FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Maryland SPCA is one of nine shelters selected from a national pool of applicants
(Baltimore, MD)— The Maryland SPCA announced, today, that it was selected by The Jackson Galaxy Foundation to participate in their Cat Pawsitive program, an initiative that will introduce positive-reinforcement training to shelter cats. Developed by Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat from Hell on Animal Planet and Founder of his namesake organization, along with a team of animal behavior experts, Cat Pawsitive is a training program aimed at enriching day-to-day life for cats in shelters, building social skills, promoting the human-cat bond, and improving “adoptability” by reducing stress-related behaviors.
Miranda Workman, a feline behavior expert hand-picked by the Foundation, will lead the pilot program at the Maryland SPCA beginning April 19. Throughout the three-month program, staff will participate in three webinars to learn the basics of feline clicker training, be mentored by Workman, and will have direct access to the training team for consultations along the way.
“Working closely with the Cat Pawsitive trainers is a great privilege,” says Maegan Dobash, behavior & transport coordinator at the Maryland SPCA. “We are always looking for new ways to help cats in the shelter find homes and make their stay here more enjoyable. There are not a lot of training programs that involve cats like this, so we are really looking forward to learning.”
Cats who are exposed to reward-based training methods gain confidence and experience reduced stress through clicker 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.
“We are thrilled to be working with the Maryland SPCA to show the world what can be done to step up the game and improve outcomes for cats in shelters,” says Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat from Hell on Animal Planet and Founder of his namesake organization. “Our goal isn’t just to keep cats behaviorally and physically active—we’re also working to empower staff and volunteers to continue using these methods when the program concludes. This program will raise the public profile of cats, demonstrate their trainability and hopefully serve as a model for other feline positive reinforcement programs.”
The Jackson Galaxy Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that improves the lives of animals at risk by transforming the places they live and helping the people who care for them. JGF is led by the vision of Jackson Galaxy, who has developed an unwavering commitment to help animals at risk and the people who work tirelessly to get them homes through his years in animal welfare, as an animal advocate, his work as a behaviorist and host of his globally popular TV show, My Cat from Hell. The Jackson Galaxy Foundation focuses on programs that drive innovation; promotes improved shelter design and construction; and provides “Elevation through Education”—increased knowledge that inspires and empowers staff, volunteers, rescuers and adopters to continually raise the bar for animals at risk. More info about the Foundation’s programs and services is available at www.jacksongalaxyfoundation.org.
The Maryland SPCA’s mission is to improve the lives of pets and people in the community, and there is never a time limit for how long an animal can remain in our care. We receive no operating funds from the government or the ASPCA and we rely on donations to continue our work. Behavior classes, education about animal welfare to the community, low cost spay/neuter, and providing medical care for pets at our wellness center are just some of the things we offer to the public. A few of our other programs include “Kibble connection,” which is a program that provides pet food to local “Meals on Wheels” clients, and we are also proud to be a founding member of the Baltimore Animal Welfare Alliance. This alliance consists of the major animal welfare organizations in Baltimore and our mission is to work together to save animals’ lives. More information about our mission and programs is available at http://www.mdspca.org
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