Now Shelters Are Teaching Cats Tricks To Increase Their Odds Of Adoption

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Dogs have long wowed humans with their ability do tricks. In 2017, an impeccably-trained canine even made it to the final rounds of America’s Got Talent. But, everyone just assumed that cats – perhaps because of their storied independence – couldn’t be similarly schooled, so much that nobody ever really bothered to try.

Now 4,000 years after Egyptians first started keeping cats as pets, a well-known cat behaviorist is here to tell you such old-fashioned thinking is wrong.

According to Jackson Galaxy, a self-professed “Cat Daddy” and Animal Planet host whose insights into feline thinking stem from years of working with Colorado rescues, cats aren’t just easily trained, teaching them a few party tricks can increase their chance of adoption.

Galaxy has teamed up with GreaterGood.org to roll out this life-saving program, Cat Pawsitive, to animals shelters across the country. The training itself is relatively straightforward. Galaxy’s team teaches shelter staff and volunteers why cats act in a certain way, and then – with the help of clickers and treats — shows them how to help their rescues become their best cat-selves. There’s even a version, Cat Pawsitive Pro, intended to help coax under-socialized or anxious cats out of their shell.

According to Galaxy’s website, the program has grown from 9 or 10 participating shelters to 66 U.S. shelters in just three years. (And you can help by sponsoring a participating rescue here).

Besides the obvious fact that rehoming rescues keeps cats off the kill-list, the program also keeps cats from becoming sedentary or bored.

“Imagine you walked into the aisle of cats at a cat shelter and every cat came to the front and reached their paw through,” said Courtney Protz-Sanders, executive director of Paws for Life Rescue, which recently partnered with Galaxy and Greatergood.org on this ground-breaking program. “It gets attention and it gets people talking with that cat,” she explained to a local paper.

Learn more about this cat-tastic program in the video below!

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July is one of the busiest months of the year for shelters and rescues. As the stray population explodes and more homeless pets are taken in, these facilities often find themselves struggling to keep the animals fed.

A single rescue pet will need 100 meals on average while housed at a shelter awaiting adoption into their forever home. National Feed a Rescue Pet Week is aimed at drawing attention to shelter needs during this critical time, and support from animal allies around the world. GreaterGood is stepping up to the challenge with the goal providing 4 million meals for homeless pets, but we can’t do it without your help!

Click the button below to make a difference during National Feed a Rescue Pet Week, feed animals in need, and help us reach our goal!

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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