Shorty stars’ purrfect pets

The animal lovers are celebrating SPCA’s Treat Week in a furry special way

Courtenay Louise

The Celebrity Treasure Island competitor and Shortland Street actress is mum to two beautiful Ragdoll cats, Alfie and Delilah.

“Ragdolls are known to be extremely affectionate,” says Courtenay, who plays Shorty receptionist Monique Strutter. “Sadly, that is not the case with my fur babies! They choose when they want to be cuddled and it’s not very often.

“They are indoor cats, but they love the outdoors, so we give them supervised outside time,” adds the star, 28.

Both cats are playful and mischievous, but it’s Delilah who rules the roost. “She’s queen bee of our house. Most mornings at 4am, she decides it’s playtime and zooms around the house, waking the whole neighbourhood up.

“Alfie did cause a lot of heartache when he disappeared for five hours. He likes to think of himself as Dora the Explorer. For five hours, I was calling him. I lost my voice! We were printing out missing posters, knocking on doors. It turns out he was next door having the time of his life – obviously his ears are painted on!”

Ria Vandervis

Actress Ria found Maeby, her nearly nine-year-old Jack Russell-mini schnauzer-fox terrier cross, on TradeMe. “She was from an accidental litter from a breeder who didn’t realise one of her dogs was on heat until it was too late. Maeby is very unique looking. Even the breeder said she had no idea what she would grow up to look like!”

Maeby is 38-year-old Ria’s first pet and has changed her life dramatically. “I didn’t realise a person could love an animal so much,” she says fondly. “She is named after Alia Shawkat’s character from Arrested Development and her personality is quite similar.

“She is the best companion and I never feel lonely when she’s around. Since having a baby, the way Maeby protects him means there are so many magical moments every day.”

For Treat Week, Ria, who plays Ferndale’s Dr Harper Whitley, will be making sure Maeby gets a chance to enjoy her favourite things: “Lying in the sun, playing ball and begging for food.”

Zac Martin

Champion boxer and actor Zak’s family dog Jax is his pride and joy.

“I’ve always been an animal lover,” tells the soap’s resident hunk Dr Rahu Parata. “I live in a rural area, which means I get to run around in the wild with my fur friends.

“Animals have so much love to give and I’m here for it. My dog knows when I’m upset or have had a bad day. Jax is extra-affectionate on those days.”

For SPCA Treat Week, Zak, 23, will bake a batch of chocolate cupcakes.

“I’m a big fan of healthy eating, but you have to treat yourself every now and then – and I love chocolate! I encourage people to be creative with their treats – I was lucky enough recently to get a sneak peek of my friend’s show Duckrockers, and they were making a chocolate and potato chip sandwich. Interesting!”

Since Zak no longer lives at home with Jax, he’ll also arrange for them to spend some quality time together. “I love hanging out with her! And I love to treat myself to the great outdoors.”

Holly Shervey & Emmett Skilton

Milliennial Jenny co-stars Holly and Emmett, who are engaged in real life, share a pet cat named Jeff. “We call her Millennial Jeff and you can follow her on Instagram,” laughs Emmett.

Holly says Jeff is very much part of the family. “She was a rescue cat my brother brought home. When he went overseas in 2018, she came to stay with us. It was love at first sight and she’s been with us ever since.”

The couple, both former Shorty stars, will be making vegan cupcakes together for Treat Week. “I’ve always been an animal lover,” tells Emmett, 34. “And because of this, I changed my eating habits and have always advocated for them in any way I can. This is why I’m such a fan of the work the SPCA does within our community.”

When asked how an animal has changed her life, Holly, 34, says, “Over lockdown, Emmett had to go to Australia to film a TV series and if it wasn’t for Jeff, I would’ve been pretty lonely. She was great company.”

SPCA Treat Week runs from 26 September to 2 October. Every dollar raised helps rehabilitate animals to give them a second chance at life. For more info, visit

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