Upcoming talk! Cat Behavior and Cognition- Using science to increase cat welfare and strengthen the human-cat bond

KristynHeadshotSpeaker: Kristyn Vitale 
When:
September 19, 2017
Time: 8:00 PM EDT (Midnight UTC)
Cost: $25.00
Where: Online Webinar, Register at: www.e-trainingfordogs.com

In this cat behavior and cognition webinar, Kristyn Vitale will discuss the current science behind cat behavior and ways to utilize this knowledge in applied settings to improve cat welfare and strengthen the human-cat bond. Even though domestic cats are one of the world’s most popular companion animals, coexisting with humans for thousands of years, many questions remain unanswered about cat behavior, cognition, and the human-cat bond. Although science has much more to learn about cats, several applied benefits exist from future research in this area. Currently, pet cats outnumber dogs by almost 10 million in the US alone and millions of cats live in shelters or are free-roaming outdoors. Over 3.4 million cats enter already crowded shelters each year and of those surrendered by owners, approximately 27% are surrendered due to behavioral issues or incompatibility between cat and owner.

The talk will cover a variety of topics including:

  • the importance of scent in cat behavior
  • how to run cat preference assessments
  • free-roaming cat social behavior
  • the human-cat relationship
  • cat socialization & training

Simple Cat Training with Bo & Macy

Right now I’m working on several behaviors with Bo. None of these behaviors are new, but he knows some better than others. Macy shows up to show-off as well! For rewards, I use things each of the cats likes- such as deli turkey, petting, and praise. Below are some tips from different times of the video to give some additional detail on the behaviors! 

0:13 Bo is just learning the paw behavior and this is the second session he’s worked on it. Now that he is understanding the paw behavior I am working on adding in the vocal command, “paw”. When adding in a new cue, start by presenting the cue slightly after they do the behavior. So, I start to add the verbal cue “paw” slightly after he touches his paw to my hand. Eventually you can move the cue up, so it precedes the behavior. Then you can say “paw” and they will give you a high-5. 

0:19 Bo knows the jump behavior but he can be lazy sometimes! I know he can jump higher, so I only reward if I think the jump is worthy. This allows me to variably reward the jump behavior – meaning sometimes I give a treat, sometimes I don’t. Never knowing when the treat is going to come, Bo will try harder and give me a higher jump. 

0:46 Instead of using a closed hand for targeting like I do for Bo, I use a tap target so Macy can hear the area I want her to approach. Macy is blind so an auditory cue works best for her. 

0:50 I give Bo some treats for doing a good job and to divert his attention away from Macy’s treats!

Upcoming talk! Improving the human-cat bond through a better understanding of cat behavior, training, and enrichment

KristynHeadshotSpeaker: Kristyn Vitale 
When:
Thursday 9/22/2016 @ 6:00 PM
Where: SafeHaven Training Center, Tangent, OR
Cost: Suggested donation of $5 at the door per guest.

Click here and select “Improving the human-cat bond…”  below “Guest Speaker” to register for the lecture! 

Although domestic cats are one of the most popular companion animals, outnumbering even dogs by almost 10 million in the US alone, relatively little scientific research has been conducted with cats. Many questions regarding cat behavior, especially their social behavior with humans, remain unanswered. With over 3.4 million cats entering already crowded shelters each year, many applied benefits exist from research into the human-cat bond. This talk will cover our scientific understanding of cat behavior and provide enrichment and training tips to help improve cat welfare and strengthen the human-cat bond.

Oregon State researcher proves cats can be trained

New Media Mention: OSU Stories, June 2016
Link to full story

kristynkitten1It’s a Friday evening in the Oldfield Animal Teaching hospital, and while most of the faculty has checked out for the weekend, Ph.D. research fellow Kristyn Vitale Shreve finds herself in the classroom with a few students. Some are sitting nicely in chairs, but others are jumping on desks, wandering the room or sniffing each other. These “students” are kittens between four and eight months old, accompanied by their owners to Shreve’s six-week training and socialization course….

To read the rest of the article click here!

 

Kitten Training Classes? New Research Suggests Cat Stereotypes Are Just That

New Media Mention: Kyle Bunnell, The Corvallis Advocate June 22, 2016
Link to full story

CA_June-23_cover2Kristyn Shreve, a graduate research fellow in OSU’s Human-Animal Interaction Lab, or HAI Lab, loves cats. She plays with them, talks to them, and, most importantly, studies them. It turns out we know rather little about cat cognition. Science has a lot left to tell us about the best way to communicate with our feline friends, including whether or not they even consider us friends at all. And this is where the research at the HAI Lab comes in. A study they are currently conducting aims to shed some light on the ways in which cats and humans socialize with one another. Not only that, but as part of the study, free kitten-training classes are given, providing a foundation for communication between owners and cats. This is research that has not been done before, and, looking at the numbers, is sorely needed…….

To read the rest of the article click here!