Courtney Graham

BSc, MSc


I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College. I completed my BSc in Geography at the University of Victoria and my MSc in Applied Animal Biology, studying the social behaviour and welfare of laboratory zebrafish, in the University of British Columbia’s Animal Welfare Program. In the fall of 2017, I began my PhD with Dr. Lee Niel, where I have the opportunity to research feline behaviour and welfare. Here, I am investigating the effects of socialization and early management strategies for identifying fear behaviour in kittens and assessing this behaviour’s progression through development. I am particularly interested in the interactions between fear and development of temperament, owner and foster parent attitudes and influence on kitten behaviour, and how socialization can help reduce fear and promote successful adoptions and enhance the human-animal bond. The overall aim of this research is to advance our understanding of fear behaviour in kittens and cats and improve their welfare in the many shelters and homes within which they live.

Research Interests

Animal behaviour

Animal welfare

Kitten behaviour

Early experiences




Human-animal bond


Teaching Assistant—VETM*3410 Health Management II OVC Phase 2 (W19, F19, W20, W21)