reduced stress through training sessions; soon they are building connections with staff, volunteers and potential adopters. Cat Pawsitive can help a shy cat learn to feel comfortable coming up to the front of the cage to meet an adopter, a feisty cat learn to play nice, and an outgoing kitty learn to give an endearing “high five” to visitors to seal an adoption deal.