Meet some of SPCA’s special residents
SPCA sees tens of thousands of animals pass through its doors every year, but did you know there are some animals who never leave? Meet some of the cherished cats who call SPCA their permanent home, and are as much a part of the team as staff and volunteers!
Pebbles, SPCA Auckland
Though you wouldn’t guess it to look at her, Pebbles has been at SPCA Auckland for 12 years. She wasn’t yet a year old when she came to us all those years ago, loitering in the carpark outside our animal hospital, where we suspect she’d been dumped.
At first, Pebbles wouldn’t let anyone near her. Despite this, she never ran away, and refused to leave the hospital area - firmly deciding that it would be her home. Staff used to have to wrap her up like a burrito just to feed her, and she would hiss and growl like mad. Over time, she became socialised and even friendly! Before long she had a crate set up just for her and was designated the “clinic cat.” Over the years she’s become ever more relaxed, and in older age has developed into a lap cat who’s very affectionate.
Pebbles has always chosen to hang around the hospital area, and is a familiar sight for staff, volunteers and regular visitors. She can often be spotted warming herself on the hoods of cars in the hospital carpark, or on the bed set up just for her in the hospital waiting room. Staff look after all her needs, taking her home if ever she’s in need of medication, and during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Pebbles has a penchant for waiting at the hospital door for staff to let her in… but of course when the door is opened, she refuses to move… she’s a typical cat, after all! Everyone at SPCA Auckland absolutely adores her, and she gives staff reason to smile at the end of the long and hard days.
Timmy, SPCA Hamilton
SPCA Hamilton resident Timmy suffers from mild cerebellum hypoplasia, sometimes referred to as “wobbly cat syndrome.” Timmy was a tiny six-week-old kitten when he came into SPCA’s care with his siblings three years ago. He went into foster with one of our staff to grow and recover, and ended up staying six months!
Every time one health issue cleared up, Timmy seemed to develop another. At first it was upset tummies, then respiratory issues, before eventually vets diagnosed the wobbly movements his foster mum had started to notice. At this point, staff decided to see how he would fare as a Centre resident cat, where his special needs would be easier to monitor, and his charming character was sure to be appreciated. Apart from the odd instance where Timmy has helped himself to toys in the retail area, he’s settled into Centre life like an absolute dream.
Staff and volunteers collectively care for Timmy, and he returns the favour by rubbing the legs of those around him – even though sometimes his condition means he misses! Timmy loves life at SPCA Hamilton Centre almost as much as the team love him – he’s great at having a quick chat or an awkward wobbly hug on the difficult days.
Maize, SPCA Oamaru
Maize is so at home at our Oamaru Centre, it’s hard to believe he’s only been here one year! Maize came to SPCA initially via an ambulance job. The caller believed Maize to be female, hence the name, which stuck even after the team realised she was in fact a he!
When Maize was first assessed, our team found he had pre-cancerous ears and a lot of damage to his nose – both avoidable but serious health issues commonly found in white cats. After some serious TLC and skin treatment, Maize healed up completely, other than some small permanent scarring. When his former owner didn’t come forward to claim him back, the team decided to keep Maize rather than put him up for adoption.
Today, Maize is comfy in his role as SPCA Oamaru feline in residence. Being a small team, everyone at the Centre takes shared responsibility of him, and they all think he’s the most amazing nanny! Maize always gives a warm welcome to all new cats and kittens arriving at the Centre, and when not in his favourite spot on top of the photocopier, he can typically be found cleaning kittens and keeping order when they’re out for play time.
Rizo, SPCA Dunedin
Senior girl Rizo was surrendered to the SPCA Dunedin Centre all the way back in 2009. Staff at the Centre call her “a right wee Madam – she always has been, and remains one to this day!” Unfortunately, this side of Rizo’s personality didn’t charm the general public… Rizo sat in our cattery for a whole year with no adoption interest. After that long, the team decided to make her home at the Centre official, and she’s been the local cat in residence ever since!
While Rizo’s care is a team effort, she undoubtedly has her favourite people… how much she likes her humans is precisely reflective of how much food they feed her! Her favourite spot in the Centre is in the warmth of the onsite laundry, where she lies in her own plush bed amongst the hum of the drier while volunteers do the laundry around her.
Rizo has a lot of attitude, but she’s well and truly at home at our SPCA Dunedin Centre! Many visitors have been subjected to what we call “The Rizo Welcome” and she makes everyone laugh with her sassy side. Rizo recently had a dental check and is currently enjoying extra special service by our hospital team, living the life of luxury.