Remembering the Cat Doctor: Community gathers at memorial service for Dr. Tracy McFarland

Dr. Tracy McFarland known as more than just a veternarian died at 60 after a battle with cancer. Michele Lutes/The Signal.

Community members, pet owners and family gathered Saturday at Grace Baptist Church to remember the impact Dr. Tracy McFarland had on their lives, their cats’ lives and the community.

The woman known as the Cat Doctor was more than just a veterinarian to the pet owners in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The worship center flooded with people to show their respects and share their stories about McFarland.

“Hug someone, or share a memory,” Reverend Dr. Bill Barnes said during the memorial.

McFarland was a wife, mother, friend and veterinarian.

“I’m gonna miss her,” said associate veterinarian Melissa Waller. “She would listen to everybody, and even offer advice. She would be their friend versus just being their doctor.”

McFarland, 60, died early Monday, Sept. 24 surrounded by her family after a short battle with cancer.

“I’m at a point in my life now that God is calling me home,” said McFarland in a Sept. 20 Facebook post. “What a privilege it has been to welcome your cats to our family, I have loved every minute.”
Many of those in attendance wore burgundy and necklaces, because that was a color and a thing she loved.

“Dr. Tracy loved necklaces! She also loved the color burgundy. On Saturday at her memorial to honor our friend wear your favorite necklace and/or something burgundy,” the practice wrote in a Sept. 27 Facebook post.

Dr. Tracy McFarland known as more than just a veternarian died at 60 after a battle with cancer. A bear, flowers, picture and candle displayed at her memorial service Saturday. Michele Lutes/The Signal.

A video put together by McFarland’s family brought laughs and tears to the room. From photos of her at her practice, family trips and even videos of her from news channels that had shared McFarland’s special gift with the world.

Flowers were placed throughout the church and banners and a guest book were in the lobby for people to leave messages of love for McFarland and her family.

The family is in search of memories of Tracy to complete a book her and her son Joey started writing months ago.

The book was about her experiences as a cat doctor and her recommendations for cat owners, she said.

Her son is asking community members and clients for their memories, stories or photos of McFarland to include in this book, Ries said.

To share your stories and photos, send them directly to [email protected].

The Cat Doctor and Friends was closed Saturday to come together with the community to remember their fearless leader.

The Cat Doctor and Friends will remain open, said Jennifer Ries, practice manager at the Cat Doctor and friends.

“We collectively want to make sure her dream of offering compassionate veterinary care with integrity and honesty continues,” Ries said. “That’s what we will continue to strive towards in her memory.”

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