How can you part with them?
I forget how many times people have said those words to me. In some ways I understand exactly why. When I started to foster, my only real concern was that indeed I would not be able to part with any of them and would end up with a house full of cats. In reality, it is not so difficult. Each cat we home is going to get the very best of care because we choose the homes very carefully. Then it becomes almost a pleasure to part with them.
I have fostered for CAT 77 for around nine years now and I would say that it has been a very rewarding experience. I think people assume it is the kittens that are the hardest to part with. Funnily enough, I find that I become more attached to the adult cats. Kittens are of course adorable little creatures (especially when hanging from my curtains or clawing their way up the furniture), but the adults are often the special ones. Most of these cats once had a home and lost it for some reason, maybe they became pregnant or had just passed that cuddly kitten phase and were no longer wanted. Many are found loitering near houses, trying to find a new family to move in with. I fostered Pandora, who had been sleeping on a pile of dead leaves in the corner of someone’s drive. She was the most beautiful well mannered Tortie you could ever wish for. There was also Kiwi who was part Burmese, rescued along with her young kittens, full of character, always chatting and so affectionate. These cats went to excellent homes where they had all the love and care they deserved.
Many of the kittens we look after would have died had they not been brought in to be fostered. Therefore they are very special to us and we vet prospective homes thoroughly. We also insist the kittens be neutered and vaccinated by their new owners.
In some ways fostering cats has renewed my faith in human nature. There may well be the wicked people who neglect and abandon these animals in the first place, but there are many who adopt cats from us who are kind and responsible, some even give generous donations to help us continue this work.
Of course, most of the cats we look after are ex-feral or born of wild mothers. This means that they are inherently shy and nervous of humans. Part of the fosterer’s job is to handle them and get them used to people. In their new home the kittens still hide initially and for some time after, but they can surprise you, like the time I homed two black cats with the big “… well, they will be a bit nervous at first, but just give them time” routine. They both strolled around the room as if they had lived there all their lives !
In the end, regardless of how old they are or how difficult they have been, to see our foster cats and kittens settled and happy in their new homes, and most importantly loved by their new owners makes it all worthwhile.
Fostering…. some facts
If anyone has read the article and feels inspired to foster cats, the following gives some idea of the practicalities:
Ideally you will need a separate room, this is especially useful if you have cats of your own. The room needs to be quiet and secure due to the sometimes nervous nature of feral cats and preferably without too much furniture for the cats to hide behind. You may also need a window guard, but these are very cheap and easy to fix up.
Equipment, such as feeding bowls, litter trays, scratch pole and toys are required. It may be necessary to use a play pen to confine the cats at first to settle them in. CAT 77 can supply a pen as and when required.
If required CAT 77 will reimburse all expenses for things like food, litter, flea/worm treatments and of course any vet bills that may be incurred.
You will of course have to devote some time every day to handling and playing with the cats in order to rehabilitate them (if they are feral)…. however this is perhaps the best part of the job.
You can still foster cats and work….. I do!
I hope this will encourage you to consider fostering. Good luck!
© Karen StevensonShare this...