The most important thing you need to know about Kathy is her passion for animal welfare issues and wildlife habitat preservation.
“We need to understand that we share this incredible, beautiful planet with other species who deserve to be here as much as we do. These creatures exist because they fill an important niche in the dynamic equilibrium of nature. Human beings are animals too, whether we like to think of ourselves that way or not. What we do to the environment and the creatures who live within that ecosystem will ultimately affect our own survival as a species.”
Kathy was born in Halifax Nova Scotia. (She declines to mention the decade other than the fact she is a boomer.) The youngest of three siblings, her best friend growing up was a grey and white tabby cat named Bootsie. From a very early age, Kathy demonstrated a great respect and love for animals and nature. She earned a B.Sc. in biology and a B.Ed. at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She then furthered her education degree at the University of British Columbia, specializing in outdoor education. She and her husband, Hugh, taught in Prince Rupert on the northwest coast of BC for three years; by summer, they roamed the Rockies.
In 1982, Hugh was accepted to veterinary college in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Little did either one of them know how dramatically this would change their lives. After Hugh’s graduation in 1986, they returned to Nova Scotia where he was employed as a veterinarian in Halifax. Unable to secure a full time teaching position, Kathy worked as a substitute teacher but it was far less fulfilling than having her own classroom. In 1987, the couple made a risky, but heartfelt decision. They decided to open the first feline-only veterinary practice east of Montreal and one of only five feline practices in Canada.
They grew from a staff of two, seven hundred square feet, and one resident cat to a staff of ten, two thousand square feet, and five resident cats. During that time, Kathy worked alongside her husband as receptionist, veterinary technician, kennel cleaner, bookkeeper, custodian, grief counsellor and practice manager. And in her spare time, she began to write. At first, it was just a collection of anecdotes on pieces of paper; little tidbits of life in a cat hospital. Gradually, it took shape and grew into a novel that was awarded second place at the 2007 30th annual Atlantic Writing Competition for unpublished manuscripts. Kathy was also recognized in the short story category with first place for “Seen but Not Heard.” Told in the child’s voice, it is a deeply moving story set in the 1960s about the bond between a little girl and her dad.
Now that Urban Tigers Two – More Tales of a Cat Vet has been released, Kathy is hard at work on her next novel, an expanded version of the award winning “Seen but Not Heard”. She writes in her little cabin down at the lake; the water lapping against the shore, a cat asleep on her lap. Does it get any better than that? Perhaps lunch delivered to her door complete with an inspirational glass of wine? Stay tuned.