Fear Free Handling

Coming to a shelter is probably one of the scariest things that can happen to a cat, even at Happy Cats! They have been stripped of everything they know and love and find themselves with very little that is familiar, (except for the bedding, toys and food that we ask they be brought with).

Imagine bringing your own sweet and loving cat to a conventional shelter, alongside any completely unsocialized, feral community cat. Research proves that, in the first several days, even the best cat expert won’t be able to tell them apart. Both will probably be either cowering or frozen in fear, overwhelmed by the new sights, sounds and smells of their new situation that contrasts so starkly with what they knew as home. There’s a big risk in conventional shelters for turning adoptable cats into unadoptable ones.

Since we opened in 2011, Happy Cats Haven has been committed to reducing the fear in our shelter cats to get them–and keep them!–more adoptable. It’s all about making the cats feel safe.

Even before they come in, we teach people how to transport their cats and even give away a carrier cover with every adoption to make them feel safer. We teach our staff and volunteers to be respectful of cats’ needs when handling them, which can be very feline specific. When they are less afraid, their stress goes down. When their stress is down, they stay healthier. It also increases their confidence, and when that happens, we have happy, healthy cats for adoption!

Happy Cats Haven is now officially Fear Free Certified. This is a program that was recently started to make sure that the emotional well-being of pets is taken care of, along with their health. Three members of the Happy Cats team are certified in Fear Free Handling and we teach it to all of our staff and volunteers. This is an expansion of what we’ve taught all along, honing our skills and helping us to better care for our cats.

Fear Free Pets now offers support for all pet owners on their Fear Free Happy Homes site. Like our own website, they have lots of great resources and videos for simple ways to keep your own cat happy, both emotionally and physically.

We’re very proud to be a part of this great program, which we hope will help cat guardians everywhere to keep cats in their homes! Enjoy this great video on Cat Body Language, which we use to teach our own volunteers about how to better communicate with all cats.

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