Wanting to become a veterinarian is one of the earliest memories I have. I was gifted a pink stethoscope at age five from my grandparents who had a very tolerant domestic shorthair named, “Poulan.” This goal became more concrete when I discovered that helping animals as a veterinarian involved working through medical problems with a fellow-minded team to help animals and their pet parents.
It was clear The Cat Clinic practiced a high calibre of medicine and care from the moment I started placement as a vet student. The commitment of the team to do their best for each and every cat that came into the clinic was inspiring. Those few weeks catalysed a passion for feline medicine. With each cat having their own specific needs, they each require an individual approach and treatment plan to help promote their health and well-being.
My goal in meeting every cat is to understand each cat’s unique personality. I aim to provide a personalised and high-standard of care that will be helpful for each cat, their parents, and the bond they share. I work hard with my colleagues and clients to accomplish the best possible outcome for each patient I meet.
Although most of my family is back in the United States, I moved to Melbourne with my husband, John. Within the first month of moving here we adopted our cat, Chaplin. She is a demure black-and-white domestic medium hair with a lot to say! A few years later we welcomed a corgi named Lana into our home. She quickly adapted to Chaplin being the head of the household and Chaplin has tolerated her canine sibling. Our pets are our family. When we are around them, we are home.
When not at the clinic I enjoy baking and cooking. My partner and I also love to explore new areas of Melbourne both in the city and in nature of the surrounding regions.
Growing up in Africa, I was drawn to all animals domestic and wild. My childhood dream was always to become a game ranger or zoo keeper, but through high school this evolved into pursuing veterinary medicine. My childhood pets, Niki (Siamese), Rupert (Old English sheepdog) & Emily (Fox terrier) were my true inspiration for pursuing this veterinary career. I always remembered going to the vets with them, it soon became my only career choice. I gained entry to the University of Queensland veterinary school in 1994.After graduation, I actively pursued a position with Dr Vic Menrath in Queensland, Australia’s first feline specialist vet. After working with his team for 5 years, I decided to found the Cat Clinic in Melbourne in 2005 with my partner Amy.
I love the cat hospital we have created, the people that I work with, the amazing cats I care for and the relationship and trust I have built with our clients.I know the bond and love I have for my cats, this is the motivation to continually strive to deliver the best for my feline patients. By caring for a cat’s health & well being, I know I will help promote and prolong the bond an owner has with their cat. I really enjoy caring for every aspect of cat’s life needs, from the routine to most dire health needs. I get tremendous satisfaction in getting to know my patients and clients and their families. It is an inevitable part of the profession that I will lose much loved patients, but in the next generation, I get to continue the lineage of care with my client – this is the most satisfying part of my career.
I am lucky to call Amy – the most brilliant feline vet I know, my partner. We share our home with three cats. Stirling is an 8 year old Russian blue, he is truly the most amazing little creature I have ever loved (you shouldn’t have favourites). Billie is a fun loving and slightly tubby 12 year old Burmese and Stella, a 9 year old “ice queen” oriental.Outside of work, you will find me adding to the frustration of life on a golf course, getting some miles in my kayak on the Yarra or at the gym. I am an avid foodie and consider myself an overly enthusiastic consumer of fine red wines, being especially partial to Australian Cabernet’s.
When I was a child my favourite toy was a doctor’s bag full of plastic medical equipment, including a stethoscope. My favourite game was to ‘play vets’ and save my family pets (who had to participate whether they liked it or not!). I became more and more passionate about animal care as I got older –also discovering that I loved nature, the sciences, problem solving, and connecting with people. Combining all these interests steered me down the path of becoming a veterinarian and it was the best choice I have ever made!Cats have always held a very special place in my heart- my first pet, a cat named Bundy (a female ginger) lived until she was 21. I did a placement when I was veterinary student at the clinic, and as soon as I met the team, clients, and the fabulous feline patients I knew it was meant to be – I left saying “That’s it, I am going to be a feline only vet one day!” The team of nurses, cattery attendants and vets strive to provide the best patient care in every aspect, which is something I value highly as a veterinarian.The thing that I love most about cats is that it is important to earn their trust. So, when I meet them in the clinic, I always do my best to be gentle, patient and calm so that they trust me during our time together in the consultation room or hospital. Of course, kitty cuddles and chin nudges are always a goal too!My partner Ricardo & I share our home with three cats.Prada (White Siamese X) is my special sassy princess who will love you immensely one minute and give you attitude the next (a little lioness), but we have a very close bond.Louis (Seal point cross-eyed Siamese) is a gentle old lady who enjoys lying in the sun, sitting on laps, and warms to everyone she meets.
Fletcher (Domestic short hair) is an affectionate big boy who habitually tricks people into feeding him extra dinner. He loves running up and down the hallway at all hours of the night.
It wouldn’t be a home without a cat greeting you at the door, following you around the house, or sleeping next to you at night. My cats mean everything to me – they are my source of entertainment with their little quirks, they are comforting, and they are definitely my fur babies.
I’ve always loved animals. When I was growing up we lived close to the beach and there were a number of stray cats that lived amongst the rocks. I’d frequently go down and feed them. We rescued one young cat “Wuzzy” (whose namesake came from “was he” a girl or boy), which became very apparent when she gave birth to kittens a week later. Our Silky Terrier gave birth within the same week, and suddenly we had a fur family of 10! I was hooked, and proclaimed that I wanted to be a veterinarian at the age of 7.
My interest in medicine continued to develop over the years. I was fascinated by an anatomy book that belonged to my father. It had semi-translucent pages that allowed you to construct the human body one system at a time. My father always hoped that I would become a doctor, as he had wanted to be.Mid-way through my veterinary degree I did work experience at the Cat Clinic in Brisbane. I loved the idea of feline-only practice, so pestered them constantly until they offered me a position there 10 months after graduation. After 2 years in feline practice, I decided that I not only wanted to work with cats, but that I wanted to specialise in feline medicine, which led me to undertake a 2-year residency at the University of Sydney. Love ultimately brought me down to the Cat Clinic in Melbourne to be with Richard. I’m a firm believer that all you need in life is love and a cat.Cats are fascinating. Every individual cat has different personality traits. I enjoy getting to know each and every one (and their servant/s!) and gain their trust. In doing so, I hope that I can make their visit as enjoyable as possible, as well as provide them with the exceptional health care that they all deserve.
Richard and I are fortunate to share our lives with 3 fabulous felines: Stella (aka Stella Bella), a 9yo female Oriental, that considers herself queen of the household. She loves being spanked hard on the bottom (she will scream at you if you stop!), and is constantly in search of any heat source. Stirling (aka Grey man or Stirly Whirly), an 8yo male Russian Blue that is very loveable and clearly gifted. He loves the simple things in life, from autumn leaves to tuna sashimi. Billie (aka Fatso or Brown cat), an 11yo female Burmese, is the newest addition to the household (and is yet to be accepted by Stella…). She loves cheese, catnip and belly rubs (fortuitously her belly is more than ample!).
When I’m not at the clinic, you will find me at Pilates, or on the couch with a cat (or three!) and a glass of wine. After all, time spent with cats is never wasted (who could doubt Sigmund Freud!).