Using treats, clickers and lots of positive reinforcement, staff members at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County teach cats to “sit,” “stay,” “look” and give high fives as part of the Jackson Galaxy Foundation’s Cat Pawsitive program. In 2020, the ARL was selected as just as one of 55 shelters shelters nationwide to implement Cat Pawsitive, which is a life-saving initiative designed to keep adoptable cats mentally and physically active while providing them with fun training sessions that go beyond playtime as usual to help cats maintain their mojo. And in 2021, the ARL was again selected to take part in the Cat Pawsitive PRO program, furthering our team’s savvy clicker-training skills with shelter cats! These specially-designed training sessions, developed by Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” as well as a team of feline behavior experts, also help cats reduce their stress levels while at the shelter and build connections and confidence with staff, volunteers and potential adopters, allowing them to find homes faster than ever before! In fact, since 2016, more than 1,200 cats have been adopted during Cat Pawsitive semesters nationwide, with hundreds more cats benefitting from being in the program.
At the ARL, you’ll see once-shy and shut-down cats now greet visitors by coming to their front of their kennels; feisty cats learning how to play nicely; and, once in a while, an especially outgoing cat will learn how to give a potential adopter a “high five,” endearing him or her to all he or she meets! Through this revolutionary program, adopters learn that shelter cats are pretty cool and can be trained to perform some basic commands in a short period of time, increasing their adoptability and enriching their day-to-day life while in our care.