SPCA New Zealand

Meet the kittens you've saved

02 February 2021
Meet the kittens you've saved

It’s Kitten season - SPCA's busiest time of year and where our teams and Centres are pushed to the limit saving thousands of lives across New Zealand.

This is all possible thanks to our wonderful supporters like you. Keep reading to get a glimpse into the lives of just a few of the thousands of kittens you’ve saved.

Ryder's story

Ryder first arrived inSPCA’s care underweight, covered in flea dirt, and suffering from severe chronic conjunctivitis. The conjunctivitis had damaged Ryder’s eyes badly, with the ulcers and adhesions leaving permanent damage to his right eye.

Ryder was placed under the careful watch of our team, put on various courses of eye medication, and continued his recovery in foster care with foster mum Andrea. Despite only have one functioning eye, Ryder proved himself a trooper.

“Ryder just settled in, he was a very outgoing and relaxed little kitten,” she says.

“Because he had no vision in his right eye, he was a little clumsy and his finer motor skills were still developing when I first got him home. During his time with me, I found his confidence in his physical environment blossom and he became the intrepid explorer. He also discovered his love for water – he's the only kitten I’ve fostered who actually doesn’t mind being bathed – water fascinates him!”

Seeing Ryder’s connection with her dog Beatrice will always be Andrea’s fondest memory of fostering Ryder.

“Beatrice and Ryder adored playing together. At one point I looked up to see Ryder had climbed up on her back and attached himself to her. She was spinning around trying to see where he’d gotten to, with him clinging on and enjoying the ride,” she laughs.

After weeks in foster care, Ryder was adopted to a loving indoor-only home where he could thrive. He now lives with an adoring family and of course, gets up to his usual crazy antics.

Leyla, Sheila and Rekha’s story

The last place you would expect to find vulnerable bottle-feeding kittens is in a glass factory. But that’s where Leyla, Sheila and Rekha were found, clinging to life and in urgent need of help.

Thankfully a member of the public found them in the nick of time and they were brought into SPCA care. Just days old, they needed round-the-clock care to keep them alive.

SPCA is so reliant on our foster parents to help care for some of our most vulnerable animals. Archie, one of our many bottle-feeding foster parents, stepped in to help this tiny trio.

“Rekha, Sheila and Leyla were our first foster kittens for this season. It was exciting to bring them home, they were so small, cute and perfect,” Archie says.

One thing is certain for Archie - caring for bottle-feeding kittens like Leyla, Sheila and Rekha is no easy task.

“Caring for bottle feeders takes a lot of work! You are responsible for all their bodily functions. Eating, toileting, staying warm, and staying clean! And unlike a job, where you have a break in the evening – bottle feeding goes through the night as well. It may seem never-ending because it’s hard to tell where one day starts and the next day ends,” she laughs.

“You don’t need a lot of space, but you need time, patience, and passion. That’s what gets you through the night.”

The perks, however, are endless.

“You see them open their eyes, and see the world. You see them get stable, confident and grow into their little personalities. You hear their first purr and celebrate the first time the use their litter tray. They make an absolute mess while they try and eat by themselves! It is work, a lot of work, but you prepare them for life and set them up the best you can. You know at the end of everything, that you have completed another family."

After caring for Leyla, Sheila and Rehka, it was hard for Archie to see them go but she knew it was time.

“It was time for them to go and make other people laugh, and enrich other lives. We had done our part and now it was time for them to go and complete a family. Meanwhile, we can clean up, and get ready for when another set of kittens need us. And then we do it all over again!”

Pancake's story

Pancake is living a life of love and happiness. She has her own cat hotel, adorned with painting and art that was handmade by her family. She also gets stories read to her every night before bed.

But it was quite a journey to get here.

When Pancake first arrived in SPCA care she was found lost, alone, with no family or home to call her own. Her tiny torso was covered in scratches and wounds, like cross stitches across her belly, from what our team believe to be an unfortunate encounter with a dog.

It was apparent to our team that Pancake needed immediate medical attention. The team got to work, putting a plan in place to help her heal. Pancake’s wounds were tended to, she was given stitches and antibiotics to aid her recovery.

The next step was foster care, where she became a constant companion to her foster mum Paige.

“I was making pancakes in the kitchen when I heard from SPCA that they were looking for a foster home for a kitten called Pancake - talk about stars aligning! It was fate and I knew I had to help her,” she says.

“It really didn’t take her long at all for her to settle into foster care. Pancake loved cuddling up to you on the couch, and she was inseparable from her favourite red panda toy.”

Seeing animals develop and watch their personalities flourish is the best part about fostering for Paige. It didn’t take her long to fall in love with Pancake and her unique quirks.

“She was such a bubbly burst of energy and she brought so much joy to me and my partner Henry’s day. When it was time to give her up, we seriously considered adopting her ourselves, we were just smitten with her.”

“But there are more kittens out there that need help too, and we knew that we had prepared Pancake well for her new life with a forever family. She would do so well wherever she went to and no doubt bring endless amounts of joy to whomever that was with.”

​Every year, kitten season brings with it a huge strain on our centres, staff and resources. But because of you, tens of thousands of kittens across New Zealand are able to go on and lead a happy and healthy life.

To find out more about our kittens available for adoption click here, or for kitten care advice click here.

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