Cat Pawsitive: Positive Training for Shelter Cats


We are excited to announce that Seattle Area Feline Rescue was 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

Samantha Bell DiGenova, a feline behavior expert hand-picked by the Foundation, will lead the program for Seattle Area Feline Rescue beginning February 2. Throughout the four-month program, shelter staff and volunteers will participate in weekly trainings with DiGenova and will have direct access to the entire training team for consultations about the cats in their care.

“We are thrilled to have the expertise and guidance of the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, as well as the many resources the Cat Pawsitive program provides,” said SAFe Rescue’s Claire Robinson, Cat Pawsitive team leader. “Many of our volunteers are already big fans of the great work done by Jackson Galaxy as well as JGF, and we can’t wait to make a difference in the lives of our kitties with the help of the Cat Pawsitive program!”

“We are excited to be working with Seattle Area Feline Rescue to show the world what can be done to step up the game and improve outcomes for cats in shelters,” 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 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.

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