SPCA New Zealand

From rescued to rehomed: Pearl's story

13 December 2022

Here at SPCA, we have dozens of animals come through our doors every day. Our ‘rescued to rehomed’ stories share just some of the amazing animals who come into our care. Animals like Pearl, whose journey from hardship to one very special friendship warmed our hearts. This is Pearl’s story.

From rescued to rehomed: Pearl's story

A rough start to the life

When a member of the public found an abandoned kitten on the road with no family in sight, it was immediately clear that she was very sick. Her tiny body was fighting off a serious case of cat flu, and her eyes and nose were clogged with gunk.

Her little body was doing all it could, but when the team at SPCA Wellington assessed her, she was very weak and could barely muster up a single meow. The team knew she urgently needed treatment.

The kitten, named Pearl by the team, was severely congested, making it hard for her to breathe. Alongside antibiotics, the team tried steam therapy to alleviate some of the build-up of mucus in her tiny lungs.

At such a young age, cat flu can cause serious long term damage. Unfortunately, when we assessed her eyes under all the grime, we discovered it was too late to save her eyes. The damage that had already been done was untreatable, so the tough decision was made to remove them completely.

Sick kitten

Though the team knew she required surgery, Pearl wasn’t quite ready for such a big operation. She spent some much-needed time in foster care, where she was able to gain enough weight to safely undergo the procedure.

When the time came, her operation was a total success and the team were relieved to see she had made it through the toughest part. When Pearl was strong enough, they sent her to a new foster home to continue her recovery journey. That’s where Pearl met Hiwa and Anita.

Kitten exploring her new home

A safe place to rest

Hiwa is a blind cat who Anita had adopted just one year earlier. As they already had experience with visually impaired animals, they opened their home to foster other blind kitties seeking refuge.

Pearl was a little shy at first, and she preferred hiding under furniture and peeking her head out for pats every now and then. Anita and the team knew she would need more socialising before she would be ready to find a forever home. They decided to gradually let her explore the rest of the house one room at a time, so she could meet Hiwa to test how they would get on.

“It was magic! She remained cautious, but Hiwa and Pearl became friends pretty much immediately. Hiwa looked after her, washed her face, chatted to her as she explored, and was just a friend. They started cuddling and sleeping together – it was so beautiful to see,” Anita said. With a companion by her side and a loving foster family to guide her through her hardships, Pearl’s confidence continued to grow. It wasn’t long before she was finally ready to find her forever home.

Home at last

“So there we were, with Pearl in the cat box ready to take her to the Centre to be put up for adoption. We’d written an ad for the website, taken a couple of beautiful photos, and said our goodbyes. It was then that we turned to each other and we were thinking the exact same thing. So after getting the all clear from the Centre, we loaded Pearl back in the car and brought her home to Hiwa who was patiently waiting for his best friend’s return,” Anita shares.

After settling back in at her forever home, the family decided to give Pearl a new name.

“We chose the name Meremere. We know very little about her early life, but we do know that when she was born Venus was the evening star, Meremere-tū-ahiahi, and we wanted to give her a sky name like Hiwa.”

“Meremere is growing into a much loved cat with a humungous purr. She and Hiwa love each other to bits, they spend the day chasing each other around the house, sitting together on the balcony, and sleeping. I wake up to her purry demands for tummy rubs most mornings, and she greets us as soon as we come home. I don’t really remember what our home was like without her.”

We are so happy that Meremere has found a home where she is loved and taken care of – we truly could not have imagined a more purrrfect pair!

If you would like to help deserving animals just like Meremere, then consider providing a temporary home to animals in need by becoming a foster parent. If you're ready to bring one of these guys home for good, then you can head to our adoption page to see who is still waiting.

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