Kitty Comfort Behavior Department Volunteer Training Manual

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1 Kitty Comfort Behavior Department Volunteer Training Manual Thank you for volunteering in the Animal Behavior department as a Kitty Comfort volunteer. This packet includes information to familiarize you with the Animal Behavior department as well as some Dumb Friends League policies and procedures. Kitty Comfort (KC) volunteers work with cats needing extra human attention. Cats are enrolled in the program if they appear to be depressed, frustrated, anxious, or simply not eating; our KC volunteers actively seek out cats for this program. Unlike Cat Enrichment volunteers who briefly visit cats in a session, Kitty Comfort volunteers work with only 4-5 cats. KC volunteers bring cats to greeting rooms to acclimate them to this unique environment and give them the opportunity to have positive, fun interactions. Depressed cats are given much-needed mental and physical stimulation, while cats that haven t eaten for several days are provided with a safe and calm environment. Frustrated cats may be full of energy and a Kitty Comfort session may be a simple way for the cat to blow off steam. KC volunteers leave their cats with enrichment such as toys, treats, Feliway and scratching pads. This is a promotional position; you need to meet the following requirements to work in Kitty Comfort: 1. Complete 15 hours in Animal Care kennels. 2. View the shelter cat video and study the shelter cat manual 3. Complete on-the-job training with current Behavior staff. 4. Learning Theory recommended within the first 6 months. Please be sure to ask plenty of questions. Attendance and Vacations If you are unable to make it in for your shift, please contact Volunteer Services at or This way we know that you will be out and we may be able to find another volunteer to fill your shift. If you would like to change your position or the time and/or day you come in, please contact Jasmin Rice at Getting Started Please wear proper volunteer attire Pick up individual hand sanitizers. Remember to use the hand sanitizers often during your shift, and return the sanitizer to the bin when your shift ends. Refills are available in the supervisor/manager s office.

2 Clock in at the time clock for every shift. Cats are enrolled in the Kitty Comfort Program to help with different behavioral concerns: 1. Frustration (overstimulation): Cats that are pacing, yowling, and pawing at anyone who walks by are often extroverted cats that are frustrated. 2. Anxiety/Fear: These are cats that try to hide under their blankets or in their litter boxes, are wide-eyed or tense in their kennels. They may be backed into the corner and may not want to come near you when you open the kennel. 3. Depression: These are cats that are asleep and may not wake easily when you try to interact with them. They may be sitting huddled with eyes focused down. They often look as though they have not been grooming themselves; their food bowls may appear untouched. 4. Not Eating-Stimulation eating (Stimeat): A cat with the above symptoms may stop eating. If they have not been eating for a few days they will be enrolled into Kitty Comfort as a stim-eat, to trigger their appetite. Cats currently enrolled in these programs are listed in a Chameleon report. The behavior staff will print a report and assign a cat(s) to each volunteer at the Quebec Shelter. This report includes the animal s kennel number, A#, name, status, sub-status, and any important notes.

3 Before Working with a Cat It is important to read through all the behavior notes in Chameleon relating to that cat; get as much information as possible. If the cat has been worked before in Kitty Comfort, you ll want to read through the previous sections to see what progress they ve made. You may also print out this memo and take it with you. Quebec: Location: Q Userid: bhvol Password: PASSBH Buddy Center: Location: B Userid: bcvol Password: bcvol If you are the first person to work with this cat, you need to enter your notes under the baseline session. Enter notes here Do not change what is recorded for baseline session. The Kitty Comfort Chameleon window will look the same for all four Kitty Comfort categories except stimeat cats will have a different template. If someone else has already worked this cat, add your notes in the next available session (make sure to update the date and session number in the new session memo.) Getting a Cat Remember: cats are on cat time

