Cats learn behaviors through Cat Pawsitive program

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The goal of the Terre Haute Humane Society is to find animals their forever homes.

In the meantime, staff members and volunteers work to make these animals feel as loved as possible.

One way they’re doing that is through the Cat Pawsitive program.

It was created by famous cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy and the Terre Haute Humane Society was selected to take part.

“You’ve got this little clicker here. It makes noise everytime you click it,” explains cat caretaker Jonathan Ellinger.

Shelter staff members are teaching the cats behaviors through what’s called “clicker training”.

“First you decide what behavior you want your cat to do. If it’s sit, you follow them around and wait until they sit, then you click and give them a treat,” says Ellinger.

There are five behaviors that felines learn in the Cat Pawsitive program: high five, head bump, sit, hoop jump and come when called.

Through these five behaviors is one goal: enriching these shelter cats’ lives to create a special connection between them and potential adopters.

“They fall in love a lot faster for that animal and they say ‘I think you’re the one for me’,” says Ellinger, “and they get to go to their forever home.”

One such success story is Major. Ellinger worked with Major for about nine weeks.

“He eventually learned how to sit, head bump and we were working on high five. His adopters came in and looked at him. I had him perform several behaviors for them and they fell in love. They wanted to take him home,” says Ellinger.

That forever home is something the Terre Haute Humane Society hopes each cat will find.

“Thank you to Jackson Galaxy, Petco Foundation and Halo Pets for their sponsorship. It’s been greatly appreciated and helped a lot of cats in our facility,” says Ellinger.

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