Pounce! 2021

  • Overview

  • Schedule

  • CEUs & Pricing

  • About Your Instructor

Event Begins: November 27, 2021

Duration: 2 Days

Pounce is a two-day, virtual conference on the application, theory, and current research in cat behavior and training.


Professionals working with cats, dogs, in shelters, and in rescues will find rich resources on working effectively with the often-overlooked member of the household.


Pain and behavior, training and socialization, fostering, toileting, enrichment in colony cats, applied behavior analysis in work with cats, understanding factors that influence individuality and much more will be discussed by this expert group of presenters and researchers.

Each presentation is approximately 1 hour in length and will be followed with a live 30 minute Q&A session with the speaker.


Click the “About Your Instructor” tab for talk descriptions and instructor information.


Day 1 - November 27th, 2021

(Eastern Time Zone)

9:00 AM – What Makes A Cat an Individual? (Dr. Sarah Ellis)

11:00 AM – Use of Space and Enrichment by Communally-Housed Shelter Cats (Malini Suchak, PhD)

1:00 PM – Behavioral Periuria (Amy Learn VMD, Chief of Clinical Behavioral Medicine)

3:00 PM – BREAK

4:00 PM – Dog-Cat Integrations: Beyond the Basics (Katenna Jones ScM, ACAAB, CCBC, CDBC, CPDT-KA)

6:00 PM – Breaking Down Barriers:Setting your Fosters up for Success (Lisa Stemcosky CCBC)

8:00 PM – Play as an Indicator of Welfare in Domestic Cats (Julia Henning, BSc. Animal Behaviour (Hons))

Day 2 - November 28th, 2021

(Eastern Time Zone)

9:00 AM – Meee-ouch! How Pain and Behavior Overlap (Krista Sirois DVM)

11:00 AM – A Cat’s Journeys through Shelter Environments (Miranda Workman, PhD)

1:00 PM – Dispelling Feline Myths: Benefit of Training and Socialization (Kristyn Vitale PhD)

3:00 PM – BREAK

4:00 PM – Ameowzing Vet Visits: Cat Advocacy for your Clients (Tabitha Kucera RVT, CCBC, KPA CTP)

6:00 PM – What are Data and Why are They Important for Practice? (Dr. Eduardo Fernandez)

8:00 PM – Cat Introductions and Re-introductions: 3 Case Studies (Dilara Göksel Parry CCBC)


  • 18 (CCPDT, IAABC, KPA)

Member Cost:

  • $150 *

Non- Member Cost:

  • $170


What Makes A Cat an Individual?

Dr. Sarah Ellis

We know that cats are territorial, predatory animals that demonstrate social flexibility towards both other cats and people. They have amazing specialised sensory systems that support their species-specific behaviours. However, like people, no two individuals are exactly the same. So, what makes an individual cat the cat it is? This talk focuses on both the nature- and nurture-based factors that influence individuality and contribute to making each and every cat the wonderful being it is.


About Sarah Ellis:

Sarah has a keen interest in the behaviour and welfare of the domestic cat. She has a BSc in Zoology and Psychology from the University of Bristol (UK), a Post-Graduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling from the University of Southampton (UK) and a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast (UK) which focussed on investigating ways to improve the welfare of cats housed in rehoming centres. Sarah spent several years at the University of Lincoln as a post-doctoral research scientist working on numerous projects including investigating novel ways to improve feline welfare, and to further our understanding of feline behaviour and the cat-human relationship. In 2015, Sarah decided to concentrate on the application of research and joined International Cat Care as their Feline Behaviour Specialist to help develop their work in the areas of feline behaviour and welfare. In 2019, Sarah moved to role of Head of Cat Advocacy within International Cat Care. She also is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Lincoln where she teaches on the MSc Clinical Animal Behaviour programme. Sarah has had numerous radio and TV appearances, covering many aspects of feline behaviour and welfare. She has co-authored a NY Times Best-Selling book with John Bradshaw entitled ‘The Trainable Cat’ which details how training can be used to improve cats’ mental well-being.



Use of Space and Enrichment by Communally-Housed Shelter Cats

Malini Suchak PhD

Communal, or group housing, often enables shelters to provide more enrichment and environmental complexity than standard single or double-compartment caging. However, in order to utilize these items, the cats must navigate around the preferences and use of other cats. In a series of studies, we explored individual preferences for different types of enrichment as well as how cats use the overall environment. We found that sex, type of surrender (owner surrendered versus seized), and time spent in the shelter impacted enrichment use. Furthermore, the cats appear to keep approximately 2 meters of space between themselves and other cats, regardless of how many cats are in the room. Placement of enrichment as well as overall room structure can enable cats to make better use of the resources available.


