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The behavior of cats—America’s most popular house pet—will be the topic of a talk by Julie Albright of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Albright’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will explore the roots of humans’ changing relationship with cats over their 10,000-year history together.

Cats are often considered affectionate and self-sustaining house pets, although their genetic and behavioral background is remarkably similar to that of the solitary and territorial wild creatures from which they have evolved. Throughout the centuries, human views of cats have ranged from objects of worship in ancient Egypt to demonic symbols in Europe during the Dark Ages to today’s beloved pets.

Many of the health and behavior problems we see in pet cats are due to a basic misunderstanding of natural feline behavioral needs. Albright will explain cats’ amazing ability to adapt to most environments when their owners provide for their emotional, social, environmental, and physical needs.

Albright is the PetSafe Chair of Small Animal Behavioral Research at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, where she conducts research into the causes and best treatments for problem behaviors in companion animals. Along with members of the UT’s Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) team, she also researches the benefits of animal-assisted activities and the welfare of therapy animals.

The lecture is part of exhibition-related programming for Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, which runs through May 7 at the McClung Museum. The exhibition, which is organized by the Brooklyn Museum, explores the role of cats, lions, and other feline creatures in Egyptian mythology, kingship, and everyday life through nearly 80 different representations of cats from the Brooklyn Museum’s world-famous Egyptian collection. 

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking kiosk at the entrance to Circle Park Drive during the week. Free parking is available on the weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is available via the Knoxville Trolley Vol Line.

See the museum’s website for more information about family programming, parking, collections, and exhibits.



Stacy Palado (865-974-2143,

Catherine Shteynberg (865-974-6921,