Applications Open: 2023 Operation Catnip Community Cat Management Summer Fellowships for Veterinary Students

Thanks to a grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, Fellowship positions are available in this joint project between Operation Catnip and the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. Applications are due 4/1/23. The program runs May 31-August 4, 2023 (10 weeks) in Gainesville, Florida.

The Opportunity

  • Do you have a deep, personal passion to change the world for community cats? Have you been looking for a direction for your career in animal welfare that creates immediate, positive impact?
  • Are you ready to develop the knowledge, experience, and skills to build a community-centric program benefitting cats, neighborhoods, and the environment? And to put together a High-Quality, High-Volume Spay-Neuter (HQHVSN) clinic for community cats?
  • Does your idea of a fun night out with friends include tracking elusive trap-shy cats on hot, buggy Florida evenings? Are you a self-starter who flourishes when blending teamwork, service, and hands-on learning?
  • Have you been eager to get out of the classroom and into a high-intensity training program where you can sharpen your clinical skills while caring for the cats that need you the most?

This 10-week paid Community Cat Management Fellowship in Gainesville, Florida will provide all that and more!

The Benefits

  • $5000 stipend
  • Multiple fellowship positions are available
  • Enrollment in up to 3 Shelter Medicine courses (5 credits)
  • One-on-one mentorship by veterinarians and staff
  • In-depth medical and surgical case exposure
  • Networking and long-lasting friendships
Catnip staff, volunteers, and felllows group photo

How Does the Fellowship Work?

Fellowship participants enjoy 10 weeks of immersion in all things related to humane community cat management. Trap loan and trapping through staging HQHVSN clinics and providing TNR for local and regional caregivers will become second nature. Working closely with Operation Catnip staff and volunteers, you will learn the intricacies of trapping cats – even those elusive kitties – and dealing with all manner of caregivers. You will learn how to set up and organize a HQHVSN clinic utilizing one skilled veterinarian caring for over 40 cats. You will manage trap inventory and various constituents utilizing several specialized software programs to keep it all nice and tidy. You will collaborate with local animal shelters to respond to community needs and to find the best outcome for every individual cat. Interested candidates will have the opportunity to gain practical clinical skills managing a multitude of feline medical and surgical cases. Fellows will participate in weekly shelter medicine rounds relevant to community cat management and present a case presentation at the end of the summer. You will leave the fellowship with the confidence to take on any project in community cat management and you will have developed the skills to succeed! This is an outstanding opportunity for individuals who dreams of making significant impact in animal welfare.

Who Should Apply?

This Fellowship is designed for veterinary students with an interest in animal welfare and focused on lifesaving programs for community cats. Fellows will build practical skills through a blend of didactic study and hands-on clinical and field training. Students of all experience levels are welcome to apply. Opportunities to perform surgery will be dependent on each student’s experience and competency. This is a rigorous full-time position with substantial time spent outdoors in the Florida summer and accompanying online courses.

What is the schedule for the Fellowship?

  • The 10-week fellowship begins May 31, 2023 and runs through August 4, 2023
  • This is a fulltime position for an average of 40 hours per week (some weeks a little more, some a little less)
  • The Shelter Medicine courses can take another 8-10 hours per week to be completed outside of work hours
  • Workdays are generally Tuesday through Saturday with some variability for special events or inpatient treatments
  • Fellows are given July 4 off and may schedule 2 additional days off with permission of the Medical Director

What courses are included with the fellowship?

  • VEM5321 Integrating Veterinary Medicine with Shelter Systems 5/22/23-8/9/23 (required)
  • VEM5342 Community Cat Management 5/29/23-6/28/23 (required)
  • VEM5322 Shelter Medicine (aka Miami Shelter Camp) 7/3/23-7/19/23 (optional)

The ideal attendee will:

  • Be available for the entire 10-week duration
  • Be eligible for employment in the US
  • Demonstrate a passion for cats
  • Be highly motivated to learn new skills and unafraid to work hard
  • Be personable and compassionate
  • Have a current titer on their pre-exposure rabies vaccination
  • Hold a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record
  • Be willing to drive own vehicle for site visits
  • Have the ability to devote 40 hours a week plus after-hours study in this pursuit
  • Have proof of veterinary college enrollment
  • Be creative and flexible – necessary to managing the unmanageable cat

How to Apply:

  • Complete the online application form, including the required essay
  • Upload transcript (unofficial OK)
  • Upload resume
  • Applications are due April 1, 2023.
  • Finalists will be contacted for an interview (in person or virtual)
  • Selections will be announced by April 15, 2023
  • Program starts May 31, 2023

More information

Have more questions? We can help!

  • Community Cat Management Fellowship: Dr. Patty Dingman, Medical Director, Operation Catnip, 
  • UF Courses and Clerkship: Logan Neser, Educational Programs Manager,

The Operation Catnip Community Cat Management Fellowship was established by the Maddie’s Fund’s Avanzino Leadership Award to Dr. Julie Levy in 2017. We are grateful for support from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation that make the ongoing fellowships possible.