Jackson Galaxy has been on a mission to improve cats’ lives for most of his life. Thanks to his show My Cat From Hell, cat guardians around the world are learning from the challenging cases he deals with on the show. But Jackson doesn’t just want to change house cats’ lives, he wants to make life better for all cats, which is why he formed the Jackson Galaxy Foundation in 2014. The foundation is the realization of Jackson’s long-standing dream of bettering the lives of animals at risk and helping the people who care for them.
The foundation’s newest initiative, Cat Pawsitive, focuses on improving the lives of shelter cats by introducing positive-reinforcement training to shelters. The program’s goals are:
• enriching day-to-day life for cats in shelters
• building social skills
• promoting the human-cat bond
• improving “adoptability”
Reduce stress for shelter cats
The pilot program will take place in nine shelters across the country, ranging from small, limited-admission private shelters to large, open-admission municipal facilities. The shelters will each participate in three webinars with a hand-picked training team. Shelter staff will also have direct access to the team for consultations throughout the three-month program.
“Our goal with Cat Pawsitive isn’t just to keep cats in the shelter behaviorally and physically active—we’re also working to empower staff and volunteers to continue using positive reinforcement methods when the program concludes,” says Jackson. “This program will raise the public profile of cats, demonstrate their trainability and will serve as a model for organizations helping animals everywhere.”
The program is designed to help cats gain confidence and experience reduced stress through clicker training sessions. Confident cats will have an easier time forming connections with staff, volunteers and potential adopters. By helping a shy cat become more confident, cats may be more comfortable coming up to the front of the cage to meet an adopter. A really outgoing kitten might even learn to give a “high five” to his visitors to seal the adoption deal.
Cat Pawsitive will run from April 19 through mid-July and will conclude with an analysis of the program’s impact. Participating shelters are the Washington Humane Society/Washington Animal Rescue League, Animal Care Centers of New York City, Maryland SPCA, Furkids, Cat Adoption Team, The Anti-Cruelty Society, Providence Animal Rescue League, Tabby Town, and the SPCA of Texas.
For more information about the Cat Pawsitive Initiative, please visit http://www.JacksonGalaxyFoundation.org.