By Kristin Avery of My Rescued Life
Pierogi originally arrived at the Independent Cat Society (ICS) with his littermate when he was 8 weeks old. Although the kittens were shy, they were adopted quickly and thrived in their new home. Sadly, in 2017 both his littermate and owner passed away.
The Independent Cat Society in Westville, Indiana, is the largest feline adoption agency in northwest Indiana and has been helping stray and abandoned cats find loving homes since 1977. On any given day, there are typically 175-200 cats living at the shelter with an average of 6-10 adoptions per week.
ICS participated in the initial Cat Pawsitive Lite program and were amazed at how quickly the cats learned clicker training. This time around ICS is focusing on the shelter’s shy and less socialized cats affectionately known as the ‘Scruffys’.
“Some cats are motivated by treats and others are not,” says Beth. “And then there’s Cadbury who doesn’t like the clicker sound.”
Cadbury, a gorgeous deep brown, green-eyed cat is shy with humans and the noise level at the shelter has always stressed him out. The ICS team worked with Cat Pawsitive Pro Trainer-Mentor Lisa Stemcosky to come up with an alternative for this quiet-loving guy. They now make a kissing sound instead of using the clicker, which is less stressful and working well. Cadbury is also responding well to eye blinks.
“The ICS team is doing great with the program and making a big difference in the lives of the cats in their care,” says Lisa. “The cats are learning so much, their confidence is growing and most importantly, they are having fun!”
Beth admits that initially, a few volunteers were skeptical about investing time and energy in the Scruffys, questioning whether the team should focus on more adoptable cats. But Cadbury, Pierogi, and the other Scruffys are making such incredible progress that the community and volunteers are enthusiastic and many now want to join the Cat Pawsitive Pro team!