SPCA New Zealand

Celebrating International Cat Day: 10 felines who defied the odds!

08 August 2021
Celebrating International Cat Day: 10 felines who defied the odds!

Did you know that Sunday August 8 is International Cat Day?

Cats and kittens make up to 75% of all animals that come through SPCA’s doors each year, and during our busiest time of year, we can have over 4,000 cats and kittens in our care at one time!

Today we’re taking time to celebrate and send lots of love to all the felines out there, including the shy ones and confident ones, the regal ones and the silly ones, the injured ones and the healed ones, the funny ones and the sassy ones.

We also want to introduce you to some of the thousands of cats that have come through our doors – cats who were vulnerable and in need, and gone on to defy the odds!


Cookie was found on the Mt Cook highway in the middle of nowhere. We don’t know how she got there, but we know she was freezing cold, had severe conjunctivitis, emaciated, and needed urgent care.

Cookie was rushed to a vet in Twizel where she was intensively cared for until SPCA could collect her. She was syringe fed due to her extreme malnourishment, and received regular wipe downs as she wasn’t physically strong enough to groom herself, which she absolutely loved.

Cookie was soon transferred to Vetlife New Zealand in Alexandra, our vet partner in Central Otago, for long term care. SPCA’s vet partnerships such as this means we are still of service to animals in even the most remote areas, such as Cookie was. After some initial intensive treatment, she received home care from one of our amazing SPCA foster parents, where she did amazingly well.

Cookie showed us time and again throughout her recovery what a fighting spirit she has, and character to boot! After making a full recovery she was made available for adoption, and was taken home by an adoring family in no time. Way to go, lovely Cookie!


Stanley truly is a miracle kitten. When he arrived in SPCA's care, he was in a shocking condition. He had an abscess on his head that had burst, leaving a raw and open wound, and he was severely emaciated and dehydrated. He had to be rushed into intensive care and put on fluids.

It also became apparent that he was suffering from other injuries too when the team noticed he wasn't bearing weight on one of his legs. A further examination from a vet showed that he had a loss of cartilage in the leg. This was potentially a condition Stanley was born with, or otherwise a result of previous trauma, but it was clear that Stanley’s leg needed to be amputated.

After his surgery, Stanley went to spend time with a foster family and heal in a home environment. And what a transformation he made! In the passing weeks, he went from strength to strength and recovered well from his injuries, and adapted amazingly to life on three legs. He learnt to play and adored spending time with his foster family.

Stanley showed huge resilience and despite his tough start to life grew to be a happy and lovable kitten. Even better - a friend of his foster family met him and fell in love and decided to adopt him! He is now very content with his new family and laps up cuddles and enjoys afternoon naps in cozy spots. A fantastic outcome for a truly deserving boy!


Meet Vegemite! This jet-black beauty was in our Wellington Centre for adoption for quite some time, during which she never let our team touch her. She was very timid and standoffish, which made her a harder animal to rehome. Vegemite has shown us once again how for many cats, being out of the shelter and comfortable in their own environment, is all it takes for their personalities to shine.

Her new humans, Adam and Xingxing, took such care to settle this shy girl into her new surroundings, even preparing a bedroom for her which mimicked the SPCA set-up. Once she got used to everything, Vegemite seemed content, but it took two weeks before she really opened up. Adam and Xingxing weren’t sure if she’d ever become a particularly smoochy cat, but after a fortnight, they had a breakthrough. Vegemite suddenly understood what pats were and how they worked, and she hasn’t been able to get enough of them since!

Today, Vegemite is a socialite who loves to play and be wherever her people are. This sweet girl has done a complete 180 since her time with us atSPCA Wellington, and we couldn’t be happier to share this update!

“We’re very proud of her,” Adam says, “and happy that we were able to teach her that hands can be trusted. We really enjoy her personality and company a lot now… we feel like we won the cat lottery.”


No animal should be dumped and left to fend for themself but unfortunately SPCA was first alerted to Rory after she was sadly abandoned by her past owners. They had left her behind when they moved house and when the new occupants discovered her, they were quick to give us a call so we could help.

Rory was admitted into SPCA care and on arrival it was clear she was a happy, healthy and friendly girl. She just missed two very important things that we were determined to resolve: a family and a home. After she was given the all-clear by our veterinary team, it didn't take long for Rory to be made available for adoption and find her perfect match with new mum Shannon. She's now living the life of a princess and named Rory (short for Aurora because she's a sleeping beauty!).

"We are so in love with the wonderful cat that we adopted from you! She doesn’t like to be away from my side for too long in general, so it’s lucky I work from home! My flatmates love her too. She likes to wander the house checking on all of us and yelling at us for cuddles at any moment she feels like she isn’t the centre of attention, as she's the cutest in the room," Shannon says.

