Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series | HABRI

Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series

sponsored by IDEXX

The Impact of a Feline Fostering Program for Older Adults Living Alone

About the Session

This lecture will feature a conversation with Dr. Sherry Sanderson, Associate Professor of Veterinary Biosciences and Diagnostic Imaging, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, about her research on the impact of a shelter cat fostering program on older adults living independently alone in the Athens, GA area. Dr. Sanderson will discuss the main aims and preliminary results of her ongoing HABRI-funded study, Healthy Aging: Human Companionship Through Fostering Felines.

The primary goal of Dr. Sanderson’s project is to determine if fostering a shelter cat, with the option for adoption, improves the mental health and emotional health of older adults living alone. In addition, Dr. Sanderson and her research team are assessing the impact of feline fostering on older adult’s interest in and commitment to adopting their foster cat, as well as evaluating the feline fostering program as a sustainable partnership between the University of Georgia and community partners.

Preliminary results indicate that participants experience a decrease in loneliness at one and four months post placement of the foster cat, and that the level of comfort participants receive from their cats continually increases the longer they are with their cat.

CE Broker Tracking #: 20-763065.

About the Speaker

Dr. Sherry Sanderson

Associate Professor, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine

Sherry Sanderson, BS, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVIM, Dipl ACVN, received a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1986 and a DVM degree from the University of Minnesota-College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1990. After graduating from vet school, she completed a 1 year rotating internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Oklahoma State University-College of Veterinary Medicine. She then returned to the University of Minnesota to complete a combined graduate program and dual residencies in Small Animal Internal Medicine and Small Animal Clinical Nutrition. She is a diplomate in both The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN). She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Georgia-College of Veterinary Medicine where she received the Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award in 2013 and honored as a Veterinary Medicine Outstanding Teaching Faculty from the University of Georgia in 2014. She has published over 80 manuscripts, book chapters and research abstracts. Her research interests include the use of nutritional management for the prevention and treatment of diseases in dogs and cats. Areas of particular interest include Urology and Nephrology, Obesity, Prebiotics, Probiotics and the interaction of Carnitine and Taurine in Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Most recently she has added the Human Animal Bond as an area of research, and is currently involved with a feasibility study funded by HABRI with supplemental support from Nestle Purina Pet Care that pairs seniors living alone with foster cats (with the option to adopt) from the local humane society.