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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Van de Kieft

Shelbee: The Once Shy Cat is Now Asking to be Pet and Loves Training

Shelbee's foster mom, Cindy, hired me to help her socialize Shelbee who had been removed from a hoarding situation and then spent 4 years in a cage at a shelter, too fearful to interact with people. When Cindy started volunteering at the shelter, she offered to take her home to help socialize her. Here's what Cindy did:

* Shelbee was kept in a crate while she got comfortable in Cindy's office;

* After a few weeks, Shelbee was given the opportunity to explore Cindy's office where she made herself comfortable on the cat tree.

* Cindy created a schedule of meals, playtime, and training so Shelbee could anticipate what would come next in her day.

* Cindy did not force interactions, instead giving Shelbee the choice of whether she wanted to participate. This included petting. She never forced her to be touched or interact if Shelbee did not want to. Control over one's environment is a powerful reinforcer.

*Progress was slow at first. Then Cindy started training Shelbee to touch a target. She picked up training cues quickly and we began to see what a smart and amazing cat Shelbee really is. She quickly became very confident and very comfortable with Cindy and in her home.

In about a month's time, Shelbee went from a very shy cat who was stressed in a shelter environment to a confident, playful cat who loves to do tricks. The shelter can be a stressful place for cats. Fostering fearful cats and giving them an opportunity to shine on their own terms can be transforming. Marker Training is a effective way to help them feel comfortable faster as Cindy and Shelbee clearly demonstrated.

Shelbee is ready for her forever home. She's great with other cats too. If you're interested in seeing more pics and videos, or even adopting Shelbee, click on her picture below.

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