Excitement for Cat Pawsitive Pro Builds and Spreads at the SPCA of Brazoria County
By Emily Hall of Kitty Cat Chronicles
We here at The Jackson Galaxy Project never tire of hearing about how well the shelters and cats of the Cat Pawsitive Pro (CPP) program are doing. It always amazes us how quickly the cats learn and grow. The SPCA of Brazoria County hasn’t been working with CPP for long, but they are already seeing amazing results.
The staff and volunteers are excited, and that excitement is spreading. Team Leader Erica Ledesma says, “The additional focus on the cats has really created hype in the shelter and is providing more focus on the cat program as a whole. There is more attention from the volunteers and ultimately from the community.”
Executive Director Beate Damm agrees, saying, “Cat Pawsitive Pro has changed our shelter culture in regards to cats, the attention they receive, the focus of the staff, volunteers and the community.”
Staff members are even requesting to work with specific cats because they are recognizing how the training can benefit them. Staff member Courtney Guthridge says, “The staff has been more observant of the cats’ behaviors and have offered several suggestions on who would benefit from training.”
One such cat is Maricela. Maricela is an almost-two-year-old tuxie girl who has been at the SPCA of Brazoria County for just over a year. She arrived as a stray, but when her owner was contacted, the shelter learned that Maricela had been missing for 45 days. Her owner had moved several states away since then and unfortunately was unable to retrieve her.
When Maricela first arrived at the SPCA, she was nervous. The staff has even described her as “a little spastic.” She would act like she wanted attention, but when approached, she would run away. Since being in the Cat Pawsitive Pro program, Maricela has calmed down and is more approachable. She has been receptive to training and has learned new behaviors extremely well. Erica says, “I feel as though we have made great strides with Maricela in Cat Pawsitive Pro. She doesn’t shy away as much and has actually calmly laid down to let me pet her! Having worked with her in the first leg of Cat Pawsitive Lite, it is exciting to see her making strides towards being more comfortable being physically approached.”
All of the staff and volunteers of the SPCA agree that they have been surprised at how approachable some of their more timid cats have become. All of the cats have been responsive to the team’s training efforts, even those who were expected to be more challenging – like Zero, for example.
Zero is another SPCA of Brazoria County cat who has made great progress since training in the Cat Pawsitive Pro program. Zero arrived at the shelter as a stray like Maricela; however, the shelter doesn’t know anything about his past or where he came from. Before he started with CPP, Zero was unapproachable – hiding whenever his condo was opened. The shelter tried putting him into a foster home, but he hid the entire time and even stopped eating. He was brought back to the shelter and re-paired with Breezy, another cat whom he has bonded with.
Erica thought Zero was going to be the shelter’s toughest case, which made her even more excited to work with him. Though he continues to pose the occasional challenge, he has made great breakthroughs since beginning his training. The team has discovered that he is extremely treat-motivated, and he will now initiate nose bumps and take treats out of the staff and volunteers’ hands. “Working with Zero has given me hope that breakthroughs can be made with any cat!” says Erica. She and the rest of the team are hopeful that with some more training and time, he will be adopted with his best friend Breezy.
It’s not just the staff and volunteers that have been engaged and excited about Cat Pawsitive Pro. Being able to watch the staff training the cats or noticing the “I’m a Cat Pawsitive Cat” sign on the cats’ kennels has sparked a lot of interest from potential adopters. Many people don’t seem to realize that cats can be trained, so it is a treat for them to witness and hear about it. This newfound interest and curiosity can only mean good things for the cats of the SPCA of Brazoria County!
Carrie Seay, the SPCA’s Trainer-Mentor, says, “Seeing the cats change and grow throughout the semester is always one of the best feelings! It’s amazing to watch them come out of their shells and see what they can learn. It’s also fun to see the trainers grow too and gain confidence with their training. I love seeing the pride they have when they can say ‘I taught that cat to do something it didn’t know before.’”
All of this excitement sure is contagious! We can’t wait to check back in with this shelter and hear more about their growth and progress after some more time training.
YOU can improve the lives of cats at risk. Donate today to The Jackson Galaxy Project’s Cat Pawsitive Program and transform the places and people that support at-risk pets!