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The Cat Behaviour Conference by Cats Protection will take place on Friday 2 September 2022.

Take a look at our agenda and list of speakers below.

You can also register for the conference now.

Date: Friday 2 September 2022 | 9am - 5.30pm GMT

Location: Online

Cost: £40 including VAT (early bird price - ends 30 June 2022)

Can’t join us on the day? Don’t worry, you can purchase your ticket in advance and you’ll be sent the link for the recording. The recording will be split into individual talks so you can dip in and out of them easily for six months from the date of the conference.

Register now

What is the Cats Protection Cat Behaviour Conference?


The Cats Protection Cat Behaviour Conference is one of the first conferences dedicated to cat behaviour and is ideal for veterinary professionals and everyone working in the animal welfare sector, caring for cats as well as budding cat behaviourists. 

Register for the conference

This year's theme: Happy cat, happy owner – purrfect problem solving

Watch a day of cat behaviour CPD, featuring expert speakers from around the world!

After the success of Cats Protection’s virtual behaviour conferences in 2020 and 2021, Cats Protection are now holding a third conference in September 2022. The day will be focused on feline behavioural issues, including practical advice and tips.


This year’s conference is kindly supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Agenda

9.00-9.15: Welcome

9.15-10.00: Anne McBride

Help me! – Supporting owners with problem cats

While we are aware and acknowledge that we are helping cats (or any other species), we tend not to spend anything like the same amount of time learning about owners, the human client. As professionals we need to understand more about what makes humans tick, why we have different thoughts, attitudes, anxieties, fears, and resultant behaviours. This informs our own practice and our personal interactions. In this talk, I will provide a brief introduction to a few psychological factors that can influence the behaviour of owners. It is hoped that this will add to your awareness and understanding of the differences between clients. Such understanding is the basis of facilitating each of us to be better able to support individuals in developing and maintaining new ways of interacting with their cats.

10.00-10.15: Q&A Anne McBride

10.15-11.00: Sue Paterson

My cat’s overgrooming – Is it more than skin deep?

Cats will overgroom for a range of different reasons, often it is a skin problem, such as ectoparasites or allergy. The resulting skin irritation from these inciting causes, leads to excessively licking, resulting in hair loss as the cat seeks to alleviate the discomfort. Cats will also overgroom where they have localised pain or discomfort, which in many cases is the only way they can communicate with their owner that they have a problem. Psychogenetic alopecia or hair loss due to overgrooming due to stress does exist in cats but it is, in the author’s opinion, a rare disease that is over diagnosed.

This presentation will discuss the different reasons why cats overgroom and suggest a logical way in which the underlying causes can be investigated and managed.

11.00-11.15: Q&A Sue Paterson

11.15-11.30: Short break

11.30-12.05: Anna Ewers Clark

All together now – Practical ways to meet cat welfare needs across varied environments, teams and caregivers

Our cats live an incredibly wide range of lifestyles. But despite the varied situations in which they live, they still have species-specific welfare needs. Whether cats spend their time indoors or outdoors, receive care from one owner or have multiple caregivers, or they live more independent lives we still must ensure that their needs are being met. If not, they can develop serious behavioural and medical problems.

During this session, we will look at practical and pragmatic ways our teams at Blue Cross assess cat welfare needs across different settings and situations. We will explore how owners and rehoming, behaviour and veterinary teams can work together to implement lifelong changes to improve cat welfare. Overall, we will aim to see how these steps can support individual cats and the wider cat population to stay as healthy and happy as possible throughout their lives.

12.05-12.15: Q&A Anna Ewers Clark

12.15-13:00: Research section

13.00-13.40: Lunch/break

13.40-14:20: Nathalie Dowgray 

Pooing outside of the box – The complex management of feline osteoarthritis

In this session Dr Nathalie Dowgray will cover the clinical signs of arthritis in cats and how you can work with your vet to diagnosis and treat it. The sometimes unexpected signs of feline arthritis will be discussed alongside the development of management strategies for the individual including environmental optimisation and pain relief. The session will give cat caregivers the tools they need to recognise arthritis in their cats and make the changes needed to support cats with this chronic condition. 

14:20-14.30: Q&A Nathalie Dowgray

14.30-15.05: Anneleen Bru

10-step plan to tackle any house soiling issue

House soiling is a common behaviour issue in house cats. It is often caused by a combination of unmet needs of our cats. In this session, we will go through the causes of house soiling, and you will learn a system of 10 practical steps that, when followed, will improve, and even possibly eliminate any house soiling problem.

15.05-15.15: Q&A Anneleen Bru

15.15-15.30: Break

15:30-16.15: Sarah Heath

Confrontational cats – Why do they behave that way?

Confrontational behaviours can be distressing for caregivers as well as veterinary professionals and shelter staff. It can also indicate a level of distress for the cat and this presentation will explore some of the underlying motivations that can be involved. It will offer practical ways in which to reduce the incidence of confrontational feline responses and respond to them appropriately when they occur.  

16.15-16.30: Q&A Sarah Heath

16.30-17.25: Panel discussion with Anneleen Bru, Sarah Heath, Juliette Jones and Nathalie Dowgray

17.25-17.30: Closing remarks

Who should attend?

