2015 IAABC Feline Behavior Conference

Cat Learning

April 11-12, Atlanta, GA

The Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia

A two-day, single-track conference featuring speakers discussing the latest science, treatments and protocols for managing and modifying behavior in domestic cats, and will provide much-needed information and peer support (and CEUs!) to those working with cats - or wanting to work with cats - and their people. 

There are more cats than dogs in US households, yet their behavioral needs are largely unaddressed. We welcome both professionals already working with cats, and professionals working with dogs who want to know more about how to recognize and address issues with cats in the homes we’re so often already visiting while working with dogs.


IAABC Members: You must use your Account page to buy member discount tickets. Members may buy as many tickets as they like, but only the IAABC member’s registered e-mail address will be accepted as a purchasing address. 


There are no group discounts.


Saturday, April 11th

8:30 - 9:20am: Keynote - Steve Dale: Being Real About the Human-Animal Bond: It’s Not All Wet Dog Kisses or Purring Kitties.

Cats are the most popular pet in America. They should be man’s best friend if you look at just the numbers. However, cats visit the veterinarian far less often than dogs (many explanations for this - which Steve will explain, most significant are behavior reasons); more cats are given up to shelters than dogs; fewer cats are recovered from shelters compared to dogs and more cats may be seen in animal abuse cases. Cats are indeed the Rodney Dangerfield of pets. The general public, and even professionals, have misconceptions regarding cats, and they’re for sure less understood than dogs. It’s also a matter of marketing, and Steve will offer examples of what professionals can do to assist with feline image makeovers.

9:30 - 10:10am: Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis: Social Organization and Communication in the Cat

10:20 - 11:20am: Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis: “I Thought your Ankle was a Mouse!” Human-Directed Aggression in the Cat

11:40 - 12:30pm: Dr. Lynne Siebert: Compulsive Grooming Issues - Approach and Management of Over-Grooming Cats

12:40 - 2:00pm: Lunch

2:00 - 3:45pm: Dr. Lynne Siebert: Help for Aging Cats: Behavioral, Environmental, and Medical Management

4:00 - 4:50pm: Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis: Psychopharmacology: Understanding the Medications the Veterinarian Prescribes, Including Legal and Ethical Issues Regarding Their Use

7:00pm: Social Event/ Round Table Discussion TBD

Sunday, April 12th

8:00 - 8:50am: Jacqueline Munera: It Takes Two: Successful Dog and Cat Interactions

Millions of homes have harmonious cat and dog families while others are more reminiscent of a battlefield. Many of your clients may not be aware of what each species needs in order to peaceably coexist with the other. Additionally, when things go wrong, your clients may not know how to improve the situation. This presentation will cover some of the most effective ways to prevent common problem situations. The presentation will also cover the basics of how to set up the environment and some specific training techniques that can be used to increase positive associations between individuals of both species.

9:00 - 9:50am: Beth Adelman: Using Negative Reinforcement to Work With Scaredy Cats

While positive reinforcement is always my first choice in working with cats, many times very frightened/under-socialized cats will not accept food, play, a happy tone of voice, petting, or any interaction at all with humans. If nothing you offer the cat is rewarding in that moment, how do you gain the cat’s trust? Behavior modification protocols using negative reinforcement to be very effective in these situations

10:00 - 10:50am: Dr. Leticia Dantas: Handling Aggressive Cats: Simply a Nightmare, or Just a Matter of Technique?

From vet students to veterinary practice and shelter staff, many professionals dread handling cats for clinical procedures, consider them difficult to manage, and to have a low threshold to aggressive behavior. Is that true or are we missing something that can make our work with domestic felines much easier? This lecture will explore the reasons of why cats get fearful and aggressive while handled, how to prevent escalation to aggression, and what tools and techniques can be used to make the life of vets and other professionals that handle cats easier and safer.

11:10 - 12:00pm: Dr. Tony Buffington: Cat Nutrition and the Relationship Between Food and Behavior

12:10 - 1:15pm: Lunch

1:30 - 2:45pm: Dr. Tony Buffington: Lower Urinary Tract Signs in Cats From Feline Urological Syndrome To Pandora Syndrome

Cats with chronic lower urinary tract signs have long been thought to have some kind of bladder disease. Over the past 25 years, research has suggested that some, possibly many, of these cats actually have a disease of the central nervous system that affects the bladder - and other organs as well - a real “Pandora’s box” of problems. This talk will focus on what could be going on in these cats, and how to figure out what problem(s) they have. There also have been a number of medical treatments for cats recommended that will be (briefly) discussed. We have found multimodal environmental modification (MEMO) to be effective treatment for cats with Pandora Syndrome. I will describe what this is, how to do it, how to monitor therapy of cats to assure the best possible outcome for the cat and their owner, and how implementation effectiveness influences prognosis for these cats.

3:00- 3:50pm: Mikel Delgado: Singing a Different Tune: Cats and Their Owners

Are all pets and pet owners the same? No – which is why a one-size-fits-all approach to consulting may fail. This presentation will address some of the key differences between cats and dogs, within the context of cognition, evolutionary history, and behavior. I will review my own research on how cat and dog owners differ, particularly in the domains of attachment to pets and personality traits. Finally, I will touch on how to apply this understanding of cats and their owners to your own consulting, whether you work with multiple species or only with cats.

4:00 - 4:50pm: Dr. Leticia Dantas: Using Behavior Therapy and Humane Handling to Reduce Stress in Shelters

It has been estimated that approximately half of the US pet population reside within shelters. What we hope for is a quick transition for these animals before finding a home. Unfortunately, significant mental and emotional trauma can occur from abuse and abandonment, commonly during the very phase of their lives when they should have been socialized. This lecture will focus on how to apply behavior therapy and environmental enrichment not only to decrease the stress and fear experienced by cats in shelters, but also to give them skills to promote adoption, and to make the lives of professionals that work with them much easier and more rewarding.

4:50 - 5:00pm: Cat Chairs Closing Remarks

IAABC and CCPDT CEUS will be available.

Live streaming and/or recording of the event is not yet available. We’re working on it, but may not be able to provide it.


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