Foster cats seek a little love

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 05:00 03/11/2012
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DIEGO OPATOWSKI/Fairfax NZ

CAT WOMAN: Margaret Nixon has fostered SPCA cats for the past five years, and specifically looks after cats that are extra timid, like Joshua, or have to be separated from the general cat population.

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They may not curl up in your lap for a nap any time soon, but Wellington SPCA's neediest cats still need love.

This weekend, the SPCA is running an extra special adoption drive for felines recovering from illnesses such as ringworm and calicivirus, or who are particularly timid around people.

The cats and kittens are fostered out because they are too nervous around other cats, but foster mother Margaret Nixon says they can settle into a new home well with a bit of extra love and attention.

Ms Nixon has cared for such cats for the past five years after learning as an SPCA volunteer about the help they needed.

She has three foster male cats at present, and works hard to slowly develop the cats' socialisation skills to prepare them for adoption.

"You measure progress by the smallest things, like being able to put your finger out and touch a paw. Just that is progress. Or if you go in the room and they don't scatter and hide, then that's progress too."

While the cats sometimes need to be given medication, and require a bit more work than some other adoptees, seeing them grow more confident is hugely rewarding, Ms Nixon says.

"One of my little boys ate treats out of my hands yesterday. It's a wonderful feeling."

For people considering adopting one of the cats or kittens, being patient is a necessary virtue.

"Potential owners need to have a strong belief that the cat will eventually come around. You can never stop believing that the pussycat will come around with time and attention and love.

"Someone who has knowledge of cats would be suitable, but even someone who has never had a cat but is willing to take time would be great too."

Wellington SPCA spokesman James Craw says the adoption drive is All Saints-themed to tie in with the holiday, and because potential adopters need to be saints to help the cats come out of their shells.

"It's a fantastic feeling to be able to give these cats and kittens the opportunity to be part of a normal family. In return, they will be your loyal friends for life.

"Every feline has a little angel in them."

THE DETAILS

All Saints adoption weekend is on at Wellington SPCA, 305 Mansfield St, Newtown. 10am till 4pm today, and 10am till 2.30pm tomorrow.

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- The Dominion Post

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