  • Veterinary professionals
  • Rehoming centre employees and volunteers
  • Cat fosterers
  • Cat behaviourists
  • Cat groomers
  • Cat sitters
  • Pet shop employees
  • Cattery owners and staff
  • Students studying an animal-based course

The conference is also suitable for those whose work focuses on cats indirectly, including those studying for a relevant qualification. The day will count as seven hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for those needing to maintain CPD hours.


How can I attend?

  • As the conference is online, you can gain access from a location of your choice
  • Content will be available for another six months post event for no extra fee

Meet the speakers

Dr Anne McBride BSc (Hons) PhD FRSA

Anne has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from University College London, where she also did her PhD (on rabbit behaviour… sort of associated with cats, as cats like to eat rabbits!)

Anne has been a Clinical Animal Behaviourist since 1987 and she teaches aspects of psychology and human-animal interactions at University of Southampton. Her degree, experience as a clinician, general experiences of life and people and her strong interest in the ‘hows and whys’ of the interspecies interactions between humans and animals are why Anne’s main goal in life is to help others become creative yet critical thinkers in respect of animal (and human) behaviour and welfare. One aspect is raising awareness of the scientific understanding of the needs of small species. These are often misunderstood, or simply not known as we have yet to do the research. Her second goal is to grow older while never truly growing up, by continuing to learn, and laugh all the way to the end!

Dr Sue Paterson MA VetMB DVD DipECVD FRCVS

Dr Sue Paterson is recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and by the European College of Veterinary Dermatology as a specialist in veterinary dermatology. She is an elected Fellow of the RCVS for her contributions to clinical practice in this field.

Sue has written seven textbooks including three on ear disease and has written more than 90 refereed publications in English, European and American journals.

She has lectured extensively including in the USA at the NAVC Congress, in the UK at national meetings for the BSAVA and BVDGS including being a regular speaker at the Annual BSAVA Congress. In Europe, she is a regular contributor to the Annual European Dermatology Congresses and has lectured at the WCVD Congress on numerous occasions. In addition, she has been an invited speaker at international meetings all over the world in more than 30 different countries.

She is an elected member of RCVS Council where she is Education Chair, Council lead for Sustainability and Council lead for Leadership. Sue is a past president of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and of the European Society of Veterinary Dermatology. She is the current President of the World Association of Veterinary Dermatology. Sue is a Trustee of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and in her spare time enjoys long walks with her dogs across the Cumbrian fells where she lives.

Dr Anna Ewers Clark BVetMed BSc MRCVS

Anna Ewers Clark is a vet and Veterinary Lead for Research, Standards and Communication at Blue Cross. In addition to her veterinary work, she helps create evidence-based clinical guidelines and policies, is a media spokesperson and provides veterinary advice for the Blue Cross communications team. She also has a degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. Anna lives with her dogs, Kirk and Jerry, and two rescue rabbits, Jack and Harley.

Dr Nathalie Dowgray BVSc, MRCVS, MANZCVS (feline), PGDip. IAWEL, PhD

Nathalie graduated from Massey University, New Zealand in 2002. In 2012 she sat the Membership exams for the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Feline Medicine and is a RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Feline Medicine. She received a post graduate diploma in international animal welfare ethics and law from Edinburgh University in 2016 and completed a PhD in the ageing of cats at the University of Liverpool in 2021. Nathalie’s areas of interest are all things feline including feline health screening, musculoskeletal disease, and age-related disease. Nathalie joined iCatCare as Head of ISFM in August 2020 and works part time as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool.

Anneleen Bru MSc CABC

Anneleen Bru is a Belgian cat behaviour counsellor. She graduated from the University of Southampton and has been on a mission for happy cats since 2008.

This happy cats mission is about helping cat owners to understand their cat's behaviour better in a fun but scientifically-based way, which makes it easier to manage and modify possible behaviour issues. She also trains cat professionals to use their knowledge about the behaviour of the cat to optimise their service to their customers.

Anneleen is former chair of the Belgian Association of Animal Behaviour Professionals and is a fully certified member of the IAABC (USA). She is a creative entrepreneur who keeps looking for new ways to help cat owners. She is the author of a series of cat behaviour books, called I Love Happy Cats. Her first book Guide for a Happy Cat is published in 14 countries and sold over 30,000 times.

Dr Sarah Heath BVSc PgCertVE Dip.ECAWBM(BM) CCAB FHEA FRCVS

Sarah qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol University in 1988 and set up Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in 1992. She sees clinical cases across north-west England and wider afield through video platform consultations. In 2018 she was made an FRCVS for meritorious contributions to the profession in recognition of her work in establishing behavioural medicine as a veterinary discipline. She is an RCVS and EBVS® European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine and an external lecturer in small animal behavioural medicine on the veterinary undergraduate course at Liverpool University. In 2019 she gained her Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Education. Sarah has authored many papers, books and book chapters and in 2016 was co-author and co-editor of Feline Behavioural Health and Welfare published by Elsevier. She has a special interest in the interplay between emotional and physical illness in dogs and cats.

Juliette Jones

Having worked at Woodgreen for 30 years, Juliette has extensive knowledge and practical experience in all areas of cat welfare and behaviour in both a cattery environment and in the home.

Juliette is currently Woodgreen’s Cat Specialist and also leads the Behaviour and Training Specialist Team. She is responsible for setting the welfare standards for cats in Woodgreen’s care, including those with complex behavioural needs, as well as giving advice and support to external audiences on a full spectrum of themes.

Juliette believes in a scientific evidence-based approach, applied with empathy, compassion and understanding for both pet and owner.

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