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Rehoming the vulnerable

Featherston’s Lee Priday of Kittycat Rehoming Wairarapa. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND



Feral and abandoned cats aren’t a popular choice for adoption.

But Featherston’s Lee Priday believes there are some that really deserve a second chance and works each day to rehome them.

Lee, who moved from Sydney a few years ago, was a founder of Featherston Community Kitties, an organisation that worked to trap, neuter, and return feral cats in Featherston.

Before long, the organisation became the Wairarapa-wide Wairarapa Community Kitties, which Lee resigned from at the end of 2016, choosing to pursue her new interest, KittyCat Rehoming Wairarapa.

“No one else was doing anything to provide a better life for stray and abandoned cats,” she said.

“I knew the SPCA weren’t that keen on rehoming stray and abandoned cats because of legal reasons I believe.

“So, they told me what I had to do, which was advertise online, advertise on Lost Pets, contact all the vets in the area, and put out letter drops.”

Lee then advertises the cat up for adoption through the Wairarapa Midweek and online.

Last year, 33 cats were rehomed through the organisation, and so far, this year, 25 cats have been rehomed.

“They are the sort of cats that would normally fall through the cracks and maybe no one else would rehome,” Lee said.

“There’s that saying: You can’t change the world for all the cats, but you can change the world for one cat.”

Lee pursues her rehoming interests alongside a job with the Wairarapa DHB.

She said her voluntary work with cats brought “so much joy to people, particularly older people who are lonely”.

“It’s hard work but very rewarding.

“It’s been proven that having pets make people healthier – they reduce people’s stress levels and they often live longer as a result.

“As well as that, there is the social side if it.

“People who are lonely, or living alone, it can make a huge difference to their lives.

“It’s a win-win for the cat and the person.”

Lee said she was always looking for people to help out with the rehoming process.

People could help out by fostering, fundraising, and transporting cats to the vet – each cat to be rehomed is vet checked, desexed, vaccinated, and tested for FIV.

Lee can be contacted on 021 0843 8935 or email [email protected].



Success stories



Possum was found abandoned at Wairarapa Hospital last year.

After capturing her and taking her to the vet, it was confirmed that Possum was also pregnant.

Two weeks later, she gave birth to three kittens in Lee’s wardrobe
Her kittens were adopted out through Kittycat Rehoming, and Possum found “the most wonderful home in Carterton” to a woman who lost her cat at 18 months from an illness.

“She is now the prized cat in the household,” Lee said.



Shorty belonged to someone in Masterton, but Shorty wasn’t happy when a dog became part of the family.

She was scared and began living outdoors where she was “beaten up” by other cats.

When her owners had to move to a new house, they couldn’t take her with them and so she was rehomed through Kittycat Rehoming to a new family in Porirua.

Her new owners then moved to Lyttelton in the South Island, and they took Shorty with them by car.

The drive down really bonded them, Lee said.




Graysyn was rescued after being abandoned in a house with several other tame cats.

A Wairarapa woman donated money for vet treatment for each cat and Graysyn was rehomed to live in Masterton.

The Masterton lady had wanted a grey cat and had gone into VetCare one day to ask if there were any grey cats that needed rehoming.

Graysyn happened to be there at the time getting vet treatment, and he was adopted.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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