The Nook Cats

13th Mar, 2024

Written by Genevieve Kieb, owner of The Nook

Photography by Cherry Smith, and by Charl Durand of Kowie Camera Club

Our Community Cats trapped and sterilised three feral cats in 2016 at The Silverleaf Centre in Kenton that was cared for by the then-business owners on the premises.

In April 2022, Mathew Parmenter and I bought a second-hand book and gift shop in Kenton-on-Sea, naming it The Nook. The previous owner, Jannet Flynn, was caring for three feral cats who’d made their home in the lush and leafy Silverleaf Centre.

Being animal lovers ourselves, we were happy to take over the care for the kitties. It’s noteworthy that we moved the shop to a different building in the same centre; although it was only about 20 metres away, we were worried about how the move would affect the cats and their eating habits.

Meet the kitties

When we first met them, Beans was fairly alright with people; he’d let you touch him, but he was still a bit wary. This black cat has beautiful green eyes and notably long, fang-like teeth.

Coco, or “Mama Cat” (Beans’ mom), as we’ve affectionately renamed her, was extremely skittish and didn’t like the presence of people. If you were in a room together, she’d find the nearest exit and skedaddle!

Tennessee the tabby, affectionately renamed Sophie by ProRealty owner Hans, was an enigma for a long time. We occasionally saw her flitting around here and there, but she never approached us.

Fast forward a few months...

My fiancé, Mathew, Hans (Owner and Principal of ProRealty) and I took time and care to help the cats adjust and feel comfortable and welcome in their new space with their new carers. We provided food and love for them in their new space, and gradually they all became more and more comfortable in their environment.

The biggest and most delightful change though was their acceptance of people’s presence near them and affections towards them (of which there was no short supply).

Beans and Mama Cat became a staple at The Nook, sleeping on laps and tables in the store. Sometimes we even play a “Where’s Wally” type of game to see who can spot which nook or cranny they’ve decided to sleep in.

Sophie became much less elusive and now often comes for pettings after hours and to sing to us. She’s gradually getting more and more comfortable with other people too.

In addition to their regular meals, they get cans of tuna as treats on days like Christmas and Valentine’s Day and join us for tasty morsels every day at lunch time. They make coming to work a joy when they trot out to greet us vocally in the mornings, and bring our customers great delight and comfort.

They’re our loving mascots of the Silverleaf Centre.

Helping cats in Kenton

Our Community Cats, a project supported by NCat (, was contacted at the end of 2023 by Genevieve and Mathew to assist with a health check and to update rabies and Felocell vaccines for the resident cats; tick-and-flea treatment was also done.

It’s heart-warming to see how the loving care which they received changed these feral cats into adorable, contented senior cats in good health. They’ve become socialised and friendly cats.

The objective of the TNR programme in Kenton and surrounding areas is to work in a community-based way to ensure that the feral cats that are trapped, sterilised and released have access to safe spaces and caregivers that provide not only food and water but also watch over them and make arrangements for medical treatment as and when required with my assistance.

In Kenton, thirteen households participate and care for feral cats, as well as five businesses around Kenton CBD. Trapping and sterilisation is in progress at the remaining three households on the list. Once that’s completed, all community cats that have been identified will be trapped, sterilised and vaccinated. This objective has already been achieved for Bushmansriver village across from Kenton and in Merryhill across the R72 from Kenton.

This shows that, with the cooperation of a few households in a community, the feral and stray cat population can be successfully managed and the cats can lead long and healthy lives. TNR works!

Thanks Happy Tails for the opportunity to share their story!

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