About Malini Suchak:

Dr. Malini Suchak is Associate Professor in the undergraduate Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation program and the Anthrozoology graduate program at Canisius College.


Her research explores social cognition in nonhuman animals and the intersection of sociality and welfare. Specifically, she is interested in better understanding how our companion animals navigate the multi-species social world that they live in. Currently, most of her work focuses on colony housed cats living in shelters. Developing a better understanding of how these cats interact with each other and the resources in their environment will help us minimize their stress during their time at the shelter.



Making a Splash in Cat Behavior

Amy Learn VMD, Chief of Clinical Behavioral Medicine

A discussion about behavioral periuria: the difference between refusal to use the litter box and marking; and what to do about it.


About Amy Learn:

Amy is a partner in the Animal Behavior Wellness Center and runs the Richmond, VA office. She attended her undergraduate education in Bethlehem PA receiving a BS in Biology, and worked at a wildlife conservation park in Texas before being accepted to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation in 2003, she completed an internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in NJ, and then she went into general practice until 2017 at which time, she started a Residency in Clinical Behavioral Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Radosta in South Florida and Dr. Amy Pike in Northern Virginia.


Amy completed her residency training and is currently the Chief of Clinical Behavioral Medicine at the Animal Behavior Wellness Center in Richmond VA where she counsels clients from Richmond, Charlottesville, Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Roanoke, and North Carolina. She has contributed to veterinary textbook chapters, journal articles, blogs and received the RK Anderson Resident Research Award. She has lectured for APDT, Veterinary Behavior Symposium, IAABC, Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, VMX. Her memberships and certifications include: Fear Free elite, Fear Free Compliance Committee, Low Stress Handling Silver, Pet Professional Guild, IAABC Foundation Board Member.



Dog and Cat Integrations: Beyond the Basics


What options are left when things aren’t going as planned when integrating a new dog or cat into the household? What is left when Google and patience and advice from friends and neighbors hasn’t worked out? What can families do when safe separation, slow exposure, stress reduction, maybe even some behavior modification has been tried and so far failed, and barking and hissing and hiding and chasing have seemingly ruined dreams of a happily integrated household of people, dogs, and cats?


In this talk, we’ll explore a variety of logistics and considerations, including whether integration is possible at all. We will also dig into a variety of creative, unique – and somewhat crazy! – ideas that select owners might consider if they’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone in the home safely and happily.


About Katenna Jones:

Katenna Jones accidentally discovered her career as a volunteer dog walker in 1999 and went on to earn a master’s from Brown University where she studied animal behavior, learning and cognition. Eventually, Katenna become a Cruelty Investigator, worked for American Humane Association, and also worked for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Through Jones Animal Behavior, she now provides cat and dog behavior consulting and educational services to pet owners, rescues and various pet professionals around the world. Her current passion is speaking, she is a published author, and is an Associated Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Certified Cat and Dog Behavior Consultant, and Certified Fear Free Trainer. Katenna shares her Rhode Island home with one husband, one dog, two cats, three ducks, seven chickens, and several thousand honey bees.



Breaking Down Barriers: Setting your Fosters up for Success, from Setup to Adoption

Lisa Stemcosky CCBC

How many times have you heard, “I would love to foster but…..”

or “I can only foster (fill in the blank) cats?”


In this talk we’ll discuss how to break down all those barriers to successful fostering, from setting up a safe space for a multi-animal home for fearful cats and those energetic troublemakers, to providing behavior support and training plans. Let’s take the fear out of fostering, dispel those “if” and “but” myths, and make it comfortable and rewarding for your foster family to say “yes!”


About Lisa Stemcosky:

Lisa Stemcosky is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She is the Feline Behavior Manager at Humane Rescue Alliance where she works with staff and volunteers to improve the lives of cats in and out of the shelter by providing behavior and training support as well as educating the community.


Since 2017, Lisa has been a mentor for the Jackson Galaxy Project, Cat Pawsitive Pro. As a mentor for Cat Pawsitive Pro, Lisa advises and mentors staff members and volunteers in shelters across the US on how to implement feline behavior modification programs in their shelter.


Lisa also owns, Pawlitically Correct, an in-home cat behavior consulting business. Based in Washington DC, Lisa provides behavior modification plans and support to clients in the DC metropolitan area and beyond.



Playful Cats, Happy Cats: Play as an Indicator of Welfare in Domestic Cats

Julia Henning BSc. Animal Behaviour (Hons)

Play is key to individuals surviving and thriving, including in social, emotional, cognitive, and sensorimotor development. Because of this, and the common observation that play is more frequently exhibited during times when all basic needs have been met, play is considered by many to be both an indicator and promotor of welfare in many species. In this talk, we’ll look at our current understanding of play and how it relates to the wellbeing of our feline companions.


