other important things

A closer look at the map behind cognitive maps and free speech for faculty

Edward Tolman is the man they named the Psych building for at UC Berkeley - but do you know about his contributions to the field of animal cognition? Or how he stood up for free speech in the age of McCarthyism? I wrote about him at the Berkeley Science Review!

My Thumbnail


With only one or two games left in the World Series, there are many baseball fans out there right now who aren't changing their shirts, or who are wearing certain colors every day, or are maybe skipping that shave...in the hopes of bringing their favorite team to a win. I'm more than a little excited because my team is in the running. But can any of us really help our team win through our behaviors?

My Thumbnail

...continue reading

I was lucky to attend this year's fantastic Animal Behavior Society Meeting in Princeton NJ. So many amazing talks and ideas and people! Among my favorites were Iain Couzin, James Serpell, Tim Clutton-Brock, Dorothy Cheney and David Whyte-MacDonald.

I storified my live tweets of the talks so you could get a taste of the awesome stuff that was presented:

Day 1: August 10

Day 2: August 11

Day 3: August 12

Day 4: August 13

I also hung with a few fellow science bloggers/twitter peops, like DogSpies, PrancingPapio and @RiceisReal

IMG_4021As a bonus, Princeton is a lovely campus with lots of eastern gray squirrels and rabbits! And somehow I got lucky, two weeks on the East Coast and the weather was pretty fantastic.

Next week: we return to regular programming with cats and squirrels and Friday Faves. Stay tuned!

IMG_4019 IMG_4006

One academic conference is enough to exhaust your brain. Two might fry it. I'm currently at the Animal Behavior Society Meeting in Princeton, NJ (more on that later). Last week I was at the International Society for Behavioral Ecology meeting in NYC.

For your reading pleasure, I have storified my tweets from the presentations that I attended - Now you can see what kind of cool, amazing science got reported there!

Day 1: August 1

Day 2: August 2

Day 3: August 4

Day 4: August 5

I also spent a few lovely days in Brooklyn, where I got to hang out with DogSpies. I also checked out the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Brooklyn museum, ate some serious pizza, met with a fellow cat behavior consultant and hung with some friends. I have to love a place that has THIS mural!!


Cats and Squirrels will be taking a little break from Friday Faves, This Week in Squirrels and the usual blog posts to attend (and present my research at) two conferences on the East Coast: The International Society for Behavioral Ecology Meeting in NYC, and the Animal Behavior Society Meeting at Princeton.

To be sure, I'll be live tweeting from the meetings and will likely be posting some bits and pieces on here. Cats and Squirrels resumes regular programming on August 15th!

My Thumbnail



Scientific principles play out in real life, sometimes without you even realizing it.

One of my cats has been pretty ill for a few weeks now. She had a vomiting episode, and then just pretty much stopped eating. She's always had what I would call a "sensitive tummy" but has otherwise been pretty healthy. So I was convinced that she was a likely victim of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and that it had finally caught up to her.

cb2When she stopped eating, we took her to the vet immediately, where she was given an anti-nausea medication and some fluids. We scheduled a "GI Panel" - a special blood test that looks at the functions of the pancreas and tests vitamin levels to look at overall digestive functioning. Abnormal results can often be an indicator of IBD or other health problems that might lead to loss of appetite such as B-12 deficiency or pancreatitis. Her bloodwork came back "boringly normal" but the symptoms remained. It got to the point that all she would it was small amounts of chicken baby food. The vet recommended an ultrasound to look for other signs of inflammation of the intestines, which we scheduled as soon as we could.

...continue reading