Today we are on the Sunshine Coast meeting some of the team who run the Silver Lining Pet Rescue – a not-for-profit, no-kill foster-based network that saves hundreds of animals in Queensland every year.
We will be joining them at their Halloween themed adoption day at a local pet shop. There I will learn about what it’s like to foster cats and hand over a surprise from our friends at Royal Canin. But first, there is someone special I would like you to meet.
This is Mr Squishy.
It’s just after 8am and I’m at the home of Mr Squishy’s foster mum, Phil, or who I prefer to call, Mr Squishy’s guardian angel.
Phil approached the pet rescue to become a foster carer after the passing of her beloved black cat Jett in March this year.
It was about 3 weeks after, the house was just empty without a cat, Phil tells me.
After filling out an application and having her home checked for suitability she was given the all clear to foster.
The rescue cover the cost of vet bills and medication and provide all the flea and worming treatments, Phil tells me, I just have to provide food and litter.
Her first fosters, kittens named Jaffa and Picnic, came to her malnourished and never having received human contact. With Phil’s patience and love the two learnt how to trust. When they arrived they spent their time under the couch only coming out for food and to use their tray.
After just weeks in Phil’s care they blossomed into healthy cats ready for their forever homes, and wasn’t soon after that they were adopted.
Is it sad saying goodbye at the end? I ask.
I just love having cats in my house, especially black ones. I’m just happy they’re going to a good home, Phil says.
Now, Mr Squishy lives with Phil in her and her partner’s home along with toddler, Brianna, and cattle dog, Jack.
The one and a half year old black cat with striking, bright eyes was surrendered from a property that had a lot of cats. Being with Phil in their home has allowed his loving and gentle personality shine.
Most Saturdays one would find Mr Squishy chasing his toy mouse around the living room, teasing the dog, or on the look out for a lap to curl up on – but today is a special day.
As Phil struggles to get lil’ Squish into the cat carrier she tells me he will be joining us at the adoption day.
Let’s meet some kitties
We arrive at PetSTOCK Kawana Waters. In a corner of the store the Silver Lining team have taken over having set up their cat enclosures and display table adorned with feline themed gifts. It’s Halloween and many of the team have dressed up for the occasion.
Today, the foster carers have brought in a total of 12 cats.
As the rescue has no central compound, so to say, they are fully reliant on their network of volunteers to accommodate their animals.
For the public it’s a chance to meet them and learn about the work that Silver Lining Pet Rescue does. For the foster carers it’s a chance to connect with other carers and discuss the thing we all love most, cats.
On the display table there is an album which holds the photos and bios of all the cats available for adoption including the many still at home with their carers.
Phil arrives with Squish and places him in his enclosure as I take a look at the other cats. She points out Jaylan who she had previously fostered – he is stunning. His orange eyes beam out and his black fur with white undercoat is truly unique.
Jaylan has been residing in-store for the past 2 weeks. Here he has spent a vast proportion of that time sitting on his cat tree watching the chickens in the enclosure next to him. But his time here has paid off, there is currently an application in for his adoption.
Next door I find the super adorable Emo and Silver. Emo perches himself on the cat tree while Silver thinks it’s a great idea to chill out in his litter tray! Down in the pen I find 8-week-old ginger kittens, Crash, Marlin and Nemo. They are attracting a lot of attention and a group of kids huddle around admiring them.
People entering the store are quick to come over and take a look at all the kitties. What makes these days so great is that the foster carers are on hand to answer any questions a potential adopter may have about a particular animal. An environment like this can be challenging for some cats so to have someone there to champion for them is invaluable.
However, no one will be taking a cat home with them today. Phil introduces me to Kate who explains why.
We have to make sure our cats go to a safe and secure environment, Kate tells me.
The applications received today will be reviewed to ensure that potential adopter’s homes are suitable and that they are ready to receive their fluffy bundle of joy. This also involves taking into account the personality of the cat and how well they will fit into their new environment.
If anything isn’t up to scratch Silver Lining is there to offer advice or suggest a more suitable animal.
The program results in happier cats and happier owners. How wonderful it is to know that every cat adopted out receives that level of service and care.
A little surprise
Today’s adoption day would not be possible without the effort that Kate and the team put in.
Kate came to Silver Lining Pet Rescue about 5 years ago as a volunteer photographer. It wasn’t long before her organisational skills were recognised and she found herself helping out with coordination of the rescue’s Sunshine Coast operations.
Kate is now responsible for organising adoption days, communicating with foster carers, distributing supplies, and liaising with pet stores for donations. She volunteers to do this while still working a full-time job.
Silver Lining Pet Rescue are fully reliant on donations to support their operation so when I found out about the amazing work they do I arranged with our friends at Royal Canin to help them out.
They sent us a massive box of goodies to donate which Willow checked over before we left Brisbane.
All good Willow?
Now there is also another surprise.
A big part of Van Cat Meow over the past years has been finding ways to support those in our community in need. So it is with great honour that with Royal Canin’s backing and you, our Van Cat Meow family, I am able to hand over a cheque for $2,250 to Silver Lining Pet Rescue. Thank you, everyone.
If you’d like to contribute further you can donate to Silver Lining using the gifting menu at the bottom of this story here and we will pass it on.
I tell Kate about our travels around Australia and there is someone she would like to meet. Willow is sprawled out on the blanket when we open up the van. I pick her up and we pose for a photo.
Each cat has a story
Now, there are a few more faces I’d like you to meet before we say goodbye.
Jesse has been fostering cats with his partner Shannon for just over a year. He introduces me to Lotus who came to them arthritic and in poor health. The ten year old was put on a special diet and soon regained her strength. Now she can be found jumping and bounding around the house.
He has committed to looking after Lotus for as long as necessary before a suitable home is found. As she is an older cat with special requirements he knows that might be a while.
Jesse and Phil are just a few of many foster carers – not just at Silver Lining – but in the whole of Australia who commit their time and love in helping these animals find their forever homes. Each cat has a story, and for the carers the reward is knowing that they are a part of it.
It’s the end of a long day for kitties and carers alike. Lots of people have come to see the cats and as it stands 5 applications have been handed in which is a great result.
As for Mr Squishy – his day will come. This afternoon Phil will say goodbye as he will be taken to PetSTOCK Noosa to reside in-store and I know it won’t be long before someone walks in and falls in love with him.
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A massive thank you to Silver Lining Pet Rescue for having me for the day! Also a big thank you to Royal Canin for their support, and to Phil for introducing me to everyone & taking some snaps (there’s a photo of Phil and I holding our babies below!)
Have you ever considered fostering cats or volunteering your time?
If you’d like to learn more reach out to your local rescue organisation or check out this information from Royal Canin.
If you are thinking of adopting a new cat or kitten, here is some great info on nutrition and care.
If you’d like to send a donation to Silver Lining you can use the gift menu below and we’ll pass it on.