About Julia Hennings:

Julia Hennings is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide.


Julia has a special interest in feline behaviour, animal affective states and human-cat dyads.


Her current PhD project focuses on play as an indicator and promotor of positive affective state and welfare in domestic cats.



Meee-ouch! How Pain and Behavior Overlap

Krista Sirois DVM

In this talk we will use real life case examples to evaluate how pain can impact behavior in cats. We will cover clinical signs of pain, fear, and stress and also assess how physical pain can lead to or exacerbate emotional concerns.


About Krista Sirois:

Dr. Sirois received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2016 from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. While in school, she was very involved in the American Animal Hospital Association and in leadership of the Integrative Medicine Club. She also completed a 10 week fellowship in Clinical Pathology at Texas A&M. After graduating, she entered an internship program at VCA Veterinary Specialists of Northern Colorado. During that time she received in-depth training in internal medicine, surgery, neurology, and emergency medicine.


Dr. Sirois started her residency in 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Radosta, one of only 86 board-certified veterinary behaviorists in the country. She shares her home with her Chihuahua-Pug mix, Molly, and her two cats Chupie and Ducati.



A Cat’s Journey through Shelter Environments: From Intake Policies to Assessment to Housing to Adoption Matching

Dr. Miranda Workman

This talk will take the audience through a cat’s eye view of a journey through the shelter environment. Each step of the way, from admissions to medical and behavioral assessment, housing, disposition decisions, and adoption matching, influences each individual cat’s future. This discussion will provide an opportunity to explore the impact of the in-shelter experience on a cat’s journey during and beyond their shelter stay.


About Miranda Workman:

Miranda is the Director of Behavior & Research at the SPCA Serving Erie County and an adjunct professor in the Animal Behavior, Ecology, & Conservation and Anthrozoology departments at Canisius College in Western New York. A life-long learner, she completed her PhD in Sociology in August 2021 focusing on human-anima-environment entanglements and relationships. Her dissertation was entitled: Are Fido and Fluffy Family? Negotiating Multi-species Families. She received her Masters of Science in Anthrozoology from Canisius College in 2014. She successfully defended her master’s thesis: Euthanasia Decisions in the Sheltering Industry – A Critical Inquiry in May 2014 as part of her Master of Science degree in Anthrozoology.


She has served on the Board of Directors of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Inc. (CCPDT); three years as President of the Board and was responsible for the creation of the Certified Behavior Consultant–Canine certification exam and initiated the organization’s application for certification from the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. She previously served as the Chair of the Cat Division for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Inc. (IAABC) and has provided continuing education for their members.


She and her husband Rick share their home with three dogs (Athena, Amelia, and Dart), three cats (Maizee, Rory, and Lady Grey) and a leopard gecko. Gone, but never forgotten, are many other-than-human animals who continue to inspire her from across the Rainbow Bridge.



Dispelling Feline Myths: Kittens and Cats Benefit from Training and Socialization Opportunities

Kristyn Vitale, PhD

Cats are often stereotyped as being untrainable loners, but is this really so? Studies of cat behavior have indicated that these ideas are nothing but myth. In this presentation we will challenge these ideas as we discuss the many benefits of training and socialization for kittens and adult cats. We will delve into relevant science related to cat social behavior, kitten socialization, and animal training. We will examine basic animal training principles and their application to cats, methods for assessing a cat’s most-preferred training rewards, and how to organize training and socialization classes for kittens and adult cats. Our talk will conclude with an exploration of how one may apply this knowledge to improve cat welfare and the human-cat relationship.


About Kristyn Vitale:

Kristyn Vitale is a researcher and educator in animal behavior, animal welfare, and human-animal interaction. Her main area of work focuses on cat social cognition, cat behavior, and the human-cat relationship. Vitale received her PhD in Animal Science from Oregon State University. As a member of the OSU Human-Animal Interaction Lab, she researched cat behavior, taught kitten training and socialization classes, and offered socialization opportunities for adult cats. She also received a Master’s of Environmental Science from Miami University. Her Master’s thesis focused on the social behavior of free-roaming colony cats. Kristyn has served as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a Visiting Research Fellow at Kyoto University in Japan, and a Maddie’s Postdoctoral Scholar. Her research and expertise in cat behavior have been internationally featured in media outlets such as Science Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Scientific American, and The Times of London. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Animal Health and Behavior at Unity College.



Ameowzing Vet Visits: Cat Advocacy for your Clients

Tabitha Kucera RVT, CCBC, KPA CTP

Did you know that your clients cats do not need to be petrified of the vet? Successful vet visits are possible and necessary for the emotional well-being of our clients cats. This presentation will teach you the steps necessary to prepare your clients and cats for veterinary visits. What to look for in a veterinary clinic and how to communicate to the veterinary staff that their cat needs a break. Encouraging clients to prepare their cats for veterinary visits starting at home and what to expect in a force free, stress free visit.


