Linda Pennock began volunteering with RSPCA South Australia in 2014 and slowly became a cat-care matriarch within the foster caring community.
During her eight years of service, Linda would foster a total of 344 cats and kittens, volunteer with adoptions and help the vet team with cat desexing. Staff, fondly remember Linda, for her cheeky sense of humour, willingness to help others and dedication to help animals in need.
There was a phrase Linda would always say to new foster carers: “There is no such thing as stupid questions.” It was her way of making them feel welcomed and supported. Her trademark phrase really encapsulated the type of person Linda was – someone who was open-minded, always eager to learn and foremost someone who loved helping animals.
During the winter of 2014, a five-week-old kitten named Possum trotted his way into Linda’s life. The fiery one-eyed tabby would be the spark, which would ignite Linda’s passion for foster care. He would be one of three cats Linda would adopt during her time fostering. She would joke that the cats she fostered in the month of June would always end up staying for good.
As Linda’s passion grew so did her intake of cats and kittens. Soon she would dedicate an entire room to foster kittens and each afternoon she would spend an hour reading next to them while they played. Linda would often take in an entire litter at a time and during peak kitten season would have up to 15 of them running around her house.
Every moment was documented and kept in Linda’s treasured photo albums. You could sense Linda held a great amount of pride in her achievements, and nothing made her happier than sharing her progress with other cat lovers.
A pillar in the foster care network
Community Animal Care Manager Sarah Dudley says that Linda’s passing has left a massive hole within the foster community.
“Linda was part of our foster group from the very start and understood how important it was to grow our network, in order to help as many animals as possible,” she said.
“As soon as Linda had finished caring for one batch of kittens, she was back the next week ready to take on a whole new litter. It felt like she was running a cat hotel.”
Linda was always eager to share her expertise with other foster carers and played an integral role in offering advice on RSPCA’s foster care Facebook group.
“Linda was on there daily to welcome all the new carers. She would always be the first to comment on any posts asking questions. She was extremely approachable and made everyone in that group feel valued.
“It was a huge part of her life. She will be sorely missed particularly her cheeky sense of humour,” said Dudley.
Every second Wednesday, Linda would volunteer her time down at the vet care centre, where she would assist with cat care recovery and help to clean the surgical kits. Vet services team leader Ashlea Gerrard was always excited to have Linda there helping out.
“She was a great volunteer to have on your team. She always picked up where things were headed and was always willing to help train the newer volunteers. Everyone was happy on the days Linda was coming in because you knew she would do a great job helping out with the cat recovery,” said Gerrard.
“She absolutely loved the cats in her care. She would share photos and you knew she held a special place in her heart for every single one of them. She was a lot of fun to work with and was truly a part of our team.”