who we are

Cat Protection began in 1958, as a small group of people dedicated to reducing the number of stray cats by desexing and finding loving and responsible homes for street cats.

Our vision remains the same – that every cat has a loving and responsible home – but we now offer a range of feline care services from our purpose-designed, no-kill shelter in Newtown.

We are an independent registered charity operating only in NSW.

We’re not a subsidiary of any other organisation and we don’t have branches.

Previously structured as an association under the NSW Associations Incorporation Act, in 2019 we were registered as a public company limited by guarantee under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission – our ACN is 631 197 629.  We are governed by a Board of Directors, five of whom are elected by the membership and two of whom are expert directors appointed by the Board in accordance with our Constitution.  Our independently audited accounts are submitted to our Annual General Meeting and the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission each year, and are published there and on this website.

Cat Protection is an approved rehoming organisation – our number is R251000224.

We are a member of International Society of Feline Medicine and a society affiliate member of the International Society for Anthrozoology.

We’re endorsed by the Australian Tax Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient which means you can claim donations $2 and over as tax deductions – you can check our status on ABN Lookup.

Cat Protection quick facts:

  • 1000+ members
  • 150+ volunteers
  • 18 full-time equivalent paid staff
  • 5,000 human clients each year
  • 3,000 feline clients each year
  • $3m pa operating expenses
  • Caring for cats since 1958


All Board members volunteer their time and skills and receive no remuneration

President – Mrs Nita Harvey
Nita became a Life Member of Cat Protection in the 1980s and began volunteering in 1996, after retiring from her role as office manager for a major health fund. She was appointed Treasurer in 1998 and also served as president from 2004 to November 2007.

Vice President – Ms Petra Dobrijevic
Petra holds a BA (Hons) in Sociology from UNSW. She has worked extensively in the tertiary education sector as a lecturer, tutor and researcher. She has also worked as a policy adviser in a variety of state and federal government departments. Her public sector experience also includes work as a senior training consultant, research officer and manager. She is an active supporter of Cat Protection and has hands-on experience in feline welfare.

Director – Ms Emily Falkingham CPA
Emily has a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and has 10 years accounting experience. She works in a chartered firm specialising in outsourced accounting across a variety of industries.

Director – Ms Vanessa Williams
A Life Member, Vanessa moved to the far South Coast in 2017 after more than a decade working at Cat Protection in feline welfare services and policy, and foster care coordination. Prior to that she was a flight crew training scheduling officer for Qantas. She currently works as OK Shed Manager and Parish Administrator for the Anglican Parish of Cobargo/Bermagui.

Director – Ms Felicity Walton
Felicity has a Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Law, Graduate Diploma in Practical Legal Training.
She is an experienced regulatory strategy, compliance and engagement specialist with 14 years’ experience in the energy sector working for private and government agencies.

Director – Ms Natalie Meadows
A Life Member, Natalie has a Bachelor of Laws as well as Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons).
She worked in health law defending health professionals for 20 years, 12 of those as a partner, and now works as a lawyer for the Australian Government. She has a keen interest in animal welfare and volunteers for animal welfare and conservation organisations. Natalie is a Committee member of a Human Research Ethics Committee and an Animal Research Ethics Committee.

Director – Dr Penelope Hansen, BVSc, MNZACVSc (Canine Medicine)
Penny is a registered veterinarian and Associate Lecturer in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Sydney. A recognised expert in small animal urolithiasis and clinical nutrition, she has worked as a veterinary clinician in a variety of practices across Sydney and was a consultant to Hill’s Pet Nutrition for many years. A member of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), she served as Secretary of the Sydney Metropolitan Practitioners Branch for 12 years and in 2002, received the AVA Meritorious Service Award.

Management team

CEO – Ms Kristina Vesk OAM
CEO since late 2006, Kristina has a BA in Social Science and her career has focused on public policy, public affairs and media, in the government and not-for-profit sectors. For 10 years she served as a layperson on the human research ethics committee of a Sydney teaching hospital. In January 2016, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to animal welfare. She is responsible for the overall management of Cat Protection, and she reports to the Board.

Feline Services Manager – Ms Nerida Atkin
Nerida has more than 20 years’ experience working with animals, and joined Cat Protection in 2004. She is a qualified vet nurse, with a Graduate Certificate in Animal Welfare; an ISFM Certificate in Feline Friendly Nursing; an Advanced Certificate in Feline Behaviour (with Distinction) from ISFM; Fear-Free Elite Certification; and associate certification by the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants.

Company Secretary – Mr Neil Williams CPA, JP
Neil has more than 20 years’ experience in financial management, risk, and governance across a range of government, private and charitable organisations, including as GM of Cat Protection from 2016 until February 2023.