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Cats are the Teacher's Pets in "Paws Fur Learning"

BISSELL Pet Foundation partner, Animal’s Best Friend Fund (ABF), accomplishes several objectives in a creative program designed for feral cats that also benefits high school students. ABF is committed to Trap Neuter Return (TNR) to combat cat overpopulation, and often come across litters of kittens.  Given time and patience, these kittens could be socialized to become family pets. To facilitate the transition for these kittens to become adoptable, ABF established a partnership with a regional education service agency and a Veterinary Science class at a local high school. The result is “Paws Fur Learning”, a program helping both the four-legged and two-legged participants!

Here’s how ABF makes it work. Semi-feral kittens discovered during TNR are taken in and placed in the care of the “Paws Fur Learning” high school class, under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and an ABF board member. The class, part of an education for employment curriculum, cares for the kittens and helps to socialize them. Students with an interest in Veterinary Science gain exposure to the problem of pet overpopulation, the importance of spay/neuter and the necessary steps to prepare a pet for adoption. The impact has spread beyond a single class, giving other students in the school an opportunity to participate. In fact, caring for the kittens is so popular that it has been used to motivate students that were formerly disengaged. These students are incentivized to complete their assignments early so they can hold a kitten! As a result, the formerly homeless kittens are loved and handled all 7 hours of the school day. The “fluff therapy” provides great benefits for kittens and students alike. Students are more engaged in their learning and the kittens “graduate” as well-socialized pets, ready for adoption. It is truly a win-win plan!

Recently, BISSELL Pet Foundation supported ABF with a $4000 grant to spay/neuter 75 feral and free roaming cats. Four of the cats sterilized as a result of the BPF grant went into the “Paws Fur Learning” program in January of 2016, and all 4 have gone on to find fabulous, forever homes!

Animal’s Best Friend Fund is not only preventing pet homelessness through TNR, but they also are looking at the bigger picture. They are finding homes for pets, providing valuable hands-on experience for students interested in Veterinary Science, and even improving the education of at-risk students. BPF is thrilled to partner with organizations like Animal’s Best Friend Fund that are seeking creative solutions and having a real impact.