The SPCA hopes that more of the 46,000 animals coming through its doors each year will find new homes. This summer, the Herald profiles animals that have been adopted and their owners as part of our My Rescue Pet series.

Mistletoe was not like every other kitten when she arrived at SPCA Canterbury.

Born with the neurological condition Cerebellar Hypopalsia - also known as wobbly kitten syndrome - Mistletoe is a little uncoordinated, has exaggerated head movements and is deaf.

The condition comes from the brain not being completely mature at birth and can affect a cat's coordination. But Mistletoe still lives a normal, happy, healthy life.


After Sarah Hadley bought a house, she started looking for a furry companion to help turn it a home.

"I didn't expect too much, but when I first saw Mistletoe she was full of energy, and had a spunk about her which caught my eye," she said.

Mistletoe clearly does not let her condition slow her down. Hadley said she sometimes misjudges things or loses her balance, but there have been no major issues since Hadley brought her home.

Like any other cat, Mistletoe loves to do cat things - climb up to sit in high places, jump in and out of boxes, chase strings - but there are also "Mistletoe-only traits".

"She loves to sleep next to me every night, with her body under the sheet, and her head on the pillow. I guess because she is deaf, she feels safer that way."

How to adopt

If you are interested in adopting a pet from the SPCA, visit or call the Auckland SPCA on (09) 256 7300.