Sheena’s life and career has travelled varied paths from classical ballet to running a post office, but the one constant has always been her life-long love for the cat species.
In her childhood home cats were always welcome. Moving to the island of Malta at 19 to work and unable to have a cat of her own, this need was satisfied by feeding a feral colony of which there were many. The plight of street cats has always been, and still is, close to her heart. Her first cat in Scotland was a 5 week old kitten found abandoned at the roadside. The family, including bearded collie Ptolemy, took Fudge under their wing. After the loss of rescue pensioners Hinge and Gizmo, Sheena’s cats at present are 11 year old rescue siblings Tanith and Raven.
Post Office cutbacks gave time for volunteering for the local Cats Protection Adoption Centre and at last her love for cats could take a more practical role.
Soon she was invited to join the committee and became the centre’s Welfare Officer, a position still held, taking responsibility for all aspects of care in the 25 pen shelter and its isolation unit, including hygiene, diet regimes, health and medicines.
It is her job, with the co-ordinator, to liaise very closely with the veterinary surgeons at all times and on all matters, dealing with emergencies and their outcomes.
She found very quickly that it was the behavioural aspect that most piqued her interest and seemed to have an aptitude for solving arising issues. With increasing involvement, she felt the need to learn further what makes these beautiful animals tick and how to better help some of the stresses she was seeing in the shelter.
Having completed these studies her role in behaviour within CP substantially increased helping both cats in care and owners that phone for help.
She remains in the learning loop through information via the British Veterinary Behaviour Association.
Sheena runs her own behaviour counselling service ‘Cats on the Couch’ helping people become aware that cats, like dogs, can be helped to overcome the stresses and strains of living within the human environment. Understanding the nature of the cat is to be able to help him. She chose the saying ‘Every domestic cat has its wild side’ as her business statement as with this knowledge we realize that it is we who must adapt our environment to take into account his natural tendencies.
Sheena works with all cat issue, sometimes something as simple as requests for the teaching of administering medication, a problem well known, often to our cost, when giving that worming tablet! But, like everyone, she has her special interests; multi-cat households and aggression. Because prevention is always better than cure, works closely with the early socialisation of pre-9 week old kittens. Many leave mothers far too young and with wrong handling many difficulties do arise.
Sheena meets clients in their own homes within reasonable travelling distance of her St Andrews home but anyone in the Scottish region is welcome to make contact as she understands many struggle behind closed doors for perhaps months not knowing to whom to turn and will do all in her power to help.