From 2017-2021 I was a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, where I worked under the mentorship of Drs. Melissa Bain and Tony Buffington. My work was supported by Maddie’s Fund, the Winn Feline Foundation, and the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. I worked exclusively with owned and fostered cats/kittens in the home environment.
Some research is still in progress.
Development and behavior of orphaned neonatal kittens
Many kittens are inadvertently separated from their mothers before they are weaned. These kittens require specialized, round-the-clock care and have a high mortality rate. We are trying to better understand the needs of this fragile population, while also determining how early maternal separation impacts their health and behavior. Current projects include:
- The effects of temperature and humidity on neonatal growth and health
- Risk factors and interventions for cross-sucking behavior (sucking on the bodies of litter mates) in orphaned kittens
- How weaning impacts stress and behavior in kittens
“The effect of premature maternal separation on distress vocalizations and activity in kittens (Felis catus) during a brief nest separation“
“Early maternal separation is not associated with changes in telomere length in domestic kittens (Felis catus)“
“A survey-based assessment of risk factors for cross-sucking behaviors in neonatal kittens, Felis catus“
The effects of the environment on adult cat behavior
- The relationship between environmental stressors and health/behavior problems in house cats
- How social factors influence feeding behavior and activity in domestic cats in the home environment
- The effects of food puzzles as a form of enrichment for cats
- Using technology (including remote cameras and activity trackers) to measure/assess cat behavior
Publication coming soon: “Domestic cats (Felis catus) prefer freely available food over food that requires effort”
See my Curriculum Vitae.