Meet our newest veterinarian, Dr. Tisha Posey! She graduated from Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 and worked at a traditional small animal clinic and as a housecall vet before joining us at Cat Care Professionals. We’re so excited that she is a member of our team and can’t wait for you to meet her!
To get to know more about Dr. Posey, check out our Q&A!
1. Why did you want to become a veterinarian?
I always had an interest in science, nature, and medicine. I wanted to know how things work and how to fix things. I also always LOVED animals. I used to actively seek out stray cats and bring them home and try to keep every one of them. I also had a large collection of frogs, tadpoles, a grasshopper circus, and many ducks, chickens, rabbits, and such. One of my best, early memories is watching my cat give birth to kittens. I was fascinated by the process and wanted to know more. I was also so pleased to suddenly, magically have 4 kittens in my life. I also wanted to become a vet so I could take care of the pack of animals I intended to have when I grew up. I’m just a bit of a control freak so I wanted to have the ability to take care of my furry family myself and be able to give them the longest, happiest lives possible. Learning about how animals work and how to keep them healthy felt like becoming part of a secret club with the animals. I might not know exactly what a cat is saying but I definitely feel like I can “speak cat”. I’m an introvert and feel drawn to animals most of all, but I also feel a special connection with other people who love animals like I do. It makes me so happy to be able to help others and their pets in the same way that I always wanted to help my own. Treat them like members of my extended furry family, so to speak. So being a vet works out pretty well for me.
2. How did you find yourself at Cat Care Professionals?
My husband and I wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest for as long as we could remember (when did the Goonies come out?). We got our chance and left friends, families, and jobs and moved to Portland in 2014. One lifelong dream accomplished! Another dream I fulfilled was to work as a housecall veterinarian, which is what I did for the 5+ years prior to joining Cat Care Professionals. Through doing housecalls I worked with far more cats than dogs and oftentimes with cats that needed extra special patience and compassion. Those who were told they didn’t have the temperament to go back to the clinic they had been going to or those who were so scared they would injure themselves or others in the process of getting to the vet. Despite the sometimes extra levels of stress, I found I really, really loved working with cats. I especially enjoyed making the experience as free of fear as possible. I found that I have an understanding and an appreciation for cats that many people don’t just naturally have. I feel like I can speak their language and truly like each one I meet (even if they don’t always like me). I ultimately decided that in my ideal world I’d be working with only cats should I ever get the opportunity. As things turned out through all the upheaval of the recent times with Covid-19 I found myself looking for employment and low and behold Cat Care Professionals was hiring. I could hardly believe it and felt I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t apply. Well it seems to be a purrrfect fit for me here, and I hope to live here surrounded by cats and cat loving people happily ever after.
3. What do you wish more people knew about cats?
Cats are not small dogs. They are nocturnal, they are solitary, they are carnivores, and they are masters of hiding illness. I take it as a major complement that cats will wake up during the day to spend time with us humans when all their instincts are telling them to sleep. I also understand and forgive them for leaving my comfy lap on the couch at dusk to chase bugs and rampaging throughout the house all night. Cats don’t tend to live in large groups like dogs either. So it isn’t surprising if they don’t immediately (or ever) become BFFs with the new furry roommate their person got them. It doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t have multiple cats. It just means when we do, we have to provide them with ample space and time to be alone (and plenty of clean litter-boxes). Think of them like introverts sharing a house. It can be a really beautiful thing with some space and understanding.
Also, cats in the wild would be eating something like a mouse for most meals. So they aren’t really equipped to be getting a lot of typical dry food which is high in carbohydrates. Canned food is much more nutritionally appropriate for a cat. High protein, moderate fat, and LOW carbs.
It is also in the best interest of a cat, which evolved as both a predator and a prey species, to hide illness at all costs. So they aren’t going to tell humans or whine when they are ill. That’s why vet visits and wellness checks are so important. And lastly, vet visits don’t have to be scary for cats. With patience, understanding, and sometimes pharmacology we can make visits nice for kitties and help them feel their best while also keeping their stress minimized.
4. What is your favorite thing about being a vet?
Okay so selfishly… I love that I get to snuggle with cats. If I’m having a bad day, I can sneak a quick hug in and it helps me feel better. It’s sort of like my patients are therapy for me while I’m providing treatment for them. I also enjoy gaining the trust of patients and clients. To be able to take my time with a nervous cat and allow them to find out I’m a good human who doesn’t mean them any harm means the world. To take time to really listen to clients and show them they can trust my medical judgement and my intention to do well by them and their beloved pet is so rewarding. I want to feel like a safe place for them – the animals and the people. Once they know they can trust me to be a good doctor and a good person I can feel the relief from them, which is just as much a relief to me. Medical issues can be scary and doctors can be intimidating, but I want to be the kind, approachable doctor who helps reduce the fear and stress for both animals and their people. I also love educating people about things they can do to help their cats live longer and happier lives while not interfering with their special bond. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by coworkers who love animals like I do. I talk to clients who find themselves in my life because they love their cat so much. And best of all I get to interact with cats all day long. Top 3 favorite things about being a vet right there.
5. What do you like to do in your spare time?
My life outside of work involves spending as much time in nature as I can – preferably with the animals. My family lives on our dream property on 6.5 acres in the woods outside of Portland. We go on walks on our own property with both the dogs and the cats pretty much every day. We are avid hikers, backpackers, and campers. Before he passed we took our 20 year old cat, Charles, camping with us several times. He always enjoyed spending time outside so we knew he’d love camping. We even brought his medications with him so we could give him subcutaneous fluids, antiemetics, and such to keep him feeling his best while we were camping. Watching him bask in the sun by a creek in the national forest is still one of my favorite memories. We have been known to carry our geriatric dogs in backpacks so they could join us on hikes after their bodies could no longer handle the journey. We also took our young kitten on a camping trip, carrying her around in one of those space-aged, clear backpacks so she could see out while we hauled her around on our backs. I’m pretty certain cats could/would enjoy outdoor activities just as much as dogs if we give them the opportunity to try it. My husband, our two dogs, and I climbed to the top of Mt. Adams last year and have spent many, many miles on and around mountains and forests. My Border Collie and I did the 40 mile hike around Mt. Hood on the Timberline trail last July, and it was the most fun. My next goal is to find out how to summit a volcano or do a several night backpacking trip with a cat.