"She really seems to be enjoying her new life as a spoilt princess!"


Podmore came into the care of our SPCA Taupō Centre at just eight weeks old with a badly broken back leg. The poor boy had been run over and his injuries were severe. Due to the extent of the damage and his young age, the decision was made to amputate to give Pod the best shot at a full life. We knew he would bounce back and within hours of surgery, Pod was up and walking around, playing and seemed so happy.

Pod went to foster where he became accustomed to navigating a home on three legs. He had no trouble getting up and down from the couch or his cat towers, snuggling with his humans or playing with furry friends. This time in a foster home is invaluable for animals like Pod who need to adjust to life after surgeries like amputation, and gives them the confidence they need to be adopted into a family of their very own!


Every animal deserves a loving home and a warm bed but when we first received a call about Daffodil, she was all alone and fending for herself near an apartment block. She had a significant wound on her neck – the skin had completely torn away, leaving the back of her neck red, raw and exposed.

She was taken into our care, her wounds were cleaned, and she was treated with antibiotics and pain relief. Daffodil was also terrified of the world, so as soon as our vet team gave the all-clear, she went into foster care to continue her recovery out of the hustle and bustle of our hospital unit, and in a loving home setting.

All it takes is a bit of love, time and patience to help a timid cat heal, and while Daffodil is still finding her paws, she’s already come so far from the scared and suffering cat that first came through our doors. Even better, we’re happy to report that Daffodil has since put her life on the streets behind her and found a second chance at happiness. She was recently adopted, has been renamed Lucy, and is flourishing in her new home!


Stu arrived in our Masterton Centre’s care with a large abscess over his shoulder and wounds around his mouth and lower jaw. Our team were horrified to discover that Stu's injuries were caused by being shot. The bullet had fragmented and festered, leading to infection in his right shoulder.

After weeks of treatment, rehabilitation and time in foster care, our team determined the best option for Stu was leg amputation. While the abscess had been drained and Stu looked normal, he wasn't able to jump and play like a normal cat should. Further examination determined the fragments had caused irreversible damage and Stu's shoulder was unstable, so his right leg and his shoulder blade were removed to prevent further implications down the track.

Fast forward to today and Stu is thriving! He was adopted by foster parent Caity who cared for him during his recovery, and he's since been renamed Joey.

"Joey is settling in amazingly. We have such a special bond; he comes sprinting to my call, smooches me constantly, and prefers to ride around on my shoulders rather than walking beside me. We are truly best friends and I am obsessed with him."

What a fantastic outcome for a stoic boy.


Gremlin the kitten had the worst case of conjunctivitis our SPCA Taumarunui team had ever seen! Since coming into our care, this darling boy spent a lot of time in foster receiving medication for his eyes, gaining weight, and learning what love feels like. Unfortunately, one of his eyes was simply too far gone, and had to be removed to give Gremmy his best chance at health and happiness. Since surgery, he’s a whole new kitten and we love to see it!


Prickles came into our Hamilton Centre completely matted with grass to the point she was unable to move an inch. She was a stray cat who had been spotted by people at a local workplace and they were shocked to find her in this state and rushed her straight to SPCA.

Our team tried feeding her, putting wet food right under her mouth as she lay in her cage, but she couldn’t even move to lick it. When they used a teaspoon to feed her, she couldn’t get enough! After some much-needed kai, she was put under sedation to remove the painfully matted hair.

We’re now working with the group that brought her in to desex and vaccinate other stray cats in the area, to stop more unwanted kittens from being born. As for Prickles, she was fostered by one of the SPCA Hamilton team, Jo.

“She is such a little snuggler, adores attention and purrs like mad every time she’s cuddled,” Jo tells us. “My mum is a knitter, and Prickles needed something to keep her little body warm where the hair was missing, so Mum knit her a wee jacket that fits perfectly! She met a dog too which she thought was pretty cool, even when said dog washed her!”. Prickles sure is one lucky kitten!


Pixel has come so far... When we first met him, his cat flu was so bad it had damaged his eyes beyond repair. Not only was Pixel almost completely blind, but he was also incredibly depressed. We knew he’d need specialist care, so one of our staff who takes on the most “broken kitties” in need of foster took Pixel home.

It’s been a journey, but over time Pixel has flourished, learning to navigate spaces without sight and becoming the snuggliest cat! SPCA staff member Morgan says “it’s the closest I’ve ever been to foster failing!”. She resisted the temptation though and Pixel was happily adopted from our Christchurch Centre!

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