Maddie's Insights: Social Behavior & Implications for Bonded Pairs in Group-housed Shelter Cats

When:  Sep 14, 2023 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (PT)
Associated with  Animal Welfare Professionals

Maddie's Insights: Social Behavior and Implications for Bonded Pairs in Group-housed Shelter Cats
Little is known about the social behavior of cats living in group housing at shelters. In a series of studies, we recorded all the social behavior occurring between cats living in group housing and compared cats who were introduced at the shelter versus those who were surrendered together. We then followed up by specifically examining social behavior between cats who were labeled as bonded pairs or adopted together. Cats who were labeled as bonded pairs had a longer time to adoption, but the relationship between this designation and social behavior was weak. Recommendations will be provided for identifying bonded pairs.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify positive social (prosocial, affiliative) behavior in cats
2. Understand that being surrendered together is not adequate evidence for bonding
3. Recognize the link between behavior and social bonding in cats

Program Agenda:
- General overview of social behavior in cats
- Review of research regarding social behavior in group housed shelter cats and the impact of bonded pairs on adoption times
- Limitations of identifying bondedness in cats
- Recommendations for identifying bonded pairs

This one-hour webinar will be recorded and has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association.

This webcast have also been submitted for approval for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval.

Zoom registration link:

MPF discussion thread:


Malini Suchak, PhD, Professor & Chair, Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation at Canisius College

About the speaker:
Malini Suchak, PhD is an award-winning associate professor of animal behavior, animal cognition (how animals think and make decisions) and animal wellbeing at Canisius University in Buffalo, NY.  Her research explores how nonhuman animals think about other individuals in their social group and make decisions about their social relationships. She previously worked with chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys, and currently explores these questions in companion animals like cats and dogs. She is particularly fascinated with how companion animals navigate a multi-species world, interacting with others of their own kind, other pets, and their human companions.

Dr. Suchak also looks at how social interactions with others can impact an individual's welfare, such as the impact of group housing on cats living in animal shelters. Cats are not known for being the most social creatures, so it is important to understand the impact of different housing systems on their well-being. Dr. Suchak and her research team routinely present the results of their research at local and international conferences and have published numerous papers on this topic in peer-reviewed journals.


Event Image
When:  Sep 14, 2023 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (PT)
Associated with  Animal Welfare Professionals


Online Instructions:
Login: The recording is now available to watch on-demand and earn continuing education credit using the link above.