Stress Reduction: Happy and Healthy Shelter Cats

May 2016 by Dr. Brenda Griffin

Audience: Executive Leadership, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team

Stress can trigger physical, emotional and behavioral problems for cats in animal shelters. What can be done to help overcome stress and its negative outcomes?

A sense of control over conditions is one of the most critical needs for mental health and well-being in animals. Cats need variety and choice, and individuals possess different preferences for environmental conditions, levels of activity and social interactions with other animals and humans. That’s why developing behavioral care plans to optimize feline wellness is an essential task for shelter veterinarians and staff.  

Dr. Brenda Griffin, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida and Regent for the new specialty in shelter medicine, has worked with shelter pets since 1999. 

Please join Dr. Griffin and Maddie's Institute® for Stress Reduction: Happy and Healthy Shelter Cats on a Fast Track to Adoption. The free on-demand webcast is now available, just click the registration button to get started.

Register for the Free Webcast

Viewers of this webcast will learn how to design and implement science-based strategies to provide appropriate enrichment for shelter cats in order to optimize their health and wellness, including:

  • Basic needs and requirements for feline housing and enrichment in shelters
  • Providing humane handling and creature comforts
  • How to monitor cats for negative and positive emotional states
  • Interactions with humans
  • Interactions with other cats
  • The importance of daily routine and sensory enrichment
  • Games to stimulate physical exercise and exploration
  • And more!

Stress Reduction: Happy and Healthy Shelter Cats on a Fast Track to Adoption is the follow-up webcast to How Stress is Sabotaging Your Cat Adoption Efforts, and part of a series that includes How Stress is Sabotaging Your Dog Adoption Efforts and the forthcoming Stress Reduction: Happy and Healthy Shelter Dogs on a Fast Track to Adoption, scheduled for June 23, 2016. These presentations are part of an ongoing series of educational programs from Maddie's Institute, the academic division of Maddie's Fund, providing the most innovative animal welfare information to shelter staff, veterinarians, rescue groups and community members to increase the lifesaving of homeless dogs and cats community-wide.

This program was reviewed and approved by the AAVSB RACE program for 1.5 hours of continuing education. Participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education. Please contact the AAVSB RACE program if you have any comments/concerns regarding this program’s validity or relevancy to the veterinary profession.

This course has been pre-approved for Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits.

About Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Dr. Griffin is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida, and co-instructs courses in shelter medicine there as well as at the University of Georgia. She also serves as the Regent for the new specialty in shelter medicine.

A 1990 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Griffin completed an internship at the MSPCA’s Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in 1991. She then spent time working in general small animal practice as well as in animal shelters before pursuing a residency in small animal internal medicine at Auburn University.

For the past 17 years, Dr. Griffin has used her expertise in small animal internal medicine and her passion for shelter animals to assist in the development of training and research programs that support the field of shelter medicine. Her professional interests surround shelter animal behavior and welfare, population health and wellness, feline medicine, and strategies to prevent animals from entering shelters including behavioral wellness, identification, and sterilization programs.

Dr. Griffin lives in South Carolina with her husband, a pack of dogs, clowder of cats, and a cute pair of goats. In her spare time, she greatly enjoys playing with them all and is determined that one day she will train them better than they have trained her!


Content you may be interested in

Use social media to get more foster homes for big dogs

February 15, 2017

Can you save 44 large dogs’ lives in 14 days through the power of social media? Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) did just that, and in this recording from the 2015 Best Friends National Conference, Faith Wright tells you how you can, too! In Foster Faster: Growing Your Dog Foster Program, Wright says the trick is… Learn More

Adopted pets are rescued by love, saved by shelter medicine

February 9, 2017

If you’ve adopted a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group, you know how powerful the bond is that exists between the pet and their human family. You’re also probably aware of the efforts made by shelter and rescue staff and volunteers to make sure you and your pet found each other. What you… Learn More

Advances in pet databases can help your shelter or rescue group get more pets adopted

February 8, 2017

The technological revolution of the last 25 years has had a profound impact on the animal welfare industry. Things we now take for granted, like websites that display our organizations' services and adoptable pets, pet-search databases such as and, more robust and easy to use animal sheltering software solutions, and the rise of… Learn More