6 July 2016

Sherbert was adopted by residents of our aged care home. Watch the remarkable story.

Sherbert, the small ginger kitten, was abandoned nine years ago.

Dumped in a park, the future looked bleak. Fate, though, had other ideas. Luckily for the tiny feline, the park is opposite a Brotherhood of St Laurence aged care home. Residents and staff at Sambell Lodge adopted Sherbert – and from that day the cheeky fella was home.

Sambell Lodge in Clifton Hill, Melbourne is home to 43 older people who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness. “Sherbert is a beautiful, beautiful cat, and I love him so much,” says Bev, 72, a resident at Sambell for two years. “When you call for the cat, you have to call him ‘darling’.”

Bev used to work in aged care herself, on laundry duties, and more recently worked at an organisation that helps people living with a disability into meaningful and paid employment. “Sherbert sleeps all day and eats for the rest of it,” says Richard, 65.“Life wasn’t meant to be easy for Sherbert!” he adds with an affectionate laugh.

Richard, who used to work as a labourer, has lived at Sambell for almost two years. “I’ve always loved cats,” says Norma, 78. “He’s really taken the place of all my cats that I’ve had.”And as you can see, Norma and Sherbert have a daily battle over who really owns her wheeler.

Norma worked as a bookkeeper for several organisations before retiring. “Sherbert rules the roost, but in a very subtle way so as not to get uncovered,” says Graeme, 69.

“Some of the residents are fascinated with Sherbert. He’s a very popular member of the community and an important mascot to Sambell Lodge. Animals really contribute to us." Graeme is an artist and a poet, and isn’t shy to reel off a few verses when in front of a crowd.

He's been at Sambell Lodge for four years. Sherbert the Ginger Cat, who's known to cuddle up to residents when they're feeling down, has lived at Sambell for nine years. “I’d say his parents would have been gingery in colour,” says Janine. “One day he came into my room and I said, ‘Get out of here you pesky Geelong supporter’.” Janine, a diehard Collingwood Football Club fan, is fond of the ginger feline, despite Sherbert’s (natural) support of the Geelong Cats.

Janine used to work as a factory hand and at a supermarket, on trolley collection. She's lived at Sambell Lodge for ten years. “And I don’t intend moving from here,” she says.

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