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10th May 2023

A Bristol University student has achieved first place in the Extra Mural Studies (EMS) awards, which give veterinary students the chance to experience feline shelter medicine with Cats Protection.

Esther Gibbons (23) received £500 for her report into the benefits of pre-pubertal neutering, while recently qualified vet Constance Fisher received the runners-up prize of £250 for her report ‘Putting the ‘Feline Friendly Consult’ into Practice’.

The EMS awards are part of a scheme enabling third, fourth or fifth-year veterinary students the chance to gain hands-on work experience.

Following this, the students have the opportunity to submit reports on a subject relevant to animal charity work.

"I'm both incredibly shocked and incredibly happy to have won the award,” said Esther. “I had a brilliant time during my placement at the National Cat Centre in Sussex and learnt an invaluable amount about how best to care for the cats that we meet as vets. I can’t thank them enough and can highly recommend an EMS placement with Cats Protection."

Runner-up Constance is a graduate from the Royal Veterinary College and said she was delighted to receive her award.

“As a great cat lover, I really enjoyed my time on placement as a vet student with Cats Protection," she said. "Since graduating in 2022, I have been working as a small animal vet in Sussex where I particularly enjoy caring for my lovely feline patients.”

“Esther won the award as she wrote an informative, well researched summary of the benefits of pre-pubertal neutering, especially in the charity setting. We thought Constance’s report showed a great understanding of cat behaviour and gave a useful summary of ways to reduce feline stress in a veterinary practice,” said Emily Billings, Cats Protection’s Senior Veterinary Surgeon.

To find out more about EMS placements at Cats Protection, visit our information page or contact

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