News | 31 May 2022
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Meet Colin Feral, Chief Temperament Tester

We’ve all heard of working dogs – but what about working cats?

Cat sitting on a chair with sunglasses on.
Colin showing off his purr-sonality.

At the Moa Point Dog Shelter, there is a serious and hard-working colleague who rules the roost – Colin Feral, the cat.

As the live-in shelter cat, Colin has the official job of Chief Temperament Tester. 

Wellington City Council Animal Control Officer Steph Simon says Colin’s presence is used to see how dogs react to him as they come through the shelter doors.

“He’s the dog tester. We figure out which dogs are cat friendly by putting him in the room. He’s pretty cruisy and doesn’t run away from dogs, so you really get a feel for which dogs like him.”

Colin was part of a feral colony, and was caught and rescued alongside his brother in April last year by an Animal Control Officer from the Moa Point Dog Shelter. The rest of his litter and his mum went to a cat rescue, and Colin was de-sexed, vaccinated and microchipped, then adopted into the shelter whānau.

Cat lounging on his bed with pictures on the wall behind it.
Colin surrounded by a few of his favourite things.

He immediately took to making it his home, with his blankets, beds and toys spread throughout the shelter. His territory even extends to the office, with every Animal Control Officer sharing their desk space with Colin, says Steph.

Colin meets every dog up for adoption. And, of course, Colin doesn’t work alone. 

The Animal Control Officers and Colin have their routine down pat – they will bring the dogs in, and Colin will wait, perched high up on a desk or chair.  

Cat running and looking into the camera.
Colin frolicking. Image by Jo Moore Pet Photography.

Colin knows that he will never come into harm's way, as someone is always keeping an eye on him and will stop any doggos from getting too close. 

“Most dogs are quite nervous when they meet him because he stands his ground,” says Steph. “You can see if they’re going to chase – if it's chase to play, or chase to get to him. Some dogs just sniff, showing they’re interested, and that’s all.”

Two dogs and a cat.
Colin's crew.

Steph says he’s also not so much a fan of other cats.

“He met my neighbour’s cat while on a flexi-leash, and just rushed the cat.”

You can try take the cat out of the dog shelter, but you can’t take the dog out of the cat. 

To find out more about Colin the cat and the work done at the Moa Point Dog Shelter, you can check out the Animal Services Facebook page or visit Colin's Instagram.