Taking Troubled Tabbies from Naughty to Nice

February 2015 by Sara Cookson and Kristin Hill

Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

Video Length: 36 minutes

Every rescue encounters troubled cats with issues that go beyond tortitude. The Austin Pet’s Alive! Cat Behavior Team will teach you how to prevent behavior problems before they start, ensure mental wellness in a shelter environment and prove that even the naughtiest of kitties can find - and keep - a forever home! Under-socialized, bites, won’t use a litter box? We’ve built a team for that and so can you! This program was part of the American Pets Alive! 2015 No-Kill Conference.

About Sara Cookson

Sara Cookson started working in the animal sheltering field at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) in Virginia in 2011.  Starting out as an adoptions counselor for animals small and large, she soon found her passion to be with the many cats that came through the shelter.  In addition to heading the Trap Neuter Return program for the AWLA, she aided in the behavioral enrichment of many "problem" cats that were surrendered to the shelter.  Frequently sought out for behavioral advice both by staff and adopters alike, Sara realized she wanted to formalize her education in the field of cat behavior.  Currently she is working on earning a diploma of Feline Behavior Science and Technology through the Companion Animal Sciences Institute.  Now in Austin, Texas, Sara is working to expand the Cat Behavior Team at Austin Pets Alive! and is thoroughly enjoying the challenging cases there.


About Kristin Hill

Kristin Hill joined Austin Pets Alive! as a volunteer in the feline bottle-baby program in 2010. She moved from volunteering to employment with APA! as a feline adoption counselor in 2011 where she discovered an affinity for helping the sassiest of sassy cats. She is also a volunteer with APA!’s cat behavior program, where she hopes to be able to help more cats find and keep their forever homes. Kristin recently implemented a clicker training program to socialize and train animals at her adoption site and is beginning to take it to the foster program.




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