It’s a sad fact of life that not every wonderful, beautiful pet that is brought to a shelter will be adopted and find their forever home. Cat expert Jackson Galaxy recognized that well-adapted cats are more likely to catch the eye of a new owner, allowing them the greatest potential for adoption and created the Cat Pawsitive Program to help give these amazing cats a fresh start. This is the story of one of the fabulous felines involved in the program and volunteer coordinator, Dina Schubert with DuPage County Animal Services in Wheaton, IL.
Ivey is an adorable, 5-pound “kitten” who was actually around 3-years-old when she was surrendered to our shelter. She struggled with digestive issues and inappropriate elimination, but we quickly discovered that her food was the primary issue. Ivey spent some time with a loving foster family who was able to help identify the problem and solve her litter box issues. When Ivey first came to the shelter, she loved to try to trick visitors into giving her treats. She was always friendly and engaged and now loves to climb to the highest heights of her current foster family’s condo to snooze in the sunshine. Ivey was the ideal candidate for the Cat Pawsitive program and was matched with volunteer coordinator Dina Schubert.
Introducing the Cat Pawsitive Program
Cats that are highly engaged with their surroundings are more likely to be adoptable, which is the premise behind the Cat Pawsitive program. Cats learn a variety of different behaviors based on three core training techniques. Cats are matched with a trainer to help them work through the program. Cats learn to:
- Maintain eye contact
- Touch (touching their nose or paw to their human’s hand or a target)
- Come to the front of the cage
- Move from one side of the cage to the other
While the program is still in its early stages, volunteer coordinator Dina Schubert notes that she expects cats to be able to perform a wider range of activities in the future including jumping through hoops, navigating a tunnel, walking on a ledge, weaving through poles, and more.
Cats all progress through the program at different rates, but Ivey was a “smarty-pants” according to Dina — quickly able to pick up new activities and apply her knowledge in the future. The cats look forward to their training time both for the interaction with their dedicated trainers as well as for the treats they earn!
If Ivey Could Speak . . .
If Ivey could speak, what would she say about her amazing job?
I am always ready for anything! All you have to do is give me a challenge, and I’m ready for action. One of my favorite things to do is proving people wrong when they think cats can’t learn special behaviors. Boy, I showed them when I learned how I can “kiss” my human’s hand or cheek — and sometimes boop her nose if I was feeling feisty! I may be small, but I am definitely mighty.
To learn more about the “Cat Pawsitive” Program, click one of the logos below.
Contact the Veterinarians at Sunset Veterinary Clinic
Are you paw-sitive about adopting a cat of your very own? Contact your local professionals at Sunset Veterinary Clinic by calling (405) 844-2888. We offer a wide range of pet wellness care as well as emergency medicine for your favorite felines — and all your other pets, too!