A few months back, we featured volunteers doing numerous things around our campus, and we featured playgroups. We figured we’d highlight another wonderful aspect of volunteering with our feline friends; TABBY! TABBY is To Achieve Best Behavior Yet, and focuses on cats finding balance.  TABBY is mostly for cats waiting to be deemed available.  These are the cat that are shy/fearful, desparate for attention or are high energy.  Finding them a balance can reduce stress, and help them move to the adoption floor faster. Today, I met with TABBY volunteer Elizabeth to give me some insight into our cat behavior program.

Elizabeth is pictured above, and after each session, TABBY volunteers do a recap about how long it was, what transpired, etc. It helps present information to other TABBY volunteers, and the Feline Care Manager Bonnie as to who has been worked with or who has made any progress. As stated above, TABBY is mostly for cats waiting to be deemed available, meaning they are not quite adoption ready yet, but definitely can be! They just need that one-on-one time to really improve and gain socialization skills. Volunteers like Elizabeth work weekly with select kitties who need that extra attention, and we greatly appreciate it!

Briefly, we want to show you our current TABBY board. This board is able to help Bonnie communicate to volunteers on what cat needs what. Sometimes the cats only need talking to, and sometimes they need playtime and socialization. Each cat gets unlimited time to improve because everyone improves differently. We also participate in clicker and target training, to help mentally stimulate the cats. Really, each cat is a case by case basis, but this board is updated whenever anyone hits a certain stride.

We decided to work with Breanna first, and boy was she interesting. She hissed, growled, and did a little bit of everything besides interact with us. We quickly realized we needed to play with a barrier between us, and then we saw glimpses of the real Breanna. She is deemed high arousal, so stressful situations like shelter environment can be really hard on her. She did enjoy her cat dancer after a few minutes!

Pictured above is Layla, who is also labeled play with a barrier. She apparently lunges, but we didn’t see that behavior today. She enjoyed us talking to her and playing with her cat dancer, so she is well on her way to graduating! Bonnie determines when a cat will graduate TABBY, and at that point they usually go to the adoption floor. This is where you can see the progress they made, and how well they do in the shelter now. We’ve taken a few photos of some of our TABBY graduates, and would love to show you them so they can brag about how well they’ve done!

Dave is the black cat in the back, and this is his new best friend Vivi. Dave used to hide and cower, but now has blossomed with another cat. He greets people at the door now!

This is Titan Athena, and she was a tough case at first. She was more feral than all of our barn cats when she first was brought to Wayside. Now you can go visit her and as long as she solicits attention first, she will love to sit and chat with you! We’ll also provide a picture of her warning sign, and a video of her being sweet and lovable!


Our last TABBY graduate is staff favorite Jammers. She was briefly on TABBY but quickly was graduated and moved to the floor. She still has her quirks, but she certainly is a sweetheart!

That was just a little insight of our TABBY program. Come meet some of our TABBY graduates during our adoption hours.

  • Monday: CLOSED
  • Tuesday: CLOSED
  • Wednesday: 12pm-8pm
  • Thursday: 12pm-8pm
  • Friday: 12pm-8pm
  • Saturday: 10am-6pm
  • Sunday: 1pm-6pm

Written by Teryn J.