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Cat Volunteering (CV) 101 Training

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Jaime Allen

on 15 February 2018

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Transcript of Cat Volunteering (CV) 101 Training

Cat Volunteering (DV) 101 Training
Welcome! We're excited you're here.
This is the first step in becoming a Cat Socializer, but it's also
one of the foundation classes
for many other roles at HSSV. The more you advance through the socializer trainings, the more opportunities become available to you in our Medical Center, with the adoptions team, and in our Marketing Department, to name just a few!

All Socializer Training Classes
In this section, you’ll read about:
Where HSSV cats come from, and how they get here
Typical characteristics of HSSV shelter cats
Emerald, Diamond, and Staff/Evaluation level categories
Disease control and how to report medical concerns

CV 101 Training Agenda

Cats come from Three Primary Sources
Qualities & Characteristics of HSSV's Adoptable Cats
1) Understanding your Role as a Cat Socializer
2) All About the Cats (where they come from, levels and rules)
3) Reading Body Language
4) Final Quiz
The Socializer training program is designed to
Save and Enhance the Lives
of the four- and two-legged - to ensure every pet in Silicon Valley has a home.

Through this series of trainings, you’ll progressively learn how to read body language, the best ways to work with the cats to help them get adopted and much more.

In order to progress through the training program (CV 101 - 401), you’ll be asked to demonstrate that you can safely acquire the skill set necessary to move on to the next level. So, be prepared for well-intentioned feedback from HSSV staff and mentor volunteers.

Socializer Training Program Overview
Key Takeaways
"Understanding your Role as a Cat Socializer"
In this section, you learned 4 things:
Cat Socializer volunteers help Save and Enhance Lives
You can work with Emerald cats inside their rooms in Milpitas, once you’ve successfully completed CV 201
Keep our adoption philosophy in mind as you work with the cats and our customers
Many volunteer roles require some level of animal handling. Consider advancing through the trainings so that you can be a more versatile volunteer!

Regardless of how an animal enters HSSV, those who are made available for adoption stay up for adoption until they find a home. There is no “time limit” at HSSV.

1) Stray animals (from the city of Sunnyvale)
2) Owner surrenders (from anywhere)
3) From other shelters that may not have the resources to care or house them

The most common, and normal behaviors we see at the shelter are kitties who are shy or fearful, playfully aggressive, overstimulate or have inappropriate litter box habits
Some cats are being treated for conditions like chronic ear or eye infections or ringworm
In CV 201, you'll learn how to find out what each cat needs from you during socialization sessions

Cat Categories
Emerald (green) – “easier” cats
Displays mostly polite, appropriate behaviors
After CV 201, you will be able to socialize these cats
Diamond (red) – more challenging cats
Displays more challenging behaviors
Volunteers must have completed CV 401 before handling our Diamond cats
Staff or Evaluation Assistant only (blue) -
These cats have specific medical or behavioral challenges and do best when working with a select group of people
Once you've reached CV 401, you can apply to become an Evaluation Assistant

What to know about Disease Control
Three Rules of Thumb
Cat Categories continued
The Cat Locator Whiteboard shows you which cats are
Emerald (green),

Diamond (red),
Staff or Evaluation Assistant only (blue
. It's located in the Cat Prep Room inside the Cat Adoption area. We'll show you how to use it during your hands-on CV 201 training.
Shelters are like kindergarten classes; when one cat gets a snotty nose, everyone gets a snotty nose! In fact, a handful of adoptable cats are being treated for snotty noses at any given time.
Disease prevention is a very important part of your volunteer role
A common disease is Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), and it's contagious to other cats
On occasion, a cat may carry a zoonotic disease like ringworm (can be transferred from cat to human). Read more about this is your volunteer manual.