4 When you check in with the Behavior staff, you will be given a list of cats that have been assigned to you for the day. When you find a cat from the list, make sure you are checking that its tag and description both match, confirming you are working with the correct pet. Approaching the kennel Get the cat s attention before opening the gate by talking calmly and softly; avoid using the S sound. When you open the gate, do not block the opening with your body. Allow the cat to come to you. o Some cats respond well to doing the slow blink soft eyes to the cat, or kneading to the cat. Let the cat smell you before picking it up. Feliway on hands helps if fearful or upset cat. Don t rush. If the cat does not seem to want to be handled, leave it alone and tell the behavior staff. It is important to check that the cat has also been eating and using the litter box while it has been at the shelter. If it has not eaten or used the litter box for a few days, notify the behavior staff. It may need to be a stim-eat cat or be looked at by a veterinarian. Removing a Cat from the Kennel Make sure you always use a carrier when moving a cat from its kennel to the Kitty Comfort areas. If you are volunteering when the shelter is open to the public make sure to check with customer care staff before using a visiting room. If there are no available visiting rooms you can work with the cat in its kennel. Clean the carrier with Accel after each cat. When you are picking the cat up from the kennel, use the football hold control the cat s head and support its body weight while controlling the front feet with your hand. Try to keep the other cats out of this cat s vision as some cats are cat reactive. If the cat begins to struggle let it fall to the floor. Loose Cat: If you have to drop the cat, give it time to calm down and find a staff member or another volunteer to help you. Where to Work with the Cats Kitty Comfort volunteers may remove the enrolled cats from their kennels and take them to appropriate visiting rooms. Healthy Cats: If the cat is healthy, it may be worked in a visiting room on the healthy side of the cattery. If the shelter is open, notify the Adoption Desk if you are using a visiting room. TLC Cats: These cats can be worked on the TLC side of the Cattery. If the shelter is open, notify the Adoption Desk if you are using a visiting room. If all the visiting rooms are being used by the Adoptions staff, you can work with colony cats in the colony rooms. Do not take other cats into a colony. When you remove the cat from its kennel make sure to put an I m out being Kitty Comfort-ed. I ll be back soon. sign on the kennel door in case someone needs to find the cat.

5 Always work with the healthy cats first. Once you work with cats that have Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), you cannot return to the healthy cats. Make sure to clean your area between cats and when you are done with your volunteer shift. Sweep up any hair or organic material from the visiting room. Mop the floor. Mops are located on both the TLC and Healthy side of the Cattery. Use Accel to clean any surfaces that the cat touched. Use a clean carrier for each cat (you clean it). o Use Accel to clean the carriers and return them to the cat desk area. Wash your hands after handling each animal. It is also important to return the cat to a clean kennel. If the kennel is dirty, clean it so the cat will be comfortable. Remove soiled litter. Mark the feed sheet if there is urine or feces. Mark the feed sheet if you notice any unusual stools or if the cat ate or drank. Use a paper towel to sweep loose debris into the soiled litter pan or into a dustpan. Remove and replace the kitty s towel only if it is soiled. If it looks clean, shake it out and refold with the cleanest side out. This allows the scent of the cat to remain on the towel, which helps reduce the kitty s stress. If the kennel is soiled, spray Accel on a paper towel and wipe the kennel. If the kitty is not in its kennel, you may spray the disinfectant directly into the kennel. Most cats will have small plastic bowls for dry food and for water. Rinse and fill the water bowl with fresh water to the line. Kittens, and cats that spill their water or food, will need ceramic bowls. Use a clean plastic container to measure food and water for the ceramic bowls. Feliway on towel spray it before your return the cat to the kennel. Do not spray it near the cat. How to Tell if a Cat is Comfortable When working with a cat, you should be able to tell if they are becoming more comfortable and relaxed in your presence. Some signs to watch for: The meatloaf position: The cat has its front legs doubled under and the back legs directly underneath. Heavy eyelids: The cat s eyes have a soft look to them, or its eyes are shut without being scrunched closed. The cat s tail is motionless or carried loosely. The cat is engaged in playing, grooming, restful sleep, or slow and relaxed eating. Kneading. You can also use the pheromone Feliway to help relax the cat. Feliway should be sprayed on the bedding and never directly onto the cat. How to Tell if the Cat Needs More Attention If you are working with a cat and it doesn t seem to be improving, or is becoming worse, or needs attention, please fill out a Needs Attention slip located in West Obedience and add a note to Chameleon. Be sure to note this in the Kitty Comfort notes in Chameleon. Some signs that indicate cats are upset or uncomfortable: They are in motion to get away. They exhibit frantic movements, attempting to avoid touch from people or other perceived threats. Their skin ripples with any sensation near the skin surface. Their fur is standing up on the entire length of their body.

6 Their ears are pinned to the side of their head or they show airplane ears that go to the side. Their eyes are wide open with dilated pupils. They show a rapidly flicking tail. Additional reasons for needs attention: cat needs grooming, cat needs vet check. Just writing this in your report will not notify anyone of your suggestion. Please bring the needs attention slip to West Obedience. Other Responsibilities Discuss cat behavior and address questions from patrons. Provide enrichment to cats not enrolled in the Kitty Comfort program, as time allows.

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