How a Pussycat Became a Princess

By Judy Layne

Inspiration………. it’s what speaks to our hearts………. lets us turn our passion into action……. lets us do more and be more. Here’s the story of how some inspired people helped turn a pussycat into a princess……

The kitten had no name when she was brought to safety at the Pictou SPCA Shelter. She had been born into a feral cat colony. In mid-October last year she was recovered, along with 3 litters of kittens and 10 adult cats, by our friends at CARMA’s Pictou County Chapter through their TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) Program.  The shelter named her Little Owl.

CARMA stands for Cat Rescue Maritimes.  The Pictou County Chapter offers a TNR program for community cats in the area.  The organization is comprised of volunteers of all ages and walks of life, and the program they provide is invaluable.  I had a chance to talk to Jane, one of CARMA’s dedicated volunteers, who filled me in on the program.

Jane shares “I’ve been with CARMA for 5 years. The most inspiring thing for me is knowing that CARMA provides a service that no one else does in our county; caring for community cats – cats that for the most part are not socialized and therefore not considered adoptable. I see the difference TNR makes; how it not only saves lives but offers community cats quality of life! We don’t just spay & neuter; we do what needs to be done based on veterinary recommendations.  We respond to sick and injured cats and although difficult, when necessary, we help to end their suffering at the hands of our compassionate vets. We recover kittens and poor, scared, friendly strays, removing them from the harshness of community life. We provide winterized shelters and support with food whenever and how much resources allow.”

Jane continues “In addition to helping the cats, I was unprepared for the impact we are having on caregivers’ lives, often older people on fixed income who feel overwhelmed and would go without to feed the cats.  TNR provides them with a managed healthy colony and they know they can call us for future support.”

“The pawsitive partnership between CARMA and the SPCA’s Pictou Shelter is critical,” explains Jane. “Together, we’ve been able to help so many more cats and kittens then we could have on our own. We provide TNR for community unadoptable cats and the SPCA provides care and services to tame stray cats and kittens – an absolute win/win!”

As it turns out, Jane was there on the day Little Owl was recovered. She relates “The kitten was living with her colony on a small working farm in rural Pictou County. Her colony was very lucky, as their caregivers are kind compassionate people who wanted our TNR services and were happy to have the kittens taken for fostering and ultimately adoption. The adult cats trapped with Little Owl were spayed and neutered, and returned to the colony where they are well cared for.”

Jane was also inspired to become Little Owl’s foster fur-mama, along with a much younger kitten from the same colony!  “It’s hard not to foster when you see their little faces and know with some time and patience, they will be adoptable; it makes all the challenges worth it,” says Jane. “For Little Owl and other timid older kittens like her, it can take a bit more time gaining their trust while offering them a safe space where they become socialized and build their confidence.  It’s a privilege to play a small part in their lives.”

Jane recalls “One of the sweetest things about Little Owl was that she would start purring the minute she saw you or heard your voice even if she wasn’t yet brave enough for a cuddle.  Her sweet gentle nature was clear. I knew she’d make some family very happy.”

As soon as Little Owl was ready for adoption, it didn’t take long for a family to discover this wonderful girl. On November 27th, Alexus St. Onge spotted her on the SPCA website.  Alexus says “I had been wanting to bring a kitten into our home for a while and once I saw her big ‘owl-like’ eyes, I fell in love instantly.  Her story inspired me even more.”

“It took Little Owl a week or two to adjust to her new home,” reports Alexus.  “She hid under the bed and wouldn’t come out until she was ready.  Now, she’s come right out of her shell and runs around day and night!” The family was inspired to re-name their bundle of joy.  “We call her Princess Zelda (Zelda for short) because she truly acts like a princess.  She walks around the house like she owns the place,” laughs Alexus.

Zelda inherited a canine fur-sibling, a German Shepherd mix named Pepper.  Alexus shares “It took Zelda a while to trust Pepper but now they cuddle and play.” And Zelda’s favorite things?  “She loves playing tag with Pepper, sleeping on Pepper’s back, stealing hair elastics, climbing up to my shoulder where she can hang out like a parrot, and waking me up at 2 or 3am for cuddles!” chuckles Alexus.

“Zelda has definitely brought more joy and excitement into our lives,” states Alexus. “And there’s an unexpected plus. Pepper tended to be lazy and Zelda gets her up and running around the house like a puppy again.  Zelda is Pepper’s new best friend and it’s the best thing I could ask for.”

Alexus’ final thoughts?  “The SPCA plays such an important role in giving animals like our Princess a second chance at happiness.  A kitten who was shy and timid is now an energetic, playful adventurous cat.  We are forever grateful.”

We hope you are inspired by this story.  You can help other homeless animals like Little Owl achieve their fairy-tale ending. Learn more about how to support the SPCA and share your love.


To learn more about TNR, report a cat colony or volunteer your time, click here. If you’re interested in providing food for or managing cat colonies, contact the SPCA and together with local rescue groups, they can provide advice and support. To support TNR activities in 2021, please donate today here.

To learn more about CARMA’s work, the Pictou County Chapter or how you can get involved email or call 1-782-233-2287.


Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-mama to Gracie. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.