1) Good personal hygiene is the number one way to prevent the spread of disease

2) Use hand-sanitizer in between working with EVERY animal, EVERY time

3) If you get sneezed on, and it covers your clothes, end your volunteering for the day OR change into an extra set of clothes
Key Takeaways
"All About the Cats"
In this section, you learned these things:
HSSV cats come from 3 primary sources
There is no "time limit" on the adoption floor for any animals at HSSV
HSSV cats are healthy and safe, but they're not perfect
We categorize cats based on how much training volunteers need to work with them (Emerald, Diamond, Staff/Evaluation Assistant)
Disease prevention is an important part of your role - sanitize those hands!
In this section, you'll read about:
Influences that affect feline behavior
The 4 ways kitties communicate with us and other cats
Body language cues that will help you decide how to socialize each individual cat
an overview of common behaviors we see in shelter cats
Cats communicate
in 4 primary ways
Let's take a Quiz!
Which of these 3 cats is showing anxious, or fearful body language (A, B or C), and how can you tell?
Which cat is fearful?
It's definitely "C"
"Cat Body Language"
In this section, you learned 3 things:
Cats communicate through vocalizations, body language, scenting and social distance
Look at the ears, eyes, tail and body position, to tell how the animal is feeling
Before you interact with a cat, know what body language cues he's showing you - and if you're not comfortable, don't do it
One more section to go!
Stress (or calming) Signals
The Animal Community Center, though designed to reduce stress in animals, can still cause it.

Always remember that behavior is a SNAPSHOT of an animal's personality. Just like with people, behavior can change based on what's happening in the environment, so treat every animal as an individual, and use body language to decide how to interact with each animal.
Signs of Stress in cats:
Sniffing Increased Activity

Excessive Blinking
Dilated pupils

Freezing in Place
Excessive Shedding
HSSV cats are healthy and safe, but they're probably not perfect!
CV 101
This one!

Email volunteer@hssv.org and let us know that you are done, and what role you're training for
CV 201
Hands-on training to learn how to socialize emerald-level animals in their habitats in Milpitas

CV 301
Log at least 10 socializing hours before taking this online training

You will learn how to introduce emerald-level cats to customers
CV 401
In this advanced class, you will learn how to work with and show diamond-level cats
Advanced Cat Volunteer Roles
Ask about becoming a Cat Volunteer Mentor or Evaluation Assistant, once you've progressed through the trainings

This cat is up on her tippy toes
She has an "S" curve to her body
Her tail is puffy
You probably shouldn't touch her
Some kitties you interact with will be like...
"Kitty Connector" Status
"Cuddler" Status
click to the next graphic for the answer
1) Understanding your Role as a Cat Socializer
2) All About The Cats
3) Reading Body Language
4) Final Quiz
Your role as a cat socializer is important because you...
We will encourage you to advance through the socializer trainings so that you can be a more versatile and well-rounded volunteer at HSSV.
Our Adoption Philosophy
We trust people
we believe customers come from a place of wanting to help animals
We look for ways to make an adoption happen
We ask open-ended questions
We provide support before, during, and after an adoption
Even if they're not adopting today, we always provide great service
If an animal gets returned, that's okay - it gives us more information about the adopter's and the animal's needs
Two important rules for all volunteers:

1) If you're not comfortable, don't do it! Respect your comfort level and the animals' comfort level and needs

2) Ask for help when you're not sure

This quiz is designed only for you to test your knowledge; we don't need to see your answers. When you're finished, just email us at volunteer@hssv.org and let us know that you've completed the quiz. We'll tell you what happens next.
What are 2 important rules for all volunteers to remember when they are working with the animals?
Question #1
Question #2
How might you interact with Pushkin a 12-week old cat, based on his body language?
Question #3
Write down as many of the Adoption Philosophy bubbles you remember reading about in the "Understanding your Role as a Cat Socializer" section
Question #4
Write down any questions you still have and bring them with you to CV 201 (if you plan to be a socializer in Milpitas)
Thanks! We're done here!

What's Next?
If you're volunteering as a cat socializer in Milpitas, let volunteer@hssv.org know that you've completed CV 101, and then go ahead and sign up for CV 201 on the volunteer website.

If you're volunteering at one of the Neighborhood Adoption Centers, or for another role, email volunteer@hssv.org and we'll let you know what the next steps are.

We recommend all volunteers learn more about HSSV's adoption processes by reading our
Adoption FAQs
on the volunteer website under "Philosophies and Practices." It answers questions new volunteers have as well as questions customers will likely ask you. A paper copy is located in the volunteer center and at the adoptions desk.

we use a conversation-based approach, not a pass/fail application
Let's get started!

