I’m a foster carer for the Hobart Cat Centre.
Fostering animals is both very rewarding and completely heartbreaking at the same time.
Below are four different cats who came into my care for four different reasons. Every cat has their story and I would like to share these ones with you.
My very first foster was a cat they called Jenga.
She had been suffering from cat flu and needed a safe and stress-free environment to recover in.
I was so excited to have my very first foster and I couldn’t wait to get her home. But within the first few hours of being in my house, she had pulled stitches out from her side and reopened a wound from a previous surgery. I had to run her to the afterhours vet to get a staple put in. Within hours of getting her home again, she had managed to pull that staple out at well!
I felt like an absolute failure. I took her back to the afterhours vet for a second time, hanging my head in shame. I was supposed to provide this poor cat with a stress-free environment, but this cat was very much stressed. So it was the cone of shame for her and a lot of tears from me.
But within a couple days, she had settled down and became a very loving and affectionate companion. Finally comfortable and safe, she recovered quickly.
It hurt my heart when I had to say goodbye, but when I heard that she had been adopted I couldn’t have been happier.
The next cat I fostered was this absolutely enormous kitty called Lady.
She was very gentle, very lovely and never caused any trouble. You could rub her tummy till the cows came home and she would never bite or scratch. She was quite simply, a very well mannered cat.
Lady used to have a family before she ended up at the centre. Her owner moved house and just left Lady behind. One day she had a family and the next she was alone and forgotten. I was shattered to learn that someone had abandoned this cat. I find it hard to comprehend how someone could abandon any animal, let alone one as pleasant as Lady.
It wasn’t until Lady was adopted into her forever home that we discovered she was in fact a he! We did wonder why she, I mean he, was such a big cat!
My most recent foster is a tiny little kitten called Ozzie.
He was surrendered to the centre with a sibling. It is a very unfortunate fact that kittens this young do not always survive without their mother. Ozzie’s sibling, very sadly, did not make it. With no mother and no other family to keep him company, he was in a very vulnerable position and we didn’t know how this story would play out.
I’m happy to say that this little ginger is doing really well! He’s gaining weight every day, playing (or eating) every waking moment and he loves people.
He does have behavioural problems as he currently doesn’t have any other cats to socialise with. And he has defecated on my bed. Three times.
But I have high hopes for this little nuisance.
MISTREATED AND SICK
Lily was the most difficult cat I have ever fostered.
She was surrendered to the centre with ear mites and cat flu which required daily medication and multiple check-ups.
Lily is exceptionally naughty, having broken many a plant, blind, flywire, saucepan, decoration and furniture item. She has been to the vet a lot, has eye problems, spent some time in the cone of shame and will likely always have issues with her health.
We don’t know exactly what happened to her before she came to the centre. But we do know that she didn’t come from a good place and wasn’t treated with kindness.
It took a long time before she trusted us enough to curl up and sleep on our laps.
Lily is also the cat that my family could not bring ourselves to say goodbye to.
So on Christmas eve, I signed the adoption papers and Lily was officially welcomed as part of the family.
People often say to me, “I couldn’t do it”.
They couldn’t do it because they would get too attached to the animals and wouldn’t be able to say goodbye. They couldn’t do it because the stories are so sad. There will come a time when I don’t think I’ll be able to do it either.
But I think that foster carers of any animal will tell you that you don’t rescue the animals. They rescue you.