Kate graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, and worked as a farm animal vet in Aberdeenshire for fifteen years, a partner in a large mixed practice. Next, Kate worked as a veterinary adviser for a global pharmaceutical company, gaining a Diploma in Marketing. Joining Defra in 2003 as a veterinary adviser, Kate progressed to senior civil service positions across Whitehall, including managing the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee which considered risk surrounding BSE and vCJD, and promoted to the Principal Private Secretary for three successive Secretaries of State for Scotland. Kate has been a member of British Cattle Veterinary Association and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Councils, and is currently a Non-Executive Director on Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) Commercial Boards.
In July 2021 Kate was appointed the 150th President of the Royal College Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).