About Tabitha Kucera:

Tabitha Kucera is an Elite Fear Free and Low Stress Handling Certified Registered Veterinary Technician, CCBC, and KPA-CTP. She is the owner of Chirrups and Chatter Cat and Dog Behavior Consulting and Training in Cleveland, Ohio. She enjoys helping people better understand and relate to their animal companions which leads to a stronger bond and a more gratifying relationship between animal and human. She loves educating others through writing, behavior consulting, and lecturing on all things cats and dogs, including feline and canine behavior, working with fearful animals, fear free handling, and more. She is a Fear Free certified speaker, a trainer-mentor for Cat Pawsitive Pro, co-host of the podcast, Not Just a Vet Tech, serves as the co-chair of Pet Professional Guild’s Cat Committee, is the vice president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, President elect for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians, and she serves on the board of The Together Initiative for Ohio’s Community Cats.



What are Data and Why are They Important for Practice?

Dr. Eduardo Fernandez

The use of behavioral principles within the animal training and consulting community have become commonplace. While core behavior analytic principles (i.e., a focus on reinforcement contingencies and functional understandings of behavior) are now frequently used for applied animal behavior purposes, the use of data to measure those applications remains virtually untapped. This creates a conundrum for hopeful science-based practitioners: An increased demand for applying behavioral principles, but with limited opportunity to bring about their empirical, analytical counterparts.


This talk focuses on bridging the gap between data and training/consulting by providing simple yet effective data-taking procedures for a variety of applied animal behavior needs. Specifically, we will focus on:

  1. the use of preference assessments to systematically identify potential reinforcers and enrichment objects/procedures,
  2. measurement systems that allow trainers to directly document their training/shaping progress, and
  3. creating behavioral inventories (e.g., ethograms) that facilitate general welfare improvements, including the empirical success of any intervention.

Particular attention will be placed on how anyone can collect data, including practitioners, for the purpose of creating a data-based practice.


About Eduardo Fernandez:

Eduardo J. Fernandez is a Senior Lecturer of Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide (Australia). He received his PhD in Psychology (minors in Neuroscience and Animal Behavior) from Indiana University, where he worked with the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Zoo. He received his M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas, where he founded the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA). Most of his past and current work involves behavioral research applied to the welfare and training of zoo, aquarium, and companion animals. His past positions include a Visiting Professorship in the School of Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology, an Affiliate Professorship with the Psychology Department at Trinity Lutheran College, an Affiliate Assistant Professorship in the Psychology Department at the University of Washington, a Research Fellowship with Woodland Park Zoo, and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. While working with UW and the Woodland Park Zoo, he started the Behavioral Enrichment Animal Research (BEAR) group, which conducted welfare research with many of the species and exhibits located throughout the zoo. He currently runs the Operant Welfare Lab (OWL), which is dedicated to the use of learning principles to improve the lives of animals across many settings, including exotic animals in zoos, companion animals in homes and shelters, and agricultural animals in farms. Many of his past publications, research projects, and presentations can be found on his ResearchGate profile.



Fighting like Cats and…Cats?!
Cat Introductions and Reintroductions: 3 Case Studies

Dilara Göksel Parry CCBC

While the original proverb may feature cats and dogs, cat behavior consultants more often face cat vs. cat scenarios. I’ll walk you through three diverse case studies carefully selected to provide an overview of various methods and tools that help in tougher feline integrations, including protocols for barrier work, and adjunct training. A focus in each case is on working around household limitations (and there are always limitations!) and devising ways to ensure lengthy “split-house” introductions are practical and thus sustainable, which is often essential for success.


About Dilara Göksel Parry:

Dilara Göksel Parry was raised in Istanbul, Turkey and holds degrees in Psychology (Neuroscience emphasis) and Comparative Literature from Oberlin College. She has worked in the animal welfare field for the majority of her professional life, including 12 years as the Cat Behavior Coordinator at the San Francisco SPCA. In 2008 she co-founded Feline Minds with Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado, where they focus on private consultations to help cat guardians live harmoniously with their cats, and consult with animal welfare organizations with an emphasis on improving cat sheltering practices. In addition to staying busy with Feline Minds, Dilara works part-time at Cat Town Oakland, an innovative, cage-free rescue for cats deemed unadoptable in traditional shelter settings.


Dilara is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. She enjoys writing educational material to “translate” cats for humans, and has been interviewed by MSNBC, Animal Sheltering, thedodo.com, PetMD and Chewy, as well as written for the Bay Woof Foundation and Maddie’s Fund. She shares her life in Richmond, CA with her family of humans, cats, dogs, and chickens.