Head nurse Kath uses her skills and experience to help animals in need

A desire to help animals is what draws all our vets and vet nurses to the veterinary profession. They are compassionate and caring by nature and this doesn’t end when they leave the clinic.

Kath Howie, head nurse at Vets Now’s clinic in Farnham, is the perfect example of someone who goes above and beyond to help animals when they need it most. Not only has Kath won awards for her contribution to veterinary nursing, but she has also opened her home to hundreds of cats in need of foster care over the past 15 years.

“I have had a long career as a vet nurse and brought home many waifs and strays,” she explained.

“Some are strays or newborn kittens that need hand rearing, while others are unwell and need nursing care, and some just need a bit of extra help while they wait for their perfect home.

“I would say I’ve fostered over 200 in total, but it may well be much more than that.”

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Kath has fostered for Cats Protection and various other charities over the years and she is happy to use her skills and knowledge to help cats find their feet.

She said: “Last year, CPL Farnham and Wey Valley was looking for someone to tame some young but feral kittens who had been born on a building site. I had some experience of taming feral kittens so I offered to help.”

And after her hard work is done, it’s always rewarding to see them get the happy lives they deserve.

She added: “The most recent litter I had were born in Cats Protection care and the mum was very unwell, so once they were weaned they were looking for a foster home to socialise them and get them ready for their new homes.

“The charity contacted me and I agreed to take them home until they were ready for rehoming.

“One of the litter is deaf so she took a little longer to find the perfect home, but I’m happy to say she has just left us, along with her brother Jimmy.“

Kath’s motivation for doing such incredible work stems from not only helping animals, but supporting deserving animal charities.

“Charities in the UK for both dogs and cats are under immense pressure in terms of the numbers of animals they are able to help and they are struggling to find foster homes,” Kath explained.

“All of the charities I foster for are often desperate for foster homes for both dogs and cats, and if I can help in any small way then I’m happy to do that.”

She is also passionate about the impact fostering can have on animals throughout their lives.

“Fosters can be the difference between an animal being in a cattery or kennel or being in a home environment getting used to people, being handled and getting ready for their next steps.”

  1. Some of Kath's kittens

    Kit the kitten

    Image of a kitten for Vets Now article on vet nurse fostering cats
  2. Some of Kath's kittens

    A couple of kittens

    Image of a kitten for Vets Now article on vet nurse fostering cats
  3. Some of Kath's kittens

    Time for snuggles

    Image of a kitten for Vets Now article on vet nurse fostering cats
  4. Some of Kath's kittens

    Little Martha

    Image of a kitten for Vets Now article on vet nurse fostering cats
  5. Some of Kath's kittens

    Snow White posing for the camera

    Image of a kitten for Vets Now article on vet nurse fostering cats

However, Kath is not the only one who shares her life and home with so many four-legged friends — her husband is also inevitably involved in the process.

“I think my husband has given up now,” she laughed.

She also praised her very patient pets who take it all in their stride.

“We have a Staffie who is always happy to welcome anyone into the house — dogs and cats included,” she said.

“When we foster dogs, she will show them the ropes and also where the treats are kept!

“She leaves the cats alone completely if they’re unhappy with her, but otherwise she’ll play, as she does with the current kittens.

“Our cat is getting on a bit now at 13 years old, so he tends to just have a look at what’s going on and then go back to his favourite sleeping spot in the sun, where he knows he won’t be bothered by anyone.

“We always have to put our own pets first, but I’m very lucky with them as they’re very tolerant.“

“All of the charities I foster for are often desperate for foster homes for both dogs and cats, and if I can help in any small way then I am happy to do that.”

Kath Howie Head nurse, Farnham

And Kath has some wise words for anyone interested in fostering animals.

“If you think you can help then don’t hesitate. Contact your local rescue and see if you meet their criteria for a foster home.

“It’s incredibly rewarding and, for cats, it’s often just a case of being able to offer house space, warmth, food, TLC and cuddles.

“These animals aren’t broken or damaged, they end up being simply unwanted and you can make a huge difference to their lives by offering to foster, even if only for a short period of time.”

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