13 posts categorized in "Education"

By Kate Marcussen, Community Outreach Educator

Summer is almost upon us. We’re eagerly awaiting the warm sun beaming down on our skin, the breeze blowing through our hair, and the smells of summer. You know who else is eagerly awaiting this? Your cat.

Catio cats lounging sun

Our feline friends appreciate the great outdoors almost as much as we do. But for these furry friends, the outdoors can bring more danger than pleasure. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is only two to three years, whereas indoor-only cats can live 15 to 20 years. Outdoor cats face dangers that include traffic, poison, disease, and run-ins with other animals. High veterinary bills for treatment can also cause stress on households.

Keeping our cats inside not only provides them with a long, healthy and happy life, but it also helps our wildlife. Cats pose a major threat to wildlife as these super-predators, well fed, rested and cared for, can be responsible for countless injuries and deaths of birds and small mammals. Our wildlife hospital at PAWS receives many patients suffering from cat attack injuries each year.

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Baby birds are one example of wild patients often brought to PAWS as a result of a cat attack.


Catios, or enclosed outdoor patios for cats, can offer a safe solution for cats and wildlife and are ultimately a great way to provide your cat with safe outdoor time. The addition of a catio to your property can provide fresh air, exercise and endless opportunities for your cat to soak up the sun, as well as enjoy birds and wildlife from a safe distance. Catios can come in all shapes and sizes, from simple window boxes, to elaborate free-standing shelters with tunnels leading from the house safely out to the catio.

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Catio tour outdoor enclosure

Interested in seeing a catio in person? Join PAWS for our annual Catio Tour Seattle on Saturday, May 21, from noon to 4 p.m. Eleven catios around the Seattle area will be open to meet some cat-loving homeowners and their lucky felines, and tour their catio up close. Hear firsthand their inspiration for building a catio and their unique approaches to building the right catio for their cat, home and budget. Let the cats do the talking when it comes to showing off their prime feline real estate and all of the pleasures of the outdoors that it provides them.

Catio tour poster graphic

Catio Tour Seattle will feature catios from Bothell to West Seattle. Visit one or all 11 catios. To register for this year’s tour, visit the Catio Tour Seattle website.

By Katie Amrhein, Community Outreach Educator

In the middle of a PAWS education program, an 8-year-old boy walked up to me, reached into his pocket, pulled out a $10 bill, and quietly said, “I want to give this to PAWS to help the animals.” This moment, and countless others like it when children are moved to take action to help animals, is the reason I teach. A better world for animals and people starts today, with you and me, and carries into tomorrow, with the next generation of youth.

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Frances Moore Lappé once said, “Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want.” When a child makes a choice that celebrates a better world for animals, they are doing so from a place of empathy and compassion. In order to feel driven to help animals, children first need to learn about, understand, and feel connected to animals through positive relationships and interactions. And so, through games, art, stories, sharing, and problem-solving, I teach.

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I teach children that crows are incredibly intelligent. I teach children how to understand the ways dogs communicate with us through their bodies. I teach children that raccoons have adaptations that help them survive in our ever-changing urban ecosystems. I teach children what it means to be a responsible pet guardian. I teach children that cows have the same basic needs as rabbits.

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I teach children that each and every one of their actions, everything from recycling to talking to their parents about getting a microchip for their cat, has an impact, and they can choose actions that celebrate a better world for animals. I teach children to care, not by forcing it upon them, but by providing space for them to connect to animals and choose to care.

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And so, when an 8-year-old boy walks up to me and says that he wants to donate $10 to help the animals at PAWS, I know that he has learned that animals deserve a better world, and that starts today, with you and me, and carries into tomorrow, with him.

PAWS is people helping animals. The people that will be helping animals tomorrow are the youth of today. And so, I teach.

By Melissa Moore, Education Programs Manager

750 KidDog1One of my favorite moments of any week here at PAWS is when I open an envelope return addressed from a local classroom.

I am one of three educators at PAWS fortunate enough to be able to visit classrooms full of students, work with scouts in badge programs, and give tours of PAWS to small groups of children. Not only do we have the opportunity to share PAWS’ message of kindness and compassion towards animals with local youth, but the students also share their energy and passion for animals with us.

PAWS offers unique programs for different age groups and interests. However, we also offer one special program, Kids Who Care, that is six hours long and delivered over the span of six visits.

In the first few Kids Who Care classes, we discuss responsible care of companion animals, including microchipping pets and spaying or neutering. We even address difficult topics like puppy mills. A student favorite is a board game called Happy Cat, Sad Cat, through which they learn why keeping a companion cat indoors is better for the cat and for wildlife.

In the fourth and fifth class visits, the topic switches to wildlife and the students get to handle real skulls and feathers, among other biofacts. They use student-sized field guides and learn about how wild animals become injured.

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The students write in their Kids Who Care Journal after each class, answering questions, writing opinion pieces, and making up stories about animals. It is truly an interdisciplinary class that reaches students on many levels.

750 KidThanksLast fall I presented Kids Who Care to a group of fourth graders at a Snohomish County elementary school. At my second visit, upon seeing me in their classroom as they came in from recess, two girls ran excitedly to me and gave me hugs! I was charmed by the fact that they were pleased to see me and were not bound by the “correctness” of a formal greeting that we adults usually are.

When I look at the thank-you cards and notes we receive from students after their Kids Who Care class is over, I can feel how they have connected to the subject matter, and it makes every day better.

 

Are you a parent or teacher? Learn more about our humane education programs here.
Do you want to help animals? Find out some simple things you can do every day.
Need some help with your homework? Visit our Homework Help page for answers to questions about our shelter, pets, and wildlife.