Dr Elizabeth Colleran was a dedicated feline practitioner and helped make life better for cats everywhere
This article was updated on October 3, 2023.
On September 30, 2023, the veterinary community lost a pillar in the feline medicine speciality, Elizabeth Colleran, DVM, DABVP (feline practice). Colleran was a renowned cat expert and spoke to veterinarians worldwide through books, articles, interviews, and lectures, helping to make the world a better place for cats and get them the care that they needed.
Colleran received her veterinary degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1990 and then went on to receive her Master of Science degree in animals in 1996 where she graduated with honors. Colleran would later open and manage the first feline-only practice in Portland, Oregon and her next practice, Chico Hospital for Cats in Portland, has now been open for over 20 years.
“In the world of feline medicine, she was a guiding light, illuminating the path towards compassionate care and pain relief. No one honored and cherished the strength of the human-animal bond more than Dr Colleran. Her legacy lives on in the countless feline lives she touched and the veterinarians she inspired. She will be severely missed but forever remembered,” expressed Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, chief veterinary officer, dvm360.
Colleran was very active in the feline medicine community and held positions with the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) board as treasurer from 2007-2009 and then as president in 2011. She also served as a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association's welfare committee, co-chair of the Cat Friendly Practices committee for AAFP, and volunteered with multiple veterinary organizations. She has also written and published serval peer-reviewed publications and books.
“The feline veterinary community was shaken by the news this weekend. Elizabeth gave her complete self to helping cats through education, advocacy, mentorship, authorship, leadership, and more. In working closely with her over the last 15 years, she always had so many outside-the-box, big ideas about how we could improve the lives of cats, the veterinary team, and caregivers," shared Heather O’Steen, CAE, AAFP CEO, in a AAFP release.2
"Her dedication and passion for feline medicine, and also to the AAFP and Cat Friendly Practice Program, were tremendous. Her passing has had a huge impact on our community, and to say she will be greatly missed by so many is truly an understatement,” she continued.
She was passionate about writing and teaching other veterinary professionals and believed that education is an important way to improve the health and quality of life for feline patients. In an interview with dvm360 earlier this year, Colleran shared what has been the most rewarding moment in her career.
“There have been so many [rewarding moments], I just think that this is an amazing profession full of people with unique talents and skills. My career has evolved, I went from being an associate to a practice owner, and now I'm mostly teaching and writing. All those things have been both inspirational and satisfying. So, I really can't pick a single moment, but I am thrilled about the fact that there is now a cure for FIP [Feline Infectious Peritonitis] and we have some wonderful ways to manage pain in cats that we never had before,” said Colleran.1
Prior to entering the veterinary industry, Colleran worked for IBM in Sales and Marketing management and worked to streamline internal networks for Fortune 500 companies.3
Colleran was a valuable member of the dvm360 editorial advisory board and a well-regarded speaker, whose engagements included a keynote address at the 2023 Fetch dvm360 conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she discussed how pet owners and veterinary teams can collaborate to help identify their cats’ chronic pain. She dedicated her career to helping cats, and she will be missed dearly by all of us here at dvm360. We mourn with the rest of the veterinary community on the loss of such an incredible doctor.