Research

I’m currently a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, where I work under the mentorship of Drs. Melissa Bain and Tony Buffington. My work is supported by Maddie’s Fund, the Winn Feline Foundation, and the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. I work exclusively with owned and fostered cats/kittens in the home environment.

I have two ongoing areas of research:

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 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