I dropped out of college in 1992 to move to the California Bay Area. I spent much of the 1990s working in a health food cooperative, playing bass guitar in punk bands, and volunteering in collectively run punk spaces (Maximum RocknRoll and Epicenter Records). 

In 2000, I started volunteering — and soon after working as a full time employee — in the Cat Behavior Department of the San Francisco SPCA. I left the animal shelter and the music scene in 2008 to return to school. At the same time, I co-founded Feline Minds, a cat consulting business based in Northern California. We offer training and consulting services for cat guardians, animal shelters, rescue groups, and corporations.

I completed my Ph.D. in Psychology, with an emphasis on animal behavior and cognition, at UC Berkeley in 2017. To support my graduate work, I received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, The UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.

I worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis for 3.5 years, where I researched the social behavior of domestic cats and the development of orphaned neonatal kittens. My research has been published in Psychological Bulletin, the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, Royal Society Open Science, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare, the Journal of Comparative PsychologyAnthrozoos, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

I am author of the book “Play with Your Cat!” (2024 – Tarcher/Perigee), and co-author with Jackson Galaxy of “Total Cat Mojo.”

I am a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (Animal Behavior Society), a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), and an Affiliate Member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. I offer cat behavior consulting through my business Feline Minds, and I’m the resident cat behavior expert for Rover.

I live in Sacramento, CA with my boyfriend and our three rescue cats: Coriander, Ruby, and Professor Scribbles.