This training is
, but we think it will take you about 30-45 minutes to complete.
The key takeaways at the end of each section should help you keep track of the most important points.
Use the
arrow keys
to advance or to go backwards at any time. There are videos, so be sure to turn up the
on your computer.
volunteer@hssv.org to let us know you're completed the training. Then, if you're planning on sociaizing cats in Milpitas, you can sign up for CV 201 on the volunteer website.
Our adoption philosophy guides a lot of the work we do with the animals and people. It will be helpful for you to keep these points in mind, as you begin working with the cats and our customers.
"Diamond" Status
keep the kitties happy while they're waiting for a home
help them find a new home!
Want to volunteer at one of our Neighborhood Adoption Centers (NAC)? Email us and let us know. We'll tell you what the next steps are. You will skip CV 201.

Cats and Kittens make up more than 50% of our total incoming animals each year!

The kitten population explodes during the spring and summer months, when unfixed cats have babies. Last year, we took care of more than 1,200 baby kittens between March and August.

Have we said "thank you" already, for choosing to become a cat volunteer??
Cat behavior is influenced by 3 things
the Environment in which he/she grew up and currently live in
cats are social, territorial, and predatory by nature
if a cat has been spayed or neutered will greatly determine how he/she acts toward you and other cats
cats who were not exposed to many different types of people in kittenhood for example, may grow up to be shy and fearful
1. Vocalizations
Cats make a lot of sounds! They chirp, yowl, growl, hiss, purr, spit, chatter and meow.
Watch this short news clip about the noises cats make!
4. Body Language
Cats use many parts of their body to tell us what they're thinking and feeling. We're about to deep dive into the world of cat body language!

are a great place to start decoding cats' body language, but you'll also want to look at their eyes, fur, body weight and position.
Any idea how this cat is feeling? Take a guess, and we'll find out in just a bit.
3. Scenting
There are 3 distinct ways that animals use scent to communicate. Advance through each of them below, using your arrow key.
2. Social Distance
Cats use social distance to communicate how they are feeling about a relationship to something, someone, or to another cat. Generally speaking, the closer a cat chooses to be to someone, the likelier it is that he is more comfortable and less stressed in that person's presence.
We can break this down into
behaviors and
behaviors. We will come back to these clusters of behaviors in a few slides.
Urine Marking
Spraying is used to mark territory, announce a cat's arrival, threaten, engage in a dispute without confronting another cat or simply, to exchange information
Cats have sebaceous glands that release pheromones. These glands are located on a cat's lips, forehead, chin, tail and paw pads. Cats will "head-butt" people and things to mark their territory or to leave information about themselves. It's typically considered a bonding behavior when cats do it to each other or to us!
Cats use scratching to file their claws, but more importantly, they are depositing pheromones onto the item they are scratching. This is a visual form of territorial communication with other cats.
Body Language and Behavior
In the next few slides, we'll look at some common cat body language signs and what they mean. Feel free to jot down your thoughts as you go along.
There are 6 body language clues that show this cat is feeling pretty relaxed. Can you list them?
even body weight
ears are up
tail is soft and low
whiskers are neutral
back is slightly curved (natural position)
neck is upright
There are at least 4 signs that this kitty is displaying a friendly greeting. Do you see them all?
upright walk
tail is high and hooked
ears are forward
eyes are alert and facing what he is greeting
Do you remember this cat, from a few slides earlier? Her body language indicates she's probably feeling playful. Were you correct?
curved ears
back in a "L" shape
low whiskers
enlarged pupils
This kitty is anxious and unsure of our intentions. He may need time and space before you can successfully interact with him.
Remember when I mentioned "distance-increasing" and "distance-reducing" behaviors? Knowing how to identify these groups of behaviors will go a long way in establishing trust with shelter cats.
OK to touch!
Don't touch - give him a break
The Answer is A
This cat's tail is curled and his ears are low, 2 sure signs a cat is anxious. You can also take situational elements into consideration too. He's walking in between two puppies!
Which cat (or cats) is showing a friendly greeting posture?
Well, they both are!
Kitty "A" has a hooked tail, his ears are up, and he's walking with a purpose. The "B" kitties have relaxed postures and are greeting, nose to nose.
Or do this...
while others have a little 'tude...
Overstimulation Behaviors in Cats look like this
Read more about how to socialize these cats via the handouts on the Cat Volunteering 101 training page
Watch this video from Cats Protection in England, about cat body language
introduce them to potential adopters
Full transcript