Pride In Our People: KATHY


Our digital series, Pride In Our People, features the incredible staff at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium through written first-person narratives and/or podcast interviews.
Today, we are featuring Kathy, a Lead Keeper for Mammals
This is her story…

As one of the longest-tenured employees at the Pittsburgh Zoo, I have accumulated a lifetime of amazing memories. Over the last 43 years, I have watched our Zoo completely develop into the world-class modern facility we are today. Natural exhibits, enrichment, husbandry training, education, and immersive encounters all work together to provide a fulfilling life for the animals in our care.

I have been lucky enough to have had direct involvement with the births of over 40 big and small cats here at the Zoo. Some of the most notable for me were the ones where I assisted with hands-on care. Several years ago, a newborn Amur tiger was not being cared for by his mom. I was part of a crew that cared for and fostered the cub. We also thought it would be helpful to the cub to have another animal around as a companion. My dog Bella was the perfect surrogate. Each morning the dog and I would come to the Zoo where she would “babysit” the cub in a small grassy enclosure until I was done working. 

More recently, I helped raise two endangered tiger cubs who needed more care than their mother was able to provide. These cubs, Andre and Tesha, are now grown and still retain a strong attachment to me and the other keepers they grew up with here at the Zoo.

Even though, for years, I have been primarily known as the cat keeper, I have gotten to work in nearly every other area of the Zoo. From fish to birds to rhinos, I have experienced it all. My greatest joy is in the relationships I have been able to build with the most incredible animals on the planet. Hearing their greeting vocalizations when they see me is truly a blessing. Additionally, I have gotten to work alongside some of the most dedicated and hard-working (and fun!) individuals, not just in the animal areas but throughout all the departments in the Zoo. It has truly been a wonderful journey working in this field for the length of my career.

Thank you for all you do, Kathy!

Pride In Our People

 Our new series, Pride In Our People, features the incredible staff here at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium.