*CATalysta in the community
Dr. Donna Stephens Manley
The American Association of Feline Practitioner's newly elected President, Dr. Donna Stephens Manley, almost didn't become a veterinarian. She initially went to college for chemical engineering; however decided in her junior year to pursue what she felt was her true calling, veterinary medicine.
Dr. Manley says "I've always felt a connection with cats, they're fascinating creatures!" She noted that while she had always had an interest in veterinary medicine, she finally "listened to what was in her heart" and studied to become a veterinarian. "I'm very fortunate to be a veterinarian, not everyone has that opportunity. I can't think of a career choice that I would be happier doing or better suited to," Dr. Manley added. Since graduating from Auburn University in 1992, she has worked in small animal practices, feline-only practices, and in 2006 became the first full time veterinarian for the Animal Protection Society of Durham, North Carolina.
As the newly elected President of AAFP, she is looking forward to helping advance current initiatives, and the most exciting to her is the new AAFP Cat Friendly Practice Program. "This member initiative is intended to help practices become more cat friendly and thus to attract more cat clients to their clinics." Dr. Manley said of the program, "basically we've gathered the tools that practices need to integrate a feline perspective into their practice and elevate the quality of healthcare provided to cats." She adds, "It will be exciting to see where we are in a year after this initiative is released."
As the AAFP President, Dr. Manley hopes that she can bring her perspective as a shelter veterinarian to help both veterinarians and shelters elevate the quality of healthcare provided to cats. "In the animal care and control world, I see and hear that cats are regarded as second-class citizens. People are much more likely to come to a shelter to adopt a dog than a cat, and I would like to help shelters overcome that," Dr. Manley said. Dr. Manley added, "Coming to the shelter was a way for me to give back for all that I have gained in veterinary medicine. I have an opportunity to give animals a second chance on life. I feel honored to give the animals a positive experience that they may not have had before they came into the shelter by getting them adopted to families that will love and cherish them. What I do is not about me or for me, but about the cats." Dr. Donna Stephens Manley has clearly embraced CATalyst's motto-"It's all about the cat" which is why she is this month's CATalysta.
For more information about the AAFP and the Cat Friendly Practice member benefit, visit www.catvets.com.