SPCA New Zealand

Faces of SPCA Rescue: meet Feline Attendant Colleen

19 April 2023

Every single animal that comes through SPCA’s doors deserves the upmost love and care. Seeing SPCA’s amazing Feline Attendant Colleen cradling a kitten and whispering “aroha pēpē” in last night’s episode of SPCA Rescue on TVNZ 1, it’s clear to see that this is exactly what they get. Meet this superstar member of SPCA’s team.

Faces of SPCA Rescue: meet Feline Attendant Colleen

Colleen has a long history with SPCA, first getting involved as a volunteer all the way back in 2009. After working mostly in offices and with a printing background, Colleen said once she started volunteering with us, she absolutely loved it.

“I found that working with the animals was just great – I wished I’d done it sooner!” she says.

During 18 months of volunteering with SPCA, Colleen got to work with many different teams, including the feline team, the hospital team, and the canine team where she assisted with dog walking. Knowing that animal care was something she was truly interested in, Colleen decided to take it a step further and completed an animal care course and an animal welfare course. When a permanent role as a Feline Attendant became available, it was the perfect role for her. Colleen worked in this position for 12 years, with her last months officially on the team coinciding with the filming of TVNZ 1’s SPCA Rescue, meaning New Zealanders all over the country have a chance to see how much love she shows the animals in our care.

“It’s about giving something back, and of course I just enjoyed the work! Office jobs I’d had in the past didn’t give me that real sense of reward that I got working for SPCA.”

Colleen says she just wishes that the public knew about all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, and encourages others to get involved.

“It’s hard mahi that we all put in. I’d definitely tell people to get involved, because it is so rewarding. You have to be thick-skinned though too - it can be tough seeing some animals that come in and what’s happened to them. But if you’re an animal-lover, you’ll love this job.”

While there have been some difficult times, Colleen also has some stand-out memories from her time working as a Feline Attendant. She described one older cat which had been in the care of SPCA for six months – which is considered a very long time for a cat.

“She was with us a long time, mainly because she was a stroppy girl,” she recalls. “A lot of people wanted to avoid her because of it, but I would just go and sit with her, and tell her to stop being silly. I was so thrilled when someone finally came along and adopted her – they were perfect.”

Since the recent filming of the show, Colleen has semi-retired but stays involved with SPCA, working part-time in the laundry.

“I’m absolutely loving it, and I wasn’t ready to stop work altogether. And in my spare time, I take any donated bedding that we’re unable to use, and I’m making cage covers with them – we always need those.”

We’re so grateful to have wonderful team members like Colleen, whose unwavering commitment to the animals is the heart of SPCA’s work.

Colleen - Feline Attendant at SPCA
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