You can't miss Maggie Andreassen's little black Toyota.

Cat imagery, kitty slogans, feline paw prints and a moggy window wiper adorn the back of her car — she is one of Waihi's most devoted cat caregivers.

Every night Maggie drives to five cat stations to feed Waihi's town population of stray cats. She is Waihi's new ''cat lady'' for the last three years after taking over the task from Hazel Stewart.

With the help of Gemma Nawara and Sharyn Matete, they take care of about 20 cats in town. Feeding stations have been modified to keep dogs out thanks to the handy skills of Maggie's husband. Cats can eat safely inside the shelters and sleep inside as well.


''If we weren't feeding them, they'd be a nuisance in town. Without desexing, they'd be a lot more. And once you neuter them, they calm down a lot as well.''

The cat crew catch strays to have them desexed. The cats are released again and the tamer ones are looked after and rehomed.

Maggie was neutering up to two a month, but just about all of them are neutered, she says. But sometimes they are surprised with litters of kittens which they raise and rehome.

Why does Maggie do it? She loves animals.

''I can't see them starve. It's not their fault they've been dumped.''

Maggie's always had furry friends. She has lived on farms with cats, dogs, rabbits, goats, sheep and horses.

She has four rescue cats of her own and she is taming two younger cats.

Feeding the town cats is an expensive pastime.


She created Waihi Town Cats' Facebook page to help with costs. A donation box at New World Waihi helps a great deal, she says, and vet bills are paid by donations or out of her own pocket.

Maggie's goal is to set up an op shop/market shop in Waihi. She was gifted leftover stock from Market On Main Paeroa after it closed. If anyone can help to find an affordable shop to rent, or to donate, she asks for people to get in touch via the Facebook page.