My wife Kate is a volunteer at Habitat for Cats, a no kill cat shelter in our town. We adopted our third cat Emma there three years ago and since then she has always wanted to get involved with the shelter in some way. I suggested writing a check, but she was looking to do something a little more hands on. The shelter cares for and provides adoption services for approximately 80 cats.
It started so innocently... I get a call from my wife at work, someone has found two little kittens running for their lives on a busy road and called the shelter for help. The kittens are too small to be left at the shelter alone and will need to be "fostered"... short pause...what do you think?
Now, the Cambridge Dictionary of American English defines “Foster” as follows.
Foster (TAKE CARE OF)
Verb: to take care of (a child) as if it were your own, usually for a limited time, without being the child’s legal parent. (Substitute “child” for “cat”)
When Kate brought them home she kept them separated from our other pets for health and safety reasons. They had a health check from the volunteer Vet but still needed to be vaccinated before being released into the general population. This also prevented our three children from getting too attached to them. After all we were just “fostering” them and eventually they would be placed up for adoption.
As time passes the two little kittens now named Bella and Brady are starting to grow and starting to develop little personalities or felinealities whatever it’s called for cats. Brady is the more outgoing and aggressive one while Bella, being the smallest, likes to just sit on your shoulder and purr in your ear while you walk around the house. It actually kind of cute, you would be standing in the kitchen and she would start climbing up your leg and back then onto your shoulder like some kind of little mountaineer and then just curl-up in a ball…. but I digress.
One day I started to notice that in all our conversations regarding the two kittens the word “foster” had been replaced with the word “adopt”. I wasn't completely against the idea, but I thought it went against the entire meaning of the “fostering” process and once you cross that line, you can never go back. So for us I’m happy to say that the word “fostering” is no longer in our vocabularies and Bella and Brady are now a permanent part of our family.
In conclusion… The fostering process is a great one and I recommend it anyone with the time and ability to provide care to an orphaned animal. My only warning… If you get attached, be prepared for either heart break when you return them or adoption!
Here are a few pictures of the family…
Molly our 11 year old Black Lab and Bella sleeping in front of the fireplace.
Hanna is our 7 year old Yellow Lab
We also have three other cats Samantha, Emma and Maggie. I will post some pictures of them when I can.