KITTEN WIRE: MEET ALASKA, THE CAT WHO TWIRLS FOR TREATS

OAKLAND, Calif. — It's a common misconception: Cats can't be trained. Same goes for the phrase: There are cats who just don't like people and will never be "adoptable."

Alaska is always wide eyed and ready for treats! Photo by Liz Lazich.

Alaska is always wide eyed and ready for treats! Photo by Liz Lazich.

Alaska is a cat who proves both of those statements false. This former under-socialized cat who used to shy away from humans is now part of the welcome wagon for visitors at Cat Town. And that's not all: She does tricks. This girl can sit, beg, twirl and even give high-fives.

How? Time, love — and some clicker training with a staff member who worked with her to do those tricks for treats and in the process helped her become more engaged with people. (Check out this NPR interview Terry Gross did with cat behaviorist Sarah Ellis on training cats.) 

Alaska practices her high-five skills with Cat Care Coordinator Marie C. Photo by Liz Lazich.

Alaska practices her high-five skills with Cat Care Coordinator Marie C. Photo by Liz Lazich.

Alaska came to Cat Town in December of 2016, a member of our Forgotten Kitten Project. We call them forgotten kittens when they didn't get enough human interaction during those critical early months, and therefor didn't know how to interact with people, which deems them "unadoptable" by most shelter standards. Those cats are core to Cat Town's mission. And so if kittens hit that 4 or 5 month age range and are shy, scared, hissy and untouchable, Cat Town will take them in and use proven techniques to help them learn to trust people.

Alaska and Autumn playing with a visitor a few weeks back. Photo by Cathy Niland.

Alaska and Autumn playing with a visitor a few weeks back. Photo by Cathy Niland.

In our Cat Zone space, under-socialized cats like Alaska have the opportunity to learn from more outgoing cats that model positive behaviors. As time goes on, cats who were once shy and  prone to hiding start to warm up to people. When new Forgotten Kittens arrive at the adoption center, cats like Alaska who have made the transition help them build confidence.

Alaska embodies the Cat Town mission: to give every cat a chance. Alaska is now about 1 and 1/2 years old and ready to find her new best friend. 

Come meet Alaska and all of our adoptable cats! And see if you can get your very own high-five! 

First visit to the Cat Town blog? Learn more about our Forgotten Kitten Project in our weekly Kitten Wire dispatch. 

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