My guess is that if you’re reading this blog, you probably know who Jackson Galaxy is…but I suppose there is still a chance that you’re a cat lover and you’ve never heard of him. So just in case, Jackson Galaxy (a.k.a. America’s Cat Daddy) is best known for hosting the Animal Planet show “My Cat from Hell,” where he helped cat owners work on their cats’ behavioral issues. But before that, Jackson started his career with animals in the 90s at a shelter in Colorado. And while there, he found his calling – working with cats.
In 2014, he founded the Jackson Galaxy Foundation (JGF), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that improves the lives of animals who are at risk by transforming the places they live and helping the people who care for them.
This past month on April 19th, the Jackson Galaxy Foundation launched the Cat Pawsitive initiative, which is a positive reinforcement training program debuting in nine shelters throughout the U.S., with the following goals:
- Increasing the adoptability of cats in shelters
- Keeping the cats in the shelter engaged, and behaviorally and physically active
- Empowering and inspiring shelter staff and volunteers through increased knowledge
- Showing people both in and out of the shelter that cats can be taught using positive reinforcement training methods
- Raising the public profile of shelter cats and the great work being done at Cat Pawsitive shelters
- Capturing both qualitative and quantitative results
- Demonstrating collaborative efforts through modelling (source)
I asked Sandra Monterose, Executive Director of the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, about her experience with the program so far. “It has been very exciting to watch cats in the program and see them learning with each step. In many of the videos, you can just see the cats coming out of their shells. What I find just as gratifying is the boost for the staff and volunteers who are learning as well, and developing new relationships with the individual cats. These programs will change the future for the cats, the people, and the organizations involved.”
I am personally excited to be one of the JGF volunteers helping with the Cat Pawsitive initiative. My contribution will be to help compile the results upon the program’s completion. It will be interesting to see the outcome, but you can already read about how the program is going at the participating shelters. Visit the JGF website or follow them on Facebook to keep up-to-date on the Cat Pawsitive program and be inspired by the great strides these shelter cats are making!
I was going to show the shirt that I bought to support the Cat Pawsitive initiative, but the kitties decided to investigate (and of course that turned out for the best). It’s always better to have a cat in the photo!
What do you think about the Cat Pawsitive initiative? Have you ever tried clicker training with cats before?