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President's report - March 2023

An eventful time is one way to describe the months from December to March. The toll of recent weather events has been enormous on both humans and animals in affected areas, as well as some of our own volunteers.

In this newsletter, we reflect on the importance of our links with other rescue groups both routinely and in times of emergency. How and where can Cats Protection Wellington assist?

At the time of writing, either one of our team leads or a volunteer has been on site at HUHA’s emergency animal shelter in Hastings, managing the care of the cats for large parts of the last three weeks.

Back at home, planning for the opening of new shelter extension, the “West Wing”, began some time ago and our invitations are now out. We are keeping this a low-key event to limit stress on our cats, but we look forward to welcoming our supporters and showing them around the new build as well as the main shelter, where we know Jeremy will be aiming for the first lap!

Each of the three new cat rooms have been named and those of you who have been part of CPW for some time will no doubt appreciate the references behind “Godfrey’s Grotto”, “Jeremy’s Junction” and “Caruso’s Cabana”.

For those who aren’t familiar with our past, Jeremy, Godfrey and Caruso were cats who came from the earlier shelter to 29 Vancouver St and lived long and happy lives (as Jeremy still does) as residents.

As you will know, it is rare for us not to have at least one challenging cat in our care, very often spending many, many months before they find their forever home. They may be challenging in terms of temperament or in health needs, but either way, each cat continues to get the best we can offer them.

We were therefore thrilled to recently find an excellent home for Kleo, who had been a great deal happier and much less fractious cat in her West Wing room, and also for Lunar – our black and white, 5-year-old boy who was seemingly a fixture in our Timids area.

Already experiencing marked renal issues despite his age, Lunar had been with us for over a year before his person recognised that her home was not a home without him! Now a medical foster cat, Lunar was sitting on her lap within hours in his new home.

At the moment, Bostik (pictured below), Leon, Snoopy and Ollie are still waiting for their people to find them…

Our volunteers have been particularly adaptable over the last few months, with many offering to cover extra shifts as the various holidays came and went. As always at the beginning of the university term, we have had a number of changes, but this year seemed to have happily retained most of our student volunteers from last year. We are still getting plenty of applicants and the issue is trying to keep up with demand!

As always though, far more people are available to volunteer at the weekends than there are spaces in the teams. Many of our volunteers do so as they are not able to have a cat of their own, and I also acknowledge those who are the proud and happy owners of their own cats but also share their love with our shelter cats. To those who have lost their own cats recently, we send our thoughts and empathy.

You may recently have seen the article in the Dominion Post on Friday 3 March headlined “Cats have capacity to love”. It goes without saying that owners can love their cats desperately but “how can we know if they love us back?”

We joke often about cat’s affection being largely “cupboard love” but owners will have their own experiences of their cat’s enjoyment of their company that goes beyond the food bowl. In the same way that we grieve when we lose a beloved pet, the article suggested that cats experience the same when they lose their “favoured attachment figure”.

Those signs of depression, loss of appetite, lethargy, etc are not uncommon in our new cats, and something for us to remember as we care for them.

Our new build supports grieving cats by providing a calm, secure and warm environment that meets as many of their individual needs as possible.

Iona Anderson


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